eSATA Newbie Question

Discussion in 'SSDs & Data Storage' started by kenw232, May 5, 2012.

  1. kenw232

    kenw232 n00b

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    Does an eSATA drive appear to the computer in the exact same capacity as a normal internal SATA drive? Or does it appear more like an external USB drive?

    I should be able to have no internal drives at all and boot off of 1 eSATA drive perfectly fine requiring no special drivers at all no matter what the OS. Is this correct?
     
  2. dustNbone

    dustNbone [H]ard|Gawd

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    It will function essentially the same as an internal SATA drive, so I don't see why you shouldn't be able to boot off it.
     
  3. morningreis

    morningreis [H]ard|Gawd

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    Yes, you should be able to boot off of it. I believe the only difference between SATA and eSATA is the slightly different connector. Your computer won't know the difference.
     
  4. JoeComp

    JoeComp [H]ard|Gawd

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    There is also a slight difference involving allowed signal voltages. But you are correct that the motherboard should treat an eSATA port just like a SATA port for booting purposes.
     
  5. Old Hippie

    Old Hippie [H]ardness Supreme

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    The problem is that many/most eSATA connections are controlled by 3rd party chipsets.

    If you're installing an OS from scratch it'd better have the correct drivers for the chipset.
     
  6. Objekt

    Objekt Limp Gawd

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    The other problem is that there are some (many?) chipsets in use which provide an eSATA port physically, but do not support it correctly.

    A case in point is the garbage Marvell device in my current system. Doesn't support eSATA hotswap. Not sure about booting from eSATA; never tried it.

    On the other hand, the SATA ports on the Intel controller in the same system (ICH9R southbridge) do support hotswap.
     
  7. Old Hippie

    Old Hippie [H]ardness Supreme

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    While I agree with Marvell being garbage many times the drivers will be updated.

    My Asus P6T has a JMB322 controller but many don't install the hotswap drivers and call the controller trash.
     
  8. JRS

    JRS Limp Gawd

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    OP - I've booted off an eSata on a Toshiba portege r835-p56x laptop. I'm fairly certain the eSata port is off the Intel controller. As far as desktops go, Old Hippie is correct in that most eSata ports are off another controller which probably means having to load drivers as part of a Windows install.

    The Marvell controller for the eSata port on my P5Q Deluxe gave me a ton of fits (so it was trash for awhile), typically just locking up after an hour or so of use, or 10 minutes into a large file transfer. It often would completely lock up my system and I'd have to button reset or power down. I stopped using it altogether for years. It got a little better after a driver update in '09, but still not good enough to trust. Finally, last year some driver updates did the trick and I've been using it as a backup source for about a year.

    Because of that experience, I would encourage anyone to not count on a motherboard's eSata port if they are buying it for that purpose. Instead, I'd recommend going with Silicon Image or JMIcron PCIe cards. I've used them both without problems and although they do not benchmark as well as ICH10 ports, they are good enough. SI cards can be had for well under $20.
     
  9. kenw232

    kenw232 n00b

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    ok, thanks. thats what I mostly thought.