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Topic: Express Card 34 / eSATAII ????

  1. #1

    Express Card 34 / eSATAII ????

    hello everyone. i come to you with a techie question. i own a macbook pro and i'm looking to put an external harddrive in my arsenal. at first i was going to purchase a firewire 800 one, but i started hearing things about these SATAII ones that you connect via your Express Card 34 slot? everyone says that these are by far the best.

    i use logic 8 with tons of samples and i was planning on transferring all the samples (like 50+ gigs of them to it) to the external harddrive, which means that i need something that would be fast enough to handle them. anyway, i can't find anything clear on these external SATAII drives. i think i have to buy the card that goes into the slot, then the drive, then an enclosure for it? i NEED HELP!?!?!?!?

    thanks in advance, and more thanks will come after some feedback.
    -Keith Fuller

    iMac Quad i7 * MacBook Pro * Logic Studio 9 * WD 320GB & 1TB Externals@7,200RPM * Presonus Firebox * M-Audio Axiom 25 & Keystation 61 * Rode NT1-A * Epiphone Hollowbody * Fender Amp * KRK Rokit 8's

  2. #2

    Re: Express Card 34 / eSATAII ????

    I don't own a Mac, but I think I can help a little. Here is a link to some info on the card you mentioned:

    The eSATA standard can be a little confusing. The e essentially stands for external. The eSATA standard currently supports drives based on SATA(I) and SATAII. SATAI, the first generation, had a transfer rate of 150MB/s. SATAII specifies support up to 300MB/s. eSATA provides a mechanism for connecting drives externally that offers a much stronger connector than internal drives use. All revisions of SATA support hot-swap capability, in theory at least. Sometimes controllers and software will not support hot-swap, but in the case of the card mentioned here, you should be good.

    Hot-swap means you can plug or unplug the drive while the computer is running. This is convenient for portable drives when you move them between PCs.

    eSATA is a connector only and does not carry power to the drive. This means that you can either take a standard sata drive and put it inside a portable enclosure that has a power brick, or you can buy an actual eSATA drive that is essentially a drive encased inside a proprietary enclosure that uses a power brick. So, if you have a spare SATA drive lying around, you can buy a cheap enclosure and save some money. If buying a new drive, you are probably better off with an actual "eSATA" drive because they are most likely designed to be pretty durable.

    Performance wise, an SATA drive of any kind will definitely be much faster than Firewire or USB. You won't necessarily get the same real-world performance as a drive connected internally, but for now it is probably the next best thing.

    Hope this helps,

  3. #3

    Re: Express Card 34 / eSATAII ????

    Here's a Wikipedia article which might help (or confuse you further).


    - k
    "An artist is someone who produces things that people don't need to have, but that he - for some reason - thinks it would be a good idea to give them."

    - Andy Warhol

  4. #4

    Re: Express Card 34 / eSATAII ????

    thanks guys for your reponses, that really does clear everything up. now just onto deciding whether or not its worth the money
    -Keith Fuller

    iMac Quad i7 * MacBook Pro * Logic Studio 9 * WD 320GB & 1TB Externals@7,200RPM * Presonus Firebox * M-Audio Axiom 25 & Keystation 61 * Rode NT1-A * Epiphone Hollowbody * Fender Amp * KRK Rokit 8's

  5. #5

    Re: Express Card 34 / eSATAII ????


    I have used a Firewire 800 drive from OWC for a couple of years. That is to say it is an external, bus-powered drive. I think the rotation speed is 7200 rpm with an 8 mb cache. It has been very reliable for me. I will say that I don't stream tons of samples from it simultaneously, but my regular Finale template for marching band has about 20 instruments that are being streamed from it via Kontakt 2. I am pretty sure that Logic has a relatively lower system overhead than Finale does, so I would be comfortable saying that you could probably stream 20 or so instruments from a similar drive.

    My experience with the Express 34 card slot has not been great, so I urge some further research to find an Apple-approved card. I jumped in too quickly without enough research and bought a card that is not "officially" recognized by the OS, and its performance has been problematic at best. I'm not saying you have to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but the manufacturer of this card is SIIG, so maybe exercise caution if considering that brand.

    If you can get a card to work, it's really cool, because you effectively have added another high-speed bus for a Firewire or eSATA drive. Thus, you could have a Firewire audio interface on the main Firewire bus (the built-in) and add a high-speed drive on the Express 34 bus without clogging any bandwidth on the main FW bus.

    I hope these observations are helpful. By the way, I've enjoyed the music that you have posted. I really like your spirit of openess and sharing in this community, too.

    Take care...
    Brad Pearson
    THG Music
    Spokane WA

    MacBook Pro (2.33 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo), 3 gig RAM, OS 10.6.5, Finale 2011b, GPO4 & CMB2

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