USB 3.0 vs USB 2.0/eSATA-which is best?


catilley1092

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I'm narrowing down my choice of a new notebook very close now, I asked this question in the thread, but thought it deserved a thread of it's own.

Which is the best, the up & coming USB 3.0, or the combo USB 2.0/eSATA port? Being that I've had either one, I can't answer this question. But from what I've read, USB 3.0 is lightning fast for backup drives.

Also, pre-built USB 3.0 backup drives are becoming popular, and promos are starting on them.

Any opinions on this, I feel as though it would make for a good discussion.

Cat
 

Thrax

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For everyday connectivity, USB is king, and USB3 is the newewst ruler in the land. For external storage (flash drives AND hard drives), eSATA is not only 200MB/s faster, but also significantly faster for overall PC performance, as the CPU is not used as the I/O controller.
 

Digerati

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Which is the best, the up & coming USB 3.0, or the combo USB 2.0/eSATA port?
That is too general a question and is like asking which is better; coffee or a milk shake? They are both drinks but don't necessarily serve the same purpose - or meet the desires or needs of all people.

USB3.0, as its name implies, is a "universal" I/O used to support many devices; external drives, printers, card readers, cameras, keyboards, mice, PDAs, Bluetooth adapters and many more - but not disk drives! USB3.0 is superior and backward compatible to USB2.0 and USB1.x. It will "toggle down" to 2.0 speeds, but 2.0 cannot "toggle up" to 3.0's. USB3.0 has superseded 2.0. It is not "up & coming". It's here! Has been for over a year. Perhaps you need to look at more current notebook offerings. If a new notebook, computer, or motherboard does not support USB3.0, it is not a current design.

SATA is the current standard for drive interfaces for today's "wintel" computers - superseding EIDE. Nothing "universal" about it.

USB and eSATA are just two of many data interfaces used in today's computers. Until Western Digital and Seagate and the optical makers start making drives with integrated USB connections, you will need both USB and eSATA, if you intend to use both USB and SATA devices externally. I don't see that happening. I think light will come to motherboards first, requiring a whole new I/O, possibly superseding both USB and eSATA eventually. In any event, buying strategically is almost always wiser and better on the budget. USB3.0 is the current standard. USB2.0 devices are phasing out, being replaced with faster 3.0 versions. To take advantage of USB3.0's enhanced performance, both sides of the cable must be 3.0. So why buy a new interface that has already been superseded? What happens in 6 months when a new external device you want is 3.0? Do you live within 2.0 performance limitations, or plop down even more money for the 3.0 interface you should have bought in the first place?

Buying a USB 2.0 camera or keyboard may be fine - they don't need the speed. But interfaces are something that will affect performance of everything connected to it, for the life of the product. USB2.0 device prices are pretty attractive for a reason - they are obsolete. Strategically spending a little extra today for today's technologies is cheaper in the long run and will carry you into the future, not hold you back in the past.
 

catilley1092

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As far as having a USB 3.0 backup drive goes, I have a few spare drives on hand. I just need to buy a USB 3.0 drive enclosure (should have done this on my last purchase, last month).

The reason of my question was not simply comparing USB 2.0 & 3.0, common since tells which is better. But many computers comes with the combo (USB 2.0/eSATA) port, another thing altogether.

Upon further reading, I've discovered that many notebooks still comes with the express slot, which you can purchase adapters for both USB 3.0 & eSATA connections. This would provide all features, even if a notebook had neither from the OEM.

Cat
 

Digerati

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I just need to buy a USB 3.0 drive enclosure
But unless you have a USB3.0 port on your computer to connect to, you will not take advantage of the enclosure's 3.0 capabilities. That said, I would buy a 3.0 enclosure too, because your next board likely will support it.
 

Nibiru2012

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But many computers comes with the combo (USB 2.0/eSATA) port, another thing altogether.
All that is, is a combined port for connecting either USB 2.0 external devices or eSATA connected external hard drives. It's being used as a space-saving device.

For me and many others, the only way to go with an external hard drive connection is the eSATA method. It's fastest I have seen so far, USB 3.0 is getting closer but no cigar yet, in my opinion.

The only drawback to eSATA is that an additional power connection is required, but some manufacturers are making an integral power/eSATA connection port that uses a special cable, but these are few and far between.

Also as Digs stated, if you don't have a USB 3.0 port on your system, then no improvement in speed will be realized until an external 3.0 capable hard drive is connected to a 3.0 port.
 

yodap

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In my limited experience with e-sata drives, I found it not to be plug-and-play.

I had to have it connected at boot up. Has this changed?
 

catilley1092

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My next notebook will have a USB 3.0 port. I just didn't future proof myself last month when I bought another USB 2.0 drive enclosure. No problem, they don't cost that much more.

Cat
 

Nibiru2012

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In my limited experience with e-sata drives, I found it not to be plug-and-play.

I had to have it connected at boot up. Has this changed?
Yoda - it all depends on the mobo's chipset and how it's connected internally. I was having issues one or both external drives being recognized with a direct connection to the internal mobo SATA ports so I bought a PCI-E eSATA 2-port card by Dynex (Best Buy house brand) with a Silicon Image 3132 controller and now ZERO problems!

I got the card at eBay for $7.00 incl. shipping... they were in factory-sealed blister packs, just the packs were slightly mangled on the corners. Probably a bad packaging run so Best Buy sold them as distressed packaging to a third-party reseller.
 

Thrax

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A note on hot-plugging eSATA:

If the eSATA connector is connected to a SATA bus that's configured in AHCI mode, it will be plug'n'play. For example: if your system's eSATA jack is connected to the ICH10R hub on recent Intel chipsets, and those internal ports are set to AHCI, your eSATA jack will be hot-pluggable.

If your system's ports are set to IDE mode, however, it is likely that your drives will have to be connected on boot.
 

Nibiru2012

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A note on hot-plugging eSATA:

If the eSATA connector is connected to a SATA bus that's configured in AHCI mode, it will be plug'n'play. For example: if your system's eSATA jack is connected to the ICH10R hub on recent Intel chipsets, and those internal ports are set to AHCI, your eSATA jack will be hot-pluggable.

If your system's ports are set to IDE mode, however, it is likely that your drives will have to be connected on boot.

That's how I had mine set up with the AHCI mode, but for some reason sometimes both drives would be seen, other times only one or the other. The $7.00 fix was a reasonable cure for me in retrospect.
 

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