I've had the dubious pleasure of trying the first dedicated, portable eSATA drive, the OCZ Throttle Drive. Boasting fantastical transfer speeds with the same ease of use as USB, eSATA will surely become the flash drive standard of the next few years. But today?
You see it's not as simple as the good ol' USB drive. It seems neither case manufacturers, motherboard makers or flash drive creators have spoken much about how best to attach one to your PC. Alan's mobo-mounted eSATA port sat too close to his other full USB ports to be able to get it sat comfortably.
The front panel eSATA socket on my monolithic Lian Li chassis was also too skinny to allow the rather bulbous end of the Throttle to make enough contact to be recognised. There's also the fact that many current eSATA ports are unpowered - more and more eSATA/USB combo ports are coming, but until then you need to have the USB cable plugged in.
The plug and play capabilities of eSATA are likewise a little dubious too. On both Windows 7 and Vista, the OS wouldn't recognise the drive when it was plugged into the eSATA socket and would only respond if it was there from boot. No amount of scanning for hardware changes or drive management yielded positive results.
So, no so positive then? Well, not until we get down to raw speeds that is. The eSATA write speed was over four times faster than USB 2.0, copying a 1GB file in just ten seconds. Put that up against my, admittedly now ageing, 32GB OCZ Rally and it's almost a minute and a half faster.
At the moment, the whole eSATA drive thing is a little awkward, but it will mature. This drive is only a touch more expensive than other 32GB flash drives and offers far speedier transfer times if you make the effort.
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