eSATA docking station versus USB3 docking station - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 02-08-2013, 12:46 PM - Thread Starter
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My wife and I just replaced our 9+ year old Dell desktop with a Dell XPS8500 that has 16 gb RAM, i5, windows 8 64, and a number of USB3 ports. The new computer is a real speed demon compared to our old unit.

I don't know much about USB3 except its specifications. At first glance it appears that USB3 has a faster transfer rate tnan eSATA, but I want to know about real world transfer rates.

The reason I am posting is that I have 5 eSATA hard drives that I put into a eSATA-drive, USB2-output docking station.

I have three questions.

First, is there any such thing as a "native" USB3 hard drive (not an exteranl eSATA hard drive enclosure that has USB3 output)?

Second, I want the fastest data transfer rate possible. For someone who uses external, "bare" eSATA hard drives as storage devices, does it make any sense to buy a USB3 docking station, or should I buy an eSATA-output docking station and a PCIe adapter card for our new PC?

Third, under exactly what practical circumstances is USB3 a real-world faster connection than eSATA -- for all peripheral devices OTHER than hard drives?

Thanks.
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post #2 of 6 Old 02-08-2013, 12:58 PM
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USB connection -> every single bit of data transferred has to go through your PC's CPU.
eSATA connection-> can bypass CPU and go directly to memory.

So it is not really about raw interface transfer speed. Your hard drive is way slower than these connection speed unless you use high end SSDs.

Typically, eSATA can be more speedy and responsive than USB. USB is only good for large sequential data transfer (with certain amount of CPU usage). For fragemented HDD, eSATA will still rule the world.
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post #3 of 6 Old 02-09-2013, 09:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxbat121 View Post

.....Typically, eSATA can be more speedy and responsive than USB. USB is only good for large sequential data transfer (with certain amount of CPU usage). For fragemented HDD, eSATA will still rule the world.

Could you help me understand what this means in terms of HTPC applications?

1) Will BD ISO and MKVs be faster to read from an eSATA connected device (especially if you want to move back and forth between chapters)?
2) Will creating a BD ISO/MKV be quicker if the destination folder is an eSATA device vs an USB 3.0 device?
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post #4 of 6 Old 02-09-2013, 09:48 AM
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eSATA will be faster.
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post #5 of 6 Old 02-10-2013, 11:05 AM
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I've used both, mainly for backup so the speed isn't really a great concern and I didn't see an appreciable difference. The USB3 in comparison to USB2 is very noticeable. I made the change from eSata to USB3 mainly because there are more external ports available than for eSata. To use eSATA for external drives I had to use a slot for the eSATA card and in an HTPC there are usually fewer slots and I needed mine for tuner cards and a video card.
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post #6 of 6 Old 02-10-2013, 01:14 PM
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I would go for USB3 since both Intel and AMD are finally on board with the standard. It won't be long before you see cases commonly equipped with front panel USB3 ports without any hacks.

There are subtle differences between USB3 and eSATA: One difference is that a USB2/USB3 drive typically can be safely removed by Windows without a reboot. An eSATA external drive can also do the same only when the SATA mode of operation is AHCI; if your SATA mode is IDE (for example due to legacy reasons) than you would have to shut down the system in order to safely remove the drive. Another difference is if you underclock your system you would see a lower USB3 throughput compared to eSATA since USB3 transfers involve the CPU.
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