Originally Posted by Skylark
I bought a Thermaltake SATA to eSATA slot bracket adapter. The SATA end is plugged into a motherboard SATA port. Works perfectly and that's what I used to back up the Win7 OS. But it's quite inconvenient having to get to the back of the PC to plug/unplug eSATA cables.
I noticed that the eSATA female connector on the slot bracket is very substantial and is attached using two screws. There's just a hole in the slot bracket to allow the eSATA cable to pass through.
So I'm going to adapt one of the two 3.5" filler plates on the front of the tower to accomodate two eSATA cables. (One for now and one future.) All I"ll need to do is to cut 2 rectangular holes for the eSATA cables to pass through and drill 2 holes to attach each eSATA female connector. The internal SATA to eSATA cable is long enough to reach the front plate.
If your motherboard doesn't come with an eSATA port, doing the above might be an option.
Discovered two things about mounting the eSATA connector to the 3.5" front filler plate:
..... 1. Mounting the eSATA connector on the 3.5 inch "filler plate" means that the plate will be removed along with the entire front plastic case cover when I remove the case cover to do cleaning maintenance. That would necessitate unplugging the SATA cable from the mobo when the front case cover is removed. Not too good.
..... 2. The 3.5" plastic filler plate has ridges on the back side which would have to be leveled to allow the eSATA connector to sit flat against the back of the plate. A time consuming job without a Dremmel which I don't have.
I found a 5.25" tray which held the front plate for the voltage control of a power supply which died a while back. The holes in the grill lined up perfectly with the mounting screws for the eSATA connector. So all I had to do was snip out and file part of the grill to allow an eSATA cable to pass through to plug into the eSATA connector. This 5.25" tray and front plate assembly will remain on the chassis when the front case cover is removed so that's a lot better.
When setting up the BIOS parameters in CMOS, I noticed that there's a "Hot Plug" option for every SATA port. I set the SATA port that has the eSATA cable to "Hot Plug". The BIOS must have told Win7 since there's an "Eject xxxx ATA Device" option in "Safely Remove Hardware". (xxxx is the hard drive type number) This is great so now I won't have to use a third party software to do it.
ON ANOTHER NOTE:
I ordered a 3.5" front plate and tray assembly from amazon that has four USB-2, one firewire and two audio ports on it. It's not a USB "hub" but has individual cables to plug into the 4 USB ports on the motherboard. When I install it, along with the eSATA port, I'll have a lot of connectivity on the front of the tower case.
BTW, how good or bad is a USB hub? I avoided getting a USB front plate assembly that had a USB "hub" with one cable to the motherboard. I'm just asking now if they are good or bad to gain knowledge in case one of my friends comes across that situation.