Serial ATA has become one of the most talked about interface solutions we have seen. It has been over 10 years since the advent of the IDE interface, since that time the interface has gotten faster, from a mire 2MB/s transfer rate up to the currant Direct Memory Access 133MB/s or ATA-133 as we know it today. While this interface has served us well, it is simply not able to keep up with the demands of high throughput data, in fact, to get high data volumes on IDE you need to run RAID and this is where it gets messy. Strings of IDE cables through your case can look extremely untidy and restrict air flow - this is where Serial ATA takes off. Serial ATA uses a simple wire solution, four data wires and three ground wires. With this new design, you can have 5-6 cables in the same space as a single IDE cable.
Not only does Serial ATA give the convenience of smaller cables, but being serial in nature gives it another advantage, hot-swapping. Serial ATA supports Hot Swap modes, this is especially good if you want to take your Hard Disk home with you from work in a special box, just remove and go. Hot swap also adds the ability to use the devices in External enclosures with a minimum of fuss and modifications.
Highpoint has taken this challenge up with the new e.SATA kits. These kits take standard Serial ATA systems and modify them for use with IDE drives in external enclosures like the e.SATA RAID kit we recently reviewed and the new e.SATA Kit version 3.0.
Today we take a look at the latter and see how it compares to the e.SATA kit version 2.0 and a standard internal Serial ATA system through the Intel ICH5 Southbridge.
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