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Power Over eSATA could replace USB as the port of choice for external drives

Mobile computer users often find that ultra portable computer systems lack optical drives and use hard drives that are smaller than what might be ideal for the sake of portability and longer battery life. Often the best thing these types of users can do is use external optical drives and external HDDs that are connected via USB.

While the USB interface is practical, it isn’t always the fastest interface for transferring large amounts of data. The preferable connection type for moving large amounts of data is via SATA and eSATA ports. These ports are common on virtually all modern computer systems and SATA is used for both storage devices as well as optical drives.

The Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO) announced it plans to have a new specification ready this year called Power Over eSATA (PDF) that will provide power to external optical and storage drives via the eSATA connector. The goal of the specification is to not only provide power to a device over SATA, but to maintain the much faster 3GB/s data throughput. SATA-IO says that products using Power Over eSATA could be available on the market by the second half of 2008.

"Its [SATA's] fast transfer rate and efficient protocol makes eSATA the highest-performing external mainstream storage connection,” said Knut Grimsrud, SATA-IO president and Intel Fellow. “Enhancing eSATA with power delivery will provide a new level of convenience to the designer and the end user. By eliminating the need for a separate power connection, customers can more easily expand their storage, making Serial ATA an even more attractive solution for mainstream storage applications.”

With the additional bandwidth and power-over-bus, eSATA could easily replace USB in several applications outside of storage.





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