By Chris Scott Barr
I’ve built quite a few computers with eSATA ports on them, as they have become fairly common on most motherboards. However, I can’t recall ever actually using a device that utilized one of these ports. Sure, there are external drives out there that ship with an eSATA connector, but I rarely have a need for one. Flash drives are getting large enough and cheap enough that I can generally use one to carry almost anything I need. So why not use a flash drive with an eSATA connector? Because you can’t, not without a power source like, say a USB connection.
eSATA has a much higher data transfer speed, but lacks the power of USB, so what’s the solution? For the sake of this article, I’m going to pretend that you didn’t say USB 3.0. (though that would have been my answer too). If you ask MSI, their solution is to combine the two ports into what they call Power eSATA. Essentially this is an eSATA port that can also provide 500mA current from USB. It’s actually a pretty neat idea, but I’ll be the first to say that it probably won’t ever take off. So far OCZ is the only manufacturer with a product that uses the connection, and we’ve got USB 3.0 sneaking up on us. Sorry MSI, I don’t care how many motherboards and notebooks you put this in, I just don’t see this one working out.