Maxell's 32GB dual head storage device has eSATA data transfer rates giving that extra boost over standard USB 2.0 portable Flash storage systems.
Good looking; decent eSATA data transfer rates.
Exposed mini-USB connection; only works with eSATA/USB combo ports and early models will need firmware upgrade to connect to eSATA-only ports.
Maxell's dual storage device, announced in October and available now, combines the better data transfer rates available from e-Serial ATA (eSATA) technology with USB 2.0 connectivity.
However, the device with the firmware release we had will only work on eSATA/USB combo ports, and not on eSATA-only ports. Maxell said that early models will need a firmware upgrade to connect to eSATA-only ports, which will mean returning the device to Maxell.
The mirror-finish 16g device packs 32GB into its 78mm x 30mm x 7mm body, and has an exposed mini-USB 2.0 connection on one end, and an eSATA connection at the other shielded by a cap.
Our test system was a Toshiba A600-122 Portégé, with a 1.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 2Gb of memory. Checking the eSATA data transfer rates using SiSoftware's System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant 2009 gave a read speed of 64MB/s. Running a real-world data transfer write test gave 22.8MB/s using large file sizes. With a test mix of smaller files we recorded a data transfer speed just over 10MB/s.
For USB 2.0 transfer rates we used SimpliSoftware's RW HD Tach version 126.96.36.199 benchmarking utility, which gave device read rates of 35MB/s. Using real-world data transfer tests gave rates of 6MB/s when using a test mix with a significant proportion of files less than a kilobyte in size, and 14MB/s when much larger files of over 2GB in size were used.
The proportion of notebooks shipping with eSATA connections is increasing, and the eSATA/USB combo port is also appearing in many new notebooks.
ESATA plugs a gap between USB 2.0 speeds and USB 3.0 (also called SuperSpeed USB), whose specification was completed in November. According to the USB 3.0 promoter group, devices should start to ship in 2010 with a theoretical data rate of 5Gbit/s compared to the current USB 2.0's 480Mbit/s.