12/03/2007

12-03-07 - 3

I've been trying to find a new external HD enclosure for a 1 TB drive. I'm super excited by the WD 1TB GP Caviar because it runs cool and quiet which means I can just stick it in an aluminum enclosure with no fan and it won't ruin my rather quiet setup. These days there are a ton of very cheap USB 2.0 + eSATA enclosures which is pretty awesome except for two things : 1. I don't have eSATA, and 2. USB absolutely sucks balls.

I just tested my current drive with HD Tach. On Firewire : average read speed 34 MB/s , CPU utilization 4%. On USB : average read speed 27 MB/s , CPU utilization 28%. The slower speed is a bit annoying, but the ridiculous CPU utilization of USB is pretty much a no-go.

The sucky thing is that Firewire enclosures are almost an order of magnitude more expensive. USB + eSATA enclosures go for as low as $25. Firewire + eSATA you're looking at more like $100. (BTW try finding the Vantec NST-360UFS-BK which is their only Firewire + eSATA device. I dare you.)

Also, eSATA is sort of like blowing my mind. There's something I don't get. Basically they just took the normal internal SATA cabling you would use in your desktop, put some more rugged connectors on it, and ran the cable straight out of your PC to an external hard drive. Okay, that sounds awesome. So why in the fuck have we not been doing this all along with IDE and SCSI !?!?! Why have we suffered with these retarded USB and Firewire standards that are so much slower? Firewire 800 is the one that boggles the most. It came out pretty recently, it's quite expensive, it's a new cable type that's incompatible with Firewire 400 (though backwards compatible), and yet it only doubled the speed ?

ps. yeah I know eSATA has a max cable length of 2 meters while Firewire can go to 100 meters or more. pps. yeah I guess we've had external SCSI for a long time, in fact I had external SCSI devices on my Amiga, and there's also this new "SAS" thing, but in practice for consumer-level PC stuff SCSI may as well not exist. The price disconnect these days for "server" stuff is becoming more and more retarded as stuff like hot-swappable RAID arrays have moved into the consumer space; you can get a fast hot swappable eSATA RAID array for around $200, or you can get an equivalent SCSI "server" device for $10,000. I imagine that most IT guys are still going with the latter.

One of the awesome applications of eSATA is that you can basically have a desktop hard drive that you carry around with you. For example if you have a work and home dev machine setup, you can have your normal working hard drive be a hot pullable eSATA drive, and you just carry it with you, rather than lugging a notebook or whatever.

I need to stop ranting about PC hardware because I literally know dick about it these days.

The winner enclosure at the moment looks like the Wiebetech Toughtech FS. They seem to be a Mac-oriented company which means there's a 10% surcharge on everything.

D'oh, wrong. The winner is getting an eSATA PCMCIA card and just getting an eSATA enclosure.

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