esata pc card and transfer rate

I want to know if it is worth getting a esata card and esata external drive. I have heard that due to bus speeds, once you have it connected, the throughput drops down to USB 2.0 speeds.

If that is the case, then I'll just get a USB external drive.

Is this true, or does it depend on the notebook manufacturer?

My notebook is an Compaq 6910p.


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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
eSATA is appreciably faster than USB v2.0 => you'll get much better performance with an eSATA PC Card and an eSATA drive than with a USB drive.  

When you're reading data from an external drive, you'll notice a VERY nice difference (I'm assuming the external drive is a 3.5" 7200rpm unit).

But when you're writing to the external drive, just how much of a gain you'll get depends to some extent on how fast you can provide data from the laptop => if you have a 5400rpm drive in your notebook, the sustained transfer rate won't be much above USB 2.0 speeds ... so when you're writing to an external drive it won't make a lot of difference whether the drive is USB v2 or eSATA.   If your laptop's drive is a 7200rpm unit, then it will make a much more noticeable difference.
slypig61Author Commented:
Great info to have, thanks for the response.

So an esata card is not held back by the bus speed at all? That was my other concern, it might get throttled back to USB 2.0 speeds.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
No, the PC Card bus is not as fast as eSATA (this may be what you have heard) but is appreciably faster than the sustained data rate of any hard drive => so there won't be any slow down caused by the bus speed.   A modern PC Card bus is basically a 33MHz PCI bus ... and can transfer data at 132MB/s (FAR faster than any disk can provide it).

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slypig61Author Commented:
Perfect, thanks for the help.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
You're most welcome.
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