Connections for external hard drives to PC, to create fastest transfer rates

I have 2 external hard drives that I want to connect to a new PC. One has an eSATA port (and a USB). My PC has 2 ports for eSATA. From what I can tell, both the PC ports and the hard drive's port are the "I" type.

Am I correct in assuming that if I use an eSATA cable, the transfer speed will be much faster than using a USB cable? If so, should I get one with a locking mechanism on the ends or doesn't it matter? Also, does cable LENGTH have any influence on transfer speeds?

For my other external drive, it does NOT have an eSATA option. I've included a photo of the rectangular type of port it has. The cable currently used connects to a USB port on my old PC. My question is: is there any type of adapter I could use such as USB to eSATA, so I could go from my hard drive to the eSATA port on my new PC? And, if so, would it produce faster transfers, or does the drive need to be set up for handling eSATA?

Thanks.
cable.jpg
photoman11Asked:
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Gary CaseConnect With a Mentor RetiredCommented:
I'd use a locking cable, but it really doesn't matter (as long as it's an eSATA cable and not an internal cable).
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TCB1Connect With a Mentor Commented:
eSata is faster. A usb to eSata adapter will be at USB speeds.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ESata#External_SATA
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
eSATA is substantially faster than USB.     You should use proper eSATA cables for the drive -- these are slightly different than internal cables (there's no difference in the signalling;  just the locking connector).

Your USB drive is PROBABLY (depending on how old it is) a SATA drive in a case that uses a SATA -> USB bridge.     If you remove the drive, you could install it in an eSATA enclosure and then connect it directly via e-SATA.     I use my external drives "bare" (no case) ==>  I simply store them in these boxes: http://www.wiebetech.com/products/cases.php 
... and connect them via this eSATA dock:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817392022

But this would work fine if you want the drive in a case:   http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817364014
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photoman11Author Commented:
Thanks guys. The drive without an esata port is a LaCie, which doesn't seem to come apart easily. However, the 1TB drive THAT HAS THE ESATA PORT is of prime interest. Should I get the esata to esata cable with or without locking mechanism? Thanks.
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Thomas RushConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Don't be too concerned with the difference between eSATA and USB 2 for single disks.  A normal Windows file system with its myriad of small files, deeply nested directories, and abundant fragmentation may not be able to stream at faster than 20MB/sec anyway.

So get an eSATA cable for the first, and a USB 2.0 cable for the second; if you start to feel performance is too slow, move to a HW RAID solution (such as an HP SmartArray controller) in an external enclosure.  If you go to RAID, do use some sort of redundancy: RAID 1, 1+0, or 5 -- do not use RAID 0 unless you can afford to lose all your data.
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photoman11Author Commented:
Thanks to everyone for your help. I really appreciate it.
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photoman11Author Commented:
great as usual
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