I often receive storage devices for review, but it’s unusual that two such similar ones arrive at once. After giving each a fair amount of testing and use, I come away unimpressed.
The other day, I bought 6 TB of storage for under $300. This statement alone is startling to folks like me who have been following the storage and hard disk drive industry. Searching for a faster alternative led me to crack open the case and experiment with the drive inside.
I remain impressed by CalDigit’s USB 3.0 products. My own tests show that these cards are fast and compatible, and I was pleased to see that CalDigit recently updated their driver for Mac OS 10.6.7, which changed some of the core features used by the previous driver. This is the kind of commitment I expect, both in terms of interoperability and support.
It’s hard to stand out in the world of external storage devices, and doubly-hard to compete with the hard disk drive makers themselves. This hasn’t stopped folks like Iomega, Verbatim, and LaCie from trying to impress customers with flashy cases, software bundles, and clever functionality. But clever new twist on the external hard drive concept just rolled into the Pack Rat lair: The ioSafe SoloPRO is fireproof and waterproof. Cool!
My late-2009 27″ Intel iMac now has an eSATA port. I’m documenting how I did it here mainly for posterity. Although it works fine, I cannot recommend that others attempt to perform the same surgery on their own crazy-expensive Apple computers. eSATA mods like this won’t be satisfying to most users, and the operation is risky and destructive enough that non-crazy people shouldn’t attempt it!
While considering the possibilities of adding an eSATA port to my iMac, I am also investigating eSATA solutions for my MacBook Pro. Since I have an ExpressCard slot, the logical choice is to pick up one of the many ExpressCard eSATA adapters. But it looks like the options aren’t all that great: The SiliconImage chipset used in many is full-featured, but the drivers and hardware implementations are buggy, while the older JMicron controller is cheap and simple but lacks many desirable features.
PCMCIA and CardBus slots were universal and popular a decade ago, but the advent of PCI Express meant reengineering the old standby. The result was ExpressCard, a never-popular compromise that mixes PCI Express and USB into a confusing and little-used mashup. With few modern laptops including an ExpressCard slot and fewer users, a fair question to ask is “where did it all go wrong?”
The latest Intel iMac line is a killer desktop, from its brilliant screen to its excellent performance. But it’s a little lacking when it comes to expansion: A workstation really needs more I/O than five USB and one FireWire port! Since I’m a storage fanatic, my attention naturally turns toward eSATA, and I’m not the only one. Although I’ve come up with three different methods of adding eSATA to my iMac, I haven’t yet taken the plunge and made it happen.
I bought a 3rd SATA drive, and have nowhere to put it in my PowerMac G5. I forgot there was only room for 2 inside! I do audio recording: Lots of Digital Performer, plus a bit of Pro Tools. I recently bought a new 1 TB Hitachi drive and don’t know how to house it.
The external hard disk drive market is incredibly hot right now, but it’s also ultra-competitive. The latest trend is dockable multi-function drives that are friendlier to use and offer advanced features like video playback. Most docks rely on USB 2.0, but Seagate just dropped a bomb on the industry with a simple twist: They moved the intelligence outside the case, repackaging the standard internal SATA connector as GoFlex, an external link to a variety of docks and adapters.