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Thread: esata card wanted for mac laptop

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    esata card wanted for mac laptop

    i don't know much about mac's myself, this info is for a friend who has a presumably old mac laptop, i say that because it has USB v1 and firewire 400, no USB2 or firewire 800, so that might help date it a bit

    it has an expansion slot at the side, but i'm not sure if it's expresscard, pcmcia or cardbus etc

    essentially the requirement is for a esata slot for the laptop to speed up file transfers. i see that pc expresscards area available for £17 from scan for dual esata, and i saw one for about £18 with one esata and one USB2 port, which would probably be ideal, but the specs just list them as windows compatible

    i'm not sure if they will work on a mac or not, i don't know if you can download "fanmade" drivers to make them work with macs, like linux users seem to do, or if you need one thats specifically mac. i saw some expresscards for various things that say windows and mac, but they seem to be much more expensive to get specifically mac stuff

    i'm not even sure if it's expresscard, so it could be cardbus or something else

    any mac users got any advice? is it easy to get pc stuff working on a mac, or does anyone know any cheap esata cards or at least what type of card it might be, as i saw a cardbus esata card for quite cheap on ebuyer

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    Re: esata card wanted for mac laptop

    Obviously it depends a lot on how old the Macbook is - or presumably it's an iBook actually. And also the version of OS X it's running, Leopard will have better compatibility (in theory ) than Tiger.

    If it's an expansion slot, it's probably going to be cardbus. From what i gather, cardbus was one of the later versions of PCMCIA and is what most older laptops have. It's not going to be an expresscard slot as they've only been adopted, as far as i know, on the current generation macbook pros.

    One reasonably simple option would be to get an esata to firewire or usb adaptor - so in theory the hard drive would just appear like a pen drive.

    The first question you should answer is the generation and model of the laptop - since that way you can easily work out what port it'll have.

    The second thing is to bear in mind the bandwidth that you're going to have. Whilst eSata has a maximum theoretical bandwidth of 6.0Gb/s, if you put it through a 1.06Gbit cardbus slot, you're only going to get that 1Gb/s out of it. And also make sure it's worthwhile over firewire, as the hard drive might just bottleneck it anyway.

    As to compatibility, it's getting better - and yes, odds are there'll be 3rd party support for it. It's worth googling the model of the product you're thinking of getting first though.

    http://www.firmtek.com/seritek/seritek-1sm2/ <= should work if you can get hold of it.
    Last edited by Whiternoise; 01-09-2008 at 03:30 AM.

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    Re: esata card wanted for mac laptop

    Can you just go straight to an external enclosure that has USB and/or firewire for the harddrive (I'm guessing it's currently in an e-sata enclusure). Taking it out and transplanting it would be trivial (or impossible, depending on how its mounted right now).

    Almost certainly PCMCIA though. You can see the model though be reading at the center of the hinge right below the screen. For example my laptop says "PowerBook G4". Let us know what you friend's says.

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    Re: esata card wanted for mac laptop

    i found out it was a powerbook g4 800mz so after a bit of searching found it was cardbus. i couldn't find any cheap esata cards that confirmed mac support, the cheapest was about £40, but i found a 2 port USB2 card on scan for £7 so recommended that, as for a small price they can use up old HD's lying around by sticking them in a cheap caddy and USB2 isn't going to be much slower than the firewire 400 that's currently being used

    my friend got a £16 dual port esata card for the new mac laptop, which will be of benefit as they have a couple of large external drives with both firewire and esata, so using esata should be much faster. the expresscard also works on pc

    it looks like firewire enclosures aren't cheap or easy to get, it's probably cheaper to get an esata card, but for the old laptop the USB2 card allows my friend to make use of all the old drives and caddys lying around for a small price and it's not going to be much slower. the esata might have been handy as the laptop didn't support firewire 800 so if it supported esata instead, if/when shifting stuff to the external drives with FW and esata it would have moved it much quicker with esata

    i'm not sure the exact OS but its above 10.4 whatever that means, which ties in with the requirements of the cards

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    Re: esata card wanted for mac laptop

    The external USB caddy seems like a good way to go. Hope it all works out well.

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