6400+ X2 Windsor @ 3.4Ghz
Biostar TForce 570 SLI
2x1Gb OCZ Titanium PC2-6400
3x74Gb WD Raptors RAID0
I chose several benchmarks to compare average read/write times, including HD Tach 220.127.116.11, HD Tune 2.54 and the SiSoft Sandra IIc Physical Disk Read test. I also used a single 600MB file and a collection of ~500 files totaling 800MB for a "real world" read/write series of tests.
First up is the USB 2.0 interface.
All of the benchmark utilities top out in the mid- to upper-30MB/s range. You can tell especially by the HD Tune results that the USB interface is the limitation here. The drive is able to keep the bandwidth saturated and the throughput over time maintains a steady 35MB/s. This is a typical result from other USB drives I have reviewed in the past. In the real world tests you can see that the write speed also tops out around 30-35MB/s with the single large file taking advantage over the multiple smaller files. Read speeds are much faster which brings the read/write average up considerably.
Now let's run the eSATA interface through the same battery of tests.
Wow, what a difference the eSATA connection makes. Throughput now averages close to 50MB/s. Speed starts out around 60MB/s and tapers off just as any single internal drive would. I was a little disappointed that the SATA-II drive only performed slightly better than the SATA-I drive used in the previous review. With double the theoretical bandwidth available and the drive technology being two generations newer, I was expecting a substantial increase over the older SATA drive, however this was not the case.
Also, although the benchmarks clearly favor the eSATA interface, the difference compared to USB is much closer in the real world tests. This was surprising given that in the tests with the older SATA drive in the previous review, the advantage was much more noticeable. Undoubtedly eSATA will eventually become the defacto standard for external drive connections, however for now USB is still a viable alternative.
On to final conclusion.