Vantec eSATA ExpressCard UGT-ST450CB
Author: Zahn Funk
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 02-17-2010
Provided by: Vantec
Pages:
Introduction

Many years ago it was quite common to find notebook computers sporting Personal Computer Memory Card International Association, or PCMCIA cards. If you wanted to add a Token Ring, Ethernet or Modem to your laptop, you had to buy a PC Card that plugged into one of the available slots in the side of the chassis. Even after these devices began to become integrated, there would be new technologies emerge that required purchasing an add-in card, such as wireless LAN, wireless WAN, flash-based storage and so on. For years the 16bit and then 32bit CardBus standard remained the defacto interface for laptop computers, although the need for such expandability slowly waned as more and more of these features came standard on new notebooks, and USB became the popular choice for external peripherals.

About five years ago the old PC Card slots began to be replaced by PCMCIA's new interface standard, ExpressCard. These new cards come in two different widths, 34mm and 54mm, and aside from the number of contact pins, look very similar to the old PC Cards. ExpressCard communicates with the computer via a PCI-E 1x or USB 2.0 interface. This gives ExpressCard either 2.5Gbit/s or 480Mbit/s bandwidth, depending on which bus it connects to. But as I mentioned, with USB already widely in use, there really wasn't much need for another port to take up space on computers that kept getting smaller and lighter. That is until we began to see a need for more speed.


With the advent of SSD technology and eSATA interfaces, it has become easy to saturate a measly 60MB/s USB 2.0 connection. Obviously a faster method of transfer is needed and USB 3.0 just hasn't materialized as quickly as we hoped. And since eSATA ports aren't exactly commonplace on laptops yet, in fact they're still not found on many desktop computers, the ExpressCard expansion slot is pulled out of the mothballs and given a chance to show its stuff. Thus for review today we have the Vantec Dual eSATA ExpressCard.


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