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Review Digitus eSata II 300 ExpressCard/34 DS-31101

By: Tobias Winkler 06/02/2010

No eSata?

The ExpressCard interface, which many laptops feature, might help. We scrutinized the eSata II 300 ExpressCard/34 from Digitus.

Notebooks with a ExpressCard/34 or ExpressCard/54 slot allow a fast, easy and mostly cheap enhancement by additional hardware components. Even some netbooks like, e.g., the Lenovos Ideapad S10e, feature this interface. Our test model, the Digitus DS-31101 eSata II 300 ExpressCard/34 has 1 eSata interface, and therewith adds a fast interface ideal for external hard drive to notebooks. In addition Digitus also offers another model (DS-31102), which houses two such interfaces.

The installation is rather simple. After you put the ExpressCard into the compatible slot, it is immediately detected and correctly recognized by Windows 7 Professional 64bit and the driver is automatically installed. However, you need to reboot the system, before you can use the card. Afterwards, the 3.5" hard drive (Western Digital Studio Edition 1TB) is recognized at once.

The transfer rate is clearly lower compared to other reviewed notebooks with built-in eSATA interface. E.g., we recently recorded above 88 MB/s for the Dell Latitude XT2. Our HP Probook 6540b with Digitus eSata II ExpressCard reaches rather low 59 MB/s. However, considering the target group, about 60 MB/s are quite good, because the transfer rate is mostly less than 30MB/s via USB 2.0 and about 35 MB/s via Firewire 400. So, the transfer time is cut in half in the ideal case, giving a huge gain of time especially when transferring big files.

Because eSata does, apart from some exception (eSata/ USB Combo-interface) not feature its own power supply, the field of application is limited to hard drives with their own power supply. Considering the intended use (moving big amounts of data) this is bearable. If you can't do without fast data transfer on the move, you might be interested in one of our coming accessory reviews, which covers an ExpressCard/34 with USB 3.0 interface.

Verdict

It is a good enhancement, which clearly increases the transfer rate of many notebooks, but, does not fully utilize the technical potential. The simple installation and handling convince.

Technical Specifications / Measurement Results

Name Digitus eSata II 300 ExpressCard
Shape ExpressCard/34
Interfaces 1x eSata
Chipset JMB 360
Specifications ExpressCard 1.0
Native Command Queuing (NCQ) yes
Maximum transfer rate 59,7 MB/s
Price (street) starting at 15,- Euro plus p&p
In Review: Digitus eSata II 300 ExpressCard/34
In Review: Digitus eSata II 300 ExpressCard/34
Additional interface for big "data container"
Additional interface for big "data container"
Digitus eSata supports nearly up to 60 MB/s
Digitus eSata supports nearly up to 60 MB/s
Still rather slim, the model with 2 ports is a bit thicker.
Still rather slim, the model with 2 ports is a bit thicker.
Typical ExpressCard: the enhancement clearly protrudes the case of the notebook
Typical ExpressCard: the enhancement clearly protrudes the case of the notebook
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Digitus eSata II 300 ExpressCard/34 DS-31101
Author: Tobias Winkler, 2010-06- 7 (Update: 2012-05-26)