View Full Version : Is eSATA supposed to be hot-swappable?

November 27th, 2009, 13:42
Got a quick question on eSATA connections...

With my new rig, I also picked up a Thermaltake BlacX duet external drive dock. It's got both USB and eSATA hookups on it.

When I use the USB connection, I can hot-swap drives on the fly. It works great, but has the usual slow USB transfer rate.

When I use the eSATA cable, I can't. I have to reboot the machine with a drive docked and powered up so the BIOS detects the drive, then Windows will also detect the drive.

It's a minor inconvenience to have to reboot to spool up an external drive via eSATA, so I can live with it...but my understanding is that eSATA should be hot-swappable.

November 30th, 2009, 01:49
The E in the eSATA only stands for external. Sata is by far faster than the other two.

November 30th, 2009, 07:37
Yup, this is an external dock that you can plug any regular SATA drive into and it has both USB and eSATA interfaces for hookup to a computer.

I picked it up to use for transferring files from my dead rig's SATA drive to my new machine plus other assorted "spare disk" access tasks. I've already got USB enclosures for regular PATA drives so this was just the next tool for on the workbench so I could work with SATA drives without cracking open a case to plug them in.

Back to my original problem...
On my new Dell XPS Studio 8000, others have posted that the eSATA connector isn't hot-swappable on their machines either.
I tried the dock on another Acer mini-box with an eSATA connector and it can hot-swap just fine on it, so I'm guessing it's a bug with the Dell machine. Hopefully it's something that a future BIOS update will repair, but if not I'll just continue to reboot if I need to hook up the dock station.

BTW, not sure on the exact speed numbers but I've been doing some backups with Acronis onto this eSATA dock and it's just about as fast as an internal SATA hookup. TONS faster than a USB hookup so I'm happy with that!

November 30th, 2009, 12:23
Mike it has to be a Dell "thing". Check your BIOS and see if anything can help. Could be a proprietary thing with Dell and you be stuck with what you got. ;)

Not a bad price for the BlacX duet either. eSATA's transfer speed is up to 3.0 Gb/sec.

November 30th, 2009, 13:44
As far as I can tell from reading on the web (including Dell's support forums) it's a hiccup on that particular mobo.

I'm hoping that they can patch the BIOS to straighten it out, but if not I'll live with it as-is. It's still a heckuva lot better than moving Gigs of data over a USB connection (which I can still use if I do need to hot-swap).

I actually got that BlacX Duet for $60 + tax (cheaper than the factory store link). WorstBuy had em on sale the week I picked up my new machine so I threw it in the cart too.

RE: the Dell purchase, more'n a few people here will say "I told ya so" about buying a pre-built system...but at least I'm back up and running until my dedicated FS rig gets upgraded with working hardware.