The Serial ATA International Organization has announced plans to simplify the use of external SATA (eSATA) drives by combining power and data on the one cable while keeping the technology pin-compatible with current systems.
Current eSATA systems require the data cable plus a separate power source, usually run from a dedicated power supply external to the case. Obviously, that can be somewhat awkward when compared to other single-cable solutions for external drives. SATA-IO hopes that the plans to combine the two wires together and ditch the bulky PSU, an initiative that goes under the imaginative banner 'power over eSATA', will give the technology a jump start, enabling it to catch up to – and hopefully surpass – the more successful USB and FireWire technologies currently used for external drives.
Hoping to encourage manufacturers to get the new tech out by the second half of 2008, SATA-IO president Knut Grumsrud says the design will “provide a new level of convenience to the designer and the end user,
” and make eSATA “an even more attractive solution for mainstream storage applications.
No manufacturers have announced any products based on the standard yet but, coming as it does from the main industry body responsible for the already highly successful SATA standard, you can bet that they're tooling up as we speak. As a frequent user of external drives, I can tell you right now that I can't wait to ditch my USB 2.0 units and regain some much-needed electrical sockets.
Tempted by the tech, or are you hoping that USB 3.0 and the new FireWire specification will make eSATA redundant? Give us your thoughts over in the forums