Friday, February 12, 2010

eSATA+USB The Power eSATA Connector

In the later part of 2008, a connection started to appear on the side of laptops and motherboards that had people scratching their heads. Some people did not even seem to notice the connection, or did not question what it did. Then curiosity would drive them to finally ask, “What is this?”

The awkward looking connection came with an equally odd label. It showed eSATA with a USB symbol and a power symbol. Forums were flooded with people wondering what this connection was.

The answer to the question was one that had been long waited for, by enthusiasts and technicians. This eSATA+USB connection was the long waited for eSATA + Power initiative, started by the SATA-IO group.

The goals of the initiative were simple:
  1. Develop an integrated power delivery solution for eSATA.
  2. Maintain backwards compatibility.
  3. Use a single connection and single cable solution.

A number of hybrid cables and connectors were developed to solve this problem, and one of them caught on. Mother board manufacturers such as MSI, ASUS and others started to use a single connection. This connection appeared on laptops from HP, Toshiba and other major brands.

eSATA and USB are joined to combine the USB A-Type connection and the eSATA connection. This allowed a single connection point that could carry power. One half of the connector has the pins for the eSATA connection, while the other half allows for a 4-pin USB connection.

The result is a connection that can be used for:

  1. A simple USB 2.0 port
  2. eSATA port supporting 3GB throughput.
  3. Power eSATA

Knowledge and understanding of this connection technology has been slow to catch on, but it is expected that devices will start taking advantage of this connector by the second half of 2010. Cable and adapter manufacturers are also on board, creating cables and adapters to make sure that people maintain backward compatibility to older computers, or older devices that may otherwise prove an issue to use.