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Seagate Technology and NetCell demonstrated a storage system that employed external Serial ATA (eSATA) interface at the Intel Developer Forum. The technology is expected to make external hard disk drives faster and more reliable compared to products that exist today and use USB 2.0 or FireWire connections.

The external Serial ATA – eSATA – provides 150Mbps transfer rate and can support up to two meters cable length in contrast to 50 centimeters sported by traditional Serial ATA interface.

“eSATA delivers highly scalable, cost-effective add-on storage for a number of applications across consumer and business environments – from PCs to entry-level servers,” said Jeff Loebbaka, vice president of Global Marketing at Seagate.

The live IDF demonstration combined two Seagate eSATA 160GB, 7200rpm, 8MB cache external hard drives with a NetCell eSATA PCI RAID card that transferred data at 1.5Gb/s. The NetCell eSATA RAID card enables automatic backup and recovery, simplifies the deployment of additional drives and offers seamless capacity expansion.

Seagate eSATA hard drives also can be deployed in RAID configurations to deliver high levels of performance and data protection prevalent in workstations and servers but traditionally too costly to implement in PCs and consumer devices.

The NetCell PCI RAID card includes an on-board BIOS that automatically recognizes the hard drives and recommends RAID configurations. eSATA will be integrated with motherboards of future desktop systems, making the addition of external storage for desktop and notebook computers  easier.

Pricing and actual time-to-market are unclear.

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