Keith Combs' Blahg

Ramblings from another nerd on the grid

The Magic eSATAp Cable

The Magic eSATAp Cable

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At the MVP Summit a couple of months ago I sat behind Aryeh Goretsky.  He’s a nice fellow with a background in security, Windows, and a number of other passions including Lenovo laptops.  We were showing off our various gadgets and he happened to have a cable similar to the one above.

We talked about it and he informed me that he could boot Windows and other operating systems from a 2.5” attached drive.  This got my attention.  I’ve been using a variety of methods to do that for quite some time but they all have their pros and cons. 

Notebook bay adaptors have been around for a long time. I first started using them a lot with the Compaq Armageddon M700 and ever since including the recent Lenovo ThinkPad W520.  Hard drive adaptors are easy enough to use but they typically involve wrappers, screws, and dexterity to get in and out of the machine.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to plug into a naked 2.5” drive and boot an OS or grab data with ease?  Now you can.  The cable I bought from newegg.com cost me $9.99 USD and allows me to use a SSD drive or traditional hard drive just as if it was inside the notebook primary hard drive bay.

What Is eSATAp?

If you have a notebook with a combo USB eSATA port, it’s probably eSATAp.  Basically it’s an eSATA port with power being supplied courtesy of the USB connecter.  This means you don’t need an eSATA enclosure for the 2.5” SATA hard or SSD drive.  Many of the new Lenovo ThinkPads, HP Elitebooks, and Dell Latitude or Precision Mobile workstations include this port type.

How’s the perf?

I’ve copied data across the cable from a variety of sources to a number of targets including Intel Series 510 and X-25M SSD drives.  Testing included 500GB drives from Seagate and Hitachi.  I’ve formatted (long) drives.  I’ve also used “boot from VHD” to boot R2 SP1 from several drives and verify Hyper-V works properly.  So far I have yet to see an error or issue and the speed it very good.  Best $9.99 I’ve spent in a long time.

And if you are scratching your head, think of this like those hard drives docks but much easier to throw in the backpack and hit the road with.  This is a must for your geek toolkit.

Photo courtesy of newegg.com.

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  • Do you know if this works to run the DVD drive that comes with the W520?

  • It does not work because the connector Lenovo used is too small.

  • Out of stock on Newegg now :-(

  • Behold, the power of blogging. :-)

  • @Michael, I grabbed an eSATAp cable from newmodeUS for my Dell BluRay drive when I replaced it with a second hard drive. Works well as a single cable item.

    I've also seen in the past 2.5in enclosures if you don't like the bare drive idea that take eSATAp. I don't recall the brand however (but would guess that there would be a few different brands doing this sort of thing.