Mobile Storage Performance

Different methods for attaching hard drives will be examined. This includes:
-USB Enclosures
-PCMCIA to SATA host bus adapters
-Expresscard to eSata host bus adapters

Host Bust Chipsets Included are:
Sil3132CNU PCI Express to SATA 300
Sil3112ACT144 PCI to SATA 150
J-Micron JMB20336 SATA300 to USB high speed and SATA300 bridge

The ultimate conclusion here is that the bus needs to catch up. PCMCIA cards need to have those last few megabytes of bandwidth juiced from them. There is no expresscard slot on my Dell Latitude D600. The D600 is a perfectly adequate machine, but it will never see the benefits of highspeed attached storage currently available for the latest and greatest expresscard.
Perhaps the Silicon Image SiI3512 is the answer? A newegg review aludes to a 48MB burst, which is significantly greater than my results:

VANTEC UGT-ST350CB SATA PCMCIA Card 2 x External SATA (eSATA) port @ Newegg

Dont' expect high transfer speed in windows

Reviewed By: on 7/8/2007
Rating + 3Rating + 3Rating + 3Rating + 3Rating + 3
Tech Level: high - Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
Pros: This card is cheap and it works under windows XP and Vista. The tranfer rate in either OS is acceptable (48 burst mb). I receive the burst rate figure by using HD Tach software. This is half of what my internal drive can do. If you are not transfering gigabytes of information it will be a decent card.
Cons: Slow transfer speed in windows. I expected higher speeds from a sata device. Other Thoughts: I image various systems (system clonning software) and in DOS this card transfers files a lot faster. I don't really know what the transfer speed is when imaging, but It's a lot faster because the time it takes for the image to complete is no where the amount of time it takes to move the same amount of gigabytes in Windows.

Some of the benchmarks had conflicting results, more in-depth analysis is needed. It was found that the PCMCIA SATA adapter performed very differently on an older Dell Latitude D600 platform (and better) when compared with a newer platform of a Lenovo Thinkpat T61.

The Dell Latitude D600 uses an Intel Pentium-M 1.6ghz, 1gb 333mhz DDR.

Dell Latitude D600
Avg MB/secBurst MB/sec

Lenovo Thinkpad T61 uses an Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8ghz, 1gb 667 MHz DDR2.
Avg MB/secBurst MB/sec

STLab C-240 eSata Expresscard/34 34mm
Sil3132CNU Based Expresscard
Purchased for $30 on Ebay.
Available at CDW for $69

Expresscard is a newly introduced bus that is an offshoot of PCI Express. Expresscard slots provide 2.5gbits/sec to each slot.

A Lenovo Thinkpad T61 was used for the benchmarks

Serial ATA CardBus Card
Sil3112ACT144 Based CardBus (PCMCIA) Card

One of these is a SATA adapter, and one is an eSATA adapter

eSata enclosure from CDW
CRU Data-Portable 350 @ CDW
Mfg. Part: 0014-5600-1100
UNSPSC: 43202206

300 MBps
Hi-Speed USB / eSATA-300

Utilizes a J-Micron JMB20336
Hi-Speed USB & SATA II 3.0G Combo to SATA II 3.0G Bridge
(this is almost insignificant in determining the performance here.)

An IDE drive was connected using an IDE to SATA bridge. These introduce almost no bandwidth limit.

The RXD628 IDE to SATA bridge uses the Sunplus SPID223A IDE to SATA bridge

All cards are tested with a Seagate IDE Drive Model ST3500630A
500gb Seagate 7200.10 (perpendicular recording)

Obviously the eSata is the top performer, as shown here:
(All results are averages of multiple runs. Screenshot does not represent final results! )

72 MB/sec highest
63 MB/sec Average read across 500gb.

Clearly this is not bandwidth limited in any drastic way.

Here you can see the USB is clearly limited at ~30 MB /sec

MB / sec ms MB / sec %
minimum maximum average access time burst rate cpu usage
Expresscard 38.6 73.6 63 15 66.1 3.65
PCMCIA 13.75 13.95 13.9 14.95 13.6 1.1
USB 28.75 29.85 29.15 15.3 24 12.15

All Images and Content ©2006 All Rights Reserved Comments? Questions?