Best way to add eSATA that works with TI 10.0?

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by randman, Mar 25, 2008.

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  1. randman

    randman Registered Member

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    I did a search on the Acronis forum and couldn't find a definitive answer...

    To make a long story short, I'm trying to determine what is the best way to add an eSATA port to my PC so I can connect an external drive for doing True Image 10.0 backups and restores.

    I have a fairly new PC (Gateway FX530XV, Intel 975x chipset). My PC has 3 internal SATA drives, all connected to the motherboard. Two of them are in a RAID 0 configuration. The 3rd drive is not part of a RAID array (this is my Vista boot drive).

    I actually have a 4th SATA port in the motherboard that I'm not using. However, the PC itself does not have an eSATA port accessible from outside the PC.

    So, I'm trying to determine what is the best way to add an eSATA port that will work well with True Image 10.0 and can be recognized by the True Image 10.0 recovery/boot CD. My Western Digital external backup drive supports 1394, USB 2.0, and eSATA. I suppose in a worst case scenario (if the Acronis boot/recovery CD doesn't recognize the external eSATA drive), I would use the 1394 interface for doing a restore from the boot CD but use the faster eSATA for daily image backups from Vista.

    So, my options for adding an eSATA port are as follows:

    1. Can I use the 4th SATA port in my motherboard and get a kit (basically a bracket) to convert it to an eSATA connection? Not sure if Intel's internal SATA port can really support eSATA capability this way (i.e. does it have the proper voltages, can it do hot-swapping, can Acronis' boot/recovery CD recognize it, etc.). There's lots of bracket kits for this option. Anyone have success with this option, and if so, what specific make/model bracket kit is used?

    2. If I buy a 3rd party eSATA card, will I have any compatibility issues with the Intel SATA/RAID built into the motherboard? Also, some eSATA controller cards also support RAID, and I'm concerned that they may have conflicts with Intel's RAID (for example, I'm thinking of possibly getting the PNY PCIe SATA II card http://www2.pny.com/PCIe-SATA-II-RAID-2-Channel-P2554C328.aspx which Best Buy sells). Can they coexist okay (note: I wouldn't use an add-in eSATA card for RAID - just for one external backup drive)? For those who purchased an eSATA card and got it work okay with True Image 10.0 (and the connected external backup drive is recognized by the True Image boot/CD), what is the make/model of the card?

    Any suggestions?

    Other threads that had a similar question ended with the last post saying to try "apci=off noapic" but there was no follow up on whether it helped or not...

    Thanks.
     
  2. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    I have a Vantec external drive that supports eSATA as well as USB. It comes with a cable/plate adapter to connect it to an internal SATA port. If the drive isn't powered up when the PC is booted, Windows knows nothing about the drive since it wasn't there when the BIOS looked for devices. AFAIK, if the motherboard's port isn't a real eSATA port this is the way it works.

    I don't think you should have any RAID conflicts but you might have a problem with TI's Linux recovery environment working with an add-on card. This is based on similar problems some users have had with add-on USB cards. It depends on whether or not TI's recovery environment has the driver support. A BartPE or VistaPE boot disk would be the likely solution to this problem until Acronis provides an updated rescue CD image.

    I should mention that I abandoned the eSATA for the reason above and since my other PCs have front-panel USB it was the easier way to go even if it was a bit slower.
     
  3. randman

    randman Registered Member

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    Well, I plan on having the drive powered up all the time, so if that's the case, I ought to be able to use the internal SATA port with an eSATA bracket. But, I would need to verify that the drive recovers from a power failure such that it powers on before the PC (although I would use a UPS with the drive). I'll have to play around with this option.

    The Adaptec 1225SA card with 2 eSATA port seems interesting:

    http://www.adaptec.com/en-US/support/sata/sataii/AAR-1225SA/index.htm

    This card supports Windows (Vista, XP, etc.) as well as Linux (although that doesn't necessarilly mean that the Acronis boot CD would recognize it). It has port multiplier support which might be useful in the future. It costs more than the cheap PNY card, but it seems better supported, better documentation, provides BIOS updates. There's very little info about the PNY card online and the PNY card only officially supports Windows. Anyone else have good things to say about their eSATA card?
     
  4. RAD

    RAD Registered Member

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    I am using this:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817153045

    (in fact, my review is currently shown on the product page)

    Attached to a SATA port on the motherboard and a power connection from the PS. It works perfectly and the computer recognizes it the same as any internal SATA drive.

    I am using it with Paragon Drive Backup, and it works for saving and restoring images, as I was forced to discover at least twice so far after failed Vista SP1 installation attempts.
     
  5. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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    Randman,
    If you decide to buy an PCI card, check what will fit on your motherboard.
    Will it take a standard PCI card; or does it need the PCI-express card which is a different size. Your MB make take either but check your user guide.
     
  6. randman

    randman Registered Member

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    My PC can take both PCI and PCIe. PCIe ought to provide better performance, so I would want to get a PCIe card (if I wanted to take the risk of finding out if ATI boot CD recognizes it).
     
  7. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    I've recently worked with a Rosewill RC-214 PCIe eSATA card based on the SiI3132 chipset. It seems to perform well. However, if I remember correctly, TI 10 doesn't see this chipset. TI 11 does. (I can recheck TI 10 for you if you want.) I also had to add the drivers to my VistaPE build.

    I have tried the "SATA bracket adapter" method without good results. I only tried it on one computer, though, so keep that in mind. Maybe the cable was too long or the board didn't like the extra connection or it was a board/bracket/enclosure combination problem. When using it with TI, it couldn't even complete a backup before it "lost" the drive. When using it in Vista, the backup completed successfully, but the Validation "lost" the drive at about 50%. I didn't test it further after that. I was just using the cable that was attached to the bracket and the eSATA cable that came with my drive. The total length was well under the maximum.

    I've had no problems with the drive connected directly the the PCIe card and the performance is double that of USB2 (about 3.16GB/min.) using the same external enclosure.
     
  8. randman

    randman Registered Member

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    I'll test the "SATA bracket adapter" method and see how it goes. It seems a little bit of a hack, but if it works.... Getting a separate controller card that officially supports hot-swapping, port multiplier support, etc. seems like a more graceful way of doing things, but as folks have mentioned, will TI 10.0 recognize it. I do have TI 11.0, but its bootup disk doesn't see my internal SATA drives (Acronis support just sent me an .ISO file to try that I haven't played with yet.... I'm wondering why they would have something in an .ISO file that would work, while they haven't provided a recent update in their web site...).
     
  9. randman

    randman Registered Member

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    Hmmm... I noticed during a quick perusal of available Blu-Ray writers is that they use SATA. So, I may eventually need the one extra internal SATA port that I have for Blu-Ray. If so, the argument is stronger to use an eSATA card... Worse comes to worse, I can take TI backups from Vista and if the TI bootup can't recognize my card, I would connect my external backup drive using firewire. My WD My Book supports USB 2.0, eSATA, and firewire.
     
  10. RAD

    RAD Registered Member

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    When I first tried it, I started thinking "How does the computer know whether it is communicating with an internal or external drive ?" Since the cables all go directly to the motherboard and power supply, I don't think it can tell; as long as all your connectors are seated properly. The extra length of cable might ad a bit of resistance, but, as you point out, it is well below any significant change.
    Mine is working exactly as hoped to this point anyway.
     
  11. randman

    randman Registered Member

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    Theoretically, it should work, although seems that folks have had mixed results (i.e. YMMV). Probably a lot to do with cable lengths or the quality of the bracket & connectors. Also, eSATA has a higher minimum transmit potential voltage. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_ATA#External_SATA . The article states that the max cable length can be up to 1m for SATA, while eSATA is 2m. So the bracket approach should still be 1m max. I probably need 0.5m just inside the case, which leaves 0.5m for outside the case. Not much slack.
     
  12. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello randman,

    Thank you for your interest in Acronis Backup Software.

    When Acronis True Image 11 Home runs under Windows it uses drivers Windows uses. So if the card you are going to purchase is recognized in Windows correctly this means it will also be recognized by Acronis True Image 11 Home when you run it under Windows.

    When Acronis True Image 11 Home runs in Standalone version (I mean Acronis Bootable Rescue Media) it uses it's own drivers as Linux environment is used. So in this case everything depends on if it supports device you are going to purchase. That is why we recommend you to try Acronis True Image 11 Home Trial before purchasing the full version of the program.

    Somehow or other even if the device is not supported in Acronis Bootable Rescue Media by design you can submit request to Acronis Support Team with the attached Windows System Information File and Linux sysinfo. You can find instructions how to collect mentioned file in Acronis Help Post. This will help us to investigate the reason of the issue (whether device is detected incorrectly or it is not detected at all) and suggest you appropriate workaround.

    Thank you
    --
    Nikita Sakharov
     
  13. Monstahund

    Monstahund Registered Member

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    One suggestion for the choose of esata drive ... I have an Lacie Quadra 500gb is running like hell backups with about 72MB/s.
     
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