I borrowed an ST Labs external eSATA enclosure from a friend today. I’m impressed. Very fast. This case is only SATA1, but if I get the SATA2 case I’ll get the full SATA2 rate of 3GBps. Even so SATA1 at 1.5Gbps compared to USB2 at 480Mbps or even Firewall 800 at 800 Mbps is very fast. I’m running this on a Gigabyte GA-M59SLI-S5 motherboard, which includes a two port eSATA bracket.
The really nice thing about this that I like is that the drive being connected directly to the SATA subsystem will be powered down on IDLE. This is one thing I was hunting in a good USB enclosure for a while. The other nice thing is multi-access; with USB if you try do multiple things on the drive the system really starts to dislike you. eSATA handles this all no problem.
Also when I’ve finished putting together the notes, I talk about the 65MB/s (yes bytes!) I’m getting from this eSATA drive on my XP desktop to the home storage OpenSolaris machine with 3.75TB of raw zfs storage. 3Tb effective with RAIDZ.