Benjamin from Coshocton asks:
I have a Toshiba Satellite L655-S5074 laptop. It as an eSATA port. What can I do with this, and what do I need to do to use its port? Do I need a cable?
Hi Benjamin. An eSATA port is a port designed for use with an external SATA drive. In the case of your laptop model, this port can be used for a SATA device or as a USB port. The eSATA port is advantageous for use with an external drive because it allows for faster transfer speeds than a USB 2.0 port, and can be comparable, or better in some aspects, to the newer USB 3.0 speeds. These faster speeds are because the data does not have to be translated between the interface and the computer, but uses the same technologies as your internal hard drive.
This eSATA port requires an additional power source, so if you do want to use it with an external drive, you need to look for one compatible with an eSATA port but not one that says eSATAp port. The p at the end of that stands for powered, and it provides its own power source. So you would need a drive or a hard drive enclosure that allows for an alternate power source, such as a wall plug or a USB port.
There are eSATA cables available, but if you are buying a hard drive to use with this, the cable could already be included. Also, keep in mind, that eSATA port can still be used as a standard USB 2.0 port, so you always have that option.