More Goodies from the Expo - Part One

More Goodies from the Expo - Part One


It wouldn't be Expo without some serious storage mojo, now, would it? Hey, lovers of shiny spinning things, here's this year's.


You've all heard of eSATA, right? No? Okay, here's the ten-second tutorial: If you have a modern Mac, your hard drives are connected to the rest of the system using a technology called SATA, which is fast, reliable, and easy to configure. Recently, prominent drive vendors such as LaCie, WiebeTech, OWC, and others have begun offering eSATA external drives and RAID systems that bring the speed of SATA out from inside Power Mac G5 and Mac Pro cases with the help of PC cards.


Okay, now it's time to learn a new acronym: xSATA. Enterprise-level storage heavyweight AMCC introduced a new high-speed RAID box at the Expo called the Sidecar, which uses an enhanced for of eSATA called xSATA. Mahesh Patil, AMCC's Technical Marketing Manager, told me that xSATA stands for "external SATA," but, hey, that's what eSATA stands for, as well. But let's not quibble - xSATA could more correctly stand for Xtreme SATA.


You see, in AMCC's xSATA-based Sidecar RAID, which was specifically designed for Mac-based audio and video content creators, each of four drives enjoys its own individual 300-megabyte-per-second connection to your AMCC-host-card-equipped Mac. In an eSATA system, that same 300 megabytes per second is shared among the multiple drives in the array. Now, of course, sharing 300 megabytes per second ain't shabby, but having each drive in a four-drive array sucking down 300 megabytes per second is downright obscene.


Patil was realistic about the Sidecar's market when he said, " If you need top performance, then you want us. If not, eSATA is great, FireWire is great." But he was being modest. Both video and audio editors need exceptionally storage throughput, and they need it now - and if they don't want to lay down the bucks for fiber channel-based systems such as the Apple Xserve, xSATA may be the answer to their need - greed? - for speed.


The Sidecar can be configured as a RAID 0, 1, 10, or 5 array, plus that wonderfully named concatenation-of-drives configuration called JBOD - which, trust us, is an acronym for "just a bunch of disks." Ah, those witty geeks.




+ Add a Comment


Since my nephew works for the only store in the area that sells the iMainGo, I mentioned to him that I wanted one and guess what he got me for Christmas? I LOVE it. It sounds great and its basic black color goes with my black iPod. I we had it on most of the day on Christmas to provide seasonal background music. I showed it to my Mom and she said, "What is it, a transistor radio?" and I had to admit that it did resemble one that I had in my youth, when small transistor radios were cool.


Joanne B

Nobody said you had to have Photoshop CS2 in order to see CS3 for more than 2 days. I currently have Photoshop CS and was disappointed not be able to use CS3 for more than 2 days. What kind of learning is that?



Cool site



Excellent write-up Rik. With a release as big as the iPhone, many Mac news websites and Mac fans themselves have simply lost site of the rest of the expo.

Log in to Mac|Life directly or log in using Facebook

Forgot your username or password?
Click here for help.

Login with Facebook
Log in using Facebook to share comments and articles easily with your Facebook feed.