UPDATE: The SIGG ExpressCard-M card has compatibility problems with Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5.x) so I switched to using the Tempo SATA Express 34 card, however, it does not support access to SMART status like the SIGG card did (March 30, 2008)
UPDATE:With external hard drives with eSATA connectors becoming more common (e.g. many of the drives from G-Tech) and wider availability of drive docs (e.g. Vantek and Newer Technologies), the use of a fast eSATA connection to hard drives has become the new standard for improved editing performance and faster backup times of large media drives, I routinely back up my projects onto bare SATA drives (January 2, 2009)
Need fast, cheap, reliable storage for video editing on your MacBook Pro? Tired of paying a price premium and performance penalty with external FireWire drives? Tired of dropped frames with that USB external drive? Want to be able to move a project between the laptop and a PowerMac or MacPro and keep it on a fast SATA drive? Several interface cards are available for the MacBook Pro to interface with SATA drives.
The eSATA II 2-Port ExpressCard-M interface card from SIIG, and the Tempo SATA Express 34 from Sonnet make it possible to connect two SATA drives directly to your laptop. This allows you to buy fast and and inexpensive bare SATA drives and the enclosure of your choice and fashion your own drive systems.
If you don’t fancy being your own system integrator, the G-SATA drive from G-Technology might be the choice for you. It comes with a PCIe interface card for your desktop computer) with two SATA ports and cables (if you’ve got an older Mac with PCI or PCI-X, there’s a range of cards you you can use). With the one of these ExpressCard SATA interfaces you can take the G-SATA or other SATA drives on the road. The G-SATA may be initialized as two individual drives or configured as a software RAID 0 (striped) for the best video and audio editing performance or RAID 1 (mirror) for data security and the the peace of mind knowing that if one drive fails, the other still has your precious data.
If you’re assembling your own drives (my preference), I suggest using SoftRAID, an excellent utility for creating RAID 0 or RAID 1 volumes in software. SoftRAID features a very well thought-out interface and excellent technical support. Although a Hardware RAID solution provides better performance and plug-and play simplicity, the SoftRAID solution is good when you want to move media to a pair of portable drives in the field without special hardware. Each approach, Software RAID-1 and Hardware RAID-1 has it’s place.
is it possible to boot from such an external drive, instead of the internal drive of the macbook pro? and even better, is it possible to boot from a raid 0 with this configuration…?
onizuka, Mac OS X does not support booting from external SATA drives. I use the external SATA drives as media and backup drives.
Technical update: some users have reported problems with Mac OS X Leopard (10.5.x) and the eSATA II 2-Port ExpressCard-M interface card from SIIG. SIIG has a newer card with updated firmware available. Their technical support folks have replaced cards for users in some circumstances.
I recently purchased a Tempo SATA Express 34 from Sonnet and it works like a charm, I’m currently running OS X 10.5.2 on my MacBook Pro. While the Sonnet card has the advantage of working under Leopard and supporting port multipliers (they allow you to connect multiple SATA drives via a single SATA cable to the computer) the disadvantage is I no longer have access to the SMART data error reporting from the drives, since the Sonnet driver looks like a SCSI drive to the Mac. Oh well.