On one of my recent check-ins with PR folks, I remembered to ask Seagate about the Powered eSATA adapter for their GoFlex line of drives. It has been out of stock everywhere for months, and I’ve actually been trying to get my hands on one.
Like many, one of my laptops has USB 2.0, and Powered eSATA. That’s the combo USB-and-eSATA port that uses eSATA for data, and the USB port for power. They’re modularized into one single port on many laptops, and a few desktops, to allow for portable drives to be powered, and fly at the speed of SATA.
Unfortunately, the news isn’t good. I was informed by Seagate media relations that the cable has been discontinued. They weren’t much for words on the subject, and I did remind them that the cable is still on their Accessory Store (albeit out of stock).
I got two answers on this one, neither of which were very good. The first was that GoFlex is being replaced by the new Backup Plus line of drives. Which is fine, except for GoFlex and Backup Plus are supposed to be compatible. Meaning, a Backup Plus adapter is supposed to work with a GoFlex adapter, and vice-versa.
Worse, I was also told that Backup Plus will not offer an eSATA replacement cable. Despite these drives being SATA-based, there will no longer be any SATA cable adapter available. The only way to get SATA speeds out of GoFlex/Backup Plus going forward, will be USB 3.0, Thunderbolt, or ripping the drive apart (and voiding the warranty).
The other answer I got was less official. I suspected (and got off the record confirmation from others) that the Powered eSATA adapter had issues with a lot of laptops. Basically, laptops were not giving the maximum power to the port, causing drives to have issues. This seems to be less of a problem at USB 2.0, because you aren’t pushing the drive to its limits, as you are with eSATA. To avoid that from happening on Backup Plus, they’re simply nixing the offering completely.
Unfortunately, my efforts to dremel some unofficial SATA cables to fit, haven’t yielded much success. While you can use a SATA-to-eSATA cable, in theory, it requires dremeling to fit the tapered socket on the GoFlex drives. Sadly, I think I’ve dremeled too much on my first effort, and stripped part of the cable… though I can’t see where. I’ll report back on my second attempt and see if I can get lucky, and craft my own GoFlex eSATA cable.
In case you’re wondering why I don’t just go with USB 3.0 on the Windows laptop I mentioned, via ExpressCard, it’s because I can’t. The laptop and my USB 3.0 ExpressCard refuse to cooperate. The GoFlex drive never fully powers up, and I even ordered an AC power adapter for the USB 3.0 ExpressCard. I have a different chipset USB 3.0 ExpressCard on its way, but I’ll keep dremeling eSATA cables until it arrives (or, until I find a discontinued Seagate GoFlex eSATA adapter on eBay).