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I have an old WD external hard drive (WD3200H1U-00) with no eSATA port, but I do have an eSATA port on my laptop. If I got a micro USB to eSATA cable, would I achieve faster than USB speeds (or perhaps just not work at all)?

For example this cable:

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The cable you have chosen will NOT work with your usb drive. It is for taking the Esata + 5V connector (often called Power over eSata) or a esata COMBO Port and separating the +5V USB+power to power 2.5" esata encolsures that need a separate +5V connector. Your drive has a separate power "brick" because inside the pretty black box is a 3.5" hard drive which requires +12V and +5V to run.

Consider removing the drive from it's enclosure (and associated speed limiting USB Controller)and placing it in a modern eSata enclosure for more speed.

Here is link to a youtube video on how to remove the drive from it's current black box.

Youtube link: How to fully DISASSEMBLE a western digital MyBook essential edition external HDD

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WD hard drive in an enclosure, It supports firewire, E-SATA, and USB.

When you say "micro USB to eSATA cable" usb and e-sata are not directally compatable, and any "cable" that would make them compatable would be an "adapter". The USB2 would always present the bandwidth limitation in any scenario where the USB is part of that chain of connections, and adapting doesnt always go very well. Therefore it would be no better than connecting up the USB itself, and way less problems.

Firewire would be quick, if you had one of those ports available.

The cable you show, is to break out a "Combo" port, do you have a sata+Usb combo port?

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Yep, I do have an eSATA+USB port. – dtbarne Mar 7 '12 at 2:26
@dtbarne ohh , and the model of hard drive will hook up E-sata? then that should be best alone to hook up sata. and "fastest" and on a desktop (dont know about a laptop) the sata would be less load than usb. So re-reading the original question, either I got the wrong manuel :-) or you got a slimmed down version of the drive/enclosure? or I need glasses :-) – Psycogeek Mar 7 '12 at 4:13
If the enclosure does not support e-sata, then I would be agreeing with the other answers, and pondering getting a new enclosure, for the almost 2X speed increase of hooking it up the "best way". It would just depend on how much that was going to costs :-(, vrses the need, or the value of selling it off, and getting one of the newer ones. – Psycogeek Mar 7 '12 at 4:21
Yeah, it of course doesn't support eSATA. That is definitely the preferred route, was just looking to see if I could save a few bucks. Thanks for the help everyone. – dtbarne Mar 7 '12 at 4:57

The controller on the USB Drive would still be the bottleneck as it would not transfer faster than 480Mbps despite the eSata port being capable of handling more. The only time that a scenario like yours would eSATA is if you got a USB backplate with an eSATA connection and used several USB drives together in a RAID format. However, You would be much better off to remove the drive from its enclosure and buying a new enclosure with eSATA or purchase a different external enclosure and drive with the eSATA interface.

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