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i have four SATA drives, inside the server case, each connected to a SATA port:

|                            |
|    SATA2_1 <======== WDC   |
|    SATA2_2 <======== WDC   |
|    SATA2_3 <======== WDC   |
|    SATA2_4 <======== WDC   |
|                            |

The cooling in the server isn't what i would like, so i've been looking at better cases - with a focus on cooling hard drives, e.g.:

enter image description here

Then i thought that perhaps there are steel boxes designed to hold, and power, SATA drives externally:

enter image description here

while still allowing them to be connected to the motherboard:

+============================+     +=============
|                            |     |            |
|    SATA2_1 <===============+=====+===== WDC   |
|    SATA2_2 <===============+=====+===== WDC   |
|    SATA2_3 <===============+=====+===== WDC   |
|    SATA2_4 <===============+=====+===== WDC   |
|                            |     |            |
+============================+     +============+

i get the sense that such technology does no exist. Does such technology exist?

Note: i'm not talking about an external enclosure that handles read/writes to the drives themselves, and is connected to the computer via

  • USB 3.0, or
  • eSATA, or
  • SAS

The reason i'm not talking about those is because if that enclosure has a system failure i lose all my data.

i'm only looking for better cooling for internal external hard drives.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Have a look at Burly's kit:

Burly 4 Bay SATA kit

Short review

You'll also need the adapters Dennis linked to.

EDIT: just in case you only have two free slots for the plates you can get

2-port adapters

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i see it really is a smaller $300 case, with SATA-eSATA adapters. – Ian Boyd Aug 23 '12 at 21:30

eSATA is very different from USB, and you can use it without worries.

From Serial ATA # eSATA - Wikipedia:

Standardized in 2004, eSATA (e standing for external) provides a variant of SATA meant for external connectivity. It uses a more robust connector, longer shielded cables, and stricter (but backward-compatible) electrical standards. The protocol and logical signaling (link/transport layers and above) are identical to internal SATA. [...]

Aimed at the consumer market, eSATA enters an external storage market served also by the USB and FireWire interfaces. The SATA interface has certain advantages. Most external hard-disk-drive cases with FireWire or USB interfaces use either PATA or SATA drives and "bridges" to translate between the drives' interfaces and the enclosures' external ports; this bridging incurs some inefficiency.

As you can see, an external enclosure using eSATA won't handles read/writes to the drives by itself.

Adapters like this one turn an internal SATA port into an external one.

share|improve this answer
The problem is that i only have 1 eSATA port, but 4 SATA drives. – Ian Boyd Aug 23 '12 at 15:03
Did you check out the adapter in my answer? – Dennis Aug 23 '12 at 15:08
But is there a mechanism in these external boxes then to connect four SATA cables to them? Rather than just one? – Ian Boyd Aug 23 '12 at 17:12
i see there is a SATA technology, call Port Multiplying, allowing multiple drives to be connected to a single SATA port. The total bandwidth is limited to that of the single SATA cable. The protocol also only allows one drive to be addressed at a time, that request must be issued and completed before the host can address another drive. This eliminates the value of NCQ (native command queuing) – Ian Boyd Aug 23 '12 at 21:32
Be aware that not all SATA ports support port multipliers. Onboard ports usually don't. – Dennis Aug 23 '12 at 22:06

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