OCZ Throttle 32GB eSATA Flash Drive

Introduction

Introduction
 
ThrottleIf there's one company I could pick as putting their neck on the line in the name of new technology, it would be OCZ. Responsible for bringing unique and often groundbreaking products to the enthusiasts market such as the NIA (Neural Impulse Actuator), DIY Notebook and more recently a whole range of affordable Solid State Drives, OCZ are one of few companies that seem to constantly act in the interest of the enthusiast and the name of progression.
 
Today we're going to be taking a look at yet another product that breaks the conventional mold, and although maybe not as groundbreaking as some of the aforementioned devices, certainly caused mixed reactions when it was released at the end of last year. The OCZ Throttle 32GB may look like little more than a rather standard (yet a little bit chubby) USB memory stick, but under the plastic dust cap it  packs a secret punch....it's not USB. Yes that's right, OCZ have done away with the family favorite standard connector that has been supported by every PC and Laptop made in the past 10 years in favor of the fairly recent eSATA standard.
 
So what's so good about eSATA that would make OCZ want to switch from our old friend USB? Speed of course! While USB2.0 is happily chugging away at 480Mbps (60MB/s), eSATA provides a whopping throughput of 3000Mbps (300MB/s), making it far more suitable for high capacity storage devices. Of course, the OCZ Throttle is highly unlikely to put all of that available bandwidth to use, so let's see what OCZ believe it to be capable of by checking out the specifications list taken from their website:
 
eSATA interface (plug directly into any compatible motherboard or laptop with powered eSATA port)
Additional mini USB 2.0 port (type B)
Dimensions: (L)79.1mm x (W)29.9mm x (H)10.3mm
Read: Up to 90MB/sec*
Write: Up to 30MB/sec*
True Plug and Play
Available in 8GB, 16GB, 32GB capacities
Includes mini USB cable for non-powered eSATA ports or USB access
2-year Warranty
 
With read speeds quoted to be around 90MB/s, the Throttle may not be anywhere near saturating the full 300MB/s bandwidth available on the eSATA interface, but at 30MB/s higher than the maximum 60MB/s throughput of the USB2.0 interface it's instantly apparent why the Throttle couldn't be just another USB stick.
 
However, there are certain caveats to using eSATA rather than USB, so let's move on to the next page where we take a look at the Throttle in more detail.
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Most Recent Comments

20-05-2009, 02:11:57

JN
"Looking for something with a little more grunt than your existing USB flash drive? The eSATA based OCZ Throttle may be just what you've been searching for."

http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...144206710s.jpg

OCZ Throttle 32GB eSATA Flash Drive

20-05-2009, 04:58:18

monkey7
Wow that was a good read.

Have been looking for an eSATA storage device for a while, but I don't think I'm going to buy it. It's as expensive as a 320gb 2.5" hdd and, while it has more performance, it has way less capacity. Also, I think the additional cable is quite a pain to carry around and usb 3.0 isn't helping either.

20-05-2009, 06:18:00

Bungral
Nice review mate.. Impressive stuff on the speeds.

Only thing I could think of throughout though was what's the point in it really with USB 3 (like you mentioned) on the way.

Was about to question your maths on the but then had a lil look around and realised it's correct.

eSATA provides a whopping throughput of 3000Mbps (300MB/s),

20-05-2009, 06:25:04

JN
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Bungral'
Nice review mate.. Impressive stuff on the speeds.

Only thing I could think of throughout though was what's the point in it really with USB 3 (like you mentioned) on the way.

Was about to question your maths on the but then had a lil look around and realised it's correct.
Yeah I had to double check that myself too!

Another pretty cool thing about the drive which I neglected to mention in the review is that I'm pretty sure you can install Windows directly on to it (as its detected as a hard disk). I'm going to have a shot at installing Windows 7 on it tonight, and then maybe also try booting from USB too

Win7 on a stick could be pretty cool tbh

20-05-2009, 06:35:34

Mul.
I would have quite promptly bought myself one of these if my little netbook had an e-SATA port. Excellent figures and respectable dimensions too. OCZ have clearly done a very good job with this Flash Drive

Excellent review Jim.

20-05-2009, 07:55:26

Bungral
I installed Win 7 from a USB stick onto my NC20 as I don't have an external drive.

Was a right pain in the arse getting the thing bootable!!

So you're saying that with this you shouldn't have that trouble?

Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Jim'
Yeah I had to double check that myself too!

Another pretty cool thing about the drive which I neglected to mention in the review is that I'm pretty sure you can install Windows directly on to it (as its detected as a hard disk). I'm going to have a shot at installing Windows 7 on it tonight, and then maybe also try booting from USB too

Win7 on a stick could be pretty cool tbh

20-05-2009, 08:18:45

Rastalovich
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Bungral'
I installed Win 7 from a USB stick onto my NC20 as I don't have an external drive.

Was a right pain in the arse getting the thing bootable!!

So you're saying that with this you shouldn't have that trouble?
Your problem there is that usb sticks can be identified as 1 of 2 things, either a USB hard drive or USB pen drive. (it's actually a flag of sorts that is set in stick itself)

20-05-2009, 08:47:13

JN
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Bungral'
I installed Win 7 from a USB stick onto my NC20 as I don't have an external drive.

Was a right pain in the arse getting the thing bootable!!

So you're saying that with this you shouldn't have that trouble?
I was actually meaning running Win7 from the flash drive with no other hard disks in the system

But ye you could also use it to install Win7 I guess. From what I can see it's detected as a hard disk, so it should be possible.

20-05-2009, 11:45:49

Bungral
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Rastalovich'
Your problem there is that usb sticks can be identified as 1 of 2 things, either a USB hard drive or USB pen drive. (it's actually a flag of sorts that is set in stick itself)
Yeah got that much from when I was making it bootable. Tis funny, most of mine are quite limited but one of the cheaper ones I have so far has let me use it as a USB hard drive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Jim'
I was actually meaning running Win7 from the flash drive with no other hard disks in the system

But ye you could also use it to install Win7 I guess. From what I can see it's detected as a hard disk, so it should be possible.
Gotcha... Was a bit slow earlier and rushing because people looking over my shoulder.

20-05-2009, 13:51:38

Luigi
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Jim'
I was actually meaning running Win7 from the flash drive with no other hard disks in the system

But ye you could also use it to install Win7 I guess. From what I can see it's detected as a hard disk, so it should be possible.
that would be useful if the system is out of case..

Stop making me jealous Jim :P

26-05-2009, 17:17:36

Supersnake
Thank you! Excellent review, right to the point with a well chosen set of tests and results complemented with easy to read graphics.

Yours is the sixth review of the OCZ 32GB Throttle eSata Flash Drive that I have read and like the other reviews it has omitted a concern of significance to anyone considering the purchase of this drive. The concern is no one has yet to garner a consensus of opinions if anyone can hot swap any external drive that is connected to an eSata port!

One tech will tell you that it depends on what motherboard you have. Another tech will add that you also have to consider what type and make of controller is on the mother board. Trust me, you will find multiple discussions on this matter without any definitive answers.

With all of this uncertainty only one reliable action remains: To safely disconnect the external dirve without losing any data one would be best advised to power down (shut off) your computer and only then remove your external drive that you had connected to the eSata port. Am going to repeat that again, “To safely disconnect the external dirve without losing any data one would be best advised to power down (shut off) your computer and only then remove your external drive that you had connected to the eSata port”. Is that an inconvenience? You bet it is.

All of the above would be moot if a Windows “Safely Remove Hardware Device ” icon appeared in your task bar when you plugged in your eSata connector But very few motherboards and controllers in the Windows environment will generate that task bar icon when you connect an external drive to the eSata port – and to make matters even more undecided, on those systems that do generate the Safely Remove Hardware Device icon they will not do so with consistency, i.e. the icon may appear in one instance but for some unexplainable reason it will not appear at another time. Another variable to be added to: (a) Which Windows operating system (XP? VISTA? Windows 7?), (b) Which motherboard?, (c) Which brand and type of controller for the eSata port? - is (f) Are you using a powered eSata or a non-powered eSata port?

Have I sufficiently given you and your readers something to ponder? Would you still consider obtaining this drive if you had to power down your computer each time completing a transfer?

26-05-2009, 17:42:20

JN
Hi Supersnake, Thanks for your input

Being a person who has never once used 'Safely remove...' in my entire life and has yet to suffer any consequences from it, you are right in saying that this did not cross my mind for an eSATA device.

However, in my opinion the same rules apply for eSATA as they do for USB... Providing the activity light on the drive is not flashing, and write-ahead cache is not enabled on the drive, then there should be no reason for any loss of data. This is because without caching, Windows writes to the drive when you tell it to. Providing you don't do something silly like unplugging it while saving a file, and wait for the activity light to turn off - everything should be fine.

26-05-2009, 18:20:33

Rastalovich
!?!?!??!??! USE THE SAFE TO REMOVE THING !@>?@>??@?@

When using XP I never used to bother. Since adopting vista I found I had to otherwize the thing would want to run a scan each time (although I think u can chose cancel iirc). The mac is just as bad.... I *think*, I eject anyway cos vista made me paranoid. Another thing too, having to setup and configure hhb flash-mics in work, apparently they 'screw up' if u don't. (essentially they're expensive pendrives with a mic and some recording stuff)

As to the hotswap esata, u set it in the bios accordingly. It's damn stupid that each mobo does it a little different and different from upd8 to upd8 sometimes. Some share the rear ports with internal slots, others have a bracket ur meant to feed back to the slots if u want to use them - either way u have to set them in the bios as to whether their regular drives or not. It's annoying really that the controllers (usually the non-intel ones on the mobo) aren't intelligent enough to work it out for themselves.

Did I mention to use safe removal ?

27-05-2009, 00:41:49

Supersnake
Placed a call tonight to OCZ support and stated my concerns to avoid the loss of any data during removal, when doing so I cited users as well as reviewers claiming that the "Safely Remove Hardware" (SRH) notification may or may not appear in one's task bar after the drive is loaded. I had the impression that the support person that I was speaking to either wasn't familiar with hearing this or if he did hear that he didn't give it much concern; he told me more than one time in our conversation that the drive is hot swappable.

I know of one particular user of the drive who like you Rastalovich, is very familiar with the complexities of hot swapping eSATA devices and wrote to "Make sure your MB supports AHCI before thinking your drive isn't working right. Not all SATA interfaces are hot swappable." He held a lengthy discussion on the OCZ user support forum addressing the complexities of such hot swapping.

After weighing up all these concerns I have decided to embrace Jim's practice to not worry about removing the eSATA device if a SRH icon does not appear. He advised to handle the removal of the drive just like he does when he removes his USB drives. Hearing his advice was quite refreshing for someone like me who tends to be overly cautious (notice how I avoided the word obsessive

Providing the activity light on the drive is not flashing, and write-ahead cache is not enabled on the drive, then there should be no reason for any loss of data. This is because without caching, Windows writes to the drive when you tell it to. Providing you don't do something silly like unplugging it while saving a file, and wait for the activity light to turn off - everything should be fine.- Jim

Thanks Jim, I like that!

Am going to add something additional that I learned tonight. If you are going to be using the USB connector to power the eSATA connection be sure to perform the insertion and removal of the connectors in the following order:

To Start Up the OCZ Throttle eSATA

1. eSATA connector. Plug this in first.

2. USB connector. Plug this in second

To Remove The OCZ Throttle eSATA

1. USB connector. Remove this first.

2. eSata connector. Remove this second.



By doing that in the described order you will be able to avoid the issues of your USB or eSATA drive not being recognized (and not appearing in device manager) as well as avoiding having two drives appear listed in your Safely Remove Hardware message window and then when you stop and remove one of the two devices the other one remains and can't be removed from the list!

And last but not least there are many users who are pleased with the product and are posting no problems with it. When anyone has reported a problem with it on the NewEgg or OCZ user's forum OCZ has been responsive by communicating with the buyer and offering to have them RMA the drive.

It definitely is fast and this is a storage and transfer drive that I will be ordering.

27-05-2009, 01:08:27

Supersnake
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Rastalovich'
!?!?!??!??! USE THE SAFE TO REMOVE THING !@>?@>??@?@

When using XP I never used to bother. Since adopting vista I found I had to otherwize the thing would want to run a scan each time (although I think u can chose cancel iirc). The mac is just as bad.... I *think*, I eject anyway cos vista made me paranoid. Another thing too, having to setup and configure hhb flash-mics in work, apparently they 'screw up' if u don't. (essentially they're expensive pendrives with a mic and some recording stuff)

As to the hotswap esata, u set it in the bios accordingly. It's damn stupid that each mobo does it a little different and different from upd8 to upd8 sometimes. Some share the rear ports with internal slots, others have a bracket ur meant to feed back to the slots if u want to use them - either way u have to set them in the bios as to whether their regular drives or not. It's annoying really that the controllers (usually the non-intel ones on the mobo) aren't intelligent enough to work it out for themselves.

Did I mention to use safe removal ?
Thanks Rastalovic, sounds like you've had your share of bad encounters with removing hardware devices! I don't relish the idea of mucking around in the bios or firmware to get something to work that should be working if I can avoid doing so. See my prior post.

Thanks for your input!

27-05-2009, 05:44:00

Rastalovich
To be fair, it's down to the oem to setup the computer the way the user would like it, or expect it. In alot of our cases the oem is the user, so strictly speaking if they want it, they need to set it up.
Reply
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