Difference between USB 3 and eSATA

In computing systems, there are two popular external interfaces namely, USB 3 and eSATA used for connecting external memory devices to the computer system. Although, they are completely different from each other in terms of data transfer rate, compatibility, technology, power consumption, etc.

In this article, we will discuss all the important differences between USB 3 and eSATA. But before discussing the differences, let us first get an overview about their basics.

What is USB 3?

USB 3 stands for Universal Serial Bus 3.0. USB 3 is an enhanced version of USB interface. It is also known as USB 3.0. USB 3 was first released in 2008, and it was the third revision to the USB standard.

USB 3 is a more efficient version of the USB standard that offers data transfer at a faster speed. It also offers improved power management. USB 3 typically provides a data transfer rate of up to 5 GB/s.

Another important point about USB 3 is that it is backward compatible with older versions of USB. Therefore, USB 3 devices can be used with older computer systems with a data transfer speed supported by the older USB versions. The identification of USB 3 port and cables is done by their blue color.

What is eSATA?

eSATA is an acronym for External Serial Advanced Technology Attachment. It is also a communication interface used for connecting external memory devices with the computer systems.

eSATA is basically an extended version of the SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment). eSATA is an alternative of the USB interface used for high-speed data transfer. The communication technology used in eSATA is same as that of the internal SATA standard.

The major advantage of eSATA is its high data transfer rate. It can transfer data at a speed up to 6 GB/s. Also, eSATA consumes less CPU power for data transfer, making it highly efficient.

However, on the downside, eSATA requires an additional power source and is not compatible with all devices. It is mainly used in high-performance systems that are used for high-end applications like graphics design, video editing, etc.

After getting insights into the basics of USB 3 and eSATA, let us now discuss their important differences.

Difference between USB 3 and eSATA

The following table highlights all the significant differences between USB 3 and eSATA:




Full form

USB 3 stands for Universal Serial Bus 3.0.

eSATA stands for External Serial Advanced Technology Attachment.

Basic description

USB 3, also known as USB 3.0, is a faster and efficient version of USB standard used for connecting peripheral devices to a computer system.

eSATA is a high-speed interface used for connecting external storage devices with a computer system.

Data transfer technology

USB 3 uses packet-based data transfer technology.

eSATA uses block-based data transfer technology.

Maximum transfer rate

USB 3 can have maximum data transfer rate of 5 GB/s.

eSATA can have a maximum data transfer rate of 6 GB/s.


USB 3 is poor in terms performance than eSATA.

eSATA is a high-performance interface than USB 3.

Separate power requirement

USB 3 does not require a separate power source to provide power to the external device.

eSATA needs a separate power source to power the external storage device.


USB 3 is compatible with almost all computers and peripherals.

eSATA is not compatible as the USB. However, we can add it to computer through an expansion card.

CPU utilization

USB 3 utilizes more CPU processing power.

eSATA utilizes less CPU processing power.


USB 3 is comparatively less efficient in terms of data transfer speed and CPU utilization.

eSATA is more efficient in data transfer.

Hot swapping

USB 3 offers the feature of hot-swapping, i.e. we can connect or disconnect it without the need of restarting the computer.

eSATA does not support hot-swapping, therefore the computer has to be restarted to recognize the connected device.

Data encryption

USB 3 provides hardware-based data encryption.

eSATA does not support data encryption.


USB 3 is less expensive than eSATA.

eSATA is comparatively more expensive than USB 3.


USB 3 is used a variety of applications, such as connecting peripherals, storage devices, etc.

eSATA is mainly used for connecting external storage devices to a computer system.


USB 3 is a standard communication interface used for data transfer and connecting peripherals in most computer systems, while eSATA is a special interface primarily used for connecting external storage devices like HDD to a computer system.

USB 3 is natively found in most PCs and Mac devices, but eSATA is not so common. However, using expansion cards or adapters, we can add eSATA to a computer.

Updated on: 16-May-2023


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