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I am running out of available ports on an Apple server. I would like to attach 4 external eSATA devices to the currently open internal SATA connections (2 open hard drive bays and 2 SATA allocated for DVD bays in the front).

If anyone has done this with success and can alert me to any caveats, I would appreciate it.

If anyone has a recommendation of a good cable manufacturer for the task, that would be of interest as well. Is the limit for SATA cables indeed 3 feet? The eSATA devices came with 4 foot long eSATA cables - what applies to SATA to eSATA?

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closed as off topic by Chris S, EightBitTony, John Gardeniers, Scott Pack, Magellan Dec 6 '12 at 18:00

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Internal SATA connections are required to work with cables up to 3.3 Feet, yes. eSATA are required to work up to 6.6 (but simply adding a bracket doesn't change what the original port is capable of). That said it's been my experience that most ports are simply built for the higher spec as the costs are negligible and the chips are more flexible that way. I have not tried on an Apple gear however.

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So, if I understand you correctly, aside the 3 foot limit on the internal SATA connections, there should be no other issues to your knowledge. Or are you saying that it is likely that the 3 foot limit doesn't apply because the difference between the 6 foot capable chips and the 3 foot capable chips is negligible? – Manca Weeks Jan 16 '12 at 1:17
Correct, do they run RAID right now? – SpacemanSpiff Jan 16 '12 at 1:18
There is nothing attached to the internal SATA connections I want to use at the moment. I would like to attach external hardware RAID enclosures. – Manca Weeks Jan 16 '12 at 1:28
I guess the question would be what would be the best way to test a 6 foot cable connection... What would the symptoms of it being too long be? Corruption, failure to connect at all? – Manca Weeks Jan 16 '12 at 1:29
The best way to test would be by plugging a cable/device in and see if it works. Symptoms of a cable issues would be a failure to connect, possibly intermittently in a worst case scenario. – Chris S Jan 16 '12 at 1:32

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