The difference between SATA and eSATA is not just physical. eSATA has different electrical minimums and maximums to tolerate longer cables and more interference. It is noted in the eSATA whitepaper on the standards site that you have to be careful when you use a passive adapter.
I think Anand's idea of "real world" is little too calculated and I think newer gear performs much better. I did some tests on my game computer. The "pure" benchmarks were much better as the sustained transfer speed was almost doubled and the burst was increased by 80%. The 7,200 RPM drives in RAID 0 improved my load times by about 25% over one 10,000 RPM drive.
On board RAID is basically free now as most boards have it. Hard drives are also pretty cheap now. Loading a driver with widows is a pretty small sticking point. A relatively small price to mitigate one of the most annoying gaming issues is worth it to me.
The 3ware 2-port card is "only" $150. I do not own one but I think you would still need to install drivers.
__________________ He either fears his fate too much, or his deserts are small, that dares not put it to the touch, to gain or lose it all.
- James Graham