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Windows 7: Transfer speed test - eSata vs USB 3.0


25 Jan 2011   #11
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

You made a good summary of the situation. But at the end I wonder whether it really matters whether you use USB3 or eSata because most disks are too slow to take advantage of those speeds anyhow. And who can afford a SSD as an external drive.

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26 Jan 2011   #12

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 RTM + SP1
 
 

Well i have to say the latest info is a bit of situation changer.

So i guess really for price: performance i will be better off going down the eSata route as i will be using WD Caviar Blues for my external.

Thanks for the information guys its a real help, perhaps USB 3.0 is just a bit of a marketing gimick (Depending on your use of course).

I think it would be safe to say that thread can be closed as i have my made my mind up.

Thanks again all.

Lucky
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26 Jan 2011   #13

Windows 7 64-bit, Windows 8.1 64-bit, OSX Maverick
 
 

Most HDD's are certainly too slow for USB 3.0, or for that matter for SATA 2.0 interfaces. The SSDs are not and while they are relatively expensive at the current time, it'll change with time.

There are fast USB 3.0 external drives available now for about 200 bucks, such as these:

Newegg.com - OCZ Enyo OCZSSDU3-1ENY64G 64GB USB 3.0 MLC External Solid State Drive (SSD)

Newegg.com - Kingston HyperX MAX 3.0 64GB External USB 3.0 Flash Drive Model SHX100U3/64G

Both of them built utilizing a SATA II SSD drive and bridge chip to convert between the SATA II and the USB 3.0. The speed difference is mainly due to the type of chip used in the two devices that translates/encapsulate to/from USB and SATA . The extra steps and processing will slow down the effective throughput without question. It seems that Enyo does have a faster conversion chip than the HyperX.

But the main point is that on the back end, it is still SATA II storage with the USB 3.0 external storage devices. With this setup it is impossible to make the USB 3.0 faster than SATA II, or eSATA II. As long as the USB 3.0 and later will rely on the SATA x back end, it'll be impossible for it to surpass the utilized SATA x throughput.

Someone actually took apart the USB 3.0 SSDs:

OCZ Enyo Review

reghardware: From the lab to the mobile living room

I have to admit that, regardless of the throughput loss, the Enyo does look cool It's tempting, especially in light of its USB 2.0 support, but it's too early to get one. There aren't many systems around where the USB 3.0 interface can be used and it's way too expensive for a USB 2.0 external storage.
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26 Jan 2011   #14

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Cr00zng View Post
I guess I just don't understand the desire "yet" to use SSD drives for storage. When I think of an external drive, I think of it being able to hold multiple images, backups, ISO files, and the like. This type of use would also mean that the drive would have to be substantial in size. 64GB just doesn't fit that bill.

Sure you might be able to copy a 1GB file in about 3-4 seconds. But without the SSD it would take like 10 seconds. So, by giving up 6 seconds or so, I could spent 1/2 as much and increase my overall storage space by 30x. I'll take the latter. I just don't find speed to my external drive to the motivating factor...capacity is far more important to me on my external drive.
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26 Jan 2011   #15

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 X64 (Windows 8.1, Linux Mint, Windows XP and others in VM)
 
 

PPparks1, using your figures I calculate that you could fill up a 64GB drive in 2.5 minutes. That's pretty quick, but I am not sure if I could get one system image on it. I like speed, but other things are more important.
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26 Jan 2011   #16

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by essenbe View Post
PPparks1, using your figures I calculate that you could fill up a 64GB drive in 2.5 minutes. That's pretty quick, but I am not sure if I could get one system image on it. I like speed, but other things are more important.
Exactly. I guess if I were doing something nefarious on my computer and the law showed up to raid my hideout that I might need to be able to fill my entire 64GB backup drive in under 3 minutes to escape via my secret tunnel....but in the real world...being able to write to my external storage drive this fast is just unnecessary.
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26 Jan 2011   #17

Windows 7 64-bit, Windows 8.1 64-bit, OSX Maverick
 
 

I am not sure if I agree with you pparks...

If you remove the performance incentive of the USB 3.0 SSD drive, then might as well stick with HDDs for OS and applications as well.

I understand your point about the storage, and I do the same with HDD storage on my system. For portable storage on the other hand the USB 3.0 does have benefits, even if it cost more. Speed is one of them and the other is backward compatibility to USB 2.0 is the other. Its price is still high and limited USB 3.0 port availability is the other hold back for me to purchase one. But I can see that people who has a need would go for it, including the ones as you stated to "escape via my secret tunnel.." .

I could get one of the Windows backup image, about 30GBs size, onto one of these USB 3.0 external drive in about 1.25 minutes if essenbe's calculation was correct. Compare that to copying the same image from one HDD to another, it took just over seven minutes to complete. That's more than five times than it would take for an SSD...
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26 Jan 2011   #18

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Cr00zng View Post
If you remove the performance incentive of the USB 3.0 SSD drive, then might as well stick with HDDs for OS and applications as well.
Why would you stick with HDD's for the OS and apps...you want these to boot, and run super fast. You use them, day in and day out, all of the time. Might as well be as fast as they possibly can be. I don't think the same is true of an external hard drive. You use them randomly, and not all that often.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Cr00zng View Post
I could get one of the Windows backup image, about 30GBs size, onto one of these USB 3.0 external drive in about 1.25 minutes if essenbe's calculation was correct. Compare that to copying the same image from one HDD to another, it took just over seven minutes to complete. That's more than five times than it would take for an SSD...
While true, wouldn't you simply run the backup application and create the actual backup file directly onto the external drive itself? If you do this, there is time involved with the application and such running and how fast it can collect the data, compress it and drop it onto the drive. So, rather than taking just 1.25 minutes from a sheer throughput standpoint, maybe it's only 5 minutes to create the image versus 7 minutes to copy it. Now, it's not as dramatic.

And again, if you are backing up an image that is on an internal hard drive over to an external hard drive...do you have a pressing need to finish in under 2 minutes...or can you wait 7 minutes as you are likely doing something else? So, I would still want 20-30X the capacity at less then 1/2 the cost by continuing to use standard HDD as externals. Down the road when capacity is up and prices are down on SSD, my opinion will likely change.
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26 Jan 2011   #19

Windows 7 64-bit, Windows 8.1 64-bit, OSX Maverick
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pparks1 View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Cr00zng View Post
If you remove the performance incentive of the USB 3.0 SSD drive, then might as well stick with HDDs for OS and applications as well.
Why would you stick with HDD's for the OS and apps...you want these to boot, and run super fast. You use them, day in and day out, all of the time. Might as well be as fast as they possibly can be. I don't think the same is true of an external hard drive. You use them randomly, and not all that often.
It's not much more "super fast" than the external USB 3.0, at least this point in time. If one can wait for the slow external device transfers, the same person could also wait for the slow OS to load. There are plenty of people out there who still run their system with HDD, including myself with the laptop.

While on the usage pattern you have a valid point, but what if one only cares about speed and not pattern and financial justification? Even if it is used infrequently, the high speed portable device is nice to have especially if it can be used on any current computers with reduced speed. The goal with a portable device isn't to store gigabytes of backup images, huge files, etc. The primary goal is to share files, videos, etc, with other systems easily. For that purpose the 64GBs drive is more than sufficient.

I make backup copies of my disk images, and other stuff that I need for redundancy purposes and yes, I can do other things while it completes. I also have plenty of HDD storage available on five SATA II drives. That wasn't the point.

The point was that it is not 120% gain in speed as you stated originally, it is more like 300% gain in speed for the USB 3.0 devices. In a world where people overclock for 10-30% performance gain, real or imagined, even your stated 120% speed gain looks huge and more so the actual 300% gain.

We certainly can agree to disagree of the theory on these points, even if I have no intent to purchase any USB 3.0 devices anytime soon.
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26 Jan 2011   #20

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Cr00zng View Post
While on the usage pattern you have a valid point, but what if one only cares about speed and not pattern and financial justification? Even if it is used infrequently, the high speed portable device is nice to have especially if it can be used on any current computers with reduced speed. The goal with a portable device isn't to store gigabytes of backup images, huge files, etc. The primary goal is to share files, videos, etc, with other systems easily. For that purpose the 64GBs drive is more than sufficient.
If one only cares about speed, and usage and finances have no impact, by all means go with the fastest thing you can find and get that.

Obviously your goal of an external drive (sharing files) is different from mine (mass storage). All of my computers at home and at work are networked, so I don't use external drives hardly ever to move something to another machine. Plus, if I need a quick transfer or smaller files, I just use my USB key. For example, I put Dell BIOS's on my USB key and keep it with me. When I get to a laptop at work that is old and out of date, I just plug in my drive and install it. But these are small files...where the difference between 70MB/second and 250MB/sec wouldn't make any real difference.

Like you said, it really comes down to what you want to accomplish and what you use your storage for. I find my eSATA enclosure fast enough with a 5400 RPM Samsung SpinPoint 2TB drive in it. But my drive was also $90. So, while I could spend 2x as much, for 64GB (30x less storage)....for my external storage needs it doesn't seem like the right choice. For you, it might be different.
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 Transfer speed test - eSata vs USB 3.0




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