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Windows 7: Will adding a USB 3 card make much of a difference.

21 Dec 2011   #1

Windows 7
Will adding a USB 3 card make much of a difference.

Can I and would it be that much faster to install a USB 3 card?

I'm running a Dell 580 with Win7 Home Premium, 64Bit with 8GB of Ram with a Intel I5 CPU 650 at 3.20 GHz.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Dec 2011   #2

Windows 7 Professional x32

I dont think so,
Maybe some other user can throw more light on its impact
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Dec 2011   #3


If you specifically have external USB3 drives, then yes.

If you don't then eSATA can be just as fast, if not faster, and equally hot-pluggable... and there are no buggy driver issues such as are still the case between some USB3 interfaces and peripherals.

In short I would use eSATA every time for now.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

21 Dec 2011   #4


I've seen reliable benchmarks of about 3-5x faster for USB 3.0 vs. 2.0. Faster than firewire.

It is amazing how pressed for time we are. With that said, USB 2.0 is pig slow compared to internal IDE or SATA.

The question also is: how fast (in the case of an external hard drive) is the drive? 5400 RPM I think is a good match for USB 3.0. I could be wrong, but I don't think USB 3.0 can saturate a 7200 RPM drive (i.e. not burst to/from cache, but physical drive access).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Dec 2011   #5
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

You have to analyse numbers:

1. A good HDD can transfer data at 100MB/sec - that is appr 1000Mb/sec = 1Gb/sec
2. eSata can transfer data at 3 Gb/sec
3. USB3 can transfer data at 6Gb/sec
4. USB2 can transfer data at 0.48 Gb/sec

So a HDD can run at full speed on eSata and USB3. But it can run only at appr. half speed on USB2. So your theoretical gain of USB3 would be about twice the speed of USB2.

In practice, however, that is different. I have run HDDs from both USB3 and eSata and the eSata measured faster - that was making a 30GB image from the same PC with all other parameters equal.

Notice also that not all HDDs can do 1Gb/sec, especiall the ones with 5400 RPM. The whole story would, of course, be different if you were using SSDs rather than HDDs.

Note: I convert 1 Byte to 10 bits because 1 byte has 8 data bits plus 1 control bit. So it is close enough.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Dec 2011   #6

Windows 7

Thanks all, "I'm leaving well enough alone".
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Dec 2011   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 x64

For what it's worth, I have used the USB 3 cards with the NEC chipset and have great results, and they're really well priced, I think I paid 30 bucks a while back for the card.

I use a SATA USB3 dock and swap out hard drives as needed with it, It's much faster transfer than USB2 especially on large files...

Just a thought
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Will adding a USB 3 card make much of a difference.

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