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  1. #1
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    USB data transfer rates?

    I have always been puzzled as to why USB data rates seem to be so slow.
    For instance, USB 2.0 has a supposed data rate of 480 mbps; or 60 MBps.
    So in a perfect world you should be able to transfer 32 GB of data to a stick in (32 x 1000)/60 = 533 seconds, or 8.9 minutes.

    Wow; not even close. I find transferring about half that amount of data can take an hour or more. And this is on a system that supposedly supports USB 2.0; using a 2.0 USB stick.
    So what's going on here? Opening task manager during a transfer session does not seem to show the cpu as being very busy.

    Anyone else notice this? Any ideas as to where the bottleneck might be?

    Thanks,
    rstew

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    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Unfortunately that's the theoretical maximum transfer rate and just describes what the protocol is capable of.

    When you add together all the potential bottlenecks - active anti-malware scan(s), slow HD data transfer rate (e.g. IDE v SATA), fragmentation of HD, size and no. of files being transferred, concurrent processes, etc. - it's no wonder the actual data transfer rate is much less... sometimes considerably so.

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    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    As a control so to speak, has anybody tried USB file transfers in safemode?
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    Unfortunately that's the theoretical maximum transfer rate and just describes what the protocol is capable of.
    Right, most all descriptions of USB 2.0 says "up to 480Mbps".

    As for Safe Mode, I have done transfers without issues but came across some Operating Systems that wouldn't load USB drivers unless the USB Legacy was Enabled in the BIOS.
    Last edited by Berton; 2014-11-28 at 20:41.

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    WS Lounge VIP Coochin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CLiNT View Post
    As a control so to speak, has anybody tried USB file transfers in safemode?
    Not Safe Mode, but I have a 2TB SATA HDD in a Vantec USB2.0 enclosure I use for backing up users' files when upgrading or reinstalling their OS. I usually boot from a BartPE CD, and use Total Commander to do the copying.

    A recent case was fairly typical; the user had a little more than 60GB of files (a lot of music & video), which took about three hours to copy onto their rebuilt OS.
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    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    I have need on occasion to transfer large amounts of data from one drive to another, this
    is internal SATA mind you, and it can take several hours.
    I do everything I can to avoid USB, it's just too slow when it comes moving more than 60 to 100GB at a time.

    If one thing is for certain, whatever the advertised top speed, you'll never achieve it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coochin View Post
    Not Safe Mode, but I have a 2TB SATA HDD in a Vantec USB2.0 enclosure I use for backing up users' files when upgrading or reinstalling their OS. I usually boot from a BartPE CD, and use Total Commander to do the copying.

    A recent case was fairly typical; the user had a little more than 60GB of files (a lot of music & video), which took about three hours to copy onto their rebuilt OS.
    Coochin;
    Wow, I make that transfer speed about 5.5 MBps. That is painfully slow.
    I guess I am not the only one who finds real world USB transfer rates kind of suck.

    Why is this I wonder?
    Is there some bottleneck getting through the average southbridge chip?
    A 7200 rpm HDD will read and write way faster than that rate.
    So what am I missing?

    Thanks,
    rstew

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    WS Lounge VIP Calimanco's Avatar
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    Try USB3 Leaving aside the theoretical maximum, I'm seeing about a gig per minute to a 64 gig flash drive and even faster to an external 500 gig SATA drive, which is curious as I would have thought the flash would have been faster.
    Of course, if Thunderbolt finds its way onto PCs , then all this talk about 2x, 3x or 10x faster goes away.

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    WS Lounge VIP Coochin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rstew View Post
    ...Wow, I make that transfer speed about 5.5 MBps. That is painfully slow.
    I guess I am not the only one who finds real world USB transfer rates kind of suck...
    I use the BartPE method to avoid issues with viruses/malware. Often the customers' HDDs are infected.

    Yes, it would be much faster to do the copying under Windows, but I would rather not risk infecting my workbench PCs.

    It's not as if I had to sit there and watch the data copy.
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  10. #10
    Silver Lounger wavy's Avatar
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    USB 2.0 was released in April 2000, adding a higher maximum signaling rate of 480 Mbit/s called High Speed, in addition to the USB 1.x Full Speed signaling rate of 12 Mbit/s. Due to bus access constraints, the effective throughput of the High Speed signaling rate is limited to 35 MB/s or 280 Mbit/s.
    from Wikipedia. That is probably a BEST case scenario. When I do a Macrium image to an external USB 2 connected drive I believe I get a 50 gig image in under an hour and that is more in line with those figures than file copying seems to be. ( I am wondering if Teracopy does a better job??)
    That said I love USB3 it is actually on par w/ SATA2.
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  11. #11
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    USB Transfer to Flash drives transfer rates

    Quote Originally Posted by Calimanco View Post
    Try USB3 Leaving aside the theoretical maximum, I'm seeing about a gig per minute to a 64 gig flash drive and even faster to an external 500 gig SATA drive, which is curious as I would have thought the flash would have been faster.
    Of course, if Thunderbolt finds its way onto PCs , then all this talk about 2x, 3x or 10x faster goes away.
    The problem is not the USB transfer rate, but the ability of the USB flash drive to write the incoming data and vice versa reading from the flash.
    You will get faster transfers to a USB Hard Drive or SSD.
    Try a Flash drive with a faster Read/Write speed. Class 4 is a bit slow, class 10 is better but there are a lot that are much faster.
    Read your flash drives specs.
    Hope this helps you.

  12. #12
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    I like USB 3 as well, but I often have trouble getting Windows to recognize the device. Maybe 30-50% of the time Windows just won't register the USB flash drive at all.

    I'm pretty sure I heard that MS decided to go strict on the USB protocols. This is, I understand, the reason for the flakey handshake.

  13. #13
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    By the way those same USB 3 devices? They work great in a USB 2 socket, and Windows reminds me every single time that "hey, you could get better performance!" Super, if I could get the flash drive to register.

  14. #14
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    I used HD Tune Pro a while ago to check my USB sticks and drives to determine which were the fastest/slowest, etc. You get a 15-day trial period before having to buy it... should be enough for testing.

    Hope this helps...

  15. #15
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    I have just purchased a 2TB USB3 portable drive (Toshiba) which I use for backups and disk images.

    The drive will be used with my 2 4 year old laptops, a Dell 1340 Studio XPS and a Dell VaioVPCEA3M1E. The Dell is running WIndows 7, and the Sony is running Windows 8.1

    Of course both laptops support USB2 but not USB3.

    Both laptops have an Express Card slot.

    I have seen Express Card to USB 3 adapters available for sale. I have also read that they will not provide USB3 speeds if plugged into a laptop that only supports USB2.

    So, will I see an improvement in data transfer speeds from my laptops to my USB3 Toshiba or not?

    Thanks,

    Geoff

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