eSATA is Still Faster Than USB 3.0



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Here it is a year after you wrote your article.

I have just installed a USB 3.0 card in my PC and have been testing it with a Thermaltake BLAC X 5G USB 3.0 drive caddy capable of running at the top speed of USB 3.0 (5Gb/s).

Using a Samsung 1TB 3.5" 5400 RPM hard drive, a WD 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM hard drive and a Fujitsu 160GB 2.5" SATA hard drive I have been getting exactly what I thought I should get. That is to say, the bottleneck here is the drives, not the USB 3.0 interface. I have tested both of the 3.5" hard drives using the SATA on my main board and using the USB 3.0.

The 2.5" Fujitsu is getting an average of 47.7MB/s (about 15 or so MB/s faster than USB2), the 3.5" 5400 RPM Samsung is getting an average of 86MB/s which is not only about double to triple the speeds I was getting on USB 2.0, but is the same speed I was getting on the internal SATA. The WD 7200 RPM drive is benching at 99 MB/s over USB 3.0 which is, again, the same speed I was getting when it was connected to my internal SATA port.

I have to say IMHO, USB 3.0 is doing exactly what it's supposed to be doing. When I purchase a faster hard drive or an SSD to use externally I would expect USB 3.0 to keep up with those products as well. At least until they manage to reach 5GB/s which should be about 640MB/s. So, we have a heck of a long way to go before we max out USB 3.0.

These speeds were tested using HD Tune 2.55. For those benchmark haters out there I also tested the USB 3.0 speeds using file transfers from my internal SSD to both an internal SATA hard drive and an external USB 3.0 drive. I got the same file transfer times in each scenareo.

I see no further point to dissing USB 3.0, especially by those people who don't understand why benchmarks are a good test of the differences between different technologies. It ain't "smoke and mirrors" guys.



why? well, it's easy.


eSATA may be so great now, but like any USB harddrive it's dependent on the read/write of the device itself.

USB 3.0 will only be faster, when the manufacturers start to upgrade the RPM of drives. In the market we don't see that much eSATA external hardrives... in comparison with USB, and yet it's been here for some years now. So in my opinion USB 3.0 is great news. And yes, it's not the time to upgrade, and eSATA still is a good choice for anyone who as it. As for me, working daily with HD video and editing it, if actually USB 3.0 will be massively comercialized and gives me speeds as good as eSATA, and external harddrives get as cheap as they are starting to appear.... GREAT!  



So much animosity towards USB 3.0 here...  I don't think the hating is justified.  I think anyone with eSATA should be happy that they don't need to upgrade.  But a lot of drives don't come with eSATA support.  And WD even includes a USB 3.0 card with their latest external making that whole need to upgrade point moot.  How all of that translates into hatred for USB 3.0 puzzles me.  No one is forcing anyone to upgrade, but the option is there if you want to.  And the fact that your next motherboard will most likely come with USB 3.0 means you should fall in line and accept that this is good progress either way.

Granted, USB 3.0 may be overhyped, but it's still progress. 



How many times do we have to remember the transfer rate can be no faster than the external device will support?  Having infinite transfer rate will never get a hard drive to transfer faster than it's max sustained transfer rate.  Burst rates don't count, they last for just the time it takes to empty the cache.



 When MPC did their transfers on the entire TWO USB 3.0 drives, they looked pretty low, a LOT lower than I expected. I even asked about this on another post. So I guess I keep my BlacX eSATA cradle going.

  What I have yet to see is a case mod that incorporates a hot swappable SATA  cradle on the side of a case. I have seen a case where it is built into the top but I would like one handy on the side. Cool it with the side mounted fan and epoxy a couple of SATA cables into a block of wood, enclose it with Lexan. Poof! hands down easy mod with no slots used up.



USB speeds are all hype and no substance. And, those synthetic transfer and speed test are all smoke & mirrors. I've done real world big file transfers using USB2 vs eSATA, trust me, it's no contest. USB doesn't even come remotely close. So, again, as one poster said, I highly doubt USB3 is going to be the speed demon they're hyping it to be. Yawn...zzzZZZzzzz... 

USB is only good for portability or peripherals like keyboards, mice, and such...that's all.

If you want speed, go with eSATA! eSATA hands down spanks, slaps, kicks, pounds USB1, 2 and 3's kaboose 'til kingdom come. Every single external USB2 hard drive enclosure I've had wasn't remotely close to any of my eSATA enclosures. By the way, I used Raptors and WD Caviar drives as test drives.  

When they update the eSATA spec, again, it will spank USB black and blue.

I'll believe when I see it. 



Why are you comparing SATA to USB 2.0 in an article about USB 3.0? So you're saying aSATA is faster than USB 2.0? No kidding.

I'll put USB 3.0 against your eSATA any day. They will come out about the same. The drive is the bottleneck here, not the interface. USB 3.0 can go up to 5Gb/s and I believe eSATA maxes out at 3Gb/s. In both instances, current drive speeds are the restricting factor, not the interface. I have tested internal SATA against USB3.0 and got THE SAME transfer rates.

Maybe you should do some more reading.



The USB2 is a typo. I guess you also meant to type eSATA not aSATA (sounds kinky). Meant to type USB3. I stand by my word.
I've used 6G drives and 3G drives from Western Digital Caviar Black and Seagate XT on USB3 and eSATA on a Gene-Z motherboard.
I've done transfer of large files in the range of 11GB to 75GB and eSATA time after time was a whole lot faster than USB3. It even gets worse if you're transfer multiple large files over USB3 as it starts building a lot of overhead. Again, eSATA was faster. Anyone out there can try it. I've even tried USB Turbo mode with a Gene-Z motherboard for USB3. Again, eSATA was faster.
Tech companies are out there to make money, not that there's anything wrong with that. However, their marketing departments always overhype the numbers regardless of protocol or hardware ever since the days of IDE33 until now with Thunderbolt.



amen to that !

 because if USB 3 becomes the "hot item", it will make many people sad, because they would have to "adapt" to it by either replacing their motherboard (last thing I want to do), or have to shell out $$ to buy PCIE-usb3 card, and once again to put our many usb2.0 external harddrives on the shelf and shell out more $$ for a usb3 external harddrives.

 I only wish USB 3 would pop-out much later (like 2012). Let eSata shine for couple more years since there are still people out there who've never used eSata or doesn't know what it is yet !






This is disappointing but not unexpected.



"Transfer speeds so far have been much slower than the theoretical maximum, but hopefully this will improve over time."

The exact same thing was said about 1.0, 1.1 and Hi-Speed 2.0. But they did not improve over time: the theoretical maximum was never even close to being achieved, and sustained transfer rate was much lower. I believe it is highly unlikely that USB3 will break that tradition.



USB 2.0 can currently achieve speeds of 40MB/s with a good USB 2.0 host. MY current system will run a USB 2.0 hard drive at 35MB/s. The maximum theoretical speed of 60MB/s was not achieved because of the massive overhead of USB 2.0. This overhead has been reduced drasticly for USB 3.0.

During its lifetime USB 2.0 increased from 30MB/s to the current 35MB/s and recently 40MB/s.

Currently my own tests show that SATA hard drives can be maxed out by USB 3.0. That is to say an internal 99MB/s 7200 RPM 3.5" hard drive is getting 99MB/s on my USB 3.0 external drive caddy. I will be testing sn external SSD soon, but I would also expect it to run at the same speed it does on SATA.



Crunchgear is a tabloid website



The name Crunchgear makes it sound like they sell equipment for your breakfast cereal.

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