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FORUMS General Gear Talk Computers 
Thread started 04 Jan 2011 (Tuesday) 19:20
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USB3 versus SATAII

 
bohdank
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Jan 04, 2011 19:20 |  #1

Drobo released a firmware update to the Drobo S which now supports USB3.

I'm using sSATA and wonder how USB3 would compare.

Any thoughts ?


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macroshooter1970
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Jan 04, 2011 19:30 |  #2

SATA - 1.5Gb
SATA 2 - 3Gb
SATA 3 - 6Gb
USB 2 - 480Mb
USB 3 - 5Gb




  
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bohdank
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Jan 04, 2011 19:46 |  #3

Thanks but....

I'm not sure that USB3 can actually reach those transfer speeds. Much like USB2, the reality might be much different than the paper specs.

Anybody using USB3 and hard drives ?


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macroshooter1970
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Jan 04, 2011 20:00 |  #4

In the real world things are different :), paper does make things look good though.




  
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Sp1207
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Jan 04, 2011 20:29 |  #5

If you're not using an SSD it won't matter. I might take SATA because I feel it's more reliable for SMART monitoring.


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bohdank
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Jan 04, 2011 20:30 |  #6

I found a few reviews/tests and it's about the same as eSATA, some things slightly better, others slightly worse. eSATA being slower than SATA.


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toxic
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Jan 05, 2011 00:40 |  #7

From what I've seen, sometimes it's faster than eSATA, sometimes worse, and not fast enough to be worth switching to from eSATA...and SATA is faster than eSATA, so might as well stick with it.

edit: from here (external link), at the bottom—

COUNTERPOINT
by Chris Karr, Director, Software/Firmware Engineering of the Branded Products Group at Western Digital Corporation (and previous author of SpeedTools (QuickBench, ZoneBench, etc.),

I read your article and have some feedback about your Key Insight #1. I strongly disagree that USB 3.0 is slower than eSATA, per se. eSATA is limited to 3 Gb/sec whereas USB 3.0 is a 5 Gb/sec interface. They both use 8b/10b encoding so they are both 80% efficient on paper. (Transport protocol overhead further reduces real world data transfer rates and this overhead varies by bus interface type.) We expect USB 3.0 to be able to crack 400 Megabinary bytes per second (MiB/sec) with the right setup. eSATA will likely never crack 275 MiB/sec unless/until they move to 6 Gb.

The limiting factor with USB 3.0 storage devices to date has been the 3 Gb SATA backend of the first generation of USB 3.0 to SATA bridge chips. The 3 Gb SATA interface limits the potential of the 5 Gb Superspeed USB interface. Plus, converting from SATA protocol to USB protocol adds a bit of additional overhead.

That said, there are two basic approaches to actually deliver max speed over USB SuperSpeed with a bridged SATA solution, neither of which, to my knowledge, have yet been done:
1) Put two 3 Gb SATA ports on the back end of the USB bridge and connect two SATA devices which can saturate both of the SATA busses (think two SandForce-based SSD's in a RAID 0).
2) Make a bridge chip with a USB 3.0 front end and a 6 Gb SATA backend and stuff a 500 MiB/sec enterprise-class 6 Gb SSD or RAM drive behind it.

You will need a very powerful PCI bus (aka Gen 2 running off north-bridge, etc.) to get the best numbers, but we believe USB 3.0 can reach at least 400 MiB/sec once the other system bottlenecks are resolved. Of course, with a single HDD all this comparison stuff doesn’t mean much because they just aren’t fast enough to be meaningfully bottlenecked by either SATA or SuperSpeed USB.

Lastly, look for well-designed integrated USB 3.0 host controllers coming in the near future to further boost USB max data transfer rates.




  
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MCAsan
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Jan 05, 2011 07:30 as a reply to  @ toxic's post |  #8

I wonder if we will see an eSATA spec updated to SATA III (6GB) speeds? Perhaps USB 3 can be so close that there will be little incentive to continue evloving eSATA?




  
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Strattos
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Jan 10, 2011 22:00 |  #9

Not sure how much help this is, but I recently transferred a heap of stuff off a Samsung Story external hard drive onto my HTPC via USB3. My HTPC is based around an Intel i3 530 and Western Digital Green 1tb drive.

It seemed to depend on what I was transferring, but sustained speeds of 70 mebabytes per second weren't unusual.

It would burst intially up about 100 and then settle down to this. However, some files also settled down to around the 45 mark.




  
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ProwlingTiger
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Jan 11, 2011 01:18 |  #10

Also keep in mind, actual speeds are limited by how fast the drive or memory can write data. Also, if using a hard drive, it can also depend on how full the drive is and how fragmented it is. So while USB 3.0 and Lightpeak may claim xGb/s, you're unlikely to achieve anything near that speed until drives and memory can write that fast.


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USB3 versus SATAII
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