What is the supposed advantage to USB 3.0?

vbimport

#1

Let me rephrase… What is the supposed advantage to USB 3.0 Vs eSATA?

The reason I’m asking is that recently a neighbor asked me to edit a large group of audio (mostly mp3) files and in moving them to his USB 3.0 WD Passport Drive the entire copy operation, involving 212gb of files the copy operation to his drive took 188 minutes yes, that’s right 3hours 8min.

a similar copy operation, identical group of files, same source drive, same files, same copying program, the only difference being that the second copy operation was to a WD 320gb drive in an eSATA enclosure.

This second copy run took 91minutes.

Same group of files, same desktop computer.

The Both the eSATA and USB3.0 running off PCIe cards.

I was under the impression that USB3.0 was supposed to be FASTER
than eSATA… by a proportion of 5:3, I was not expecting eSATA to WIN
by almost exactly 2:1 in a head-to-head test.

I really doubt anyone else is comparison testing doing >200gb write operations…

For Whatever it’s worth BOTH destination drives were empty.

The copy operations were run from a SATAIII data drive

The copy runs were done back to back, the USB3.0 run was
done with the computer idle, during the eSATA run I actually
browsing ebay with my email open…

I feel somewhat disappointed with the USB3.0…


#2

For 3.5" external HDDs, eSATA is generally better, not just for speed:

[ol]
[li]The SATA connection goes directly from the HDD to the controller in the PC, where as with USB, the performance often depends on the USB to SATA controller in the drive. So with an eSATA drive, the performance is generally no worse than having that HDD physically attached to an internal SATA port. [/li][li]eSATA generally supports threaded transfers, especially when connected with an on-board SATA port with AHCI enabled. Very few USB 3.0 HDDs support UASP. Without UASP, multi-threaded transfers are not possible and this makes quite a difference when copying multiple small files. [/li][li]eSATA also has the advantage of being bootable, especially when connected with an on-board SATA port.[/li][/ol]

USB 3.0 on the other hand is mainly useful for smaller devices such as flash drives and 2.5" HDDs:

[ol]
[li]With eSATA a separate power cable is usually required to power the external drive. For example, a USB 3.0 2.5" HDD can be powered with a single cable. While eSATA flash drivess do exist, they generally require a separate power connection, where as a USB 3.0 flash drive works just like a USB 2.0 drive. [/li][li]The plug is backwards compatible with USB2. For example, an eSATA flash drive could not be simply plugged into a USB 2.0 port.[/li][li]USB 2.0 devices can be plugged in a USB 3.0 port, where as a spare eSATA port cannot be used for USB connections.[/li][li]It’s possible to plug multiple USB 3.0 drives in a single port with a USB 3.0 hub (at a cost of sharing the bandwidth.)[/li][/ol]


#3

Allan, I don’t have any PCI cards to test with - all of our USB 3’s and eSATAs are native-on-motherboards and those have USB 3 transfers at about a 30% speed advantage.

One thing we’ve learned in practice is that the so-called "green’ drives with power-down capabilities, are bad news on eSATAs, whereas sticking those in a USB 3 external case will give better functionality and speedier transfers. We think the eSATA is ‘smarter’ and senses a power-down state, and thus gives the computer a warning. That warning, however, looks like, “Disconnect! Drive no longer available!” ugh.


#4

212 GB in 188 minutes is 19 MB/s which is USB 2.0 speed.

Are you sure that the drive AND the port AND the cable are all USB 3.0?

For large files (movie rips) I’m getting 50-100 MB/s transfer to my external USB 3.0 attached 2.5" drives, depending on which drive (Samsung or WD) and whether it’s the slow or fast part of the drive I’m writing to.


#5

My own external HDDs transfer at the same speeds on either USB-3 or eSATA, no difference. Either interface is considerably faster than the average HDD. You may see differences with very fast SSDs, but we’re talking seconds on a large multi-GB transfer.


#6

[QUOTE=DrageMester;2658826]212 GB in 188 minutes is 19 MB/s which is USB 2.0 speed.

Are you sure that the drive AND the port AND the cable are all USB 3.0?

For large files (movie rips) I’m getting 50-100 MB/s transfer to my external USB 3.0 attached 2.5" drives, depending on which drive (Samsung or WD) and whether it’s the slow or fast part of the drive I’m writing to.[/QUOTE]

The USB3.0 drive is a WD 1tb factory made “My Passport” external drive clearly Labeled "USB 3.0 SuperSpeed"
I am using the WD cable with it a standard USB 2.0 cable will physically not work with this drive/enclosure

The eSATA drive is a 2.5" WD “Blue” notebook drive in a Rocketfish
eSATA enclosure (this enclosure can also be used with USB2.0)

Both drives are 5400rpm SATAII Notebook drives inside their respective enclosures.

And yeah, I know the speed is approximatly USB2.0 speed, that’s why I’m annoyed.

Both The eSATA and USB3.0 PCIe cards in my computer are
"Rocketfish" cards (Made in Taiwan), which are a “BestBuy” house brand
(I bought them off ebay for $10 shipped)

and the USB3.0 is a “Superspeed” card, it seems to be anything but…

taking 90minutes or so to write 220-odd Gb of files is acceptable.
3hours plus for the same files is not.

My original thought on USB3.0 was that when it was announced, (which was literally Hours after I finally ordered three identical full height controller cards, one low profile card for my back-up system and 15 drive enclosures)
was that I figuired "when someone shows up here with a USB3.0 enclosure and data I’ll by hardware to
accomodate it.

That finally happened… I ordered hardware… and I’m somewhere between disappointed and ticked
off that I wasted time & money doing so.

I’ve repeated the test again with the same results

Next I’m getting ONE Rocketfish USB3.0 Enclosure to test and see if perhaps it is the WD passport drive and/or enlosure that is the issue, (but again, the Passport is “USB 3.0 SuperSped” labeled…)

That way I can test the SAME physical drive in two different enclosures
from the same vendor.

I know that when you do a test and what you expected to happen is what occurs,
the only thing you learn i something you already knew.
The time you actually “learn” something is when the test results are different
from your expectations.

Well it seems I learned something…

But just for jollies, I just reinstalled the device driver for the USB 3.0 card


#7

I wonder what kind of controller chip this Rocketfish uses? Here’s a NewEgg page showing a variety of resellers’ products.

One Silverstone uses a TUSB7340 (???). Others use VLI VL800s, some use NEC 0720s, and others have Etron chips.

If you pull out that RocketFish card again, could you list the central chip’s ID?


#8

[QUOTE=ChristineBCW;2658986]I wonder what kind of controller chip this Rocketfish uses? Here’s a NewEgg page showing a variety of resellers’ products.

One Silverstone uses a TUSB7340 (???). Others use VLI VL800s, some use NEC 0720s, and others have Etron chips.

If you pull out that RocketFish card again, could you list the central chip’s ID?[/QUOTE]

I bought two identical cards at the same time so checking is not difficult, the controller chip is an NEC 0720

The card is actually identified in my Device drivers and while installing the driver as being made by “Renesas Electronics”

I did reinstall the driver, but have not had time to run the my long write test again.

I do >200gb continuous write operations several times a week as a matter of routine. Which is why I went shopping for faster ways to transfer files.

The only explanation I have is that the driver for my
PCIe USB3.0 Card got “lost” somehow and it was running
at USB2.0 speed in some sort of “default mode”.
But I can only prove that after I do a successful 200gb Write to the external drive and it takes the proper amount of time.

All I can say at this point is that I’m glad I didn’t spend the money on
a USB3.0 enclosure for my Sata-III 2TB drive, it’s operating in an eSATA enclosure.


#9

You should try downloading the NEC drivers for USB 3.0. Those are the gold standard from what I understand.

Was there a Molex power connection on the back of the USB 3.0 card? The reason I ask is that the PCI card I have has one. Evidently it takes some juice to power up USB 3.0 connections.

Also, USB 3.0 cables are required because the connection itself takes more power than a USB 2.0.

I’d personally be suspicious of any house brand Best Buy stuff, since I’ve had repetitively bad experiences with their Insignia line.


#10

I did a few SSD speed test a while ago using a ‘Thermaltake BlacX 5G’ docking station and Akasa Flexstor Disklink cable.

Both reached 180-190MB/s in HD Tune. That’s more than you’d get from SATA 1, but obviously below what SATA 2 and 3 are capable of.

That said, 180-190MB/s is way more than the vast majority of hdds could ever hope to achieve.

The NEC chipset cards have both driver AND firmware updates. Station-Drivers normally pops up in the Google search results when looking for such things. My motherboard has a couple of VLi USB 3.0 hubs on it too, so I updated the firmware for those just to keep things in sync (it was only working in USB 2.0 mode after updating the controller firmware and before I did that).


#11

Allan, I don’t know where the solution is but obviously something isn’t performing like it should. I’ll see if I can find a link to the NEC “gold standard” USB 3 drivers. Renesas is a familiar name, and I think SYBA and KOUTECH use the same or similar drivers.

As for firmware updates - which is a likely issue, too - I don’t know where those could be located at. Time for the Sherlock cap, obviously.

I’d think that, if there were Registry cap limits installed, a driver would alter those. I know there are caps on Ethernets that I can adjust to increase PC to PC transfer rates.


#12

Everything you need can be found here - http://www.station-drivers.com/page/renesas.htm

When you install the drivers you’ll have a program on the machine that can be used to tell you the firmware version.

For me, it’s here…

C:\Program Files (x86)\Renesas Electronics\USB 3.0 Host Controller Driver\Application
usb3utl.exe

Run it and it’ll tell you the driver + firmware version.

Mine currently sits at Driver: 2.1.36.0 and FW: 3034.


#13

[QUOTE=yojimbo197;2659171]You should try downloading the NEC drivers for USB 3.0. Those are the gold standard from what I understand.

Was there a Molex power connection on the back of the USB 3.0 card? The reason I ask is that the PCI card I have has one. Evidently it takes some juice to power up USB 3.0 connections.

Also, USB 3.0 cables are required because the connection itself takes more power than a USB 2.0.

I’d personally be suspicious of any house brand Best Buy stuff, since I’ve had repetitively bad experiences with their Insignia line.[/QUOTE]

Not a Molex, but it has a floppy power jack on it and yes it is connected.

I’m thinking that driver and/or firmware is likely an issue

[QUOTE=LIGHTNING UK!;2659230]Everything you need can be found here - http://www.station-drivers.com/page/renesas.htm

When you install the drivers you’ll have a program on the machine that can be used to tell you the firmware version.

For me, it’s here…

C:\Program Files (x86)\Renesas Electronics\USB 3.0 Host Controller Driver\Application
usb3utl.exe

Run it and it’ll tell you the driver + firmware version.

Mine currently sits at Driver: 2.1.36.0 and FW: 3034.[/QUOTE]

On mine the same string with “Rocketfish” substituted for “Renesas Electronics”, tells me the driver version is: 2.0.4.0
and the Firmware is: 3025

my latest test run, just completed 147minutes

227,754,992,373bytes, 24,791 files, 2671 folders

So I definatly agree, something is definatly not right.


#14

[QUOTE=Seán;2658703]For 3.5" external HDDs, eSATA is generally better, not just for speed:
[/QUOTE]

Yeah, that’s what I also believe in.