USB 2.0 vs. USB 3.0 SATA Dock Performance

The theoretical speed of a bus like USB is different from what devices are able to achieve in practice. USB 2.0’s theoretical max is 480Mbps, while USB 3.0 jumps that up to 4.8Gbps.

Today we’re benchmarking the Plugable USB 3.0 HDD Docking Station, which is capable of running on either USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 systems, to show what to expect in terms of performance.

While the low-level Windows drivers are different for USB 2.0 (Microsoft EHCI) and USB 3.0 (NEC/Renesas XHCI), above that layer, everything is common, using the drivers already present in Windows. This includes the existing Microsoft USB Mass Storage class driver that does much of the heavy lifting for USB-attached disks.

About the test platform:

Programs used:

HDTune (USB 2.0)

HDTune (USB 2.0)

HDTune (USB 3.0)

HDTune (USB 3.0)

CrystalDiskMark (USB 2.0)

CrystalDiskMark (USB 2.0)

CrystalDiskMark (USB 3.0)

CrystalDiskMark (USB 3.0)

ATTO Disk Benchmark (USB 2.0)

ATTO Disk Benchmark (USB 2.0)

ATTO Disk Benchmark (USB 3.0)

ATTO Disk Benchmark (USB 3.0)

Conclusion:

HDTune reports an Average Transfer Rate increase from 36.4MB/sec to 97.9MB/sec. This is about 168% faster than USB 2.0

CrystalDiskMark reports a sequential Read increase from 38.43MB/s to 107.6MB/s and a Write increase from 36.61MB/s to 88.75MB/s. That’s a 179.9% increase for Reading and a 149.2% increase for Writing.

ATTO Disk Benchmark reports a Read increase from 38402 to 105268 (KBytes/sec) and a Write increase from 35696 to 85762 (KBytes/sec) . Those are  174.12% increases for Reading and 140.25% increases for Writing accordingly.

Summary of Results

Summary of Results

If we were to get the average of the 3 tests we would get an average speed increase of 162.2%. A transfer that would take about 5 minutes on USB 2.0, would complete in roughly 2 minutes on USB 3.0.

These numbers may increase slightly in the future with USB-attached SCSI support, USB 3.0 streams, and other driver/firmware updates. But 2-3 times faster in practice is a good baseline for expectations.

We welcome any comments, corrections, or your own benchmark results.

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3 comments on “USB 2.0 vs. USB 3.0 SATA Dock Performance”

  1. N K Reply

    I just purchased a plugable USB3.0; when I run it in USB 2.0 mode, copying large files (2GB each) to the device transfers at 25.0MB/s under Windows Vista. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong; the HD is a Hitachi 3TB, 64MB cache, 7200RPM drive.

  2. Lampros Reply

    Hi!

    Thanks for your comment!

    Depending on your system this may be expected behavior.

    Most likely the reason may lie with your data source. Is it another hard drive? If yes, what are the specs of it?

    Also, are you using a benchmarking tool to measure that, or is it just Windows Explorer reporting it?

    Try using one of the tools listed above and let us know what are the speeds you get. Please make sure not to have antivirus software running during the test, as it can slow down your system significantly.

    Let us know how it goes, or e-mail us at support@plugable.com to investigate this in depth! We’re here to help!

    Have a great day!
    – Lampros

  3. tarsusbound Reply

    Well done benchmarking – very helpful real world results not to be confused with theoretical specs which are often unrepresentative of what can be expected. Thank – you

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