Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Portable USB3 drives - appalling performance

  1. #1


    Hafnarfjörður IS
    Posts : 4,376
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10

    Portable USB3 drives - appalling performance


    Hi there

    IMO these portable USB3 self powered (passport) type drives are a total con with regard to performance -- I get SLOWER performance from these plugged into a proper USB3 port than I do from an older 7200 RPM Hitachi laptop drive connected to even a USB2 port via a SATA==>USB2 cable,

    (Not talking about large mains powered external USB3 drives -- these work fine).

    Am I alone in this or is this a general sentiment. Note the laptops I've been using have a genuine USB3 (blue) connector with two sockets on the disk end and am not using a hub.

    I'm still happy to use these small drives as they are 2GB - quite a decent capacity for a portable pocket size drive - but the performance leaves me seriously "underwhelmed".

    I know that 7200 RPM laptop HDD's are as rare as hens teeth these days but USB3 advertises itself as being capable of up to 10X USB 2 speed. My observation has been very different so far (apart from as I have said the full size non portable external MAINS powered USB3 drives which DO work as advertised).

    Cheers
    jimbo

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Orbiting the Moon
    Posts : 2,975
    Windows 10 x64


    The passport ones are probably those that get the 5V power from the USB port only. Bigger / 7200rpm drivers require external power supply providing the extra power mainly 12V (up to 2A) and we don't need to think twice which one of these drivers performs better.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo45 View Post
    Hi there

    IMO these portable USB3 self powered (passport) type drives are a total con with regard to performance -- I get SLOWER performance from these plugged into a proper USB3 port than I do from an older 7200 RPM Hitachi laptop drive connected to even a USB2 port via a SATA==>USB2 cable,
    My USB 3.0 passport drive gets around 60-70MB/sec on data transfers. A USB 2 port only gives at most about 30MB/sec.

    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo45 View Post
    I know that 7200 RPM laptop HDD's are as rare as hens teeth these days but USB3 advertises itself as being capable of up to 10X USB 2 speed.
    In theory, the bus for USB 3.0 can do 5Gbps, versus 480Mbit/sec with USB 2.0. But there isn't a standard mechanical hard drive around that's going to provide that type of throughput. You would have to be using an SSD to get to those types of speed.

    I'm perfectly content with my passport style drives for what they are. Basically I use them for backups, and secondary copies of stuff.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Hafnarfjörður IS
    Posts : 4,376
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10


    Quote Originally Posted by pparks1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo45 View Post
    Hi there

    IMO these portable USB3 self powered (passport) type drives are a total con with regard to performance -- I get SLOWER performance from these plugged into a proper USB3 port than I do from an older 7200 RPM Hitachi laptop drive connected to even a USB2 port via a SATA==>USB2 cable,
    My USB 3.0 passport drive gets around 60-70MB/sec on data transfers. A USB 2 port only gives at most about 30MB/sec.

    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo45 View Post
    I know that 7200 RPM laptop HDD's are as rare as hens teeth these days but USB3 advertises itself as being capable of up to 10X USB 2 speed.
    In theory, the bus for USB 3.0 can do 5Gbps, versus 480Mbit/sec with USB 2.0. But there isn't a standard mechanical hard drive around that's going to provide that type of throughput. You would have to be using an SSD to get to those types of speed.

    I'm perfectly content with my passport style drives for what they are. Basically I use them for backups, and secondary copies of stuff.
    Hi there

    I'm perfectly happy with these drives for my audio / backups etc - the fastest I've got these to perform though is around 40 mps /sec it often drops to around 20 - 25- - my USB2==>sata device gives me around 35 under nearly all circumstances !!! - It does draw though a lot more power than the passport drives. I think the much larger Cache on the 7200 rpm drive also improves things no end even though its a laptop drive.

    (Of course for performance - there's no alternative to decent SSD's currently).

    My Powered USB3 drives often give 120 or more -- my point was only to say if you are buying these drives for speed you probably will be disappointed - however for small 2GB portable drives they are cheap and convenient -- I wouldn't though rely on these for running a Windows to Go system or keeping Virtual Machines stored on them.

    Cheers
    jimbo
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

Portable USB3 drives - appalling performance
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