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external drive - Firewire vs USB vs ESata

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  • Hard Drives
  • External Drive
  • Firewire
  • Storage
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February 6, 2008 11:33:55 PM

HI all, i am wanting to get an external drive, specifically to use as a backup of my existing 200gig drive. I want a complete image, so if my hard drive fails, or the computer gets stolen, then i can reboot easily, with the same layout, programs, etc.

What is the difference between firewire, usb and esata?

In reality, speed doesnt mean much, as i will only use it once every six months or so, and i can always leave the computer on overnight

Can anyone tell me from this cpu z output if i can use firewire, or esata?

All help for this noob much appreciated

More about : external drive firewire usb esata

February 7, 2008 12:16:40 AM

hi, esata is the fastest connection (its "sata 2") if im not mistaken it has a transfer speed of 3 BG/s its much fater than USB, and firewire, i would go with that one if i had a choice, just make shoor u have an output for it on the back of ur mobo. usually nowedays the are the same price, if anythign i would buy a internal HD, and get a separate esata compatible enclosure(i got 2 myselfe), which accep esata for sata drives, but i can use tthe usb if the drive is an IDE type of drive, usually they cost a bout 10 to 20 more but they are worth it, if im not mistaken thermaltake had some good ones on newegg....hope this helps...g2g
February 7, 2008 12:43:23 AM

In terms of transfer rates:

eSATA > Firewire > USB

USB is more universal than the other two, if thats a concern.
Related resources
February 7, 2008 1:18:58 AM

esata (external sata) is the fastest but most computers dont have that port. firewire would be the 2nd fastest of the three, to know if you have one, go to control panel>Network connections> if theres a "1394 Connection" icon or an icon that states to have a connection speed of 400 mbps or 800 mbps, you have firewire.
December 17, 2009 11:43:33 PM

Those specifications don't always pan out in real life. Find some evaluation that used a large file to copy to an external drive via eSATA and FW 800. The number of seconds tells all, damn the specs.
March 9, 2010 9:35:57 PM

in real life i transfer large files between 1 internal sata 2 HD and an external esata HD at 90 mbps. It is the real tax rate. If i use an internal sata 2 HD and an external USB 2 HD, the max tax rate reach 30 mbps. The transfer rate between 2 hds sata 2 is about 100 mbs. I didn t test firewire and firewire 2. But, obvious, it will never go beyond the sata 2 transfer limits, as one of HD must be a internal HD, wich is sata 2, sata 1, PATA or SCSI (SCSI is not common and is not faster than sata 2). There is sata 3 too, but my hardwares still not support sata 3.

It is my real experience
a c 415 G Storage
March 9, 2010 10:20:29 PM

USB 2.0 is certainly a bottleneck, but that's not true of USB 3.0. For hard drives it's just as fast as eSATA and can use much longer cables which for me is an important advantage.
March 12, 2010 5:37:48 PM

Your speed is also determined by the RPM of the drive. If you are using a 5400 drive, then you can use USB and be fine. If a 7200 drive, I would go with eSATA, or FW800 if you are using a Mac.

For a single 7200 drive, speeds will be about the same for eSATA or FW800.

eSATA (3 Gb/s) > FW800 (800 Mb/s) > USB (480 Mb/s) > FW400 (400 Mb/s)

And like someone else mentioned, the specs of the interface are the max throughput, not necessarily the speed you will be transferring at. They are also read as giga or mega BITS, not bytes. Big difference.
a c 415 G Storage
March 12, 2010 9:26:31 PM

LightSpeedToEndor said:
If you are using a 5400 drive, then you can use USB and be fine.
True for USB 3.0, but not for USB 2.0. My WD Caviar green regularly hits transfer rates of up to 90MByte/sec on USB 3.0, but on USB 2.0 it's capped at about 35MByte/sec on a good day.
March 12, 2010 9:42:13 PM

sminlal said:
True for USB 3.0, but not for USB 2.0. My WD Caviar green regularly hits transfer rates of up to 90MByte/sec on USB 3.0, but on USB 2.0 it's capped at about 35MByte/sec on a good day.

True. I forgot we now have to distinguish between the two :) 

Just curious, are you using the WD in an enclosure? If so, what brand? And how are you connecting to your system? PCI Express, laptop card, new motherboard....
a c 415 G Storage
March 13, 2010 1:48:27 AM

I have an Asus P6T6 WS Revolution motherboard with a Unitek PCIe USB 3.0 adapter card. I've used the 1TB WD Greens drive on the internal SATA ports, on the external USB 2.0 ports attached to a VanTec USB 2.0 enclosure, and on the USB 3.0 ports attached to a Unitek docking station.
April 5, 2010 7:16:28 PM


I have finally got expresscard II eSATA extension to my laptop + 2.5" USB3.0 craddle, and decided to run my X25-M/160GB with these....

Well, although it is 3x faster than on USB2.0 then still it is a big disappointment.
I get maximum read transfer of 110MB/s, while on straight eSATA it is nearing 250MB/s.

But bigger suprise is the performance with small blocks.
Crystal Disk Mark shows about 20 and 50 MB/s read and write speed respectively at 4KB blocks on eSATA,
while it is only 12MB/s both ways with USB 3.0.

Still USB 3.0 seem to do much more to prevent capping any mechanical drive... however it still halves performance figures of decent SSD.
May 16, 2010 12:12:12 AM

HI All,

I am using an e-SATAp bracket (Also known as power over esata/ esata usb combo)

I am able to achieve.
3.5" HDD - Up to 90MB/s
2.5" HDD - Up to 65MB/s
My sata is only 1.5Gbps






Singaporean (sg) users, can contact me if they are interested in playing with e-sataP (newer esata)
July 5, 2010 11:30:31 PM

Hi

I just installed two hitachi 7200 drives as RAID 0 - the following are my test scores.





The motherboard advises that it supports 'SATA 3, 4x speed via RAID 0'. From the above scores is this statement accurate?

Thanks

Chris
July 8, 2010 4:16:37 AM

yes, around the speed.. but my advice, don't use RAID 0, use RAID 1+0 if possible. Tolerance up to 2 disk failure. Yet you have the speed of stripping.
February 19, 2012 7:17:22 PM

mafj said:
I have finally got expresscard II eSATA extension to my laptop + 2.5" USB3.0 craddle, and decided to run my X25-M/160GB with these....

Well, although it is 3x faster than on USB2.0 then still it is a big disappointment.
I get maximum read transfer of 110MB/s, while on straight eSATA it is nearing 250MB/s.

But bigger suprise is the performance with small blocks.
Crystal Disk Mark shows about 20 and 50 MB/s read and write speed respectively at 4KB blocks on eSATA,
while it is only 12MB/s both ways with USB 3.0.

Still USB 3.0 seem to do much more to prevent capping any mechanical drive... however it still halves performance figures of decent SSD.




Hi,
little bit late - to post here :-)
Do you know about connecting a Panasonic external "DVD-RAM" drive (eSata / 2 x Firewire / 1 x USB 2.0)
via PCMCIA II on an older Notebook, which has a PCMCIA Type II slot?

regards

Ftmmsch
!