USB3 to laptop transfer speeds slow?

Hi there, I think I am experiencing slow USB transfer speed. I would like to ask the forum what I should do to try to get the speed up?

Im transferring from C: (Toshiba R835, blue USB3 port, HDD is 5400 RPM), to E: (Seagate GoFlex 1.5TB USB3 drive, RPM unknown). Im transferring PDF documents (~100GB), and using Windows Explorer (I dont use and have no other transfer tools installed). Im not using any other software at the time, and task manager shows between 5-10% use on background tasks only. The power plan is High Performance. During transfer, the CPU fan will spin up and CPU use will rise, but task manager shows the same use on background programs.

When I transfer from the PC to the USB drive, initially I get ~80MB/sec, which drops to between 15-20MB/sec after 30 seconds or so. I will only get this 15-20MB/sec speed for the remainder of the transfer.

When I transfer from the USB drive to the PC, initially I get ~120MB/sec, which drops to between 25-30MB/sec after 30 seconds or so. I will only get this 25-30MB/sec speed for the remainder of the transfer.

The above results are actually an improvement on what I started with. To try to get the speed up, I have updated the USB3.0 driver, and repartitioned and formatted the USB3 drive in Windows 7. I restart the computer before attempting a speed test.

CNET reviewed this drive and were able to get much higher transfer rates:

Any thoughts?
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  1. Sounds like you are seeing the difference in the speed of the two drives. Your laptop drive is much slower than your external. Reads are quicker than writes.
    File transfers don't take much cpu. Burst speeds are exponentially higher than sustained transfer speeds.
  2. ^+1, maybe.

    I'd get a copy of a disk benchmarking program like HDDTune and find out what speeds your drives are capable of. What you're seeing may simply be a result of the speed of the drive itself.
  3. Thanks for the replies,

    I ran Benchmark tests on the the two disks with HDDTune Pro, here are the results:

    Seagate GoFlex
    Transfer Min: 47.1 MB/sec
    Transfer Max: 98.1 MB/sec
    Transfer Average: 75.4 MB/sec
    Access Time: 20.3 ms
    Burst Rate: 124.5 MB/sec

    Hitachi HTS547564A9E (640 GB)
    Transfer Min: 38.4 MB/s
    Transfer Max: 90.8 MB/s
    Transfer Average : 69.1 MB/s
    Access Time: 19.3 ms
    Burst Rate: 145.8 MB/s

    I'm not sure how to interpret these results, if my file transfer rates are consistent and normal when compared with the HDDTune test results. But to me, on the face of it both drives seem upto it. Perhaps the bottleneck is in my software or drivers?
  4. I do wish Beyond Compare had some speed logging options... using this software, the ETA is 20 to 23 minutes. Using Windows Explorer the ETA is 2 hours 15 minutes, with an average transfer of 20 MB/sec (with different data, about 40GB).

    Maybe Windows Explorer is the problem... I need to step out now but will post some results from better testing soon.
  5. The the area you're reading from or writing to happens to be near the inner cylinders of the Hitachi drive, it looks like you can expect no more than about 40MByte/sec.

    And if there is any other activity going on with either drive, head movement will impact the transfer rates fairly significantly. The OS drive often has other activity going on in the background, so this is something to watch out for.
  6. Well I did some home tests, but don't take these figures as official! As you say sminlal there are too many variables out of my control. But they are official enough to satisfy myself... I think the below transfer rates are just as good as Im going to get out of it.

    But I am very interested in any comments on the speeds, if anyone thinks they should be better.

    Test 1, a 7.03 GB iso file

    PC to USB
    Windows Explorer 51 MB/sec (135 seconds)
    Beyond Compare 71 MB/sec (98 seconds; tested this one twice, second result was 95 seconds)
    TeraCopy 55 MB/sec (133 seconds)

    USB to PC
    Windows Explorer 45 MB/sec (155 seconds)
    Beyond Compare 43 MB/sec (161 seconds)
    TeraCopy 44 MB/sec (165 seconds)

    Test 2, 4.8 GB's of 400 .jpg's, some .cbr and .pdf files (3 GB)

    PC to USB
    Windows Explorer 29 MB/sec (165 seconds)
    Beyond Compare 33 MB/sec (146 seconds)
    TeraCopy 41 MB/sec (121 seconds)

    USB to PC
    Windows Explorer 30 MB/sec (160 seconds)
    Beyond Compare 30 MB/sec (160 seconds)
    TeraCopy 32 MB/sec (152 seconds)
  7. You'd expect to get slower transfer rates when moving numerous smaller files because the file system has to update directories and other metadata and that will result in a fair bit of head movement.
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