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My USB 3.0 is slow

  • Hard Drives
  • Western Digital
  • USB3
  • External Hard Drive
  • Storage
Last response: in Storage
July 5, 2011 4:37:14 PM


I just bought a WD Passport external hard drive with USB 3.0, but when I tried it, I only got writing speeds of about 30-39 MB/s, which is the same speed as my USB 2.0.
I bought this USB 3.0 hard drive thinking that it would increase the writing speed greatly, but it does not seem to be working. Is there some sort of trick or activation that I need to do in order to reach these high writing speeds?


P.S. I have SSD installed, so this should give out decent writing speeds isnt it? even with the USB 2.0 30 MB/s is pretty slow i think

More about : usb slow

a c 106 G Storage
July 5, 2011 5:10:23 PM

Hi there, & Welcome to Tom's Hardware Forum!

You are almost there. Remember that for an external USB 3.0 drive to function at USB 3 speeds, you need to have a USB 3 MB controller and port, to connect it to. And you may well need to enable it in the BIOS.

You didn't mention what MB you are using and if it does have a USB 3 port (blue color insert) adapter that you are using.
Just connecting a faster USB 3 drive to your MB's USB 2 port will cause it to run at the slower USB 2 speed.
July 5, 2011 5:18:41 PM

Hi John

How do I enable it in the BIOS?
I am running a Toshiba laptop and I do have a blue USB 3.0 port but I don't know what type of MB I am can I find out? But I think it should work because I have a USB 3.0 driver in the Device Manager (Renesas Electronics USB 3.0 Host Controller)
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a c 106 G Storage
July 5, 2011 6:10:00 PM

scout9 said:
Hi John

How do I enable it in the BIOS?
I am running a Toshiba laptop and I do have a blue USB 3.0 port but I don't know what type of MB I am can I find out? But I think it should work because I have a USB 3.0 driver in the Device Manager (Renesas Electronics USB 3.0 Host Controller)

Look in the Device Manager, and if the USB 3 port has no red X or yellow exclamation point, it is probably working oK.

But reboot, and at the splash screen, click del (or another key for your computer) to get to the BIOS. On the Integrated Peripherals page there should be a couple lines for the Renesas controller, and usuall there is an enable/disable choice. Make sure it is enabled.

Also, I don't know if it is a requirement, but most USB 3 ports have a blue insert. Make sure in your manual you are using the USB 3 port.
What is the model # of your toshiba laptop? Sometimes the put the manual online with pages of the BIOS to review.
July 5, 2011 6:36:16 PM

the USB 3 port has no red X or yellow exclamation point.
it is enabled in the BIOS
and both the USB 3 port and hard drive cable have blue inserts
the model # is Toshiba Tecra R840
a c 415 G Storage
July 5, 2011 7:01:36 PM

Two other points to note:

1) Be sure you're using a USB 3.0 cable. USB 3.0 is backwards compatible with USB 2.0 devices, and you can actually use a USB 2.0 cable with USB 3.0 devices. But a USB 2.0 cable doesn't have the extra conductors needed to get USB 3.0 speeds.

2) Portable (2.5") hard drives don't have transfer rates as fast as those of desktop (3.5") drives, and it's possible that those speeds are normal for the type of drive you have, especially if it's operating near the innermost cylinders where the transfer rates are the slowest.
a c 106 G Storage
July 5, 2011 7:24:50 PM

Hi again,

Very good point made by Sminlal, you also have to have a USB 3 cable to connect the two!

I checked the manual, no BIOS shots to review, but it does have the blue USB port on the right side and a video presented by Toshiba specifically states it has the 1 USB 3 port. So you are OK there.

Only other thing to check in the BIOS is that the Renesas controller is enabled. Honestly, with it disabled, you wouldn't get any output from it, but that's all to check. It may well be that you will only get 40 MB/s (320Mb/s) from the ext drive.

Did you check the read/write speed with a high quality applet like HD Tune or HD Tune Pro? Might run the free version which shows you the read speeds from all areas of the drive, for baseline.

July 5, 2011 7:35:09 PM

The cable I am using has a blue USB, so I am assuming it is a USB 3 cable.
The Renesas controller is enabled in the BIOS. And I just checked the speeds with HD Tune and I got an average of 71.7 MB/s , a min of 39.8 MB/s , and a max of 91.8 MB/s
a c 415 G Storage
July 5, 2011 8:50:52 PM

If those are the speeds you're getting with your drive hooked up via USB then it must be working fine - anything over around 40MByte/sec can't be achieved with USB 2.0, only with USB 3.0.

The minimum 39.8MByte/sec corresponds pretty closely with the speed you reported in your first post, which suggests that whatever you were doing to get that speed was using the slowest part of the drive.
July 8, 2011 3:05:19 AM

I'm having the same issue. I just bought a Toshiba Satellite P745 with an external USB 3.0 Toshiba hard drive and when I copied a large file there was not a difference in speed. I was getting approx. 24 Mbps using the USB 3.0 port on the laptop with the USB 3.0 external hard drive. I tried the USB 2.0 port on the laptop and got the same speeds. The speed was the same going both ways...from the laptop to the external HD or from the external HD to the laptop. This is my first Toshiba laptop and I'm not thrilled about the performance so far.
a c 415 G Storage
July 8, 2011 5:54:49 AM

I'd use HDDTune to measure the raw transfer rates of your internal and external drive. Its possible your bottleneck is with the internal or external drive itself and not with the USB connection. USB 2.0 is capable of practical speeds up to around 35-40MByte/sec, and if the internal or external drive is slower than that then copying files between them won't be any faster with USB 3.0.
April 30, 2015 4:35:06 AM

Hello Team: Id like to ask for more feed-back on this Topic of using 2.0/3.0 USB 4 Way HUB(s) "Silver" (Ports) - Just out of interest ;- What would happen if you connect more than ONE USB Hubs together - Would your Transfer Speed Double or still run the same speed as if your using just the One USB HUB Or is this idea just not recommended> If your Answer says doubling your speed will work.. What should the Max MBPS/ Rate Should Be standing at. Lets as a movie files called: MyJoureny.MP4 Size: 1GB _ looking forward to your Response Male/Nullgest7/Au
How to Enable USB 3.0 on a Toshiba Laptop.
First make sure you have a USB 3.0 Port the device you use should also have a USB 3.0 Logo then check if your usb 3.0 hub is functioning from the device manager: This is how to enable the USB 3.0 From HWSetup: an out-of-the-box Toshiba... See full content
a b G Storage
April 30, 2015 9:45:06 AM

OP, you say you have a WD passport, is this a 2.5" portable drive? Not exactly a screamer, what kind of thruput are you expecting out of this drive? Lots of stuff are said to work USB3 (yes you got a fast highway), but to actually moving things at USB3 speed is another matter (the cars maybe Hyundais). What the model of this WD passport drive and what the spec says the speed you should be getting?