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* Data Transfer - Fastest Speed

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July 8, 2012 5:11:35 AM


Hi everyone,

I want to transfer a big quantity of data (1.5 TB) from an external harddrive to another. I need to make that on a regular basis so it would be important for me that I can have the fastest speed possible for the data transfers.

An important thing is that the second external harddrive need to be Usb 2.0

A) I have heard about the software TeraCopy and FireWire, is there any others solutions that could make the data transfer faster?

B) If my first external harddrive is 3.0, I plug it into my computer motherboard which is also 3.0, but the second external harddrive which will be the recipient to the transfer is 2.0, Will it be using the usb 3.0 or 2.0. Or the three harddrive need to be usb 3.0.

Please if you know anything that could help me, let me know, that would be very appreciated!

Thank you
July 8, 2012 7:28:27 AM

Welcome to Tom's Hardware Forums,
If you are transferring to a USB 2.0 HDD, you are going to be limited to 2.0 speeds (480 Mbs), no getting around it even if everything else is USB 3.0 or eSATA.

a) I don't know about using software to copy files outside of what winexplorer does - firewire is a technology like USB - here's a good quote about the three interfaces
"Where a Firewire 800 7200-rpm hard drive can deliver sequential transfer rate of around 90MB/s, USB 2.0 hovers more around 40MB/s and USB 3.0 averages at 150MB/s." found here
http://www.everythingusb.com/comparison.html

B) If a hard drive is connected to the motherboard, it is usually considered "internal", I am assuming that the first "external"harddrive is connected through a USB 3.0 port on the case. The second external hard drive will simply take forever to do the transfer - or so it may seem.
Since you say you are going to do this on a regular basis, I would recommend looking into an eSATA enclosure like this
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
using your existing hard drive, put the USB 2.0 drive into one of those you'll be super speedy all around.

a b G Storage
July 8, 2012 8:00:05 AM

This is just not practical using USB2.0. youll probably get 25MB/s tops and take 24 hours+. esata would be a massive improvement.

what are.you actually trying to accomplish? backup? is it a desktop? why external drive? SATA docks/trays would be better if a desktop
Related resources
July 8, 2012 7:38:04 PM

C12Friedman said:
Welcome to Tom's Hardware Forums,
If you are transferring to a USB 2.0 HDD, you are going to be limited to 2.0 speeds (480 Mbs), no getting around it even if everything else is USB 3.0 or eSATA.

a) I don't know about using software to copy files outside of what winexplorer does - firewire is a technology like USB - here's a good quote about the three interfaces
"Where a Firewire 800 7200-rpm hard drive can deliver sequential transfer rate of around 90MB/s, USB 2.0 hovers more around 40MB/s and USB 3.0 averages at 150MB/s." found here
http://www.everythingusb.com/comparison.html

B) If a hard drive is connected to the motherboard, it is usually considered "internal", I am assuming that the first "external"harddrive is connected through a USB 3.0 port on the case. The second external hard drive will simply take forever to do the transfer - or so it may seem.
Since you say you are going to do this on a regular basis, I would recommend looking into an eSATA enclosure like this
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
using your existing hard drive, put the USB 2.0 drive into one of those you'll be super speedy all around.


Thanks you guys for the quick answers.

My internal harddrive is only a 300GB. So I could buy a 2TB internal harddrive, eSata is faster as I can see? But would I still need the Rosewill Enclosure that you have suggest to me?

So the data transfer from an internal eSata harddrive to a external usb 2.0 harddrive would be the best way for me?
a b G Storage
July 8, 2012 7:49:59 PM

Why do you have to use USB 2.0?

If one of the drives is USB 2.0 then it doesn't matter how fast the other drive is (USB 3.0,eSATA, etc.) because it will be limited by the USB 2.0 connection to the second drive.
July 8, 2012 8:00:28 PM

nik22 said:
Thanks you guys for the quick answers.

My internal harddrive is only a 300GB. So I could buy a 2TB internal harddrive, eSata is faster as I can see? But would I still need the Rosewill Enclosure that you have suggest to me?

So the data transfer from an internal eSata harddrive to a external usb 2.0 harddrive would be the best way for me?


You will want (not need if you have a lot of time) the enclosure. When you remove your HDD from it's current enclosure and place it into one of those enclosures, the HDD will no longer be USB 2.0, but eSATA or USB 3.0 - no longer limited by 2.0 speeds. USB 2.0 will not be anywhere in your HDD transfer system and can be forgotten about.
July 8, 2012 8:35:37 PM

Alright, that make sense, thanks again

I guess I might want to consider using Usb 3.0 at the end...

It was only because I have a better price for the usb 2.0 external harddrive then the 3.0.

Now Im gonna need to buy a new motherboard!

But just one last question if you guys dont mind: Is it faster transfering from the desktop internal harddrive to and external, from an external to another, or it doesnt change anything.
July 8, 2012 8:54:28 PM

nik22 said:
Alright, that make sense, thanks again

I guess I might want to consider using Usb 3.0 at the end...

It was only because I have a better price for the usb 2.0 external harddrive then the 3.0.

Now Im gonna need to buy a new motherboard!

But just one last question if you guys dont mind: Is it faster transfering from the desktop internal harddrive to and external, from an external to another, or it doesnt change anything.


No change - you'll still be at whatever speeds your interface (2.0, 3.0, eSATA) dictates
July 9, 2012 1:15:54 AM

"It was only because I have a better price for the usb 2.0 external harddrive then the 3.0. "

Do you NEED an external hard drive? Getting a standard 3.5" disk drive and installing in your PC is one of the easier tasks and it's cheaper than an external drive and gives better performance (but if you need external for example to move data between PCs then you need external). To install a second drive in your PC you just need a free drive bay in your case and a free sata connector on the MB -- tough for a laptop easy for most other systems.

"But just one last question if you guys dont mind: Is it faster transfering from the desktop internal harddrive to and external, from an external to another, or it doesnt change anything."

Data is never moved directly from disk to disk. The data is always read from one disk into memory in your PC then written from memory in your PC to the other disk. Reading and writing data is really easy for the CPU and Memory, so the limit to moving data is the rate that you can read or write the disk drives.

The rate you can read or write the disk drive is the smaller of (the drive speed) and (the link speed connecting the drive).

For SATA disk drives (internal or external) each SATA drive is typically on a channel that can move >150MB/sec. So the limit is the drive speed. Modern spinning disk drives rarely read/write faster than 100MB/sec.

For USB2 the link limit is about 20-40 MB/sec of actual data. Many USB2 ports can come from a single HUB and they all use the same 20-40MB so copying between two external USB2 disks might be limited to 10-20MB/sec (if on same hub) or might be 20-40 MB/sec (if you have them plugged into different hubs). USB2 attached disk are typically limed by USB speed not disk speed.


!