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Data transfer rate from SATA HDD in USB 2 docking station to USB 3 HDD

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January 16, 2013 9:34:20 AM

I have a Seagate Momentus 7200.4 SATA HDD inserted inside a USB 2.0 (not 3.0) external enclosure. I want to copy some of the data on it to a USB 3.0 external HDD. As the drive won't mount in Windows 8, I'm having to use a Ubuntu 12.10 LiveDVD's "Try Ubuntu" feature to do this.

According to the data sheet for the Momentus 7200.4 (http://www.seagate.com/docs/pdf/datasheet/disc/ds_momen...), its speed is 3 Gb/s. However, I know it's going to be much lower than this when used with USB 2.0 instead of SATA. I realize it will be even lower when copying to another USB drive, and possibly lower once more as a result of Ubuntu running off of a DVD.

When trying to copy data from the SATA HDD in the USB 2.0 docking station to the USB 3.0 external HDD inside Ubuntu using the LiveDVD's "Try Ubuntu" feature, the data rate starts out at around 600 kbps (IIRC) but quickly begins slowing down and converges to around either 90 kbps or 120 kbps (I've gotten both of these rates on different attempts that all ended up being interrupted).

Is this horrendous speed normal? If not, what kind of speed should I be experiencing?

Is it this slow due to running Ubuntu off of the LiveDVD's "Try Ubuntu" feature?

How much faster could I expect the transfer rate to be if I used a USB 3.0 docking station or external enclosure instead of the USB 2.0 docking station that I have (it would then be copying from one USB 3.0 device to another USB 3.0 device)?

I realize it would be faster if I had the SATA drive inserted internally, but that's not an option for me.

Thanks!
a b G Storage
January 16, 2013 11:08:02 AM

You're confusing interface speed with actual drive speed. SATAII has a 3gb/s interface speed, regardless of drive. The actual speed of that particular drive will be roughly 100 MB/s . The USB2.0 speeds top out at 40MB/s, but don't be surprised to see 20 . USB3.0 is theorically 10x USB2.0 but real speeds depends alot on the chipsets. So yes, a second USB3.0 will be faster, but not what you were expecting.
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January 17, 2013 7:38:24 AM

abbadon_34 said:
You're confusing interface speed with actual drive speed. SATAII has a 3gb/s interface speed, regardless of drive. The actual speed of that particular drive will be roughly 100 MB/s . The USB2.0 speeds top out at 40MB/s, but don't be surprised to see 20 . USB3.0 is theorically 10x USB2.0 but real speeds depends alot on the chipsets. So yes, a second USB3.0 will be faster, but not what you were expecting.
Thanks for your reply. I'm not sure what to expect for the speed, since I'm copying from one USB device to another, all while the OS that's facilitating the transfer is being run on a DVD.

How much faster could I expect the transfer to be if I used a USB 3.0 docking station / external enclosure instead of my USB 2.0 docking station? How much faster could I expect it to be if I installed Ubuntu and ran it from my HDD instead of the LiveDVD?
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a b G Storage
January 17, 2013 8:39:23 AM

Running it from the LiveCD isn't an issue as long as the right drivers are there. Though I am wondering about that, snce those numbers could mean that something is reverting to USB1.1 as thats only 1.5MB/s max. I'm no expert in Linux so I can't troubleshoot that part. But assuming the drivers are right, you should about 100MB/s, or a couple gigs a minute, assuming you are doing a large sequential transfer on a defragmented drive. Just remember it is limited by the slowest link in the chain.
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January 17, 2013 12:58:25 PM

abbadon_34 said:
Running it from the LiveCD isn't an issue as long as the right drivers are there. Though I am wondering about that, snce those numbers could mean that something is reverting to USB1.1 as thats only 1.5MB/s max. I'm no expert in Linux so I can't troubleshoot that part. But assuming the drivers are right, you should about 100MB/s, or a couple gigs a minute, assuming you are doing a large sequential transfer on a defragmented drive. Just remember it is limited by the slowest link in the chain.
How do I check and see if the right drivers are present on the Ubuntu LiveDVD? I assume the only driver of concern would be the USB controller, right?

I'm a bit confused by your comment about something possibly reverting to USB 1.1, as the speeds that I'm getting are way less than 1.5 MB/s.

To be honest, in the 3 years that I used that drive (internally with my old, all-but-dead laptop), I don't know if I ever ran the Disk Defragmenter on it. Since the drive won't mount in Windows, I'm not sure how I could defragment it now, and it seems like it probably wouldn't be a good idea to attempt to modify the drive like that when it already has issues.
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a b G Storage
January 17, 2013 8:18:44 PM

Do you have existing problems with either of these drives? I have been assuming they were good since you didn't menton otherwise. If you have been having troubles with one it would explain the transfer rate, it's start to read and write the file normally, but then encounters an error, and slows or stop to try to read or correct it.
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January 18, 2013 12:14:04 PM

abbadon_34 said:
Do you have existing problems with either of these drives? I have been assuming they were good since you didn't menton otherwise. If you have been having troubles with one it would explain the transfer rate, it's start to read and write the file normally, but then encounters an error, and slows or stop to try to read or correct it.
The USB 3.0 external HDD has no issues at all, but apparently the SATA drive has some problems. I never had any trouble with it in my old laptop (which is all-but-dead due to a power supply issue - nothing to do with the drive), but the partition on that drive that has my old laptop's OS and all the data I want to copy won't mount in Windows. There are 3 partitions in total on that drive (including the one I want to copy from), and Computer will let me explore one or sometimes both of the other partitions, but never the one I need to access (although it does list it). When the drive is connected via the docking station, Disk Management won't load (it hangs at the "Connecting to Virtual Disk Service..." message). Other programs such as TestDisk and PhotoRec have also failed to properly load while it's connected.

In Ubuntu, sometimes the partition with the files I want to copy will mount immediately, while other times it won't mount even after trying to force mount it. There are a few files that I've found errors with, but otherwise my files appear to be intact.

Would I still likely see a speed increase from using a USB 3.0 docking station / external enclosure instead of the USB 2.0 docking station I'm using, and if so, how much?

The docking station I have is a Thermaltake BlacX ST0005U. I don't believe it has a fan, but I've read that the Thermaltake docking stations keep the drive cool. Is the lack of a fan causing the drive to heat up and slowing me down at all? It also doesn't list either Windows 8 or Linux as compatible operating systems; could that be a problem?
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a b G Storage
January 21, 2013 6:59:29 AM

It sounds like there may be physical damage to the trouble partition. What OS were you running on the laptop? Are you able to try the drive in a Win7 (or earlier) environment? What file system is used on the partitions? None of these touched a Mac right?
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January 21, 2013 8:39:32 AM

abbadon_34 said:
It sounds like there may be physical damage to the trouble partition. What OS were you running on the laptop? Are you able to try the drive in a Win7 (or earlier) environment? What file system is used on the partitions? None of these touched a Mac right?
I was running Windows Vista on the old laptop. Unfortunately, no, I am not able to try the drive in a Windows 7 or earlier environment. The file system is NTFS. The drive has never been connected to a Mac at all.
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a b G Storage
January 24, 2013 7:05:05 AM

Try running the manufacturers diagnostic on the disk, i.e. if it's a Western Digital use WD DataLifeGuard, or Seagate use Seatools, etc. Full test no write.
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January 24, 2013 9:44:57 AM

abbadon_34 said:
Try running the manufacturers diagnostic on the disk, i.e. if it's a Western Digital use WD DataLifeGuard, or Seagate use Seatools, etc. Full test no write.
It's a Seagate, so I downloaded Seatools for Windows. I don't see any option for "Full test no write" though. Under "Basic Tests," my options are:

*Short Drive Self Test
*Drive Information
*Short Generic
*Long Generic
*Advanced Tests

Which of these do you recommend?
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a b G Storage
January 25, 2013 1:44:26 AM

Start with the Shorts then move on to the Long Generic (might take several hours)
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!