USB 2.0, FireWire, Or eSATA: Which Interface Should You Use?

Test Setup And Throughput Diagrams

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System Hardware
CPUIntel Core i7-920 (45nm, 2.66 GHz, 8MB L2 Cache)
Motherboard (Socket 1366)Supermicro X8SAX Revision: 1.1, Chipset: Intel X58 + ICH10R, BIOS: 1.0B
RAM3 x 1GB DDR3-1333 Corsair CM3X1024-1333C9DHX
HDDSeagate NL35 400GB ST3400832NS, 7,200 RPM, SATA/150, 8MB Cache
GraphicsATI Radeon HD 3450 256MB DDR2 Memory
Power SupplyOCZ EliteXstream 800W OCZ800EXS-EU
Performance MeasurementsHD Tach 3.01
System Software & Drivers
Operating SystemWindows Vista Ultimate SP1
Intel ChipsetChipset Installation Utility
AMD GraphicsRadeon 8.12
Intel Matrix Storage8.7.0.1007

SimpleDrive III: 2TB (USB 2.0)

The USB 2.0 throughput diagram is typical--you get a constant throughput of more than 30 MB/s.

G-Technology G-Drive 1TB (FireWire 400)

FireWire 400 on the G-Technology hard drive is faster, as it delivers roughly 40 MB/s read speeds and a bit more than 30 MB/s write speeds.

G-Technology G-Drive 1TB (FireWire 800)

FireWire 800 is even better with 80 MB/s read speeds and a bit more than 60 MB/s write speeds. The diagram also clearly shows that the drive’s performance decreases a bit as you get closer to the end of the medium.

G-Technology G-Drive 1 TB (eSATA)

The eSATA throughput diagram underscores how this interface is the only one that doesn’t pose a bottleneck to the hard drive. All other diagrams mainly display a horizontal line, while the eSATA diagram reveals the true performance of the hard drive that G-Technology uses.

G-Technology G-Drive 1 TB (USB 2.0)

The G-Drive also supports USB 2.0, and it’s slightly faster than the SimpleDrive III.