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The Next Step, Hi-Speed USB 2.0

Results - Test 3, Stage 3

Test 2a, Stage 1 - Results of the CD burning test with a Plextor 2410A mounted in the Impulse cage and attached to a USB 1.1 port.

With the IBM drive removed from the ION enclosure and attached to the secondary IDE channel, we saw an average transfer rate of 10726.9 kbps. The CPU utilization fell to 3.6%. As you can see, the numbers are very similar to those of the USB 2.0 port.


Overall, the Impulse is a good product; the included USB 2.0 card is a very nice and needed addition. Though it did not fair well on the USB 1.1 port and the IDE channel, the Impulse did function perfectly as a USB 2.0 device. The LITE-ON drive that is in the Impulse should fill the needs for just about every user. We did show that, in its current production version, the Impulse is upgradeable, as demonstrated when we installed the Plextor in the Impulse enclosure. The ability to upgrade the drive will give new life to the Impulse when you start thinking about putting it on the shelf and going with a faster drive. Of course, upgrading your Impulse drive will void the warranty.

The ION enclosure is a nice product; the only problem is that very few of today's PCs have USB 2.0 ports. The ability to take your data in a 2.5" hard drive is very appealing, but the lack of a USB 2.0 port on your computer will limit full utilization of the drive. Until USB 2.0 is more readily available, the ION enclosure wouldn't give you much more than a backup drive for your laptop.

The results show that USB 2.0 has more (a lot more) bandwidth than USB 1.1. There are a lot more possibilities with USB 2.0 than USB 1.1. You are no longer limited to keyboards, mice, printers, scanners, or low frame rate web cams. Just like with FireWire or IEEE 1394 (400Mbps), digital video is now very much an option for good old USB. USB 2.0 has the advantage over FireWire. We are curious to see if the USB designers can keep up when IEEE 1394b devices are released. With 1394b, you will see the maximum transfer rate of 400Mbps jump to 3.2Gbps by the end of 2003.