If you read “Are you like me?” or “Who the heck is this guy?“, you hopefully read in the very first sentence of the disclaimer: “I’m not an expert, I’m going to make mistakes (and learn from them).” Well, here we are.
My test results confused me a bit, and I went digging for answers for why I didn’t see as much difference between USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 as I expected. Looking at the USB Wikipedia page, USB 2.0 should be capable of 60MB/sec. (theoretically) and USB 3.0 should be 625MB/sec. (!). Since the 400X card is rated for 60MB/sec. minimum sustained transfer speed, it should pretty much fill the USB 2.0 bus. The 1000X card has a whopping 150MB/sec minimum, so clearly you’re going to need USB 3.0 to get the performance the card offers.
So what was the problem? Drivers. My ThinkPad T430s was running a generic load of Window 7 that didn’t have the USB 3.0 drivers installed, so I didn’t get the speed benefit on my first run of tests. I updated everything and re-ran the tests using the same methodology as before, though I had to use a different set of files – I’d uploaded the ones I wanted and deleted the rest. The new batch was more files but smaller on average, totaling 2.02GB.
So how did it all come out?
400X SD from USB 3.0 Reader: 51:0
1000X CF from USB 3.0 Reader: 11:0
Internal Reader: 1:02
400X SD from USB 2.0 Reader: 2:29.5
1000X CF from USB 2.0 Reader: 1:09.8
The updated drivers didn’t change the USB 2.0 or internal reader results, but saw the USB 3.0 performance crush the previous tests and USB 2.0. The 1000X card was over six times faster on USB 3.0 where it could run at full speed, just 11 seconds for over 2GB of photos!
So the new takeaways:
- If it sounds wrong, it probably is.
- Always, always keep your drivers up to date.
- If you want maximum performance from newer cards, USB 3.0 rocks!