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Old 02-19-2011, 10:09 PM
Lamar Owen
Default USB 3.0 support, and results.

For future information searches.....

Bought a USB 3.0 external 2.5 inch hard drive the other day (WD 500GB 'My Passport Essential'), and bought a Goe (Generic off-eBay) ExpressCard USB 3.0 controller (generic NEC xHCI), and have now had opportunity to set up and test.

The first thing, of course, was to re-enable USB 3.0 (xHCI) functionality; found that on the F14 bugs page ( http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Common_F14_bugs#USB_3.0_ports_not_working ).

Once that was done, the WD drive came up fine, and at SuperSpeed. (I can see it now: USB 6.0, with LudicrousSpeed!) Sorry, I digress.

Anyway, I reformatted the drive (after copying the WD software off of it) as ext4, which was quite fast for a 500GB drive. Palimpsest (Disk Utility) tells me that it's connected at 705.0MB/s. How nice.

Read preformance is essentially what I would expect of a SATA or eSATA 2.5 inch laptop drive in the low-power category, with read performance, according to hdparm, clocking at roughly 50MB/s. That's slower than the internal drive, a decidedly non-low-power Seagate 7200RPM 500GB 2.5 inch Momentus SATA-II drive, which clocks in at 93.5MB/s (hdparm -t, of course, take it with a grain of salt), but faster than the Seagate 320GB USB2 external, which manages 28.24MB/s, not bad for USB2.

As the main purpose of the drive is for backups, I rsync'd my home directory over to it: roughtly 246GB of data in 2 hours and 8 minutes. Not bad at all, and less than half of the time it would have taken on the USB2 drive.

Bonnie++ results are as follows (hard to read in proportional font; view in fixed point to get things lined up):
Version 1.96 ------Sequential Output------ --Sequential Input- --Random-
Concurrency 1 -Per Chr- --Block-- -Rewrite- -Per Chr- --Block-- --Seeks--
Machine Size K/sec %CP K/sec %CP K/sec %CP K/sec %CP K/sec %CP /sec %CP
localhost.locald 6G 320 97 46635 11 16536 5 1675 96 52486 9 104.2 3
Latency 33221us 611ms 679ms 70682us 51564us 3277ms
Version 1.96 ------Sequential Create------ --------Random Create--------
localhost.localdoma -Create-- --Read--- -Delete-- -Create-- --Read--- -Delete--
files /sec %CP /sec %CP /sec %CP /sec %CP /sec %CP /sec %CP
16 9493 54 +++++ +++ 26436 59 13819 78 +++++ +++ 24948 57
Latency 177us 1123us 813us 200us 193us 118us

Overall a good experience so far; we'll see how it goes over the next weeks and months.

Now I'm on the prowl for a USB3 version of my Thermaltake blaX drive doc.....and there are plenty of other brands out there, as I see with a quick look at eBay.

I do note, however, that transfers use more CPU than transfers with eSATA to the Thermaltake's eSATA port, and so that's definitely a consideration. But the USB3 drive doesn't need a second wire for power, and the equivalent eSATA (not eSATAp) enclosures, like the Rocketfish units I've been using.
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