To USB or Not to USB


Alternate Viewpoint – Is USB 3.0 Fast Enough?

I’m offering my fellow PMMs some space to write on my blog because:

1) They occasionally have insightful things to say
2) Turns out I’m not as insightful as I thought

Mick Posner is the SATA Chauvinist Pig.

I have a modicum of respect for his thoughts. (He causes havoc if I don’t listen to him.)

Here’s Mick’s thoughts:

“USB 3.0 – Is it fast enough?

We all know that USB 3.0 is just around the corner and it’s going to bring many advantages, but is it’s goal of 10x performance over USB 2.0, or 320 MB/sec, too little? In this digital age with audio and video media the read and write performance from disk to player or disk to disk is the main bottleneck. Let’s face it, USB 2.0 is not up to the task, just last week I was forced to reset my 80 GB portable media player and it took well over 2 hours to reload all of the video files. Looking at the theoretical speeds of USB 2.0 it should not have taken that long, in theory it should have taken about 45 minutes, but it took over 2 hours. The USB 3.0 goal of 320 MB/sec is very close to what SATA and eSATA 3 Gb/sec runs today. Again if we use the theoretical this sort of performance means that I could have loaded my player in around 9 minutes which actually is not that bad, but is it enough? Maybe we should just skip USB 3.0 and transition to eSATA as it’s already proven at 300 MB/sec. That’s what the SATA-IO organization body wants you to do; they have just announced the power over eSATA imitative ( which will result in a new eSATA cable and connectors which carry 3 times the power than USB 2.0 but at SATA 3 Gb/sec speeds. With this enhancement eSATA will no longer be restricted to mass storage devices with external power adapters, eSATA maybe able to break into the peripheral space. With SATA 6 Gb/sec just around the corner maybe SATA is the right direction to take. Then again maybe 9 minutes to load 80 GB is fast enough………but I want it now…”

Note from Eric:

SATA/eSATA are a ways away. By then we will be talking about 2 TB drives, maybe 4 TB drives. Imagine 1/2 TB Media Players.
– Will SATA be fast enough?
– Will manufacturers put both USB 3.0 and eSATA on the outside of their devices?

I agree with Mick on one point. I had to wipe my Media Player just a few weeks ago to clear off 18 GB of “unknown” material. It took for freaking ever. Apparently I can’t get along without my Media Player for even a few minutes. Maybe I should pay attention to my kids or something. I’ll ask Mick…

Tags: USB 3.0 eSATA

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