After transferring large amounts of data and working with hard drives a lot, it interests me to compare the performance of USB 2.0 and USB 3.0. I have one of each of these ports on my Samsung laptop.
In March 2013, I bought a Kingston DataTraveler 111 8GB, and I wanted to compare it to another flash drive, the SanDisk Cruzer Red 4GB, which I purchased in August 2012. The Kingston is a USB 3.0 flash drive, whereas the Cruzer only supports USB 2.0. The tool I used to compare these two was HD Tune, which is free for read-only benchmarks.
|Using the USB 2.0 port||Using the USB 3.0 port|
|SanDisk Cruzer Red||Kingston DataTraveler 111||SanDisk Cruzer Red||Kingston DataTraveler 111|
|Transfer Rate: Minimum (MB/sec)||19.0||25.4||20.7||60.4|
|Transfer Rate: Maximum (MB/sec)||29.7||29.6||29.2||72.2|
|Transfer Rate: Average (MB/sec)||27.7||26.4||28.3||64.8|
|Access Time (ms)||0.8||1.0||0.5||0.7|
According to Wikipedia’s page on USB, the maximum transfer rate of a USB 2.0 link is 35 MB/s, and we see this port reaching very near that, with maximum transfer rates of 29.6 and 29.7. Without doing multiple trials of any of these experiments, we can see that the Kingston DataTraveler is much faster at reads over a USB 3.0 port than the SanDisk Cruzer on either port. However, the comparative write performance of either of these drives remains to be seen.
Sidenote: My pet peeve about USB ports is that (1) laptop manufacturers place them too close together, and (2) USB flash drive manufacturers make flash drives that take up a large profile. The result is you can only fit one flash drive at a time on the USB ports that have been packed too close together.