14 Replies Latest reply on Aug 18, 2014 5:16 PM by Bill Gehrke

    New Laptop Drive Options

    Bill Gehrke Adobe Community Professional & MVP

      I have been exploring new storage options for laptops, both are USB3 based.

      1. The newest generation of USB3 Flash Drives offer a potentially great read-only storage at amazing reasonable costs.  I just put the complete file structure of a partially edited video on a PNY 128GB Turbo USB 3.0 Flash Drive Model P-FD128TBOP-GE and used it with on my laptop to get customer input on this in process.  Since additional editing of this project requires very little writing it worked perfectly as the effective second drive.  Actually, I have a second drive but did not use it for today's operation .  All this for only $60.  When I bought Tom's Hardware top suggestion the  SanDisk Extreme 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Model SDCZ80-064G-A75 because they claimed a high write rate in addition to a great read rate, but in real world Premiere (PPBM) testing if has a lousy write rate and at a cost of $68 for half the storage it is a lousy buy.  Buyer beware!
      2. I just bought a brand new Vantec USB3 2 1/2" SSD disk drive enclosure.  I put a top of the line Samsung 840 Pro 256 GB SSD in this enclosure and ran HD Tune Pro on it and here are the results for read and write performance (remember this is via USB3)  As you can see it is a waste to put a high-end SSD in this enclosure BUT, it does have tremendous capabilities because not only does it have great read and write capability through your readily available USB3 ports.  Of course it is limited by the USB protocol but I have tested this setup with our current PPBM6/7 tests and recorded a write rate to the external SSD of 196 MB/seconds.  Now remember the wide range of transfer rates we saw with USB2,  It will be no different now, it will take a lot of testing to find the good versus the lousy ones.  See the Tom's testing above.  I will be trying some of my older SSD's in this enclosure but I do not have funds to experiment very far along this line.

       

      Vantec-USB3-read.jpg

      Vantec-USB3-write.jpg

        • 1. Re: New Laptop Drive Options
          Jim_Simon Level 9

          [Moved to Hardware forum.]

          • 2. Re: New Laptop Drive Options
            Bill Gehrke Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            I will swear that is where I was must be something else weird about these new forums.  Also does anyone know the secret to posting pictures like I did---they are not readable.

             

            Now when I posted this message it gave me an error message so I triedtwice more and finally this original message appeared three times

             

            Message was edited by: Bill Gehrke

             

            Thanks Jim

             

            Images above were JPEG here is same in PNG

            NexStar-read-SSD.png

            • 3. Re: New Laptop Drive Options
              RjL190365 Level 4

              Thanks, Bill, for the warning on the SanDisk Extreme. I, too, got taken for a ride with that drive when I simply copied large files from my main PC's RAID 0 auxiliary array to the Extreme drive. At only around 120 MB/s, its real-world write speed falls short of even its benchmarked (on a NEC/Renesas USB 3.0 controller with CrystalDiskMark 3.0.3) of around 160 MB/s. Still, it was the fastest pen drive I ever owned; however, my next USB 3.0 flash drive buy will not be from SanDisk.

               

              After all that's said and done, the Extreme still had relatively fast random write speed performance, making it better suited as a drive to run an OS or programs off of. Most other USB 3.0 flash drives have absolutely horrible random write performance, making them ill-suited to running programs off of.

               

              Currently, I have only three USB 3.0 flash drives in my possession: the aforementioned Extreme, a 64GB Micro Center-branded drive (which delivered 150 MB/s read but only 20 MB/s write) and the smaller 32GB version of the PNY Turbo (100 MB/s read and 39 MB/s write - definitely slower than its larger-capacity siblings). As I recall reading, the 128GB version of the PNY Turbo benchmarked at around 190 MB/s read and 130 MB/s write, making it a reasonably good buy at its current street price.

              • 4. Re: New Laptop Drive Options
                Bill Gehrke Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                Randall,

                 

                You are correct that the read rate of the PNY is almost 190 MB/second.  Here is my HD Tune test.  I saved this as a PNG but added a brightness adjustment the see if that also helps.

                PNY-128-GB-Read.png

                Now here is the kicker.  I went to our standrd PPBM6/7 Disk I/O test and exported it to this PNY USB3 Flash Drive.  You probably will find this hard to believe but see the below export progress window.  I had to give up because I could not wait 4+ hours for it to complete.  Caluated out from the elapsed measured time of 3525 seconds plus the remaining time of 13380 seconds the transfer rate is a wonderful 2.19 MegaBytes per second!

                 

                PNY-128-GB-PPBM7-Write.png

                • 5. Re: New Laptop Drive Options
                  JEShort01 Level 4

                  Bill,

                   

                  Would you believe I headed down a very, very similar path almost exactly one year ago.

                   

                  I started with USB sticks and too purchased a 64GB SanDisk Extreme! I still use it as a general file USB stick, but it's write speed while good for USB sticks is rather lame when compared with SSDs.

                   

                  Testing with USB 3.0 was a disaster one year ago. I feel that all of the first generation stuff was simply not ready for prime time. I testing both an Orico eSTAT/USB 3.0 sled with a 500GB Samsung 840 SSD as well as a WD 1TB Passport with USB 3.0. I'm sure that USB 3.0 hardware/firmware/drivers manufacturered in the past 12 months might work OK, but working with a x58 motherboard with USB 3.0 I was getting horrible aborts simply running HD Tune Pro that required a full system reboot to repair.

                   

                  Next, my third try was a charm - SSDs in eSATA sleds work fantastic for sustained large file reads and writes - no aborts, no issues, and very fast.

                   

                  I like that fact that with eSATA Win7 memory caching works very well. I cannot say with 100 percent certainty, but I'm pretty sure that USB 3.0 has more conservative - read slower - options. I don't think that the HD Tune Pro write benchmark worked either with USB 3.0.

                   

                  I have 4 Orico USB 3.0 / eSATA combo 2.5" sleds now and love them. I have had no issues using them for a year, but reviewers on Newegg complain of breakage of the USB 3.0 connection. I can see why, it seems very flexible and flimsy. These are Chinese made and if I could have found something with better build quality I likely would not have purchased these. However, nobody else seem to make anything with this feature set and SATA III speed. I noticed recently that Sans Digital has a model out now (TowerSTOR 1 bay SATA to USVB 3.0 / eSATA enclosure) that is 50% more expensive ($49 at Directron) than the Orico and would be my pick in 2014.

                   

                  Regards,

                   

                  Jim

                  • 6. Re: New Laptop Drive Options
                    RjL190365 Level 4

                    Bill,

                     

                    Based on my testing with the two USB sticks that had enough capacity to handle the AVI file created by exporting the Disk I/O test, I will have to agree with you that current USB 3.0 flash memory sticks are still not fast enough in writes to be considered worthy of anything besides mere data storage and transport. My aforementioned SanDisk Extreme 64GB took over 53 minutes for a PPBM6 write speed of only 11.5 MB/s. The Micro Center-branded 64GB stick took nearly 2.5 hours for that same export for a result of 4.6 MB/s.

                     

                    I have not yet tested external USB 3.0 hard drives with my system's NEC/Renesas USB 3.0 controller. I will be doing those tests to determine whether the pen drives or the USB 3.0 controller itself is bottlenecking.

                    • 7. Re: New Laptop Drive Options
                      Bill Gehrke Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      My search centered on something for my notebook so I did not need eSATA capability.  I migrated to Vantec because the NextStar 6G unit I got was a new design that advertised SATA III (6 Gbits/sec) compatibility.  Of course USB3 cannot support that rate and it looks like the maximum for this device (or is it really the USB3 interface) is something less than 2 Gbits/second of real world write speed.

                       

                      I have just run a series of tests with this device this past afternoon with an assortment of SSD drives.  I am going to do some more testing before I draw any conclusions and then maybe contact the vendor.

                      • 8. Re: New Laptop Drive Options
                        Bill Gehrke Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        RjL190365 wrote:

                         

                         

                        I have not yet tested external USB 3.0 hard drives with my system's NEC/Renesas USB 3.0 controller. I will be doing those tests to determine whether the pen drives or the USB 3.0 controller itself is bottlenecking.

                        Well, I am thoroughly convinced so far that the only practical purpose for the USB3 flash drives are only usable for read operations.  If you need read and write it is possible to get moderate performance with USB3 external enclosures BUT you really need tested solutions and you cannot rely on vendors or synthetic benchmarks.

                         

                        Just for my own interest I took the USB3 enclosure over to my older computer that had USB2 only.

                        Intel-520-USB3-2.png

                        • 9. Re: New Laptop Drive Options
                          JFPhoton Level 3

                          Hello Bill,

                          Ireceived my PNY 128 USB3 thumb drive and immediately experienced rapid disconnects and reconnects on my Asus laptop...despite having the newest Fresco logic driver for the USB 3 controller and hub. After an extensive web search,I found a link in a forum to a small program written by a Fresco engineer that corrected the problem by altering something in the registry......nothing else had worked....including shutting off power saving options and unchecking box allowing Windows to shut off drive in device mgr.

                                  Even though my laptop is SATA II, using a dock with a Corsair F120 SSD on the USB 3 port yielded over 200 MB read and over 100MB write speed per second. The PNY is showing so far a good read speed of around 160 MB/sec and a write speed of 77 to 80 MB/sec. This is copying large video files to and from an internal Crucial M500 480 GB SSD. I am sure with a faster machine like yours with SATA III, it would do better.

                                I experimented with reformatting the PNY to exFAT andg got slightly faster results and eliminated the 4 GB file size limit.....many forum posts discourage using NTSF on the flash drive sticks, claiming less performance and more " overhead"......I don't know!

                          It appears USB 3 is still a little buggy......in order to get the best performance with my dock, I had to go in device mgr. and set write caching to better performance,uncheck box allowing windows to shut off drive, disallow indexing, AND download and install newest USB 3 controller drivers, THEN make sure in BIOS that USB 3 controller is set to " XCHI" !!!!!! That is a LOT TO DO for a " PLUG AND PLAY" device !!!!

                          • 10. Re: New Laptop Drive Options
                            RjL190365 Level 4

                            RjL190365 wrote:

                             

                            Bill,

                             

                            Based on my testing with the two USB sticks that had enough capacity to handle the AVI file created by exporting the Disk I/O test, I will have to agree with you that current USB 3.0 flash memory sticks are still not fast enough in writes to be considered worthy of anything besides mere data storage and transport. My aforementioned SanDisk Extreme 64GB took over 53 minutes for a PPBM6 write speed of only 11.5 MB/s. The Micro Center-branded 64GB stick took nearly 2.5 hours for that same export for a result of 4.6 MB/s.

                             

                            I have not yet tested external USB 3.0 hard drives with my system's NEC/Renesas USB 3.0 controller. I will be doing those tests to determine whether the pen drives or the USB 3.0 controller itself is bottlenecking.

                            Since the last time I tested my SanDisk Extreme 64GB USB 3.0 flash drive, I replaced my old P67 motherboard with a Z77 motherboard from Gigabyte, and also updated to Windows 8.1 (my old P67 setup had Windows 7 SP1 installed). The combination of upgrades really made a big difference in the Disk I/O portion of the PPBM6/7 test suite: Whereas my old setup delivered only a 160-ish MB/s sequential write speed result in the CrystalDiskMark bencjhmark, only a 120-ish MB/s real-world large file write speed test and only a lousy 11.5 MB/s result in PPBM6/7, my new setup now scores over 200 MB/s in sequential writes in CrystalDiskMark, 180 to 190 MB/s real-world large file write speed and (most importantly) a 181 MB/s disk I/O result in PPBM6/7. Now that's more like it!

                             

                            My conclusion? Windows 7's support for USB 3.0 is incomplete even today. Maximum read speed throughput for USB 3.0 in Windows 7 is limited to around 200 MB/s (180 MB/s for writes), and that OS lacks support for UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol) even with the proper drivers installed (or more specifically, Windows 7's USB 3.0 support is limited to BOT (Bulk Only Transport), which is the same protocol used by older versions of USB such as USB 2.0). Windows 8 or higher is required in order to take full advantage of USB 3.0, including support for UASP.

                            • 11. Re: New Laptop Drive Options
                              Bill Gehrke Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                              Very interesting research, Thanks much.

                              • 12. Re: New Laptop Drive Options
                                RjL190365 Level 4

                                Bill,

                                 

                                Although both your laptop and my current desktop have integrated USB 3.0 native support in their core logic chipsets, the huge difference in USB flash drive performance between the two PCs boils down to the drivers used. Your laptop likely had an installed driver for USB 3.0 that might not have supported UAS/UASP while my system is running Windows 8.1's native USB 3.0 UASP driver.

                                 

                                ANOTHER UPDATE:

                                 

                                I retested my Micro Center 64GB USB 3.0 flash drive on my newer Z77 / Win 8.1 setup, and its write speed in PPBM6/7's Disk I/O test is still lousy although it improved from 4.6 MB/s to 14 MB/s. Retested my 64GB Extreme on my i5 setup (which now has a fresh install of Windows 7 SP1), and its write speed in the PPBM6/7 test became lousy again: 11.4 MB/s.

                                 

                                My conclusion: Windows 8.1, along with a properly working UAS or UASP USB 3.0 driver, are required for optimum performance when exporting in Premiere Pro to a USB 3.0 flash drive.

                                • 13. Re: New Laptop Drive Options
                                  Andrei in Montreal

                                  Just saw these USB 3.0 128GB Sandisk Extreme Pro at BH. With 260 MB/s read and 240 MB/s write that looks pretty neat but the price is close to SSDs so those with an adapter might be a better alternative.

                                   

                                  Andrei

                                  • 14. Re: New Laptop Drive Options
                                    Bill Gehrke Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                    Randall, my laptop does have Windows 8.1

                                     

                                    Andrei,  Interesting new USB3 capability, if it ever comes down to a reasonable price I might try one.