19 Replies Latest reply on Dec 7, 2014 9:38 AM by RjL190365

    Why Is USB 3 So Slow??

    alexdejesus Level 1

      USB3 Slow.jpgI thought USB3 was supposed to be reasonably fast, but on my computers, any external drives I have connected pull a measly 50 MB/s - just barely enough for standard definition DV work maybe. I have installed all the latest drivers from ASUS. The motherboard is an X99-E WS, but with my three previous computers I have never seen anything resembling fast with USB3. Is there a BIOS setting I missed? I don't plan on editing with these drives, but I do transfer files back and forth for backups, etc.

        • 1. Re: Why Is USB 3 So Slow??
          ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

          What USB3 drives do you have? 85MB/s is normal for a lower spin rate drive or a 2.5inch drive such as the mobile USB3 external drives. There are many variables with USB3 performance with the compatibility between the USB3 controller on the system and the USB3 chip on the enclosure as one of the majors. However what you are showing there isn't out of line for the slower variable spin rate drives.



          • 2. Re: Why Is USB 3 So Slow??
            alexdejesus Level 1

            Different ports have different speeds. Some ports as slow as 2 or 3 MB/s. I plugged a zip drive and got different results in different ports. I'm thinking there is a setting that has shut them off, but I don't know where to look. ASUS manual doesn't say.


            As for the actual drives, one is an IOmega Prestige and the other is a Seagate Black drive. The eSATA external is a GRAID 4 TB.


            What should the top speed be of USB3? 85 MB is the fastest on this system, but I thought it was a bit faster than that. Like 800 MB/s - or is it 800 Mbps? If the latter, then it makes more sense. I have the same issue on other computers. eSATA seems inhibited as well. I could not do any editing using even the fastest of these ports. Not that I even try - they are for backups and stock footage, etc. I do have several external drives connected at any given time, but disconnecting them doesn't change the transfer speeds of any of the others.


            Does anyone know how to set up Gigabit Ethernet between networked computers? That's another serious issue I'm having. Windows 7 seems to have a way to set up, but it's a bit confusing. Transfers between computers should be GB speed, I get nowhere near that.

            • 3. Re: Why Is USB 3 So Slow??
              ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

              It's Mbps and not MB/s. Even the fastest mechanical drives only give 140MB/s at best on USB3. SSD drives can push it up to 300MB/s but that's it. The boards now days dynamically adjust bandwidth to onboard devices because there is limited bandwidth to share among all onboard controllers. So yes you will see variables on performance with the USB controllers. Many of them share bandwidth with slots or other onboard devices.


              Gigabyte max transfer per channel is 120MB/s. That is it. you have to go to 10Gbit to get anywhere near 1GB/s bandwidth. You can load balance gbit to gain some increase but its not near double as it should be.



              • 4. Re: Why Is USB 3 So Slow??
                JFPhoton Level 3

                ALEX !!!


                Bill and I here on the forum are successfully using USB 3 PNY HIGH SPEED "TURBO" thumbdrives with our Haswell laptops. RIGHT NOW Tiger direct has a 256GB unit for sael at $69 !!!!!!...Cyber Monday !! Bill and I have the 128 GB units. He uses HIS for holding media and project files......sometimes a 3 camera shoot. Then, he'll plug that stick into his desktop and resume editing. I use mine for all the previews, cache, and media cache files....which PPro recreates anyway if lost,or, unavailable.

                      We are getting read speeds of around 190MB per second and write speeds of 130 MB/sec. Though not as good as a SATAIII SSD....they work great !.


                In general, USB3....especially with the improved firmware and drivers of Windows 8.1 over Windows 7......with the PROPER device attached.....you should expect between 200-300 MB/ sec. sustained transfer speed.


                Example : take a quality SATA III SSD that has GOOD read AND write speeds...like a Crucial M550,or, Samsung 850 Pro. Plug it into a cheap,$30 USB 3 external dock, and the speed should be between 200 and 300 MB/sec. read AND write.


                On my 3 year old i7 laptop with USB 3.....I was getting around 200MB/ sec using a cheap external USB3 dock and a SATA II Corsair SSD ! Windows 7 had USB 3 ISSUES !!! ...rapid, intermittent disconnects !! I solved THAT finding a little known fix on the internet from an engineer at Fresco Logic that ended my troubles. Windows 8.1 has been ROCK SOLID for me with USB3....I have a 500MB WD drive in my cheap dock right now....running at full speed !


                Many USB3 advertised devices do NOT perform to expected speed because they contain slow drives,or, cheap controllers,etc. Using USB3, you only want to connect a SINGLE, fast device DIRECTLY for best performance.....like that PNY thumb drive,or, the CHEAP USB3 dock, with a HIGH SPEED SATA III SSD plugged into it. I do not believe even the "G RAID" will perform well on USB 3....its internal controller is weak, and not REALLY a true RAID controller like an Areca,or, LSI that has large memory cache,etc.


                ALSO.....check ALL you "power settings".....make sure they are set to "maximum performance " !!!!!  I OVERLOOKED  this when i first got my laptop , and it was THROTTLING the machine, even when plugged in !!!! Make sure that you do NOT have "selected suspend" mode ON for USB3.....do NOT allow Windows to "turn off" unused devices . Make sure CPU is allowed to run at 100% all the time.

                • 5. Re: Why Is USB 3 So Slow??
                  Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant



                  Here is the read speed on the PNY USB3 device


                  Here is a Vantec USB3 SATA adapter with a Samsung 840 Pro 256 GB drive in it.



                  Now write performance on the USB3 PNY flash drive is another story (Windows 8 transfer of a large file from a Samsung 840 Pro to the USB3 flash drive).


                  Here is the HD Tune write test of the Vantec NexStar 6G

                  It had a Samsung 840 Pro SSD installed that had a Write Rate of about 500 MB/s


                  • 6. Re: Why Is USB 3 So Slow??
                    alexdejesus Level 1

                    I have a Vantac Nexstar 3, but I stopped using it because of the slow speed. Had an HDD in it not an SSD.

                    • 7. Re: Why Is USB 3 So Slow??
                      Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

                      NexStar 3 is not a NexStar 6G.  The NexStar 6G has an USB3 interface where your NexStar 3 has a USB2 interface.  World of difference.  Also the internal SATA interface is a 3 Gbit/sec interface where the much newer NexStar 6G has an SSD supporting 6 Gbit/second interface.



                      • Transfer Rates Up To 480Mpbs w/ USB 2.0" (i.e. 60MB/sec.)


                      It would be good if you use the eSATA interface for a 7200 rpm drive.


                      Good night, see you tomorrow.

                      • 8. Re: Why Is USB 3 So Slow??
                        alexdejesus Level 1

                        The GRAID is an eSATA connection with a 2-disk RAID0 inside. It's the slowest drive I have. Unbelievably slow. Wouldn't even think of editing with it. It's even a pain to transfer files to and from.


                        All of my power settings are set to maximum performance. This an X99 system with an 8-core processor and 64 GB RAM. GTX 780 graphics. Fortunately the editing has gotten better, except for those 3rd party effects. I still wait 2 1/2 hours for a 10 minute export because of the Neat Denoiser applied - but that has nothing to do with this thread.


                        Just transfering files, I should not have to sit and stare at this screen like I do while a file moves at less than 1 MB a second. That's with a USB3 drive


                        I will look in to the new thumb drives. Can't imagine one at 256 GB, WOW!


                        And you are correct Bill, the Nextstar 3 I have has a USB2 interface. I also have a Siig enclosure with USB3, but just as slow. Makes no difference at all. Definitely a BIOS thing, or something is wrong. I'll have to check conflicts

                        • 9. Re: Why Is USB 3 So Slow??
                          ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                          USB3 on average adds 1 to 2 ms to communication time due to the buffering. That is the latency I am talking about. It simply effects the amount of files you can put on the timeline and playback realtime. Render speed would be effected sometimes but not enough to notice. E-sata adds close to 1ms from what I have seen or more to mechanical drives. It's enough that I don't recommend it as the default config. However its more to due with performance based on the controllers and many using Multibay units with the onboard controllers which often do not work well or at all. The cards are hit and miss with the bays as well but that doesn't have to do with the Multiplexing. That has to do with controller chips and compatibility.




                          • 10. Re: Why Is USB 3 So Slow??
                            Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

                            Not all USB 3 devices are created equal, there is a whole range of performance  This chart is terribly out of date but I just wanted to demonstrate how variable a USB 3.0 device can be.  Just buy yourself a PNY Turbo model and see what a good device can do for you.



                            • 11. Re: Why Is USB 3 So Slow??
                              alexdejesus Level 1

                              Bill, I have never considered using a thumb drive drive for anything other than taking some files on the road or transfering from one computer to another. Are you editing with it? I suppose a 256 GB thumb drive would be a good backup for my portable rig. And that's a darn good price if it works as you say. But I don't think my problem is the drives I'm using. My USB3 ports are simply not working - or barely working. It's as if they are turned off. I'm talking files moving in kbps speeds. I need to investigate how to turn them on. Out of 8 or so ports, only one or two seem to be working at any kind of speed.

                              • 12. Re: Why Is USB 3 So Slow??
                                JFPhoton Level 3

                                .....EVERYTHING depends on THE DEVICE you are connecting to the USB3 port, PLUS the speed of any OTHER storage device it may be connecting with in your system.  You CANNOT LOSE by purchasing one of these PNY TURBO USB 3 drives ...it is the CHEAPEST WAY to test your USB3 SPEED,unless, you already happen to have a SATA III SSD laying around. In THAT case....buying a cheap USB3 external dock for $30 would allow you to plug the SSD in, or, ANY drive, and test the speed. The PNY TURBO drives are around $40 to $50 for the 128 GB model and $69 for the 256GB version. Yes, Bill is using them to edit successfully with them....even 3 camera shoots where his PNY is holding the media and project files. I also have had no problems using these to hold media and editing off them.


                                I cannot think of what would slow your transfer speed down so much on the USB 3 port...unless you are talking about transferring files coming directly from a camera's memory card.....some of those cards have a read speed between 10 and 20 MB per second. Even USB 2 is faster, at up to 40 MB per second.


                                All I can think of at this point, other than what I already suggested, is to make sure your motherboard has the latest BIOS......that IN the BIOS settings, nothing has been MISTAKENLY set to an abnormal setting....esp. anything regarding USB3. THEN, make sure your Windows 8.1 is FULLY updated, as well as the driver for your video card. AGAIN.....check your WINDOWS POWER SETTINGS to make sure everything is set to "maximum performance " and you are NOT allowing Windows to "selectively suspend" your USB ports, or, shut them down.


                                Check "device manager"....in Windows 7 I had to "tweak" the settings for "USB Root hub". In Windows 8.1 I have NOT had to do this ! I had to go to "power management" and UNCHECK the box allowing Windows to shut off the USB 3 port. THEN, I had to select an option which provided for best performance of the USB3 port....however, that option MANDATED that you could NOT unplug a device without going through the "safely disconnect" feature found at the bottom right of your taskbar.


                                I think, so far, your low speeds are related to the current devices you are trying to use on the USB 3 ports themselves....or....something in the "chain", like a slow memory card from a camera, or, other drives giving problems. I could be wrong !!! These X99 products are SO NEW....there could be "bugs" in the hardware,, firmware, or, software that need to be fixed.....however, you would probably find OTHERS on the internet that have the same motherboard as you complaining !! Hopefully, you will find the fix !!

                                • 13. Re: Why Is USB 3 So Slow??
                                  alexdejesus Level 1

                                  WWow thanks. I think somewhere in there is my answer. And yes I will order the zip drive

                                  • 14. Re: Why Is USB 3 So Slow??
                                    Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

                                    Yes I am editing directly from my USB 3 Flash drive.  It is perfect for general editing  with a high-end laptop.  If you get fancy with third party plug-ins or exotic effects it may not be suitable.   


                                    Alex, to help in your education on computers please do not refer to the USB 3 Flash Drive as a Zip Drive, thanks to Wikipedia see below.

                                    Zip drive

                                    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


                                      Iomega ZIP-100 Drive Logo



                                      External ZIP-100 drive (uses the parallel port)



                                      An internal Zip drive installed in a computer



                                      An internal Zip drive outside of a computer



                                      The Zip disk media



                                      Back of the ZIP-100 with parallel port printer pass-through


                                    This article refers to the drive that reads and writes Zip floppy disks. For the Zip archive file format, see Zip (file format).

                                    The Zip drive is a medium-capacity removable floppy disk storage system that was introduced by Iomega in late 1994. Originally, Zip disks launched with capacities of 100 MB, but later versions increased this to first 250 MB and then 750 MB.

                                    • 15. Re: Why Is USB 3 So Slow??
                                      alexdejesus Level 1

                                      Bill Thanks for the  much needed laugh. I still have one of those floating around somewhere. I used them in the Air Force before I retired in 2002. Old habits die hard

                                      • 16. Re: Why Is USB 3 So Slow??
                                        ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                                        Ah the days of Zip drives and HDD's that could be used to prop a car up on .....Bigfoot sighting. Don't really miss them




                                        • 17. Re: Why Is USB 3 So Slow??
                                          JFPhoton Level 3



                                          If you PLAY YOUR CARDS RIGHT.....I can get you a DEAL on the "cream puff" unit pictured below !!!!.....it's an offer you "can't refuse" !!!


                                          Quantum Bigfoot.jpg

                                          • 18. Re: Why Is USB 3 So Slow??
                                            Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

                                            Reminiscing, how about this 5.25-inch 360 KB or was it a 1.2 MB floppy disc drive,

                                            5.25-inch Floppy.jpg

                                            Or if you want a zip drive how about and external on in a case with a SCSI interface?


                                            zip drive.jpg

                                            • 19. Re: Why Is USB 3 So Slow??
                                              RjL190365 Level 5



                                              The NAND flash chips inside the PNY Turbo 128GB USB 3.0 flash drive are subject to change. The specs stated "up to 190 MB/s read / 130 MB/s write". Well, that does not necessarily mean that the same unit will be able to hit anywhere close to both speeds. For example, a newer PNY 128GB Turbo USB 3.0 flash drive I recently purchased can only hit about 140 MB/s read but 105 MB/s write, while many earlier PNYs did hit almost 190 MB/s read but could only muster about 75 MB/s write.