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Old 30 October 2018, 00:29   #1
jmmijo
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Question External USB 3 HDD Question

So I noticed something that is giving me some pause, mainly on my new Workstation and the USB 3.1 Gen 1 interfaces.

I have an ASUS X399 Motherboard for my new Threadripper and it is running really great.

The only concern I have is the *apparent* slowness of the USB 3.1 ports.

Windows 10 for some reason had disabled the performance mode on this device by default, I had to enable it and reboot, this helped out the transfer rate from a paltry 25 ~ 30 MBs to now getting a 75 ~ 85 MBs.

Good but shouldn't it do better ?

My gaming rig is still rocking an older X99 chipset motherboard and an i7-6850K with the original USB 3.0 ports, it appears to be getting closer to 100MBs on most transfers.

Now granted the Seagate External HDD's are only USB3.0 devices, so it really could be limited by these devices and their transfer rates overall.

Any tips on this or the only way to get better transfer rates would be to got to a network based SAN/NAS device ?
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Old 30 October 2018, 01:33   #2
Daedalus
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USB 3.0 is still very capable of very high speeds - easily able to match a network drive. The problem, I suspect, is likely Windows' drivers for the USB ports. I have USB 3.0 ports on my machine that refused to work even in USB 2.0 mode (native USB 2.0 ports worked fine). I wasn't too bothered since most of my hardware is 2.0 anyway. But I reinstalled Windows (7) and the motherboard drivers, and boom, USB 3.0 ports all working perfectly. That was great for a while until a certain Windows update came along and then they went back to not working properly. Tried uninstalling them and reinstalling with the motherboard drivers, no luck. Whatever was in that Windows update has borked the ports entirely.
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Old 30 October 2018, 01:41   #3
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USB 3.0 is still very capable of very high speeds - easily able to match a network drive. The problem, I suspect, is likely Windows' drivers for the USB ports. I have USB 3.0 ports on my machine that refused to work even in USB 2.0 mode (native USB 2.0 ports worked fine). I wasn't too bothered since most of my hardware is 2.0 anyway. But I reinstalled Windows (7) and the motherboard drivers, and boom, USB 3.0 ports all working perfectly. That was great for a while until a certain Windows update came along and then they went back to not working properly. Tried uninstalling them and reinstalling with the motherboard drivers, no luck. Whatever was in that Windows update has borked the ports entirely.
That does seem to be a less than ideal situation, thanks for the feedback.

I wonder if something similar occurred with Windows 10 as well

My mobo has a couple of USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports as well, I wonder if there are any devices that support this connection for storage or if I have to go the SAN/NAS route after all.
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Old 30 October 2018, 19:06   #4
Anubis
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I have intel's USB 3.1and ASMedia USB 3.0 on this laptop/docking station. (Thunderbolt connected)

Just tested copying to external 2TB Seagate disk from SSD averages at 150MBs. Copying from external disk drive to SSD is bit faster. I am using external dual port StarTech cradle.

It has to be driver, more likely than hardware issue.
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Old 30 October 2018, 20:17   #5
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Originally Posted by jmmijo View Post
Now granted the Seagate External HDD's are only USB3.0 devices, so it really could be limited by these devices and their transfer rates overall.
What model of Seagate drive do you have? Some larger-capacity ones use SMR (shingled magnetic recording) which can give poor/inconsistent write performance.
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Old 30 October 2018, 20:51   #6
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What model of Seagate drive do you have? Some larger-capacity ones use SMR (shingled magnetic recording) which can give poor/inconsistent write performance.
It happens to be the 6TB model, however, comparing it to the other Seagate models I have connected onto my Intel based gaming machine are the 8TB models and these are the ones giving a bit better performance, so can't say this is the case.

The new 6TB model was just recently purchased, I think I will be looking at getting another 8TB model as the pricing isn't that much different and then compare the two.

EDIT: I'm downloading the drivers from ASUS's website for this motherboard, the chipset drivers and see if this helps out the transfer rate, perhaps Windows 10 is using the default drivers rather than these ?

Last edited by jmmijo; 31 October 2018 at 01:57. Reason: More Info
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Old 31 October 2018, 14:54   #7
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It seems to be luck of the draw whether you get a non-SMR or SMR drive in those Seagates. They seem to fit whatever left-over drives they had lying around at the time.

You could try using CrystalDiskInfo and see if that shows the drive model number. (Taking the case apart is likely to damage it, but if you do, you'd likely see better performance with the bare drive connected directly to a SATA port on your PC.)

Running a disk benchmark program could also help. Sustained random write performance will be really bad if you do have an SMR drive.

Try googling for: how to tell SMR drive
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