by Rob Williams on June 21, 2010 in External Storage
As the market begins to fill up with USB 3.0 storage devices, it might seem like we’re nearing a USB 2.0 end. But that will still take some time, and as Corsair helps prove with its Survivor GTR, there’s still life left in the now-aging standard. Not only is this drive ultra-fast, but it’s also ultra-durable – giving you the best of both worlds.
Over the past year, many storage companies have been jumping on the CrystalDiskMark bandwagon to help strut their product’s performance, and it’s easy to understand why. Compared to others, CrystalDiskMark delivers results that are much higher, and in some regards, they could be considered unrealistic given that real-world tests and even other synthetic benchmarks never seem to back up its claims. We include it for the sake of interest and because it is still a very thorough benchmark.
Once again, Corsair’s Survivor GTR pushes the USB 2.0 bus hard, although as is seen by Super Talent’s SuperCrypt drive running also in 2.0 mode, the scores could get a bit higher. Both of the drives even out where 4K reads are concerned, but again split up for 4K writes.
While CrystalDiskMark does well to show the absolute top-end value of a storage device, ATTO doesn’t fall too far behind, if at all. Its test uses a wide-range of cluster sizes, for both read and write, but we only note 4KB, 64KB and 1024KB of the former. For those interested, we use a queue depth value of 10 for testing.
With ATTO, the GTR manages to even out quite well with Super Talent’s drive, with the latter only excelling in the 1MB read test. The 64KB and 4KB results are almost identical.
For real-world testing, we use a set of files and folders for the sake of measuring transfer speeds, and also convert images and music on the storage device to see just how well it fares for large intensive operations. For the transfer speeds, we use both 4GB and 16GB files and folders, and for the former, we also perform copy tests, which refers to copying the file or folder on the storage device. We don’t do this for our 16GB files and folders as some 32GB drives refuse it due to coming so close to the total density.
One thing that has become increasingly clear for 2.0 drives is that for single file transfers, the performance can heavily favor the better drive, but transferring folders is another story. The performance there can easily degrade over time, which is evidenced by the results seen above. Corsair’s drive still did come ahead, but not in the stark manner that we saw with our single file transfer.
The results here are perfect for showing off the benefits of higher-end memory ICs, because even in USB 2.0 mode, the Super Talent drive simply blew past Corsair’s, especially in the folder transfer. Of course, few people are going to purchase a 3.0 drive to use in 2.0 mode, but with results like these it’s actually worthy of consideration if you don’t yet have a 3.0 port in your PC.
Adobe Lightroom is apparently much more CPU-throttled than storage-throttled, but with dBpoweramp, differences in performance can be enormous. Corsair’s drive shaved 146s off of Kingston’s result, while Super Talent’s drive in 2.0 mode still clearly excels thanks to its improved chips.