USB 2.0 flash drive performance in a USB 3.0 port

Finally, we tested whether USB 2.0 flash drives benefit from 'up-plugging' into a USB 3.0 port. I expected improved performance compared to use in a USB 2.0 port, and suspected the improvement would be noticeable but not dramatic. Is there any point in plugging USB 2.0 flash drives into USB 3.0 ports?

This is likely not even a noticeable difference.

Read differences of small files are likely barely perceptible between the two interfaces.

It appears that my suspicion about USB 3.0 giving a performance boost to USB 2.0 drives was correct, though it's not particularly large.

Like the PDF read time differences, the MP3 read time differences are going to be difficult to notice.

Can you tell the difference between 3 minutes, 23 seconds and 3 minutes, 4 seconds without a stopwatch?

Sometimes every second counts!

The real-world transfer times show that while USB 2.0 flash drives do, in fact, perform faster when 'up-plugged,' this improvement is very minor, to the point of being nearly or not at all perceptible. That said, if you have USB 3.0 ports available, you can shave a few seconds off your transfer times by sticking your USB 2.0 flash drives into them.

USB 3.0 Flash Drive on USB 2.0 Interface Real-world Performance Concluding Remarks


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  • peterpan783 - Saturday, April 12, 2014 - link

    Very informative, but I would have preferred to see the performance indicated in megabytes per second, and not in time. I can see whatever drive took whatever seconds more or less, but that doesn't tell me anything about the actual speed. USB flash drive performance is measured in MB/s. Reply
  • XmppTextingBloodsport - Saturday, March 19, 2016 - link

    In the future I hope you will employ better cross platform considerations like FS:


    And seek an official manuafacturer answer for

    * ideal Block Size (or Allocation Unit)
    ** for 2 or 3 primary use cases
    ** large media files
    ** mix of text and media files
    ** single large file
    * ideal [re]formatting method (_not_ requiring a microsoft license)
    ** to partition or not to partition
    ** entire drive VeryCrypt (the new incarnation of TrueCrypt)
    * how much [cheating] cache the drive has
    * manufacturer's tools availability beyond windows
    ** turning off feckless led

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