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Storage Throughput Questions

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#1 Durgan


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Posted 19 May 2010 - 06:19 AM

I want to know about the slower throughput of USB drives, and especially, USB flash drives. I've done some searching, but I haven't found much and still have a lot of questions.

First of all, what exactly is it about USB that causes them to be slower? Is it some kind of translation of data so it can be read by the USB interface? Could it be the whole USB hardware itself (internal of the machine and separate of whatever you're plugging into it)? In other words, is the port interface and/or technology a bottleneck itself or is the speed issue most often dependent on the external device? Ultimately I'm sure there are limits to both....

(I'm also curious as to how much faster the Microsoft standard 20/80/120Gb hdd are over USB flash drives (I assume it's quite a bit). Does anyone know the throughput of their official (e?)SATA HDDs? I don't know what iteration of SATA they use or if there are altering/limiting factors within the 360.)

Secondly (mainly), I want to know what speeds or throughput those USB ports support.... I haven't decided yet whether to mod my 360 to work with an old sata drive directly from the mobo (thereby avoiding any issues with USB slowness), or just get a flash drive (I really don't need much extra space at all). But I'm curious if there's a limit on what the 360 will support in terms of speed.

If, for example, the hardware or integration of the USB ports themselves restrict transfers to 15 Mbps for read|write, then getting anything faster than that would be unnecessary. Possibly saving money, but also giving me a larger selection of drives to choose from.

Although I am guessing that I'm not going to run into something like that, and the #1 limiting factor is going to be the speed of the flash drive itself, and I should get the fastest I can.

I haven't been able to find what Microsoft recommends for actual performance specs (read/write speed), or how fast their official flash drives are either. I'm interested to find out what that is.... I did happen to come across an early Xenon Hardware Overview that says the Memory Units were "...expected to be around 8 MB/sec for reads and 1 MB/sec for writes." Which I was kind of surprised to see, being that slow (although it may have later been improved upon releas).

Any info is appreciated. smile.gif I'm learning a lot about data storage (and transfers) as I go atm. Sorry for so many questions at once. tongue.gif

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