Speedier Peripherals Can Address Slow Computer Performance
Paul Watson, PC Technician Thursday, September 23rd 2010
New Speedy USB Devices Can Speed Up Computer
The Universal Serial Bus (USB) standard has been around for about 15 years and its I/O rates have improved a lot since the standard was first introduced. The small connector makes USB an attractive option for connecting peripheral devices to computers, whether you’re dealing with portable computers, desktop computers or even servers.
The data transfer rate of the USB protocol started out somewhere around 10 Mb/s, which by today’s standards is pretty slow. The second iteration of the USB standard moved this up to about 60Mb/s, which is a lot better but it doesn’t address the fact that today’s multi-media files are pretty big. USB memory sticks can also hold a lot of information, so when you’re trying to load up a 32Gb memory stick at 60Mb/s, you could be sitting around for awhile.
The USB 3.0 standard has effective data transfer rates about 10 times those of USB 2.0 devices. That’s great news for people who don’t like spending a lot of time doing file transfers. The USB 3.0 standard also uses a full-duplex data transfer model, which means that it can be talking and listening at the same time. The full-duplex aspect of the data transfer means that much more data can be transferred because the data transfer doesn’t need to be interrupted by the transfer of control information. It also has the potential to improve computer performance when you’re running a system from a bootable USB device. The new USB standard is also designed to minimize the draw on laptop batteries, a plus for road warriors.
Microsoft says that Windows 7 will support the new USB standard as part of the first service pack update, but you’ll still need a USB 3.0 adapter to take advantage of the new standard. LaCie is also putting two USB 3.0 external hard disks out on the market. This is a great option for users who rely on external storage and require a much higher data transfer rate than what’s currently available through USB 2.0 devices.
I/O speeds do play an important role in computer performance. If you’re serious about upping the ante, USB 3.0 devices will help you get there.
Photo Credit: oskay, via Flickr