USB 3.1 10 Gigabit – Why?

My shiny new ASRock X370 Fata1ty Gaming K4 supports USB 3.1 10 Gigabit through a standard type A port and a fancy new type-C port. Having owned the new Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 for a while now (which has a type-C port) and enjoying the new standard, I decided to grab a USB 3.1 type-C SSD enclosure from Sharkoon to use as fast portable storage.

I put my Kingston HyperX Fury 240GB SSD in the enclosure and did a few speed tests over the range of USB standards:

Naturally I did not bother going below USB 2.0 since nobody in their right minds would use USB 1.1 for storage purposes.

Here we can see that we are bottlenecked even at USB 3.0 5 Gigabit/s at 420 MB/s. This makes sense since the SSD is rated at 6 Gigabit/s – its only until we get to USB 3.1 10 Gbit/s that we can realise the full potential of the HyperX SSD (which is rated at 500 MB/s). USB 2.0 is left in the dust at this point.

So we now can utilise an extra ~ 80MB/s out of an SSD. Whoop-de-doo. My question is – really how much does this affect things in the real world from USB 3.0 5 Gigabit/s? I have an install of Ubuntu Linux on the SSD that I will use to measure the difference in boot times. I can negate out BIOS POST times since I can use the GRUB boot menu to reliably time from that point:

  • USB 3.1 10 Gigabit/s: 16.40s
  • USB 3.0 5 Gigabit/s: 16.51s
  • USB 2.0 480 Megabit/s: 28.69s

Well there you go – you won’t see much difference going from 5 gigabits to 10 gigabits if you’re running 1 SSD in an external enclosure. It’s apparent however that USB 2.0 is a severe bottleneck in this case – so moving to at least 3.0 is definitely worth it. After that – not really.

The main selling point of that Sharkoon enclosure for me is the type-C interface. Before, I was using USB micro-B 3.0 – a truly awful connector that never should have existed in my opinion. Type-C is right now the best that you can get, and I look forward to it becoming ubiquitous in the future.

AGESA - ASRock Fatal1ty X370 Gaming K4
2017 has been the most interesting year for PC tech in a long time

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