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I have a notebook with 100Mbit Ethernet, and often need to transfer gigabytes of data to/from PC. Using "only" 100Mbit (12.5MB/sec) is slow: I get max 10MB/sec, no matter what protocol is used (SSHFS, SMB, ...). Of course, it's the overhead.

What kind of alternative and non-expensive hardware would you suggest, which would allow much higher transfer speeds?

EDIT1: The notebook has only USB-2.0 and Ethernet 100MBit; but no Firewire, no eSATA, ...
EDIT2: I am transferring non-compressible and non-incremental data: mostly captured photography and videos.

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Does it have a firewire interface? What expansion slots does it have? – Andy May 30 '10 at 12:55
cough 100GBit -> 100Mbit :) – Andy May 30 '10 at 13:04
what about expansion capabilities? – Andy May 30 '10 at 13:05
also what kind of data are you transferring? Is it highly compressable? Is it absolutely different each time, or is it more like an incremental backup? – Andy May 30 '10 at 13:07
up vote 1 down vote accepted

How about a USB-2-USB transfer cable?

This one from Belkin promises 480Mbit/s for 14 USD

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Good idea. But sadly, I need this to work under Linux. From the product description I assume that it will not work there. – May 30 '10 at 11:33
3 This device probably works as two network cards over usb presented for both sides. Linux has some drivers for that ("usbnet" kernel module). You might consider checking similar cables at your local store: – liori May 30 '10 at 12:24

Using a decent speed USB2 had drive you could in theory get 240Mbit/s (you have to copy on then copy off, the effective speed is halved) which would at least be better than the 100Mbit ethernet... USB3 would be even faster, but it's not exactly mainstream at the moment.

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of backup tapes

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I was thinking about that. As you say: then I had to copy on then copy off. Faster, but not comfortable. – May 30 '10 at 11:36
If you have an extra external HD you can get a higher theoretical maximum than 240Mbps by splitting the data up, and having the src and dest copy occurring simultaneously. The exact (theoretical) speed you could get would depend on how finely you split your data up (and therefore how much you can be bothered to swap drives!). Be aware that an old fragmented 2.5" drive might bottleneck you here irrespective of interface speeds. – Andy May 30 '10 at 12:52

You could pull your laptop hard drive and put it into an external enclosure. Connect the external enclosure to your desktop to transfer the files.

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