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I recently bought a 1.5TB FreeAgent XTreme external drive to store backups. I bought both a .5M (almost too short) and 1.5 cable (really too long). I want to see if I am getting the full 3.0G/sec transfer with either cable. My Norton 360 backup report was of no help because it didn't give me the total backup time so I could do the computation.

Is there a built in Vista connection speed status like there is for a network connection, or is a a third party tool I can use to measure the connection speed/transfer rate for my esata hard drive?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

I want to see if I am getting the full 3.0G/sec transfer with either cable.

very easy, 3.0G/sec translates to 393.216 kilobytes or 384 megabytes per second. now copy a file to the eSata drive (e.g. using FastCopy) and you'll know exactly how far away from the theoretical maximum transfer rate you really are.

3.0 gigabit/sec is the maximum speed the interface can provide for, the disk data transfer rate isn't anywhere near that. as a comparison: i'm transferring data between 2 internal SATA drives at a rate of 65 megabytes per seconds.

however, FastCopy will help you to estimate the difference in speed between the 2 cables

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Goot point about the actual transfer rate. According to PC World, the fastest SATA drive I know about, the WD Velociraptor, had a max burst speed of 250.3 MB/s with average read speed of 105.6 MB/s. – hanleyp Sep 2 '09 at 1:16
the 1.5 TB Freeagent sports a Barracuda 7k2 RPM, not really a match for the Velociraptor :) – Molly7244 Sep 2 '09 at 1:41
Good point on the drive speed being the limiting factor, I feel a bit silly now for forgetting about that. – Kevin Hakanson Sep 2 '09 at 21:10
sure you can run fancy benchmarks, but all what matters with an external hard drive is how it performs real world tasks, such as copying/moving files. besides, FastCopy as a nice addon to your system anyway, Vista file copy is rather buggy and dreadful slow at times. – Molly7244 Sep 2 '09 at 21:26

Currently, most mechanical based hard drives, much less a normal branded external storage solution, is unable to saturate the full SATA bandwidth, be it SATA-I or SATA-II.

If you really want to be details oriented, don't use Filecopy. Get a proper benchmarking utility for HDD such as HDTach, and get excited (or unexcited) over the graphs and numbers. :)

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Crystal Disk Mark will benchmark your HD and let you know how fast it is going

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