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I have an external USB hard disk that I use with VirtualBox (the VM has exclusive access to the disk). It's an IDE disk. I've recently come into possession of a SATA hard disk of the same size.

Since SATA is newer, I figured it might be worth copying the data and using the SATA disk instead. But perhaps going through USB will cancel out any advantages? (Both the IDE and SATA bridges are USB 2.0, not 3.0.)

I'm not worried about being able to successfully duplicate the drive; I'm wondering whether anyone here can save me the trouble of a time-consuming experiment.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you're talking USB 2, don't bother. On the other hand, USB 3 may make a difference. Your mileage may vary though, depending on a number of factors, including fragmentation, file system, file size, etc.

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So you're for read/write performance, USB is the bottle neck, and in other respects the disks themselves will be pretty much the same? – benzado May 6 '12 at 19:55
The IDE external is almost certainly USB 2.0, whereas the SATA disk could have a USB 3.0 bridge. The drives themselves could have an impact on seek performance. – Lèse majesté May 6 '12 at 19:56
The USB-SATA bridge is definitely USB 2.0. How would seek performance differ? I think the disks are both 5400RPM. – benzado May 6 '12 at 20:05
@benzado: If they're the same size & both 5400 rpm, then there's probably not too much difference in the seek time & rotational latency. But if you're running applications off of them, you could still see a performance difference. I'd assume that the SATA drive is faster in this regard just because it's newer, but that's just an assumption. It's best to look up the published specs for the drives inside each. – Lèse majesté May 6 '12 at 20:24

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