New to Superuser but have really liked everything I found so far. I know there have been a lot of questions answered regarding USB3.0 speeds and I feel like I get the gist of most of it. I am wondering how to determine the optimal speed for transferring .mp4, .avi and .db files from one external hdd to another. I have to do this between at least 6 or 7 drives and I'll be doing it again in about 6 months so I'm wondering if the speeds I am getting right now can be improved at all.

Here is what I'm working with:

My Desktop:

Processor- AMD FX 6 core 3.90 GHz

RAM- 16.0GB

OS- Windows 7 ultimate 64bi t Motherboard- Gigabyte 970A-UD3P

HDD- Samsung SSD 840 EVO 120G

USB Ports- 2 rear USB3.0

My Portable Hard Drives:

7 Silicon Power Armor A80 2TB USB3.0 External Hard Drives can be found here:


My Results: Transferring roughly 1.8Tb from one drive to another at 64-110 MB/second. Taking about 7 hours. At first I was getting a speed of about 64 MB/second while transferring .mp4 files, then the speed jumped to 110 MB/second while transferring .db files.

Since I have so many copies to make of the original SP drive, I'm hoping there is something I overlooked and can actually get higher speeds. Although, I'm pretty sure that is wishful thinking. I've double checked my drivers for USB3.0 and they are up to date using the drivers from http://support.lenovo.com/us/en/downloads/ds015025 Might there be some sort of bottleneck that might be hindering my speeds at all?

Second question. Is there a better, reasonable, setup that would accomplish this kind of data transfer (mostly video files and .db files) at faster speeds?

If I can't find a faster way to get this done I think I will look for a local company that might be able to transfer the data for me. Like I said, I am pretty sure I will have to be doing this again and dont like the 7 hours per drive this is projecting to take (although time remaining jumped from 7 hours to 4 hours when I hit higher speeds for .db files).

If anyone feels like answering something they really dont have to...can anyone explain why .db files can transfer at such higher speeds than .mp4 (and .MOV) files? 110Mb/s compared to 64MB/s.

Thanks to all in advance!

  • 1
    There is overhead for many files versus a contiguous 1.8tb file, writes are slowed down due to folder creation and edits to the master file table for each file and folder as they are written to disk. – Moab Aug 19 '15 at 14:19

I'm guessing the .db files are much larger than the .mp4 and .mov files? There's a lot of overhead when creating a new file, so if you try to copy a folder with a lot of files with small size (e.g. the Windows folder), you will notice that the average speed is very slow compared to when you copy a single huge file.

Also, when you copy the .mp4 and .mov files, if you leave Windows Explorer opened, Windows may also need to generate thumbnails for those files, which requires reading those files from disk, and so further reducing the writing speed of other files.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.