|Processor||Intel Pentium 2.4 GHz 256 KB L2 Cache (Willamette)|
|Motherboard||Intel 845EBT,845E Chipset|
|RAM||256 MB DDR/PC2100, CL2Micron/Crucial|
|Controller||i845E UltraDMA/100-Controller (ICH4)On-Board USB 2.0On-Board FireWire|
|Graphics Card||ATI Radeon SDRAM, 32 MB|
|Network||3COM 905TX PCI 100 MBit|
|OS||Windows XP Pro 5.10.2600|
|Benchmarks and Measurements|
|Office Applications||ZD WinBench 99 - Business Disk Winmark 1.2|
|High-end Applications||ZD WinBench 99 - Highend Disk Winmark 1.2|
|Performance Measurements||ZD WinBench 99 - Disc Inspection TestHD Tach 2.61|
|Drivers and Settings|
|Graphics Driver||5.1.2001.0 (Windows XP Standard)|
|IDE Driver||Intel Application Accelerator 2.2|
|Resolution||1024x768, 16 Bit, 85 Hz Refresh|
Data Transfer Performance
USB 2.0 vs. FireWire
Here you can clearly see the gradual decrease in transfer rate, which is determined by the design of the hard drive. The reason for this is that the outer areas of the storage platters rotate with a higher absolute speed than the inner areas. Thus, the performance decreases as you move from the beginning to the end of the storage medium.
In practice, USB 2.0 offers up to 30 MB/s. Even modern drives, as they are used in external storage solutions, offer higher transfer rates only in the first half of the storage area. After that, the drive itself becomes the bottleneck!
In the graphic with the Maxtor 3000XT with FireWire, we get a completely different picture. Although the hard drive used could theoretically perform much better than the 18 MB/s, the data transfer rate seemed to be limited. Here, the FireWire controller is at work, because one of its most important tasks is to ensure a minimum bandwidth - only then can data be transferred in real time (isochronous). The USB drive continues where the FireWire solution stopped, but don't be blinded by the higher performance levels of USB 2.0: even if up to 30 MB/s is possible, the USB protocol allows for interruptions to the data stream at all times. This is a killer for high quality video streams.