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oldcpu's meandering thoughts on Computers, GNU/Linux and openSUSE

Kingston DataTraveler HyperX-3.0 64GB USB-3.0 Memory stick

Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.
I received a Kingston DataTraveler HyperX-3.0 64GB USB-3.0 Memory stick for Christmas. That's one very nice thing about Christmas, if one is fortunate then one can receive gifts they really don't need, but are very nice toys none-the-less.

I was fortunate this Christmas, and many thanks to my wife :



I've been 'lusting' after getting fast USB-3.0 memory stick for some time, and this Kingston DataTraveler HyperX-3.0 64GB USB Memory stick is supposedly one of the fastest.

It comes in 3-flavours:
  • 64 GB capacity version
  • 128 GB capacity version
  • 256 GB capacity version

with the price increasing more than linearly with the larger the capacity. Even the 64GB version is > 100 Euros (after 19% Value Added Tax (VAT)) so its not something one would nominally purchase, given how in-expensive USB-3.0 external hard drives are. For that price one can likely obtain a small 1 TB hard drive.

Still, a memory stick is small, and light, and fits in a pocket/purse with room to spare. And this Kingston is no exception for being small and light.

Here is pix with cover on:


I confess I was skeptical as to the claimed speeds on the packaging, so I plugged it into my openSUSE-11.4 desktop PC to give it a try.

First let me say that my experience with my desktop PC hardware is I don't get the very fast USB-2.0 nor USB-3.0 speeds that some users claim/benchmark no matter what OS I try. In fact, my USB-3.0 speeds with an Asus U3S6 USB-3.0 PCI-e card (in my Asus PST Deluxe V2 motherboard) are closer to very fast USB-2.0 speeds as opposed to USB-3.0. I read speculation somewhere on the web that the Asus PST Deluxe V2 motherboard is not so good for obtaining USB-3.0 speeds with its PCI-e bus so it may not be the PCI-e card's fault. I note this is not just openSUSE but also windowsXP (with the USB-3.0 drivers) that does not see USB-3.0 speeds.

So I note the packaging on the Kingston DataTraveler HyperX USB.0 claims this:


So while running openSUSE-11.4, I plugged the USB-3.0 stick into a USB-2.0 port on my PC, and copied a 600 Mbyte file by a drag and drop with Dolphin (and I also have the view that Dolphin is not the best file manager for high speeds).

I obtained speeds of only ~ 15 MB/sec to copy on to that USB-3.0 stick (where 30MB/sec is claimed possible). This is in comparison to speeds of 5.5 MB/sec that I typically get with one of my faster USB 2.0 memory sticks. so 15 MB/sec is fast, but not the 30MB/sec on the packaging.

I then unmounted the stick, and plugged it into a USB-3.0 port on my Asus U3S6 USB-3.0 PCI-e card. And a copied a 1.5 GB file onto the memory stick. This time I saw speeds of only ~30 MB/sec (instead of the claimed 135 MB/sec). But I also note 30 MB/sec is the same sort of speeds I have experienced with a USB-3.0 external hard drive. So IMHO the fault lies not with the memory stick, but with my PC hardware.

I also noted (above) that a fast USB-2.0 memory stick gives speeds in the order of 5.5 MB/sec using same USB-2.0 port and also the same speeds in the order of 5.0 MB/sec using the same USB-3.0 port.

So without question the Kingston HyperX is faster with my hardware. Its just not as fast as it could be with better hardware.

Still, despite not breaking any speed records, I'm very happy with this new toy.

Here is a pix with cover off :


The lsusb of this device is this:
Code:
Bus 009 Device 007: ID 0951:162b Kingston Technology
and "fdisk -l" see's the USB stick as this:
Code:
Disk /dev/sdb: 64.1 GB, 64055410688 bytes
53 heads, 53 sectors/track, 44538 cylinders, total 125108224 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0xc3072e18

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdb1   *        8064   125108223    62550080    c  W95 FAT32 (LBA)
and when mounted, from 'df -Th' the following:
Code:
Filesystem    Type    Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sdb1     vfat     60G  128K   60G   1% /media/KINGSTON
I'm tempted to reformat this 64 GB memory stick from VFAT to NTFS. I confess I've never formatted a memory stick as NTFS before and I'm not clear what that might do to the memory stick's compatibility with the average PC.

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Updated 29-Dec-2011 at 09:02 by oldcpu

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Comments

  1. oldcpu's Avatar
    I tried out the Kingston DataTraveler HyperX-3.0 64GB USB-3.0 Memory stick on my wife's Lenovo X220 laptop transferring some large files ( ~ 1.5 GB in size). She has both Windows7 and openSUSE-12.1 on that laptop. The USB ports are all 2.0 (she does not have the X220 version with the 3.0 port).

    I noted when reading from the USB stick, that openSUSE-12.1 was reading at ~35 MB/sec approx, while Windows7 at ~32 MB/sec. But when writing to the USB stick openSUSE-12.1 was only ~17 MB/sec while Windows7 was 31 MB/sec. I was using Dolphin to copy with openSUSE-12.1.

    Ergo, I'm thinking there is a configuration in openSUSE which is not setup to write to a USB stick as fast as Windows7 is set up to write (to a USB stick).
  2. VernDog's Avatar
    It would be interesting to try your 64gb stick on some other hardware to see if you can realize faster speeds.
  3. oldcpu's Avatar
    It appears the Asus PCI-e (U3S6) USB-3.0 card is not compatible with my Asus P6T Deluxe V2 motherboard to provide USB-3.0 speeds. I don't see USB-3.0 speeds with this card, and I've tried 3 different USB-3.0 devices.

    For now I removed the Asus PCI-e (U3S6) USB-3.0 card from my Desktop PC. It does not provide the USB-3.0 speed that I had wanted to obtain and to access the ports on the back of the PC (with my PC under the desk) are a source of irritation. I don't see the point in running cables to the front of the PC for these two ports, given I do not get USB-3.0 speed out of this card.

    It will be a couple of years before we purchase another PC in our apartment. I have not decided if I will purchase another USB-3.0 card ...

    I'll keep an eye open at work for any USB-3.0 test opportunities. Although if there is a USB-3.0 port on a PC at work, the probability is VERY high that the work PC has a monopolistic operating system (MS-Windows) installed and not GNU/Linux.

    Edit:

    although it appears others have been sucessfull with this card and same motherboard as I have. For example: ASUS U3S6, 2x USB 3.0/2x SATA 6Gb/s, PCIe x4: Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories
    Quote Originally Posted by RFountain
    I bought this to enable USB3 on my home build PC. Although the Asus P6T Deluxe V2 was not on the compatibility list when this was launched - I can say that it is 100% compatible and works great. It subsequently may have been added to the Asus list.

    Simply pop in into a PCI 4x or 8x or 16x slot - makes no difference as it will only work at 4x - install the drivers from the disc, and off you go.
    ....
    The USB3 ports worked off the bat, perfectly. Seeing peaks of 250MB/s on a LaCie 500GB external USB3 drive with a 5400rpm drive in it!! It settles down to anywhere from 60-90MB/s when transferring large (30+GB) files across. I haven't tried a 7200 rpm drive with it yet.
    My drive is a 7200rpm but surely that can't be the limitation.

    Maybe I need to try another slot in my motherboard

    EDIT-2: I see Asus in their advertisement for this U3S6 USB-3.0 card claim compatibility with the Asus P6T Deluxe V2 motherboard. ....
    Updated 04-Jan-2012 at 23:10 by oldcpu
  4. oldcpu's Avatar
    I see another user with a Asus P6T Deluxe V2 and the Asus PCI-e (U3S6) USB-3.0 card did NOT obtain USB-3.0 speeds. Post here: Fast is good, faster is better – SATA 6G and USB 3.0
    I tested an ASUS U3S6 controller card in my custom-built Windows 7 main computer. The computer has an ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 motherboard, 12GB of DDR3 RAM and an Intel i7-920 (2.66GHz) CPU. The U3S6 adapter card has two USB 3.0 connectors on the back plane ....
    ...
    USB 3.0 may be a big improvement but I didn’t see it in my initial testing. It is supposed to work at speeds up to 10x USB 2.0. This board’s USB 3.0 ports connected to a USB 3.0 external hard drive are only about 40%-50% faster than USB 2.0 equipment. This is good but nowhere near the 10x range I hoped for.
    So there is a mystery here. Some users see the speed improvement and some do not.

    Why ?

    A motherboard BIOS setting ? Does it matter in what slot the cards are located ?
    Updated 04-Jan-2012 at 23:52 by oldcpu
  5. oldcpu's Avatar
    wrt USB-3.0 speeds not being achieved (with a PCI-e card), I took a look at the BIOS of my Asus P6T Deluxe V2 motherboard and noted two things:

    First - I have the 'Advanced' North Bridge Configuration PCI Express Selector set to 'auto'. Purportedly this allows one to select the PCI-e slot#2 and PCI-e slot#3 with 3 choices, which are:
    • auto
    • width x8 + x8
    • width x16 + x1

    I'm wondering if the width x16 + x1 was auto selected, with the x1 width being applied to the USB-3.0 card ? If so, that would explain the lack of USB-3.0 speed.

    Second - In the BIOS I note under Main > Storage Configuration > Configure SATA , that I have 'IDE' selected. My choices are:
    • IDE
    • RAID
    • AHCI

    I read one user of the Asus U3S6 USB-3.0 card with an Asus P6T Deluxe V2 motherboard (ie same as mine) state categorically that one needed to apply the AHCI setting to obtain USB-3.0 speeds.

    With my having installed openSUSE with the IDE settings in place, I am very reluctant to change the BIOS to 'AHCI' unless I know what I am doing (which I don't know) . I did read one forum post of a user struggling to boot with 'AHCI' applied (but it worked with IDE) : http://forums.opensuse.org/english/g...able-bios.html

    I am currently running openSUSE-11.4. My temptation is to wait a few months (possibly Easter) when I decide to update from 11.4 to 12.1, and when I do so, I may go for AHCI in my PC's BIOS and not IDE. And at that time, I may try this Asus PCI-e (U3S6) card again to try to obtain USB-3.0 speeds.
  6. oldcpu's Avatar
    With a BIOS tweak and different PCI-e slot I obtained slightly better read speeds.

    The BIOS tuning I did was under 'Advanced' North Bridge Configuration PCI Express Selector which I set to width x8 + x8. I also put the Asus U3S6 USB-3.0 card in a different slot.

    The improvement I saw on the Kingston DataTraveler HyperX-3.0 USB-3.0 memory stick using the Asus U3S6 USB-3.0 card was:
    • writing to the USB-3.0 stick remained at 30 MB/sec
    • reading from the USB-3.0 stick increased from 30MB/sec (in my previous test) to 60MB/sec [ie twice as fast]


    Still significantly below the purported possible speeds.

    The test was with a 1.7 GB file and dolphin file manager. I did not want to copy much larger as this memory stick is formatted as FAT32 which has a 2GB limitation for a file size.

    I don't know if it was the BIOS change or the slot change that made the difference in the read speed. But its now clear to me that the hardware implementation of USB-3.0 on one's PC plays a major role in an effort to guage the speed of this device.

    I also have a winXP partition on this PC, and I may try checking the transfer speed with that OS.
  7. oldcpu's Avatar
    Reference the lsusb for this device, ... after changing the slot of the PCI-e USB-3.0 card, I plugged in the KINGSTON DataTraveler HyperX-3.0 USB-3.0 memory stick and typed 'lsusb' which yielded:
    Code:
    Bus 009 Device 002: ID 0951:162b Kingston Technology
    then to get more information I typed 'lsusb -t' which yielded:
    Code:
    /:  Bus 09.Port 1: Dev 1, Class=root_hub, Driver=xhci_hcd/4p, 5000M                                                                                       
        |__ Port 2: Dev 2, If 0, Class=stor., Driver=usb-storage, 5000M
    which is only meaningful if one is more familiar with what usb-3.0 and usb-2.0 looks like ... ie the entire 'lsusb -t' yields:
    Code:
    oldcpu@corei7:~> lsusb -t
    /:  Bus 09.Port 1: Dev 1, Class=root_hub, Driver=xhci_hcd/4p, 5000M                                                                                       
        |__ Port 2: Dev 2, If 0, Class=stor., Driver=usb-storage, 5000M
    /:  Bus 08.Port 1: Dev 1, Class=root_hub, Driver=uhci_hcd/2p, 12M                                                                                         
    /:  Bus 07.Port 1: Dev 1, Class=root_hub, Driver=uhci_hcd/2p, 12M                                                                                         
    /:  Bus 06.Port 1: Dev 1, Class=root_hub, Driver=uhci_hcd/2p, 12M                                                                                         
    /:  Bus 05.Port 1: Dev 1, Class=root_hub, Driver=uhci_hcd/2p, 12M                                                                                         
    /:  Bus 04.Port 1: Dev 1, Class=root_hub, Driver=uhci_hcd/2p, 12M
    /:  Bus 03.Port 1: Dev 1, Class=root_hub, Driver=uhci_hcd/2p, 12M                                                                                         
    /:  Bus 02.Port 1: Dev 1, Class=root_hub, Driver=ehci_hcd/6p, 480M                                                                                        
        |__ Port 3: Dev 2, If 0, Class=audio, Driver=snd-usb-audio, 480M                                                                                      
        |__ Port 3: Dev 2, If 1, Class=audio, Driver=snd-usb-audio, 480M                                                                                      
        |__ Port 3: Dev 2, If 2, Class='bInterfaceClass 0x0e not yet handled', Driver=uvcvideo, 480M                                                          
        |__ Port 3: Dev 2, If 3, Class='bInterfaceClass 0x0e not yet handled', Driver=uvcvideo, 480M
        |__ Port 4: Dev 3, If 0, Class=hub, Driver=hub/4p, 480M                                                                                               
            |__ Port 4: Dev 4, If 0, Class=HID, Driver=usbhid, 1.5M                                                                                           
            |__ Port 4: Dev 4, If 1, Class=HID, Driver=usbhid, 1.5M
    /:  Bus 01.Port 1: Dev 1, Class=root_hub, Driver=ehci_hcd/6p, 480M
        |__ Port 5: Dev 2, If 0, Class=hub, Driver=hub/4p, 480M
    Now if 'only' I saw the 5000M vs the 480M speed increase !
    Updated 10-Jan-2012 at 15:24 by oldcpu
  8. oldcpu's Avatar
    I updated today to the 3.1.10-1.9.1 kernel version on openSUSE-12.1 (packaged by SuSE-GmbH). I noted this in the description of the change to this newer kernel :
    Code:
    For bugfixes,
    ....
    - a performance issue with transparent huge pages was fixed
    which could have caused huge slowdowns when doing I/O
    over e.g. USB sticks.
    So I plugged in my USB-3.0 memory stick into my PCI-e USB-3.0 interface card, and using Dolphin file manager in KDE I copied a file that was just under 2GB from the memory stick to my PC. I saw transfer speeds of 118 MB/sec, which is the fastest that I have seen to date. It is still less than the 225 MB/sec that the packaging claims, but 118 MB/sec is a substantial improvement over what I had observed in the past.

    That is only one test, and I need to do some more, but it is promising that I am finally now starting to see much better than the USB-2.0 transfer speeds.

    Edit : I skimmed through the bug reports that this kernel release addresses, and the closest I could find to one that might explain the improved performance I have observed with USB-3.0 is this one Bug 719416 - writing to usb flashdisk uses too much cpu and makes system unresponsive, but it is not focused at USB-3.0 and it does not appear to describe the sort of transfer speeds I am working with.

    Still if it is not that bug report, then maybe there was a side benefit from one of the many BTRFS bug fixes (but i am even more skeptical of that) !
    Updated 22-Apr-2012 at 00:58 by oldcpu