SHCC WYSIWYG Article from September 2013

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This article was written by Don VanSyckel, the club president, as a part of "The President's Pen".  This article appeared in the September 2013 WYSIWYG newsletter.

Move On To USB 3.0 Now and USB 3.1 Soon

by Don VanSyckel

Backup your data. I was talking with someone recently and they told me they did not need to backup the data on their computer because they didn't really have anything important on the disk. To this I responded, "where's your computer restore disk that came with it when you bought it?" "You can't do that I'll lose my picture, quicken files, and internet favorites." The expression on their face changed and they realized they did have important files on their computer hard drive and they should back up the data.

I do all backups in two's. For years I've had two file servers. I used one for my files and the other for backup. I ran the backup program almost every night before turning off the computer. I also have a laptop and while it is not as full featured as my desktop, in a pinch I can do most things on it. So if I need something for the meeting I'm about to go to, I can always get it. If my main file server doesn't boot up, I use the backup. If my PC has a tantrum, I use the laptop. So by having a file sever and not having my data on a disk in the desktop, I had the flexibility to use my data from a different computer quickly and seamlessly.

External USB drives came on the scene and offered disk storage that could be moved between computers. USB 1.0 and USB 2.0 are both too slow to use as your main data storage. So I continued to use my file servers. Then in 2008 the USB 3.0 specification was released. as with all new technology it took a while for hardware vendors to build USB 3.0 into their products and then when they did the products cost more than the comparable USB 2.0 product. Things have leveled off and USB 3.0 products are commonly available.

At this point I would not purchase any USB data device that does not support USB 3.0. You'll be tempted by the price of the USB 2.0 product but don't yield to price, you'll regret it later. Below is a table of USB speeds. As you can see USB 3.0 is 330 X faster than USB 1.1 and 8.3 X faster than USB 2.0. While 8.3 might not sound significant to you, something that takes USB 2.0 a minute to do is accomplished by USB 3.0 in 7.2 seconds and when you're waiting this is a huge difference. Another way to view it is if you could work 8.3 times faster you could get your 8 hour work day done in 58 minutes, Whoa hoo!!

USB TypeDateBits/secX USB 1.1Bytes/secComparability
USB 1.1199812M1X1.5M 
USB 2.02000480M40X60MUSB 1.1
USB 3.020084 G330X500MUSB 1.1,2.0
USB 3.1201310 G830X1250MUSB 2.0,3.0

Now USB 3.1 has just been released and its 2.5 times faster than USB 3.0. This would turn the 58 minutes into 23 minutes. Wow! USB 3.1 products will not hit the market for months and their price will be premium initially.

I purchased a two port USB 3.0 card for the desktop and two USB 3.0 external disk drives. This is a nice set up. One drive I do all work on and everyday I back it up to the second drive. If my desktop stops working it's a snap to move the two USB drives to the laptop. Likewise since the two drives are the same, if the main drive stops working its seamless to use the second drive.

Another approach which is compatible to this is the newly available NAS (Network Attached Storage) units. These units plug into your network and provide disk storage. These units can be as fast as the USB 3.0 external disk drives if your computer is connected to the network via wires. If you are using wireless for the PC or the NAS than this solution is speed limited by the wireless.

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