How do I know whether my USB 3.0 card is actually working?

Charles NYC November 4, 2011

So I installed a USB 3.0 card into a slot on my HP 580t motherboard. The USB 3.0 shows in my DEVICE MANGER list as OK. My WD external 3 TB HD is rated as 3.0 capable, but I really see no speed difference from 2.0 when I do a virus check of its content.

How can I tell if the USB 3.0 port is doing 3.0 rated speed and not just 2.0?

  1. Stivinn Aura
    November 5, 2011 at 1:48 am

    Charles, simply copy a single large file (anything around or greater than 500 MB will do) to your WD. If speeds average 20-30 MB/s, then it's still the USB 2.0 interface. If the speeds do not cross 40 MB/s most of the time, even then it's USB 2. If the speeds are constantly above 40 MB/s then USB 3.0 is most definitely working.

    Unlike USB 2.0, the drivers for USB 3.0 are not native to most Operating Systems, and only correct drivers can enable the computer to use USB 3.0 speeds.

  2. Mike
    November 4, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    You can't really do performance comparisons using a virus scan. The speed of AV scans is mostly limited by their engine and the method used to detect malware.

    If you want to test the speed of your USB 3.0 Hard Drive you should rather use something like ATTO Disk Benchmark.

    Also, just because the external drive is stated to be USB 3.0 doesn't mean you get the full speed of 5Gbit/s (~600MB/s). Chances are they used USB 3.0 because of the increased 900mA (versus the 500mA of USB 2.0).
    For example if the internal Hard Drive used is only SATA2 (theoretical maximum 3Gbit/s) your actual transfer speeds will be around 300MB/s ~ probably lower.

    November 4, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Hello, remember that when usb speeds are given, they are theoretical.  You'll never reach the speed advertised.  You know that your usb card is working if whenever you connect a usb device it gets recognized whether it is usb 2.0 or 3.0.  Are you using a usb 3.0 compatible cable when connecting your drive? 
    Have you tried, checking the speed without basing your conclusion on an antivirus check?  Remember depending on what antivirus you have it might slow down your computer big time and it is not really a true test of your speed.  I would test the speed when copying files to the drive.  Mind you, that also depends on your processor, ram, etc.  If you have an SSD dry, you might get real improvement on speed.  If you have a regulard drive, you will see differences but not that much.
    Did the card have any drivers for it?  If it did, did you install them?  You could read the following might provide you with more info:

    I guess if you want more scientific results you can use something like the following:

    The following is a list of free benchmarking software.  Read the list, get a program that suits your need and run it.