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Question: Is it REALLY USB 3.0?


New Member
OK...been wondering this for a while, but an experience tonight has me posting.

I'm going on a trip, and wanted some videos on my Surface.

Had the videos, 35GB worth, on my VAIO Laptop, Core i7, USB 3.0. Decided to put 'em on my 1TB Passport USB 3.0 external drive, then to the Surface. I know I could have gone direct...but hear me out.

Those 35GB of videos took 7 minutes to transfer to my external drive. Done.

Then I transferred the same 35GB of videos from the external drive via USB 3.0 to the Surface's SD card - one hour plus.

Why the time difference?

OK, I can see if it's the SD card slowing things down. Or...the difference between an i7 and an i5.

But, I don't think I've ever been impressed with the speed of the "USB 3.0" on the Surface Pro.

Don't get me wrong - I love this thing. But I can't help but wonder whether there's some setting I need to adjust?

Why does the VAIO go at the speed of light - but the Surface goes at the speed of a....USB 2.0?

Yep, it really is usb 3.0. Most likely the limiting factor is the SD card. What class is it? Also there may be limits on how fast the Surface can write to the SD card depending on the SD card slot hardware.
Thanks. Good to know.

The SD card is the likely bottleneck, although it's what many of us on the forum probably use: SanDisk Ultra 64 GB MicroSDXC Class 10 UHS-1.

It seems to be fast, being a class 10. But maybe it can't match USB 3.0's speed.

In any event - the reason I need such big file transfers is I always use HD video (ergo my name). And watching a big, 3 to 9 GB movie, or TV show on the Pro is amazing. Gorgeous picture, no matter whether using WMP, iTunes, or the resident video player.

I can't tolerate any pixelization, audio out-of-sync, none of it. I use the highest possible bitrate, at 1920 X 1080. Big files! It has to be perfect. And the Surface delivers.

Thanks again for your info.
You can test your card with this CrystalDiskMark - Software - Crystal Dew World.

Class 10 spec - Class 10 asserts that the card supports 10 MB/s as a minimum non-fragmented sequential write speed. Secure Digital - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

USB 3.0 spec - The "SuperSpeed" bus provides for a transfer mode at a nominal rate of 5.0 Gbit/s, in addition to the three existing transfer modes. Accounting for encoding overhead, the raw data throughput is 4 Gbit/s, and the specification considers it reasonable to achieve 3.2 Gbit/s (0.4 GB/s or 400 MB/s) or more in practice. USB 3.0 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Have you tried transferring a movie straight to the surface instead of the SD card? I'll bet you anything it'll be quick
Sent from my Nokia Lumia 920 using Board Express
It is USB 3.0, the bottleneck is your SD card, not the USB 3.0 port. Try transferring between the external drive and your SSD on the Surface, you will see a huge difference. I have a 256gb SSD in an external USB 3.0 enclosure I carry around and can transfer around 170mb/sec with it between the external drive and the internal SSD on the Surface.

You can't really expect USB 3.0 speeds going to the SD card though... Your movies should play from there fine though.
Thanks, everyone...I appreciate the info, the links and the advice.

And yes, I will try a transfer right to the Surface hard drive - and clock it.

Thanks again.