Real World Performance – Part 5 – Fast SATA to USB Adapters

In episode 4, I was able to push my LUKS encrypted disk to disk data transfer rate to around 300 MB/s which already saves a lot of time over my previous methods for migrating a lot of data from an old to a new SSD. However, I wasn’t fully satisfied because even older SATA SSDs can often be read at the full 6 Gbit/s SATA speed, i.e. at around 500 MB/s. The bottleneck in my case thus might have been the the 5 GBit/s SATA to USB 3 adapters. However, there are now 10 Gbit/s SATA to USB 3.1 Gen 2 adapters available so I bought one of those for around 20 euros to see if I could further push the limit.

After comparing a few models I went for a UGREEN USB C 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gbit/s) to SATA III adapter and ran my partclone copy process from a LUKS encrypted partition on an older SATA SSD to a newer Micron NVMe SSD which was also connected to my Lenovo X13 Gen 1 notebook via USB. That’s the setup I would use to transfer data for real as well.

And indeed, this combination gave me another 20% throughput improvement, as the data rate went up from 300 MB/s of the previous setup to a sustained 360 MB/s or 22 GB/min. As can be seen in the screenshot above, the actual read data rate (blue graph) is around 480 MB/s and writing to the USB attached NVMe is even faster. However, every now and then there is a gap of a few seconds in the copy process, which brings down the overall throughput to the afore mentioned 360 MB/s.

Overall, I think this result is something I can now live with. Instead of waiting for a day for 2 TB of data to move over from one SSD to another, this should now run in one and a half hours.