Boost External Hard Drive Speed


by Mitz Pantic from

Boost External Hard Drive Speed

Your external hard drive speed depends almost entirely upon two things: your cables and your drive itself. There’s nothing you can do to increase your external hard drive’s hardware speed, but there’s plenty you can do to improve your cables.

Shorter Cables, Faster External Hard Drive

It’s nice having a long cable for your external hard drive because it lets you put your drive in convenient spots far away from your computer. But that long cable is almost certainly costing you speed.

The maximum length of cable you can use for your external hard drive depends on what type of cord you use. It’s different for USB 2.0, USB 3.0, eSATA, and Firewire—but in most cases it’s only a two or three yards or meters.

Data transmitted over copper cables travels at roughly 60% of the speed of light in a vacuum (300,000 kilometers per second), so if you cut the length of a cord in half, you double the speed. That means a typical short 4-foot cord is twice as fast as a typical long 8-foot cord—and a 2-foot cord will be four times as fast.

As an added bonus, shorter cords for your external hard drive are usually cheaper than the longer cords, so you get the rare combination of speed and savings.

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