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USB 3.0 vs. eSATA speed for external storage?

Network attached storage (NAS), external docking stations, and backup hard-drives are very popular, but their expected transfer speeds are often overlooked or misunderstood. Below is a speed comparison of the different connection types for external storage.

Speeds (theoretical max raw bit rate):
Ethernet - 100 Mbps
Gigabit Ethernet - 1 Gbps
eSATA - 1.5G bps to 6 Gbps (depending on SATA standard)
SATA II - 3 Gbps
SATA III - 6 Gbps
USB 3.0 - 5 Gbps
USB 3.1 gen2 - 10 GBps
USB 3.2 - 16 Gbps

Note: All transfer speeds are listed in Gigabits per second, see our Bits/Bytes conversion calculator for the equivalent Megabytes/Gigabytes.

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