Performance Results

By Nick Stam  |  Posted 2002-11-06 Print this article Print

: Complete Drive Backup"> The 20GB USB and PC Card-attached ABSplus drives were tested on our two year old IBM ThinkPad T20 notebook using an IBM Travelstar 20GN (model DJSA-220) 4200rpm, UDMA/66 drive. Our tests consisted of backing up 14GB of data from the notebook, which includes over 70,000 files and 3300 directories. First we conducted an entire system backup. This test reflects a typical user experience when installing the product for the first time. We did not modify user data or ABS drive settings, and we did not perform a defragmentation of the drive before backing up. However, we did disable Norton AntiVirus for all backup runs.
We expected the PC Card device to outperform the USB device, because the notebook only supports USB 1.1, and CMS informed us that the PC Card device is a CardBus device (PCI signal translations, not ISA signal translations).
Youll note slight variations in the number of files backed up, which may be due to some temporary files that may have been created between backups, or more likely additional driver files loaded when setting up the USB device. We completely uninstalled and reinstalled ABS Backup software between each run of the different device types, because the USB and PC Card devices cannot be installed for backup concurrently. As you can see in the results above, the USB 1.1 version was about 13% faster, but both still took a very long time – over seven hours – even though it was a backup of the entire disk. Clearly, bottlenecks existed elsewhere, because CardBus transfers should be much faster than USB 1.1. Reading and writing a mix of random and sequential data from two 4200rpm drives across large expanses of the disk surface likely was the main bottleneck, along with possible driver inefficiencies. Compared to typical 40GB DAT tape backup solutions that claim 200+MB/minute speeds transferring compressed data, the ABSplus drives are slow. But in both ABSplus cases, we ran the full system backups overnight, so it really didnt matter much.

Nick Stam Co-Founder, ExtremeTech
Ex-Director, PC Magazine Labs

Nick is a founder of the ExtremeTech website. He worked with co-founder Bill Machrone designing the site, staffing up, and getting initial content developed for ET's formal launch on June 12, 2001. Nick was Senior Technical Director of ET until mid-2003, while concurrently performing duties in PC Magazine Labs.

Nick was a technical director in PC Labs from late 1991 through mid-2002, and was Lab Director from mid-2002 until March 2005. Prior to PC Magazine, Nick was in the computer industry in various development, systems engineering, and management roles since mid-1980, and he received an MS in Computer Science from SUNY Binghamton.

In March 2005, Nick decided it was time to leave Ziff Davis Media (parent of PC Magazine and ExtremeTech) to pursue other opportunities, but wishes all the best to the ET and PC Magazine staff and reader communities!

Nick can be contacted at


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