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Speed Comparison

Tuesday January 18, 2000 - 11:38 PM EST - By James Hromadka

USB Speed

CradlesOne of the things that has always been touted about the Handspring Visor is the speed of USB.  But how much faster is USB than serial?  To find out, I set up a Windows 98 computer (Dell™ Pentium II 450Mhz w/ 128MB RAM) with both a USB and a serial cradle.   All times below are an average of several HotSyncs™.  Serial sync is set to As Fast as Possible.  Numbers in green are the best for that column.

First I took a 1077KB file (the Palm IPO) and installed it on the Visor using both USB and serial cradles.  Here are the times:
USB Serial
Xfer Speed 22.9 KB/s 4.6 KB/s
Time (mm:ss) 00:47 03:56

As you can see USB is much faster than serial -- almost five times faster.  This really makes a difference when downloading large etexts or installing MP3 files onto a Springboard module.

When compared to the transfer (Xfer) speeds of the 8MB Flash Module and the Backup Module , the USB cradle is still faster.  Below are the times in terms of MB per minute.  USB HotSync is slightly faster than the Backup Module and over 30% faster than the 8MB Flash Module.
USB Serial 8MB Flash Module Backup Module
Xfer Speed 1.34 MB/min 0.27 MB/min 1.0 MB/min 1.25 MB/min

I also wanted to find out how long a normal sync would take.  I made sure the Visor and Palm Desktop were both current then synchronized.  The only thing I didn’t have set to sync was Mail.  Here are the times:
USB Serial
Time (mm:ss) 00:09 00:11

If you notice the times below are very close.  This is probably because the code for HotSync is optimized to quickly find out if there is anything that needs to be synced.  If there are no changes, it quickly moves along to the next conduit.

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