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Backups - How long does it take?

Data backups are part of our digital lives (or at least they should be). The question is...

"How long does it take to do a backup?"

Before I answer this, a quick explanation - many backups are done via USB nowadays, as can be seen by the myriad of USB backup drives that are available and with sizes varying anywhere from 1GigaByte (1GB = 1000MB) up to 1 Terabyte (1TB = 1000GB).

With USB there are 2 types USB1 and USB2. If you have a PC (or MAC) that has a USB1 connection, the maximum speed you can achieve, theoretically, is about 25MB/s. USB2 gives a better rate at 50MB/s. Though this is so, just like a car that accelerates from standing to max speed - it takes a little time for the speed to reach it's peak i.e. it does not start at 50MB/s straightaway, thats why an 3MB music or MP3 file still takes a few seconds to transfer to your USB device.

Theoretically speaking, at 50MB/s you can transfer 3000MB/minute (2.9GB/Min) or 180000 MB/hour (175GB/hour). The reason why I say theoretical is because the speed can be hindered by other factors, programs or services that are running on your PC e.g. antivirus, anti spam, system services, if you are still using the PC to browse the internet, etc. These items contribute to the time it takes and the speed of the transfer. In layman's terms, if you take the car analogy, even if your car can do 280KM/h - unless you have a straight road with no bends and ideal traffic conditions - it is unlikely you will be able to stay constantly at 280KM/h.

So - when backing up large amounts of data, always remember to do it at appropriate times e.g. run your backup overnight, and leave and extra half hour or so to accommodate for other things that the PC may need to do.


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