Banana Pi & Pro SATA and USB Hard Drive Tests

Ever since I wrote my original Banana Pi review, I’ve wanted to try the additional features of my Banana’s – and in this article, I will take the SATA port on a Banana Pi, and a Banana Pro for a spin :)

Banana Pi & Banana Pro SATA and USB Hard Drive experiments @

(click on image for larger version)

The Banana Pi and Banana Pro both sport Gigabit Ethernet and SATA ports – the advantages of which are obvious to those technically inclined.

(To make it even more interesting, I have also added tests of the same hard drives when connected via USB-SATA adapters, and an ADATA SD card)

Banana Pi & Banana Pro Configuration

  • Banana Pi at default clock settings
  • Banana Pro at default clock settings
  • ADATA 16GB UHS-1 Class 10 SD card
  • 2014-12-26 port of Raspbian to the Banana

SATA Hard Drives

  • 128GB Kingston SSD Now 200 SV200S37A
  • 120GB Silicon Power SSD SP120GBSS3S70S25
  • 320GB TOSHIBA 5400rpm, 12ms seek, 8MB cache, MK3276GSX
  • 3TB TOSHIBA SATA3 7200rpm, 64MB cache, HDKPC08

USB 3.0 Adapters

  • Velocity USB 3.0 SATA adapter ES-3500SE3-BK
  • Mediasonic USB 3.0  2.5″ SATA external drive case HDK-SU3-BN

Software Setup

  • All drives were formatted for ext4fs
  • drives were mounted on /media/usbdrive


The following low-level benchmarks were used:

  • hdparm (buffered read for raw read bandwidth)
  • dd read (copying large file to /dev/null from the drive)
  • dd write (copying /dev/zero to a large file on the drive)
  • dd copy (copying a large file from the drive to the same drive)

All dd tests were run with ‘bs=1M count=1536′ in order to make sure that there were no caching effects from the 1GB of memory.


hdparm gives some indication of the Banana Pi and Banana Pro’s read performance, however the ‘dd Read’ results are more reliable.

Banana Pi & Banana Pro SATA and USB Hard Drive tests @

The SD card had less than half of the hdparm performance of the USB-connected drives, and  SATA was almost 5x faster than USB!

hdparm Banana Pi Banana Pro
SD ADATA 16GB 7.9 12.8
USB KING 120 26.0 22.8
USB SP 120 26.5 26.0
USB Tosh 320 25.3 25.2
USB Tosh 3TB 30.6 29.0
SATA SP 120 115.5 118.0
SATA King 128 120.0 121.7
SATA Tosh 320 88.1 88.2
SATA Tosh 3TB 99.7 116.8

The table above shows the raw hdparm results for the tested drives.

dd Read

The dd Read benchmark is quite simple. It works by copying a file larger than the amount of memory on the single board computer to the /dev/null Linux special device – that is, it reads the file, and writes it out to the “throwaway” device, that just discards the information that was read.

This gives a better idea of how fast large files can be read from the device than hdparam.

Banana Pi & Banana Pro SATA and USB Hard Drive tests @

the dd Read benchmark provides results very similar to the hdparm benchmark, with the SD card being roughly half the speed of USB connected drives, and the SATA connected drives smashing the USB performance.

ddRead Banana Pi Banana Pro
SD ADATA 16GB 18.2 18.3
USB KING 120 33.3 29.1
USB SP 120 33.6 33.7
USB Tosh 320 33.1 33.0
USB Tosh 3TB 33.6 33.5
SATA SP 120 140.0 142.0
SATA King 128 143.0 143.0
SATA Tosh 320 90.9 93.6
SATA Tosh 3TB 126.0 126.0

The table above shows the raw dd Read results for the tested drives.

Article Index

  1. Introduction, Banana Pi & Banana Pro Configuration, Benchmarks, hdparm, dd Read
  2. dd Write, dd Copy, Conclusion

Pages: 1 2

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