Is the iPod shuffle with USB 1.1 too pokey?

Okay, so I have an old iMac, without USB 2.0 ports. This means that transferring data to and from USB devices like flash memory keys and the new iPod shuffle happens at the old USB speed of 12 megabits per second rather than the USB 2.0 speed of 480 megabits per second.

So, the question is: if I bought an iPod shuffle, would I get really frustrated with how long it would take to transfer MP3 files to it at that slower speed?

Let’s do the math.

The cheaper iPod shuffle hold 512 megabytes of music. The slow USB transfer speed that my iMac support is 12 megabits per second. To convert megabits to megabytes, we divide by 8 (there are 8 bits in a byte), so that’s 1.5 megabytes per second. So to transfer 512 megabytes of music would take 341 seconds, or about 5 and a half minutes.

By contrast, if I had USB 2.0 ports, I’d be flinging music at 480 megabits per second, which is 60 megabytes per second. Meaning I could fill up the iPod shuffle in 8.5 seconds.


Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on January 13, 2005 - 22:07 Permalink

You’ll be fine with the slower USB.

Daniel's picture
Daniel on January 13, 2005 - 23:19 Permalink

Peter, I originally formatted my iPod Mini for my PC and hence was running with only USB 1 support. It was slow, but not prohibitively so. I’d say it felt about 4 times slower than when I now use it with Firewire on my Mac (I don’t know the scientific specs). So, yup it’ll be slower but it isn’t ridiculously slow and shouldn’t be a big deal considering the smaller storage capacity of the wee iPod Shuffle.

padawan's picture
padawan on January 14, 2005 - 12:33 Permalink

Keep in mind that the iPod Shuffle recharges through the USB port, and it’ll probably take more than 5mn to do so, that’s what will take the most time.

[Funny, your anti-spam “Are you human?” mechanism is asking me to enter “penis” as the token. Why not v1agra and c1al1s while we’re at it ? Oh the irony ;-)]

al o'neill's picture
al o'neill on January 14, 2005 - 17:06 Permalink

Keep in mind also that “480 MBits / s” is a filthy lie, and only refers to “burst” speed, whereas FireWire’s 400 MBits / s is its “sustained” speed.

The thing about synching also is that after you do the inital synching the only songs that get transferred after that are the changes you make to your library. But I guess with the Shuffle the turnover rate for songs will be quite a bit higher.

Ryan Groat's picture
Ryan Groat on January 23, 2005 - 08:43 Permalink

As Al said, just because USB 2.0 can theoretically transmit data at 480 Mb/sec doesn’t mean it will. And it won’t. Judging by the USB 2.0 performance of my external hard drive, you might get about 150 Mb/sec on USB 2.0. That being said, it’s the same with other technologies. When connecting the same external drive through Firewire 800 I can get about 550 Mb/sec, well below the theoretical maximum of 800 Mb/sec.

Now that I’ve gone and said that, I think you’ll be fine with a shuffle and USB 1.

fat's picture
fat on March 1, 2005 - 20:18 Permalink

You have a short attention span if you get fed up in 5 and a half minutes

lou's picture
lou on August 21, 2005 - 03:40 Permalink

quicker math would be 480/12=40*8.5(current load time)=340 secs=5.67minutes