Samsung today announced a new line of USB 3.0 external hard drives which the company says offer ten times the speed as previous generation USB 2.0 drives.

The Samsung Story Station line of external drives employ the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface which offers a maximum transfer rate of 5 gigabits per second (Gbps) compared to a maximum transfer rate of 480 megabits per second (Mbps) in USB 2.0.

The new USB 3.0 drives will work with existing USB 2.0 enabled computers, however, in order to take advantage of the much higher speeds, you'll need a computer with USB 3.0 ports. Unfortunately, unless you've bought a high end computer recently, you probably won't have USB 3.0 connectivity.

Although the theoretical throughput is said to be ten times higher, benchmark tests by CNET and Storage Review have found real world throughput to be, a still impressive, three to four times faster than external 2.0 hard drives.

In its review of the drive,  Storage Review clocked the Samsung storage unit at speeds of 33MB/s to read and 29MB/s to write when used on a USB 2.0 connection. When connected to a USB 3.0 connection, those numbers rose to 109 MB/s and 101 MB/s respectively.

In addition to being faster, the new Samsung external drives, which are available in 1TB, 1.5TB and 2TB capacities, offer some unique styling and improved energy efficiency.

Samsung says the minimalist design was inspired by retro electronics and combines a grey, brushed aluminum casing with the logo stenciled in red.

The drives also feature three energy-saving modes including idle, sleep and suspend. The standby power level meets requirements for the European Union EuP (Energy Using Products) Directive for Standby Regulation.

The 1TB, 1.5TB and 2TB Samsung STORY Station 3.0 drives are available now for $155, $195 and $270 respectively.

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