No. of Recommendations: 1
I have used TM via USB 2 and it is slow, but not 1 GB/hour. I trust you have formatted the drive to Mac OS extended - Generally external drives as sold are formatted FAT32. While Macs can read/write FAT32, TM cannot store on a FAT32 drive.

I have read one dedicate a drive (or at least a partition/volume) solely to TM. Whether that was a "good practice" or "you darn well better" admonition I don't recall. Storage is cheap. Backups generally and TM in particular are valuable. Using your 500 GB drive for storage of files beyond TM, in my view is like driving without a seat belt.

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