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Why is my usb 3.0 flash stick so slow on Mountain Lion? Retina MBP

5498 Views 10 Replies Latest reply: Jun 5, 2013 8:40 AM by FatMac\>MacPro RSS
MacinthassAlex Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Aug 2, 2012 6:30 PM

I love my new Retina MBP but I am disappointed that the USB 3.0 stick is so slow under Mountain Lion...


I own the Patriot Supersonic Boost XT 32GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive PEF32GSBUSB and while I do see read speeds of around 60MB/s under Windows (when I format it NTFS) I get merely 30MB/s in Mountain Lion (Extended Journaled).


That is as slow as my USB 2.0 Corsair Voyager stick.


Does Apple need to fix its drivers under Mountain Lion???

MacBook Pro with Retina display, OS X Mountain Lion
  • Mikegrant65 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have had the same problem with Leopard, Snow Leopard, and Lion, with innumerable different brands and sizes of USB sticks. I've formatted them as FAT, FAT32, NTFS, and HFS, and nothing seems to make any difference. No matter what I do, I'm still getting a third and sometimes even a quarter of the read/write speeds our worn-out old Windows XP printer RIP can manage.


    I'm replying like this in the hope someone has a solution of some sort, because it's annoyed me for years.

  • Alexander Hood Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I found the problem, or more accurately, the feature that causes the slow transfer times. Your OS is indexing all the files on the memory stick so it can be easily searched.


    Try turning off this feature and let us know if that fixes you "years of annoyance".


    Insert your USB Drive

    Go to System Preferences -> Spotlight -> Privacy

    Select Add "+"

    Select your flash drive  to add to this list


    It's opt-out, not opt-in, so while you're there add whatever else you don't want Spotlighted.



  • Mikegrant65 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for the suggestion, Alexander.


    Tried it with four different pen drives, but unfortunately it didn't make any noticeable difference.

  • Mikegrant65 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    A little update....


    Took delivery of a new iMac 27" and all the old USB pen drives are super fast! Go figure, eh?

  • infoweb Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi there,


    I'm having the same issue. I tried copy the a 1.4 gb file on my macbook pro retina with 2.7ghz cpu and 16gb ram and it took around 9 minutes.


    Did the same thing on an old 2.1.ghz core 2 duo pc with 2gb ram and it did the exact same file in just over 3 1/2 minutes.


    Not the sort of performance i expect from a 4K+ machine...

  • MBALLM Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I am used to copying about 700 mb of data in around 3 minutes from the hard disk to a usb stick.  With the upgrade to Lion, the rate slowed to about 9 minutes for the same amoun of data.


    Following Alexander Hood's tip (excluding the usb from Spotlight), my transfer speeds are now back to what I expect.


    Thanks Alex.

  • sKurt Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Have a Patriot 64GB stick and after my new MacBook Pro Retina decided to tell me I had removed it too soon. (no, I hadn't) things got wonky with the stick so I formatted it using Disk Utility and Tuxera's NTFS feature so I could copy >4GB files.



    After I formatted the stick I started the copy process back to the stick and little files took forever.  I didn't do a bench mark/thoroughput test, but a 1GB file that used to take 2-3 minutes is now sitting at 3 HOURS to complete and even then it will probably increase in time.  Oops, yes, now it says 4 HOURS.


    it slowly ticks up 21.2 MB, 21.3 MB, 21.4 MB excruciating to say the least.


    I expect the 40+GB I had to take at most 40 minutes ~ 1 Hour, not dog slow like it is.


    So I thought maybe there was some issue with the format, I plugged it into a Windows 7 PC and formatted it 'normal/not quick' for NTFS - took about an hour to format.  By now I'm thinking there is something wrong with the stick.


    I then copied a 1GB folder to the stick from Win 7 and it took 2 minutes - reasonable.


    Ejected it, plugged it into the MacBook Pro Retina and as you see 3 to 4 hours.


    I should say before I started the copy I did like Alexander Hood said with the indexing thing opended preferences and dragged the Patriot drive to Privicy then started the copy.


    Sitting at 5 hours now.  Gonna cancel it.


    I tried both sides of the MacBook just incase perhaps the port was having issues.


    I finally got my WD MY Passport and plugged it in (no privacy/index settings with that) and the same file took 3 minutes on the MacBook.


    I guess I'll turn in the stick and see if the warranty will cover when a MacBook eats a stick...

  • Mikegrant65 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Further tip that might help anyone struggling with thumb drives that are being used to transfer files between Macs and PCs:


    Try formatting the drive on the PC as exFAT rather than FAT32.


    Note: older (XP) PCs may need to download the free exFAT addon from Microsoft.

  • Garv1990 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    it is not a reply but i am having the same problem.......

    i bought a 13" macbook pro with retina display with 128gb ssd with a hope that i can transfer my files to my external hard drive very fast so 128gb storage wont be a problem bt.......files transfer speed is extremely slow......

  • FatMac\>MacPro Level 4 Level 4 (2,070 points)

    Garv1990 wrote:


    it is not a reply but i am having the same problem.......

    i bought a 13" macbook pro with retina display with 128gb ssd with a hope that i can transfer my files to my external hard drive very fast so 128gb storage wont be a problem bt.......files transfer speed is extremely slow......

    What are you trying to transfer your files to?


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