5 Replies Latest reply: Jan 17, 2013 7:57 PM by TOAO
TOAO Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

G5 PPC ejects USB and or external drives very slowly.


The problem is not with your computer hardware, it is a software problem with Leopard.

Problem is somewhat misleading and software Restriction is more accurate.


Leopard was designed to run on old hardware systems.

These old hardware systems had limited Cache and Ram by design. These limitations placed limitations on the Leopard operating system software.

Leopard was forced to limit Cache calls and Ram calls or the old hardware would crash.

These limits placed a limit on what is essentially the desktop file that OS9 users were forced to rebuild manually.

In Leopard, the desktop file or what is basically a Map of ALL desktop devices is rebuilt or indexed automatically.

Leopard has a LIMIT placed upon the size of this Map.


Hard drive sizes have advanced dramatically since the introduction of Leopard to the point where the limits placed upon the size of the Map has been exceeded.


What happens is that the Map is constantly being rebuilt and rewritten once its limit has been reached.

This causes the Map to be rewritten every time a device is mounted AND ejected.

This is what causes the annoying ejection delay.


Now that you have a layman's explanation, what can be done????

The solution is actually very easy.

Reduce the size of the desktop file or map.


1. Drag your favorite folders into the right side of the Dock, typically Documents, Music, Movies, Pictures, Downloads AND if desired Applications.

Press the Control key or Right Click on the folders in the Dock and select your Preferences. (I prefer Folder, and List for file folders and Folder and Grid for Applications)

This gives you instant access to your file locations and Applications.


2. Select Finder from the Menu bar and click on Preferences.

In General, Deselect or uncheck Hard Drives.

All hard drives will vanish from your desktop and only external devices will appear when mounted. (access to hard drive folders is now in the Dock)

This will effectively reduce the size of your desktop map and attached devices, such thumbdrives will eject quickly..... but once again.... there will be a limit that can be exceeded especially with large external hard drives.


If you need to view your typical hard drive contents, simply press Command+N and a new Finder Window will appear as though you opened an internal hard drive.

  • 1. Re: G5 ejects USB thumbdrives slowly
    BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (116,475 points)

    Hi there, thanks for the tip!


    Wondering though, how much RAM you have, I don't have much of a lag in 10.5.8 on PPC or IntelMac with a dozen or more External Firewire, USB, or Flash drives connected & all showing on the Desktop & Sidebars.


    Will try your suggestion though to see if I can see any differences.

  • 2. Re: G5 ejects USB thumbdrives slowly
    TOAO Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have 9 PPC Macs and 1 Intel Mac.

    This discussion is directed at those who experienced this annoying problem and is useless for those who have not.

    Many G5 PPC Mac users have reported this problem, most commonly teachers and those who have graphics and photos in excess of millions of files with metadata. (more than 2TB typically)

    Teachers especially since they are constantly indexing many many many.... drives from students, most prominently USB thumbdrives.

    Only one of my PPC Macs has exhibited this problem.... no surprise..... the one with 4TB internal total and 4TB external total and well in excess of millions of complex files and subjected to numerous thumbdrive and smart card indices.


    Ram is irrelevant.

    ALL.... I mean ALL... my Macs have the maximum Ram each machine can functionally operate with the exception of my Intel Mac which only has 32GB.

    Hardware Cache is the larger issue.


    Intel Macs are not a part of this discussion, please leave them out.

    The only other odd tidbit is G5 Mac origin.

    It seems that this problem occurs primarily with Chinese built PPC G5 quads and not with the US built identical model.

  • 3. Re: G5 ejects USB thumbdrives slowly
    BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (116,475 points)

    Thanks, interesting on the US.Chinese diff.

  • 4. Re: G5 ejects USB thumbdrives slowly
    TOAO Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have not had the opportunity to fully explore the US Chinese differences, HOWEVER.... I have fully proven that Leopard does have a LIMIT on Cache and Ram calls as part of its operating system code.

    This LIMIT is the source of the problem regardless of hardware origin.


    My only possible explanation for what I have witnessed as a US Chinese difference may very well be a difference in edge level detection specification used in fabrication.

    The introduction of rising and falling edge logic devices introduced a new specification into logic devices.

    (originally logic devices were all "state" devices rather than edge devices)

    A slight variation in edge detection could cause a variation in logical operations that is not a hardware failure.


    The faster ANY computer becomes the more precise that edge detection specification will become.

    (a thousandth of a volt in variation becomes an intermittent hardware bug)


    Now that the computer clock speed wavelength is nearing the wavelength of the atom (TeraHertz) the only way to improve the computer IN A STABLE MANNER is to get rid of Serial designs and incorporate Parallel designs with proven stable clock speeds.

    This why we now have multiple processor computers. (a Parallel design)

    Can't wait until they do the same with internal hard drive designs. (SCSI was parallel and far superior in performance but expensive to build and easily damaged by improper installation and was not hot swappable, this is why we see so many serial external devices AND Serial ATA)

    A Parallel interface SSD would be astounding in its performance.


    What is serial?

    Imagine that you have 64 cars and in those 64 cars, a piece of information that is only complete once all 64 cars have traveled from point A to point B.

    The serial interface sends those cars down a one lane highway as fast as possible.

    Each car is then clocked in one by one and once all 64 arrive, the message is complete.


    What is Parallel?

    The parallel interface is identical to serial with one critical difference.

    All 64 cars are sent as fast as possible down a 64 lane highway and all are clocked in at once.

    In this simple explanation the parallel interface is 64 times faster than serial at the exact same clock speeds.

    Or.... 64 messages can be received in parallel in the same amount of time as one message is received in serial.


    IF.... the clock speed used is very fast, then the edge detection logic specification must be very strict and precise for BOTH types of interfaces.

    In short.... a parallel computer with a slower clock speed than a serial computer will not only perform faster but will be far more stable.


    At some point we will see a limit placed on computer clock speeds and the average consumer who believes that clock speed is the equivalent of horsepower will have fooled self.

    What will make all the difference is how the operating system* handles parallel processors and how stable the hardware is.

    (*both operating system and application will be required to leverage parallel processors)

  • 5. Re: G5 ejects USB thumbdrives slowly
    TOAO Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)


    I tested this previously defined fix I submitted and discovered it was temporary, HOWEVER, the real fix presented itself as a result. (you may wish to use the settings regardless, they are very convenient)


    Here is the long story.

    Way back in OS9, computers would begin to behave somewhat erratically and unstable.

    The problem was that over time so many files had been added or created that the index of these files became incomplete.

    At first the solution was to manually rebuild the desktop file while booting up.

    Apple saw this problem and went one step further and added a manual command that forced the operating system to index the entire hard drive and this made everyone happy except for one side effect.... the operation took a great deal of time.

    Then came OSX and Apple included this as part of the operating system function.

    This worked very well all the way into Tiger but eventually one user after another all made the same complaint. (excepting those who were patient and wise)

    That complaint was that OSX forced the user to wait until the attached device was indexed before full operation was available. (applications ran glitchy and slow until the indexing operation was completed)


    This brings us to Leopard.

    In Leopard Apple made a change to the forced index procedure in Tiger.

    Apple engineers said, what if we made the system index itself in the background and ONLY if the user was not using the computer.

    Hooray! or was it hooray?

    What happens?

    The typical user was always using the computer when it was on and the operating system was not allowed enough "idle" time to fully index itself.

    Thus the slow eject problem occurs but only randomly because it all depends upon how many devices and files occur and how much idle time the operating system receives.


    The short story.

    If you want your drives and devices that you typically and or repeatedly use to eject "normally" then simply do the following.


    Set Energy Saver Computer settings to Never, set your monitor (display) to a timing of your choice and uncheck "Put hard disk(s) to sleep when possible".


    Now.... leave your computer totally and completely alone for 8 to 12 hours.

    The operating system will update and refresh its index and will now operate (eject devices) normally.


    Please note, the time required IS based upon how much needs to be indexed.

    If you have big external drives, turn them on and execute the same procedure.

    For example, if you have 4TB of material requiring indexing, leave the computer alone for 48 hours.


    Once things return to normal, then set your Energy Saver settings to whatever blows up your skirt.


    Guess what????

    This also improves performance in Snow Leopard, Lion, and Mountain Lion.


    Final Note

    If you have twenty 16GB thumbdrives going in and out of your computer each day, all bets are off.

    USB1, and USB2, are brutally inferior and slow and yet,.... each one needs to be fully indexed.

    USB was made for PC not Mac.

    If you want portable data transfer performance on a G5, or other USB2 equipped computer get a 30GB 2.5" SSD in an external enclosure self powered by Firewire 800 and or USB. (check the OWC website for this)