6 Replies Latest reply: Jul 12, 2007 12:56 PM by Glyn Williams1
rpeters83 Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)
I FINALLY got my external storage to work by picking up a seagate 500 gb freeagent drive. So far so good, and no problems.

However, I noticed that my write speed when transferring sets of files (usually 4+ gb at a time) are only writing at around 1 - 1.5 MB/s (megaBTYES per sec).

Is this normal? granted, I'm one floor below the router/drive. What is everyone else getting, realistically?

Also, my drive is formatted to Windows Sharing SMB/CIFS (not sure what that means to be honest). Should I format it to fat32? thanks again.

C2D MacBook, Mac OS X (10.4.10)
  • 1. Re: What's your average write speed to a USB drive?
    rpeters83 Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)
    I should also mention that, yes, I have 2 G-clients using the N network (no I can't kick them off )
  • 2. Re: What's your average write speed to a USB drive?
    aroide Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I get the same... really slow.

    Just for fun, I connected the same drive to my imac w/ firewire, shared it using Sharepoints utility, and got double the speed. I'm going that route to share the disk instead of airport extreme. too bad their implementation is so slow.
  • 3. Re: What's your average write speed to a USB drive?
    Barry Brown3 Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    It seems to have a lot to do with the individual drive and/or USB controller in the external case.

    I did a quick experiment after seeing slow writes to one of my USB drives.

    First, I connected up a new Seagate 400GB SATA drive inside an Other World Computing Mercury Elite Pro external case using a high-quality USB cable. All should be state-of-the-art devices -- I paid $110 for the case and about $100 for the drive. Copying 11GB of data (mostly large video files) was calculated by Finder to take about 2 hours.

    Then I connected a Maxtor 20GB IDE drive (3+ years old) inside a generic ($20) external case with the same high-quality USB cable. Copying the same files took only 45 minutes.

    An observation: with the larger drive, there was a lot of disk activity (lots of clicking and clacking of the heads moving back and forth), but with the smaller drives, there was less noise. Perhaps the smaller drive is able to sustain longer writes.

    Connecting both drives directly to the Mac via the USB cable, both took about 13 minutes to copy the files. Clearly, performance is related to interaction between the Airport Extreme and the drives.

    There are a couple of variables I am unable, at this time, to eliminate. First, OWC case use SATA whereas the generic one uses IDE. I can't say whether this contributed to the problem.

    Second, because of the interface issue, I cannot swap drives among the cases. That is, I can't put the 500GB drive into the generic case.

    I may call OWC to find out if they know that a $20 generic USB case outperforms their $110 name-brand one.
  • 4. Re: What's your average write speed to a USB drive?
    Glyn Williams1 Level 4 Level 4 (1,015 points)
    Not sure about the reason,
    but the Aiport Disk seems to give its best performance if the drive is formatted as...

    HFS (Mac OS Extended not journalled)

    Don't confuse the disk format with the network file system.
    You'll still be able to use it with Windows and SMB
  • 5. Re: What's your average write speed to a USB drive?
    rei_vilo Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)

    With a MiniMax 320 GB in HFS (Mac OS Extended not journaled) and AirPort Extreme in 802.11b (due to my iMac G5), I obtain:

    * HD Writing
    average 800 KB/s
    max 1,2 MB/s

    * HD Reading
    average 500 KB/s
    max 750 KB/s

    Nothing spectacular, indeed.

    iMac G5 20" iSight   Mac OS X (10.4.10)  
  • 6. Re: What's your average write speed to a USB drive?
    Glyn Williams1 Level 4 Level 4 (1,015 points)
    Some Benchmarks
    Disk - WD MyBook. 500Gb - HFS - not journalled.

    802.11b Powerbook G4 Reading - 410KBytes /s
    802.11b Powerbook G4 Writing - 600KBytes /s
    802.11g MacMini Reading - 1.5MegaBytes /s
    802.11g MacMini Writing - 1.9MegaBytes /s
    802.11n 5Ghz MacPro Reading - 5.2MegaBytes /s
    802.11n 5Ghz MacPro Writing - 4.0MegaBytes /s