14 Replies Latest reply: Jul 20, 2014 6:25 AM by Loner T
bradley andrew Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

I have a late 2013 iMac which has been updated with all the latest software. I am sure that the USB ports which are advertised as USB 3 are not USB 3 at all. When I attach an external hard drive via USB 3 to back up my laptop running windows 8.1 the speed is blisteringly fast. When I do the same with my mac it is slower than a snail on valium. Is this normal? Am I doing something wrong? Please help. Thank you


iMac (27-inch, Late 2013), OS X Mavericks (10.9.4)
  • Loner T Level 5 Level 5 (7,315 points)

    Check About This Mac -> More Info -> System Report -> USB and check your specific device and see how it is connected. You can also use the ioreg in OSX Terminal command but it produce reams of information.

  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (250,760 points)
  • bradley andrew Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Yes read it and checked that everything is ok and it is

  • bradley andrew Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    the system says it is connected via USB 3

  • Loner T Level 5 Level 5 (7,315 points)

    The fastest speed you can between the two end-point is determined by the slowest link in the chain.

     

    1. Are their disk drive differences between the W8.1 machine and iMac. For example, the faster device may have an SSD, while the slower has an HDD.

    2. How much data is being copied between the two end-points in both cases?

    3. Is the Data rate (Gb/second) the same?

    4. Are you copying a large single file on W8.1 vs a number of smaller files in the slower iMac case?

  • rkaufmann87 Level 8 Level 8 (47,245 points)

    You have confirmed you have USB 3 ports (which we all knew anyway as they been on iMacs since the 2012 models), however how is your EHD formatted? You mentioned it is fast on you Windows box, so my guess is the drive is formatted for MS Windows and not OS X. Also you may want to consider a higher quality EHD such as a OWC Mercury Elite Pro. WD's have a long history of being problomatic with OS X, WD uses cheap enclosures and electronics which seem to work fine with PCs however frequently do not with OS X.

  • MichelPM Level 6 Level 6 (9,575 points)

    Is the drive formatted for Windows or formatted for Macs?

    That'll make a big difference in the speed of the drive, also.

  • bradley andrew Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have two EHHDs which have been formatted differently. one passport for mac (extended OS) and one for my laptop using windows formatting. Yes they are both WD one sold as EHD for mac and one for windows 8.1. If you are saying that these do not work properly with OSX then I should return the passport for mac to the retailer as being not fit for purpose. Would the mercury elite pro definitely be better? I am pretty clueless when it comes to this kind of stuff but it is a steep learning curve

     

    Thanks for your help

  • rkaufmann87 Level 8 Level 8 (47,245 points)

    Mercury Elite Pro series would be a major upgrade over WD that is for sure, when you see one you will see why they cost more, the build quality is evident by just looking at them. If you decide to get one then get a 3.5" drive as they are 7200RPM drives, you can get Mercuy Elite Pro's in a mini size however they are 5400RPM drives.

     

    Here is a link for you to begin looking:

     

    http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firewire/1394/USB/EliteAL/eSATA_FW800_FW400_USB

  • bradley andrew Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    ok the problem is that I'm in the UK and can't find any dealers who sell this stuff here

  • Csound1 Level 8 Level 8 (41,445 points)

    OWC ship to the UK, and their prices are very reasonable by UK standards.

     

    Order from OWC. (rkaufmann87 provided this link) http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firewire/1394/USB/EliteAL/eSATA_FW800_FW400_USB

  • woodmeister50 Level 5 Level 5 (4,030 points)

    FWIW, plugged into the back of my new 27" iMac are:

    -LG Portable Super Multi Blue Rewriter  (USB2.0/480 megabit)

    -Back-UPS ES 750 monitor connection (USB1.1/1.5 Megabit)

     

    I connect a couple different USB3.0 HDD drives at various times

    and get the following:

    -Seagate Backup+ portable with USB3.0 adapter (Connection USB3.0/5Gbit./sec)

    As a verification, ran BlackMagic Disk speed test and got ~75-80 Megabyte/sec

    which translates to 600-640 megabit (USB2.0 is 480 Max.). 

    -Startech USB3.0 enclosure (Connection USB3.0/5Gbit./sec).  I get a 70-75 Megabyte

    transfer speed.

    Both of these tests are pretty much inline with what one would expect from portable

    HDDs and is typically close to the max for these drives.

     

    So for one, at least on my iMac, the highest speed is NOT dictated by the slowest device.

  • R C-R Level 6 Level 6 (15,140 points)

    bradley andrew wrote:

    If you are saying that these do not work properly with OSX then I should return the passport for mac to the retailer as being not fit for purpose.

    Frankly, I doubt the problem is that the WD Passport for Mac is not suitable for use with your iMac. Contrary to what some are saying, the build quality is fine & many, many iMac users have no problems at all with them.

     

    However, the same cannot be said for the WD software that comes with them. If you have installed any of that on your iMac, that may be the cause of the slowdown. You don't need any of that software unless you really need some proprietary feature only it provides, like S.M.A.R.T. support (OS X only supports that for internal drives on iMacs) or WD's method of disk encryption. The first is of dubious value & the second would be useful (maybe) only if you want to encrypt the contents of the drive & be able to access it from either Windows or OS X.

     

    If you will tell us the exact model name of your Passport & (if you know) what if any WD software you have installed, we can probably give you more specific advice.

  • Loner T Level 5 Level 5 (7,315 points)

    woodmeister50 wrote:

     

    Both of these tests are pretty much inline with what one would expect from portable

    HDDs and is typically close to the max for these drives.

     

    So for one, at least on my iMac, the highest speed is NOT dictated by the slowest device.

    We seem to be in violent agreement with each other that the slowest link in the chain is the limiting factor.