Slow External HD Speeds

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Slow External HD Speeds

Postby joshunc on Wed Oct 29, 2008 7:19 pm

I'm having a problem with my transfer speeds on linux mint. I connect my WD external harddrive to and transfer files, but under linux things transfer around 7-8mbps. This isn't exactly slow, but under windows it would transfer at about 20-30mbps. When transferring large files this would be nice. Is there a reason why the transfer is so much slower under linux and is there a way to fix this?
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Re: Slow External HD Speeds

Postby Husse on Fri Oct 31, 2008 7:06 am

You are probably running USB 1 and not USB 2 as you should
I can't find my notes on this (very strange)
Anyway run this in a terminal
Code: Select all
lsmod | grep hci

and post the result
If ehci_hcd is not present the USB 2 driver is not loaded
Then run
Code: Select all
sudo modprobe ehci_hcd

and if no errors you should have the same speed as in Windows
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Re: Slow External HD Speeds

Postby joshunc on Fri Oct 31, 2008 3:50 pm

ehci_hcd 37900 0
ohci_hcd 25348 0
usbcore 146028 7 usb_storage,libusual,ndiswrapper,usbhid,ehci_hcd,ohci_hcd


This is what I see. So I do have USB2 installed. It's weird, sometimes when transferring I'll get the 20mbps on linux too. But then two transfers later from another folder it goes down to 4.5-7mbps. Anybody know what would be causing this?
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Re: Slow External HD Speeds

Postby Philip-III on Fri Oct 31, 2008 6:39 pm

It is a mixture of several problems... I think I started noticing it when I did some updates and I believe ntfs3g was amongst them.
You probably have your WD NTFS-formatted - that's one of the problems, probably the most significant one..
The second one is nautilus - it is known to have some performance issues with NTFS - therefore it is connected to the first problem. Copying in the terminal or using MC shows some improvement.
The third one is ntfs3g - the later versions claim some significant speed improvements including a bug that has been reported to cause slow speeds in earlier versions as the ones available in the repositories.
Last but not least, in connection with the above, drive fragmentation seems to decrease performance even further.

So my guess is using a native linux partition may improve things a lot, but then it may not be a solution.. Updating several packages, which may or may not break your system can be a solution. Unfortunately even the Intrepid doesn't go that far as far as ntfs3g is concerned (at least the last time I checked..)

So.. If you can't afford to change the partition type and don't wanna bother with the hassle of updating breaking and repairing stuff, there's not much you can do about it. Other solutions or suggestions are welcome of course! The guy above is lucky, I usually get speeds of <3 MB/s which is NOT fun. Occasionally it goes up to about 10MB/s but seldom and mostly on partitions with lots of free space..
Philip-III
 

Re: Slow External HD Speeds

Postby Husse on Sat Nov 01, 2008 10:04 am

Thanks Philip-III
That was about was I thought of after I got to know if the module was loaded
I have heard that blacklisting the ohci module could help
Run
Code: Select all
sudo modprobe -r ohci_hcd

and test the speed
If you get an improvement then run
Code: Select all
echo "blacklist ohci_hcd" | sudo tee -a /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist

to make it permanent
If you ever need to change that you can run gksu gedit /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist and remove the line or better comment it out
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Re: Slow External HD Speeds

Postby Philip-III on Sat Nov 01, 2008 6:45 pm

Cheers for the tip, but apart from killing the external keyboard and mouse, it didn't have any other effects, speed remained under 3MB/s... I may try booting a live cd and trying with the stock version of ntfs3g because I seem to recall that it used to be better in the beginning... I may be wrong though, could be that I just didn't pay that much attention back then..
Philip-III
 

Re: Slow External HD Speeds

Postby Philip-III on Sat Nov 01, 2008 7:37 pm

Forgot to mention an observation that copying from an NTFS partition on the local HDD to the external (also NTFS-formatted) usually keeps about ~10MB/s so it definitely makes a point about ntfs3g and especially moving files from ext3 to ntfs...

Another curious occurrence I've noticed is that VMWare virtual machines for example cannot run under linux on an NTFS-formatted partition directly, I usually keep the VM-files on the ext3 Partition except the large virtual disc file. The original issue was that VMWare complained about not being able to create the memory file (.nvram). My guess is another bug / limitation of ntfs3g. If anyone has thus tried with an updated version comments on this will be welcome as well
Philip-III
 

Re: Slow External HD Speeds

Postby Husse on Sun Nov 02, 2008 7:25 am

This is a problem for many and I should point out that it happens frequently under Windows as well (at least XP don't know about Vista)
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Re: Slow External HD Speeds

Postby kilou1 on Wed Nov 19, 2008 2:01 pm

This issue is also driving me nuts and I seriously consider going back to XP. I can't live without USB stick and there is no way I can format them in ext3 since they're mostly used to exchange files with.....heh....XP people. I've had too many issues with that, the last time USB did work at decent speed for me was in Ubuntu Feisty as far as I remember. Since then I've beed running USB 1. ehci_hcd is not loaded by default on my laptop but even after enabling it I still get speeds around 1Mb/sec on USB transfers. Reloading the module doesn't make any single change. I never had any problem with XP in that respect. Also this USB thing is supposed to cause trouble with hibernation/suspend functions too from what I could see on Ubuntu forums. Being on an laptop I can't afford that.

I'm really trying to find a solution somewhere for this problem but there seem to be no solution anywhere yet the number of people reporting slow USB on linux (all distros) is really huge. Some say it's a kernel thing, some other say it's nautilus. As a newbie I don't know but I think it's a really bad problem that should be top priority instead of adding eye candy stuff such as compiz in new releases.

Sorry this is non constructive but I thought linux was supposed to beat XP in many respect. Well for me linux is really great and it's impressive to see what a free OS can achieve....but despite all the known drawbacks of XP, XP just works and is productive while there are still far too many issues with linux especially on laptops. Is there any hope we can have this USB speed problem fixed soon before formatting my drive and re-installing that old XP??
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Re: Slow External HD Speeds

Postby Husse on Wed Dec 03, 2008 6:00 pm

This was strange (or not :))
With a USB pen drive I get speeds of about 3 - 5 MB/s regardless of file system - no good
With a USB hard disk (150 MB) and FAT32 I get about 25 MB/s (possibly a bit more)
This indicates that the problem maybe is not USB but the pen drive...
I could not use it under XP - a problem with drive letters, it was not visible
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