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Old Jul 8, 2010, 02:38 PM   #1
BadWolf13
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Does free space on the hard drive affect performance?

I know that back in the day, when I used Windows computers, they always said that you should have at least 10% of your hard drive free, and that less could affect the performance of your computer. Is this true for macs?
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Old Jul 8, 2010, 02:41 PM   #2
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Yes. 500MB of free space is worse than 50 or 25GB of free space on a 232GB HDD.
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Old Jul 8, 2010, 02:42 PM   #3
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Yes, it is. If it's too full, you'll notice a performance hit, no matter what computer you're using
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Old Jul 8, 2010, 03:06 PM   #4
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Macs are a BSD descendant, and any UNIX that gets more than 90% full with disk space starts to get unhappy file-system wise, as it has less ability to deal with file fragmentation. So, performance suffers because it has to write a file in multiple places, as opposed to one contiguous item.
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Old Jul 8, 2010, 04:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BadWolf13 View Post
I know that back in the day, when I used Windows computers, they always said that you should have at least 10% of your hard drive free, and that less could affect the performance of your computer. Is this true for macs?
There is some point where lack of free space will affect performance. I wouldn't say the point is at 10%; 10% free on a 500GB hard drive is quite a lot. But if you have only a few GB free you should do something about it.

There is a completely different effect that will happen with hard drives with _any_ operating system: The tracks on the outside of the hard drive are longer and can contain more data than the tracks on the inside, and therefore reading or writing data on the outside tracks is faster than on the inside tracks. Maximum read speed can be less than half for inside tracks. If you store 250 GB on a 500 GB drive, all the data will be stored on relatively fast tracks; if you squeeze the same data onto a 250 GB drive, both fast tracks on the outside of the drive and slow tracks on the inside of the drive are used.
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Old Jul 8, 2010, 07:30 PM   #6
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Thanks guys, that's some good information. One thing I've noticed lately is the DVD Player program crashing, a lot. It always happens when the DVD starts playing. Is the lack of hard drive space a possible cause of that? Or is this totally unconnected?
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Old Jul 9, 2010, 02:27 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by BadWolf13 View Post
Thanks guys, that's some good information. One thing I've noticed lately is the DVD Player program crashing, a lot. It always happens when the DVD starts playing. Is the lack of hard drive space a possible cause of that? Or is this totally unconnected?
If the drive is 100% full, then it can't create a swap file which might cause crashes etc. Try another player, VLC for example
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Old Jul 9, 2010, 02:32 AM   #8
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If the drive is 100% full, then it can't create a swap file which might cause crashes etc. Try another player, VLC for example
I don't think 'having a full hard drive therefore having no room for more swap space' causes crashes. Programs are generally blocked from running until they have their request for more memory fulfilled. This would look like a crash because the program doesn't appear to be running.

If you want to see this affect for yourself, turn off dynamic paging, use up your ram, and then fire up a VM. The VM 'runs' at about a frame a minute.
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