Time Machine Transfer Rate/Speed

Discussion in 'iMac' started by owwo, Jun 9, 2011.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2009
    #1
    Is there a way to see how fast Time Machine is working?

    I have an external HD enclosure (WD Black inside 7200 rpm inside) connected to my 24" iMac.

    Time Machine is working fine. I'm just curious to know if I can find out exactly what transfer rate/speed for Time Machine backing up to my external drive.

    It's funny that Apple didn't think to include an Estimated Time for Backup or a Transfer/Copy Speed/Rate.

    I thought it might be inside Utilities or Activity Monitor, but it's not.
     
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #2
    Activity Monitor > Disk Activity.
    That gives you a rough estimate. Anyway, TM will not fully use the interface's maximum speed, thus not even USB 2.0 speeds are reached.
     
  3. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2009
    #3
    Okay...so Disk Activity will tell me the transfer rate for my Time Machine backup? Or will it show the read/write times for my Macintosh HD (internal drive of the iMac)?

    How can you specify in Disk Activity which hard drive you want?
     
  4. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    #4
    My theory for why TM will appear to not come close to max Firewire or USB speeds is that most of the time, the new changes you backup will be pretty small, and so won't even need to hit max USB/Firewire transfer speeds. If you create a new, big movie file, for instance, and then backup, you should see greater transfer speeds. But that's just my guess.
     
  5. macrumors 6502

    Georgio

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Location:
    Essex, UK
    #5
    If you right-click the TM icon in the top right of your screen while it's doing a back-up it will indicate how much RAM backing up is complete, i.e. 3.5GB/12GB.
     
  6. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2009
    #6
    Thanks, I already knew that.

    I wanted to know the speed and perhaps the estimated time to complete.
     
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Paulywauly

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2009
    Location:
    Durham, UK
    #7
    Transfer rate is easy and any number of appliations can show you this (Activity Monitor and iStat are the mian ones that come to mind) Although if you want an estimated time to backup completion i doubt this will be possible to do accuratly.

    Time Machine doesn't just send files to the time machine drive, it also needs to index, clear up space and reorganise files between actually copying the files you see.
     
  8. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2009
    #8
    By the way, if I'm doing a Time Machine backup, do I have to stay away from the computer? Or can I download songs, stream music, watch Hulu, etc. while I'm doing the backup?
     
  9. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2009
    #9
    So where can I find the transfer rate in Activity Monitor or in iStat, I can't seem to find it?
     
  10. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    #10
    There's no reason you can't use your computer while it's backing up. No worries there.
     
  11. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    #11
    As you correctly noted, the Disk Activity tab on Activity Monitory actually monitors the read/writes of the built in hard drive. But what you want to check is the data written/sec number when Time Machine is backing up. What the computer is doing here is writing data to the external drive. So by looking at this number while TM is backing up, you'll get an idea of the write speeds.

    I've heard that Apple avoids these sorts of "Time to Completion" numbers because they often are quite wrong. But that's strictly hearsay.
     
  12. macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2011
    #12
    You can, but TM does slow down response time and download speeds a little I find.
     
  13. macrumors 6502a

    Paulywauly

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2009
    Location:
    Durham, UK
    #13
    Yes i've heard this too, the "time to completion" you mention is actually referred to as "Windows Time" haha :D
     
  14. macrumors 6502a

    Paulywauly

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2009
    Location:
    Durham, UK
    #14
    It works totally in the background and shouldn't stop you doing anything, you can even shut your mac down half way through one. When you power it up it will just start where it left off.

    The only weird behaviour i've ever noticed is that it backs up any files you have modified at all, its not smart enough to realise its the same files. This means if you change the names of a file or folder it backs it up again. This can be a pain with larger files (such as virtual machines or changing folders with lots of data in etc)

    If you're also backing up any external hard discs with alot of data on try not to disconnect them whilst your mac is powered up, it has a habit of reindexing and backing up the whole drive again.
     
  15. macrumors 6502a

    42streetsdown

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    Gallifrey, 5124
    #15
    You can do stuff, but i found my machine can get a bit sluggish at times during backups.
     
  16. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2009
    Location:
    Montréal, Canada
    #16
    Incorrect. Activity Monitor shows the combined read/write speeds for all hard drives mounted on the computer.
     
  17. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    #17
    Yes, you're absolutely right. I just duplicated a file on an external hard drive and it showed a spike in the disk activity as expected. Sorry for the misinformation.
     

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