Faster file transfer windows-Mac??

cptn.nemo

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 20, 2016
113
39
Hey guys I just got my first iMac computer and I'm trying to find the fastest way to send files from my windows to iMac and visa versa. Mostly just sending large videos from windows to Mac for editing because my laptop can't handle that. I'm totally new to this so excuse my ignorance. Right now I'm using an Ethernet cable to send a video to my iMac but it's transferring at 11 MB/s is that right? That seems insanely slow I thought Ethernet transfer was 100mbs. Is my old windows limiting the speed or something? I should have gigabit Ethernet on this laptop... if I don't how do I find out if I do? Also I have a high speed router, would it be faster to transfer files wirelessly? I was hoping for something in the 100s range for speed. I want to connect directly to the computer instead of using a hard drive because that's a pain when I just want to send a quick file. Any suggestions? I have a 2017 iMac and a 2013 hp envy laptop I'm working with. Thanks in advance for an input I've spend hours on google researching this already.
 

cptn.nemo

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 20, 2016
113
39
Does your Windows machine have gigabit ethernet? Does the router? That could be your bottleneck.
My router has gigabit up to 1200. I have a wireless adapter on my laptop that supports 5g and hopefully gigabit transfer but it's plugged into the USB port. I'll check my Ethernet adapter for gigabit as soon as I find out how... if my router is gigabit though, in theory shouldn't I be able to transfer files from one computer to another at 1200mb/s wirelessly? That seems insanely fast for wireless...
 

cptn.nemo

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 20, 2016
113
39
Well it appears my laptop does support gigabit Ethernet... I don't get it, I'm totally lost, I should be getting gigabit speeds through my Ethernet cable then. Not 10mb
 

KentuckyApple

macrumors regular
Jul 2, 2003
160
55
Chicago, IL
This is a two-part conversation. When a router says it has 1200 mbit speed, that refers to the sum of all radios 2.4 ghz and 5ghz. The silly thing is, any device / connection will only ever use one of those at a time. So, for 5ghz, you can get 800 mbit and for 2.4 ghz, you can get 400 mbit. 800 + 400 = 1200. With that being said, best case scenario for the 5ghz radio is 800 mbit. You won't get that. I have gotten 450mbit at home with my AC1200 router. So, that gives you 50 megaBYTES a second maximum. If you plug both devices into a gigabit router, and they both have gigabit ethernet ports, you could expect to get 100 megabytes a second transfers. If you are doing a lot of transfers, you may want to invest in a good USB 3.0 thumb drive...assuming both machines have USB3.
[doublepost=1500655996][/doublepost]
Well it appears my laptop does support gigabit Ethernet... I don't get it, I'm totally lost, I should be getting gigabit speeds through my Ethernet cable then. Not 10mb
is wi-fi turned off when you are plugged into ethernet? what is your link speed in Windows? You can see this in the status screen for the ethernet connection under network settings.
 

cptn.nemo

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 20, 2016
113
39
Ahh ok, well that makes sense. So wired connection is always faster then, that's good to know. I just realized I DO have a usb3 on my laptop I'm just not sure which one. It's probably the one my mouse has been in for all these years :/ such an idiot. Ok the HDD I have is getting 90mb/s. It's a pain plugging and unplugging but better than Ethernet. Maybe my Ethernet cable doesn't support gigabit? Would a USB 3 thumb drive transfer faster than an HDD?
 

phairphan

macrumors 6502a
Sep 21, 2005
600
216
Reject Beach
It looks like some of your confusion may be based on the conflation of megabytes per second and megabits per second. If you have a 100 megabit ethernet connection on your laptop, the 11 megabyte per second transfer rate you indicated above is good. There are 8 bits in a byte, so the theoretical max of a 100 megabit/second connection is 12.5 megabytes/second. Id est, what you were getting looks normal. In the absence of a gigabit ethernet connection on your laptop, a USB 3 drive should definitely be faster.
 

cptn.nemo

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 20, 2016
113
39
Ok so I think it was my crappy Ethernet cord, I tried a different cord and I'm now getting 90-100 megabytes a second through Ethernet. I'm happy with that, but is there a faster way to transfer files? I'm guessing the next up would be thunderbolt 3 with 10gigabit speeds? Which of course I do not have on my laptop. I think Ethernet is going to be the fastest, and is the same speed as USB 3 with hdd, correct? Or is usb3 with a thumb drive or external ssd going to be faster yet
 

bplein

macrumors 6502a
Jul 21, 2007
522
187
Austin, TX USA
Well it appears my laptop does support gigabit Ethernet... I don't get it, I'm totally lost, I should be getting gigabit speeds through my Ethernet cable then. Not 10mb
Your transfer is slow, but your math is bad.

Gigabit is 1000Mbit, which is about 100-120MByte/sec in reality.

You are getting 100Mbit i.e. about 11MByte/s speeds. Make sure both machines are negotiating Gigabit. Consider using a switch and also try a different cable. Gigabit Ethernet uses all 8 copper wires, 100Mbit only uses 4 of them... if you have a single bad wire you can drop from Gigabit to 100Mbit.
 

cptn.nemo

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 20, 2016
113
39
It was my cord. I think I have everything figured out, my Ethernet is working at gigabit speed and I'll get a thumb drive or external ssd to top out my usb3 port speed. Thanks so much guys I really appreciate all your help and technical knowledge!! This makes my life so much easier
 

cptn.nemo

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 20, 2016
113
39
Wait, is there anyway to go directly from USB to USB? If both usb3 top out at 5gb can I just send files from pc to Mac with a USB-usb cord?
 

Sid The Kid

Suspended
Jul 10, 2017
91
4
Do you have a lot of stuff?

What about putting the stuff you need on a USB Flash Drive and put it in the iMac than on the Document that you want in Finder?
 

joema2

macrumors 68000
Sep 3, 2013
1,591
797
Ok so I think it was my crappy Ethernet cord, I tried a different cord and I'm now getting 90-100 megabytes a second through Ethernet....
Unless *both* iMac and PC have SSD drives or *both* have RAID arrays, 90-100 megabytes per sec is about the fast as you'll go. Even if they both had 10 gigabit ethernet, you can't transfer faster than the *slowest* storage devices on *either* end of the connection.

There's a saying: "'A chain is only as strong as its weakest link". Data transfer is like a chain. Any slow link in the entire chain will limit the data transfer, no matter how strong or fast the other links are.

As you experienced, it is typical for older Cat5 ethernet cables to not perform well, which can limit speeds to 100 megabit/sec (or about 10 megabyte/sec). Since this is far slower than a hard drive, it made sense to seek an improvement.

Now that you've replaced the cable and have achieved 90-100 megabytes sec, it probably doesn't make sense to seek further improvement unless you will be putting SSD or RAID arrays on both computers. Even then, going beyond 100 megabytes/sec is difficult. It would require 10 gig ethernet on both machines or investigating whether ethernet over USB 3 is possible between Mac and PC or having a 3rd RAID array or portable SSD to transfer data.
 

KentuckyApple

macrumors regular
Jul 2, 2003
160
55
Chicago, IL
Unless *both* iMac and PC have SSD drives or *both* have RAID arrays, 90-100 megabytes per sec is about the fast as you'll go. Even if they both had 10 gigabit ethernet, you can't transfer faster than the *slowest* storage devices on *either* end of the connection.

There's a saying: "'A chain is only as strong as its weakest link". Data transfer is like a chain. Any slow link in the entire chain will limit the data transfer, no matter how strong or fast the other links are.

As you experienced, it is typical for older Cat5 ethernet cables to not perform well, which can limit speeds to 100 megabit/sec (or about 10 megabyte/sec). Since this is far slower than a hard drive, it made sense to seek an improvement.

Now that you've replaced the cable and have achieved 90-100 megabytes sec, it probably doesn't make sense to seek further improvement unless you will be putting SSD or RAID arrays on both computers. Even then, going beyond 100 megabytes/sec is difficult. It would require 10 gig ethernet on both machines or investigating whether ethernet over USB 3 is possible between Mac and PC or having a 3rd RAID array or portable SSD to transfer data.
Good info Joema2. I've never tried this myself, but I found this. Looks interesting.

https://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-USB3LINK-Transfer-Cable-Windows/dp/B00ZR1AD4A
 

shaunp

macrumors 68000
Nov 5, 2010
1,807
1,386
Just use a USB disk (formatted as extFAT) for the file transfer. that's the easiest and cheapest way to achieve what you want. You could also invest in a gigabit switch, some network cables and a dongle (screams, after using that word) to connect the mac to the PC.
 

cptn.nemo

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 20, 2016
113
39
Unless *both* iMac and PC have SSD drives or *both* have RAID arrays, 90-100 megabytes per sec is about the fast as you'll go. Even if they both had 10 gigabit ethernet, you can't transfer faster than the *slowest* storage devices on *either* end of the connection.

There's a saying: "'A chain is only as strong as its weakest link". Data transfer is like a chain. Any slow link in the entire chain will limit the data transfer, no matter how strong or fast the other links are.

As you experienced, it is typical for older Cat5 ethernet cables to not perform well, which can limit speeds to 100 megabit/sec (or about 10 megabyte/sec). Since this is far slower than a hard drive, it made sense to seek an improvement.

Now that you've replaced the cable and have achieved 90-100 megabytes sec, it probably doesn't make sense to seek further improvement unless you will be putting SSD or RAID arrays on both computers. Even then, going beyond 100 megabytes/sec is difficult. It would require 10 gig ethernet on both machines or investigating whether ethernet over USB 3 is possible between Mac and PC or having a 3rd RAID array or portable SSD to transfer data.

Oh I never though about my speed limited by my laptop HDD, that definitely does pose a problem, and I'm not sure if I want to spend the $100 on replacing it with an SSD. Maybe I will just for fun one of these days. It's an i7 laptop so it'd be great with an ssd. Hoping to replace that with a MacBook soon anyway though. Great info thank you!
 

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