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interconnect

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 15, 2007
153
7
Ok, so I've been trying to figure out why my Mac mini has been extremely slow lately. I've found the reason, but the not the answer as to why and wondering if anyone else has seen this.

I have 10.9.1 with all updates installed. I've done 3 clean installs with the same results after each install. I've found that when starting file copies to two different external drives (one USB and the other FireWire) the copy starts off fast (33.4 MB/sec) and then stops, completely. As in 0 bytes; absolutely nothing is being transferred. The copy window in Finder is still showing the file being copied and the associated progress bar. I've used Activity Monitor and iStat Menus to monitor and get the same results when copying to each drive and see the same results in each. When the copy unexpectedly halts, the system is very, very slow... everything beach balls, dock is unresponsive sometimes, menu items don't paint, etc.

I see nothing interesting in the Console. Disk Utility says all disks are OK (including internal disk with OS and apps only on it). External disks are about 50% full on the USB and 66% full on the FireWire disk. Has anyone seen this issue before? Possible Mavericks bug? Possible drive failure? I'm at a loss as to what the source of the issue is.

* Additional note: As I was writing this, I tried copying two large files from one external drive to the other... no issue, as speedy as can be. Could this be a read issue from my internal drive?
 
Last edited:

McGiord

macrumors 601
Oct 5, 2003
4,557
289
Dark Castle
What is the size of the file? How are the drives formatted?
I guess that if the files are over 4GB and the drive is formatted FAT32 could that be it?
 

interconnect

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 15, 2007
153
7
What is the size of the file? How are the drives formatted?
I guess that if the files are over 4GB and the drive is formatted FAT32 could that be it?

One is 2.2 GB and the other 850 MB, same issue with each. Both drives are formatted HFS+.

I bet $1 on impending internal drive failure.

A.

That is what I'm thinking. Are their any programs that'd give me a clearer picture of what's going on with the drive?
 

Alrescha

macrumors 68020
Jan 1, 2008
2,156
317
Are their any programs that'd give me a clearer picture of what's going on with the drive?

I have not found any. You might eventually see an I/O error or a timeout in the system log.

My guess is that the drive has a number of bad blocks and it spends a lot of time attempting to successfully read them and that this process works just well enough that we do not see hard errors in the logs. Everything just gets slow. I had this problem with one of the drives in a Mac mini Server (500GB Hitachi HTS545050B9SA02). The drive is completely unusable, but System Information still says 'Smart Status: Verified'.

My advice is to assume that your drive will fail, sooner rather than later. Make sure you have a backup, consider ordering a replacement drive, move your boot volume to an external drive, etc. My mini has two drives, I switched to the other one and kept on going. When the second one fails it will be time to tear it apart (or throw it away).

A.
 

interconnect

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 15, 2007
153
7
I have not found any. You might eventually see an I/O error or a timeout in the system log.

My guess is that the drive has a number of bad blocks and it spends a lot of time attempting to successfully read them and that this process works just well enough that we do not see hard errors in the logs. Everything just gets slow. I had this problem with one of the drives in a Mac mini Server (500GB Hitachi HTS545050B9SA02). The drive is completely unusable, but System Information still says 'Smart Status: Verified'.

My advice is to assume that your drive will fail, sooner rather than later. Make sure you have a backup, consider ordering a replacement drive, move your boot volume to an external drive, etc. My mini has two drives, I switched to the other one and kept on going. When the second one fails it will be time to tear it apart (or throw it away).

A.

Interesting. I have a very similar drive in mine. It's a 500 GB Hitachi HTS545050B9A302. I don't have a second drive to switch to, but I have always kept my data on the two externals, so it's no big deal to just pop ina new one and reinstall OS X.
 
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