Mac mini 2011 data write speed maxing out at 30MB/s

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by musika, Jul 16, 2013.

  1. musika, Jul 16, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2013

    musika macrumors 65816

    musika

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2010
    Location:
    New York
    #1
    I've had a Mac mini (mid-2011) i5, 8GB, 500 GB 5200rpm since the release in summer 2011 and it's been a great machine. I've never really had any problems.

    But lately it's been noticeably slow. Not HD failure slow, I don't think, but annoyingly slow. So I decided that I would restore the computer and build from scratch. So I started to move my stuff off of the internal drive, including my 80GB iPhoto library.

    Moving that iPhoto library to an external drive was giving me around 400KB/s of write speeds. Which is just crazy. It was taking forever.

    So I check Blackmagic and the internal drive was maxing out at 28.1MB/s write and 30.9MB/s read.

    Is this normal? Or is it time to finally utilize AppleCare? :(

    UPDATE: Just tried Blackmagic one more time and got a max of 35.4MB/s of write. Still not great though.
     
  2. opinio macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2013
    #2
    I ran black magic on a WD scorpio blue 5400 1TB drive the other day and only got about 30-40MB/s

    I don't think your speeds are unusual for a 5400rpm drive. The older SataII technology drives are slow. Particularly 2.5" drives.

    The current SataIII HGST 5400 is faster though. The retrieval of data on SataIII is more efficient (its not just about bandwidth).
     
  3. musika thread starter macrumors 65816

    musika

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2010
    Location:
    New York
    #3
    Good to know. Still doesn't explain why I'm only getting in around 300KBs when writing to an external (even my 7200 FireWire). Weird. I'll figure that out.

    I'm just glad it seems like there is nothing wrong with my mini. Never had any hardware problems with it, so far.
     
  4. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #4
    how full is your drive? 350gb ,450gb or empty like 80gb.

    your speeds are terrible.

    should be over 50 read and write. your speed to the fw drive is nuts should be at least 45 max at 80
     
  5. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    #5
    If your drive is heavily fragmented and / or quite full (perhaps this is why you are moving content off it?) then read/write speed will suffer.


    The last space left on the disk is roughly half the speed of the start of the disk (on the outer tracks). If the data is at the end of the disk, and your drive is normally capable of 80MB/sec at the start (in the ball park for a 5400 rpm drive if maybe a bit high - my 7200rpm WD blacks get 95MB/sec if i recall), 40MB/sec is to be expected. Throw in some mild fragmentation and there you go....
     
  6. phoenixsan macrumors 65816

    phoenixsan

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2012
    #6
    Maybe.....

    some process or processes are running background when you are doing the copy/transfer operations. That things can slow down every computer. But in good conscience I cant go without saying: check out more thoroughfully your HDDs. Will pay off....

    :):apple:
     
  7. musika thread starter macrumors 65816

    musika

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2010
    Location:
    New York
    #7
    I have 230GB free on my 500GB internal drive.
     
  8. Big-TDI-Guy macrumors 68030

    Big-TDI-Guy

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
    #8
    If your external drive is new - have you formatted it? If not - what format is it using?

    I have a 2007 Macbook - with the hard drive that shipped with my 2010 Mini - 5400RPM I believe. Anyhow - nothing about that setup should be faster than yours - and it is. So I'd say you have a problem. I get faster file transfer speeds via FW400 and an external drive - (in either direction) - then you're getting just with your internal.

    In my personal experience, I've never seen a SMART warning or otherwise on any drive prior to failure. Not one. Maybe it works, but in over 5 drive failures that I've personally witnessed - I no longer trust it. However I've heard drives with the "click of death" that ALWAYS preceded a failure. When you hear a rhythmic click, followed by the head looking for something, to be repeated identically over and over - has always ended in a failure. Reformatting did not help, in any of the cases where I tried. Finally, drive speeds moving painfully slow - sometimes were resolved by a wipe / format - but a couple were failures in the end.

    Only other thing to check that I can think of (aside from a program / process hogging your resources) - do you have any drive mirroring, encryption, DOD level drive erasing settings active? DOD level drive security can make the fastest drives and systems unbearably slow.
     
  9. musika thread starter macrumors 65816

    musika

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2010
    Location:
    New York
    #9
    Tested it on 3 different external drives, all have which have been used and formatted.

    I don't recall hearing any clicking noises. I'm going to try to transfer the last of my data off of the internal drive over night, wipe the drive and reinstall the OS in the morning, and then I'll take it from there.
     
  10. musika thread starter macrumors 65816

    musika

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2010
    Location:
    New York
    #10
    After the transfer passed the 1GB mark (which took way too long to hit), it's been blazing(ish). The iPhoto transfer is now going at a much nicer 27GB/s data transfer speed to a USB 2 external drive. Up to 8GB completed.

    I have a feeling something about iPhoto libraries stump the speed, especially in the beginning. After all, it is quite a lot of data.

    Now about my 35GB/s disk speeds in Blackmagic, I'll update again after I've restored the machine.
     
  11. blanka macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    #11
    I have the same machine
    stock drive was around 60 write 70 read
    new 7200rpm scorpio black is doing around 110 w 120 r
    samsung 830 256 gb SSD 450w 500r
    FW400 WD green 40 r/w
    Ethernet transfers about 100/100 to the scorpio
     
  12. mayuka macrumors 6502a

    mayuka

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    #12
    The hd drive that came with my Mac Mini 2011 gets about 60-70 MB/s. The Samsung 830 (which is in the second bay) gets around 300-400 MB/s read. I suspect that your hd is failing. You should download something like "smart reporter" and look at the S.M.A.R.T. data.
     
  13. musika thread starter macrumors 65816

    musika

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2010
    Location:
    New York
    #13
    Wow, that's much better. I checked Smart Reporter and it told me everything was fine. I erased the drive and I'm installing a fresh copy of Mountain Lion on it now. I also have a phone call scheduled with Apple this afternoon so I can double check with them.
     
  14. mayuka macrumors 6502a

    mayuka

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    #14
    The Mac Mini 2011 has SATA II which is capable of ~600 MB/s. The hard drive however is the bottleneck in this case. Fast hard drives will get around 100-120 MB/s reading sequentially.

    Have you tried running Apple Hardware Test on it? If that takes longer than normal that may give you another hint. I guess that the Apple technicians will first let you perform an SMC and/or PMU reset, though.
     
  15. opinio macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2013
    #15
    To assist with the debate...

    I ran the following read/write tests on black magic on a bunch of HDDs I had lying around. The drives have no files on them (empty) and are partitioned HFS+.

    I ran the tests on a Newer Tech voyager Q Quad interface dock on eSata through a Lacie T-bolt hub on a 2012 MM 2.6 Quad.

    -Western Digital 3.5" 5400 Green Drive 1TB 89MB/s read 91MB/s write
    -Seagate Barracuda 3.5" 2TB 7200rpm (from a current 2013 Time Capsule) 147MB/s read 170MB/s write
    -WD Scorpio Blue 2.5" 1TB 5400rpm 110MB/s read 110MB/s write
    -WD WD3200BMVS 2.5" 320GB 5400rpm 59MB/s read 60MB/s write
    -Toshiba 2.5" 160GB 5400rpm 45MB/s read 35MB/s write
    -Toshiba 2.5" 120GB 5400rpm 45MB/s read 33MB/s write

    I note these are raw runs with no OS etc running on the drive as would be the case with the OP.

    I stand corrected on my comments above in my first post on the Scorpio Blue. After I ran it a few times it stabilised at 110MB/s even though its first few runs were in the 30s and 40s for some reason. Apologies for that.

    ----------

    It's SATA III on the 2011.
     
  16. musika thread starter macrumors 65816

    musika

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2010
    Location:
    New York
    #16
    After erasing the HD and reinstalling the OS, Blackmagic is now giving me write speeds of around 50-60MB/s and read speeds of around 40-50MB/s.

    Much better, right?
     
  17. opinio macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2013
    #17
    That matches up almost exactly with the speeds I showed in the above post for a 320GB WD 5400rpm drive. From memory the drive in the 2011 is a WD drive as well so your speeds seem similar.
     
  18. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    #18
    Hard drives are quite slow when you try to copy lots of small files. If you have thousands of small files, they will be slow. If you have 1 GB made up of a million tiny files, and then 20 GB made up of thousand large files, the 1 GB will take longer than the rest.

    Open "Activity Monitor", check "hard drive activity" and it will show how many MB per second, and how many operations per second. It is quite normal that MB per second goes down when operations per second goes up.

    Apart from that, an external drive connected through USB 2 will be limited to about 34 MB/sec no matter how fast the drive. FW 800 would be limited to about 80 MB/sec no matter how fast the drive is; but unless you have a new and fast drive, it's quite likely your drive is the limit.
     
  19. Xgm541 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    #19
    Using a SMART reporting tool you can easily determine if a drive is failing. The information may look different from manufacturer to manufacturer but if it is indicating anywhere that your drive has "bad sectors" or "reallocated sectors", it's likely to be failing. You are however correct in that it didnt automatically notify me.

    As for OP, are you moving large files or many, many small ones? The write speed is bad, but if you are writing 1kb files it may explain some of the slowness.
     
  20. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #20
    yeah thats close to normal for your drive. as others have said lots of really small files will slow a drive. also the inner second half of the drive is slower then the outer first half.
     

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