New 2012 MacBook Air - Slow USB Port

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Haaker, Nov 23, 2012.

  1. Haaker macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2012
    Philadelphia area
    Hi all. This week I picked up a refurb 2012 13" MBA (2.0 GHz i7, 512GB, 8GB). I love it!

    Right now I'm moving files around among my retiring late 2008 MBP, 2009 white unibody MacBook, and a 2 TB G-Tech external HDD (which only supports USB 2.0, not 3.0).

    Over the course of transferring several large files, I noticed that when the external drive is connected to the right USB 3.0 port on the MBA, transfers were unacceptably slow. For instance, moving my iTunes library (~53 GB) from the HDD to the MBA was estimated at 14 hours.

    I thought that was unacceptably slow, so I stopped the transfer, ejected the drive, and plugged it in to the left hand USB port on the MBA. This time, the estimate was about 25 minutes, and that's how long it took to move the files.

    Thinking that perhaps it was just a fluke, I tried to move the iWeb application (yes, I know iWeb sucks) from the HDD to the MBA tonight on the right USB port. At ~450 MB, I got an estimate of 7 minutes. I could download a file from my 52 MBps cable connection faster than that.

    I ejected the drive, switched to the left USB port, and the file transferred in less than a minute.

    So, the question - does this sound like a Genius Bar question? I assume it's not a normal occurrence. The specs show that both ports are USB 3.0 (which shouldn't matter anyway, since the drive only supports USB 2.0).

    This is my first refurb Apple product (far from my first Apple product; my wife and I have bought eight new iPhones, 4 new iPads, an iPod, and an Apple TV between us), and it's making me question the wisdom of trying to save $330 by going refurb vs. new.

    Thanks for any insights or advice you may have. I'm really hoping that if there is a problem with it, I don't have to start over a square one in setting it up the way I like it.
  2. mrcheezit macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2012
    Sorry to hear that not many people can offer a solution for you :( .
    I am having the exact same issue with my MBA. It's the port on the right-hand side as well.. :confused: any ideas?
  3. Devyn89 macrumors regular


    Jul 21, 2012
    I don't have any ideas, but I have the same issue as well. It generally doesn't bug me, I just use the port on the left side but if anyone knows how to fix it, that would be awesome.
  4. Saturn1217 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 28, 2008
    I think the first thing you should do is figure out if this is normal or not.

    Maybe you can take your external drive to the apple store and ask if you can check transfer speeds on the demo units (I think if you explain the issue you are having they will let you)

    I don't have a MBA but I know that the usb ports on my MBP don't always behave the same with a specific usb stick I have that requires I think a bit more power than most.

    I don't know about MBA's specifically but I don't think it is that uncommon to have usb ports with different power on a laptop. I hope this is not the case with most MBAs...
  5. Haaker thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2012
    Philadelphia area
    It hasn't been an issue for me lately. Not sure if it has resolved itself, or if I just haven't noticed it now that I have not had the need to transfer large files between the MBA and the external drive. (I was only doing that for a week or two while I was transitioning to the new computer).

    Thanks for the suggestions!

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