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Running on external SSD is so slow it's unuseable

shaunvis

macrumors member
Original poster
May 26, 2009
41
13
Illinois
I want to try the Catalina beta without messing up my primary drive.
- I got a Samsung X5 external ssd. Performance is actually better then the internal on my new Mac mini
- I cloned my drive to the SSD, booted off it.

When running on the external SSD it's unusable slow. A lot of beachball. Opening an app can take minutes, etc.

If I reformat the external drive & use it for data, I'm getting 1800MB write 2500MB read speeds. So I know the external drive is flying.

Anyone see an issue like this or have any ideas?
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
20,422
7,244
VERY important questions:
What Mac do you have, and what year was it made?

An X5 will only work properly if your Mac has USB3 ports and thunderbolt3.
 
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dwig

macrumors 6502a
Jan 4, 2015
696
280
Key West FL
The X5 is a Thunderbolt device. It requires a Thunderbolt cable.
whoops, my bad.

Again, though, the cable can be an issue as TB3 shares the same USB-C connector as USB. If the USB-C cable used lacks TB3 support the computer's port will fall back to working at USB-3 or USB-2 speeds, depending on the cable and and the device. If the X5 also is able to fall back to USB data transfer then using the wrong cable can be the cause. Using a cable like Apple's charging cable supplied with most (all?) USB-C charging devices will only handle USB-2 data speeds.
 
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chabig

macrumors 604
Sep 6, 2002
7,172
4,448
Wouldn’t the machine see this as a new system? If so it could be normal housekeeping/indexing that will be complete in a day or two.
 
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shaunvis

macrumors member
Original poster
May 26, 2009
41
13
Illinois
Yep, USB-C with the cable that came with it.

I just bought the Mini a few days ago but it has a 256GB drive. My plan was to use the X5 & have 1TB and just boot & run off that.

Like I said, when using the internal drive, the X5 flies. Speed tests show it actually a few hundred MB faster than the internal drive. Cloning my internal SSD of about 120GB (Photos just grabs as much as it can on a fresh install) takes only a few minutes.

I haven't even got to Catalina yet. I'm just cloning a fresh install of Mojave from the internal SSD to the X5 and booting off that. It boots, I log in, then it's a total dog. Like I can open Safari, enter a URL, and it beachballs for a few minutes. It doesn't seem like the usual slowness while indexing, it's REALLY bad.

I'm beginning to wonder if I have an issue with the Mini. I can't even install Catalina on it with just the internal SSD. I run the installer, it reboots, the progress bar moves maybe 1/8 of the way and then it just freezes. I even let it go overnight and was still in the same place in the morning.
[doublepost=1563648594][/doublepost]About the only other thing I can think of is maybe RAM. It only came with 4GB. I've got 16GB ready to install but was foiled by damned security torx screws instead of regular ones. Waiting on Amazon to deliver a driver set.

Maybe I'll get lucky & it will be fine with 16GB
 
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chrfr

macrumors G4
Jul 11, 2009
10,176
3,887
Yep, USB-C with the cable that came with it.

I just bought the Mini a few days ago but it has a 256GB drive. My plan was to use the X5 & have 1TB and just boot & run off that.

Like I said, when using the internal drive, the X5 flies. Speed tests show it actually a few hundred MB faster than the internal drive. Cloning my internal SSD of about 120GB (Photos just grabs as much as it can on a fresh install) takes only a few minutes.

I haven't even got to Catalina yet. I'm just cloning a fresh install of Mojave from the internal SSD to the X5 and booting off that. It boots, I log in, then it's a total dog. Like I can open Safari, enter a URL, and it beachballs for a few minutes. It doesn't seem like the usual slowness while indexing, it's REALLY bad.

I'm beginning to wonder if I have an issue with the Mini. I can't even install Catalina on it with just the internal SSD. I run the installer, it reboots, the progress bar moves maybe 1/8 of the way and then it just freezes. I even let it go overnight and was still in the same place in the morning.
[doublepost=1563648594][/doublepost]About the only other thing I can think of is maybe RAM. It only came with 4GB. I've got 16GB ready to install but was foiled by damned security torx screws instead of regular ones. Waiting on Amazon to deliver a driver set.

Maybe I'll get lucky & it will be fine with 16GB
8GB is the minimum the Mini ships with. If you’re only seeing 4, you’ve got something wrong.
Have you tried installing an operating system to the external, vs. cloning an OS to it?
 
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shaunvis

macrumors member
Original poster
May 26, 2009
41
13
Illinois
8GB is the minimum the Mini ships with. If you’re only seeing 4, you’ve got something wrong.
Have you tried installing an operating system to the external, vs. cloning an OS to it?

Yep! I just confirmed that. I opened it up to install my 16GB and saw it had 2 4GB chips in it.

I popped in the 2 8GB ships I had, fired it up, Catalina finished installing to the X5 and seemed to be working fine. I checked the system and it's only seeing 8GB.

So looks like I definitely have an issue with this Mac. First time I ever bought a defective Apple product. Lame....
 
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