Adding an external drive improves my internal drive speed. What’s happening?

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This one is pretty bizarre. I've got a new asus aspire one laptop. At first, I thought the LAN network card speed was terrible, because when I copy a file to the laptop, I get approximately 1% of the 100 Mbps available. After a lot of playing, I figured out that if I'm copying a file from the laptop to the server, I get good speed (approximately 90 Mbps). So, clearly the problem has something to do with the hard drive or configuration of the laptop right? I thought I should try copying something from the network to a drive on the usb port for comparison. Well here's the weird part... as soon as I plugged in the external drive, the copies to my external drive got fast (80 Mbps). I wasn't even using the external drive. Once the external drive has been plugged in, my speed is good until I reboot. BTW, I've verified the following: - The internal drive is not compressed - The drive is not indexed - Write caching is enabled - The are no updated drivers available for my hard drive (that I can find anyway) Can anyone tell me what's going on?

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What is the drive speed in RPMs? Usually laptops drives are around 5400RPM which is very slow when compared to 10K on a good computer or 15K on a server. External hard drives will also be faster than that.

Another thing to consider is the transfer interface. Does the laptop use a Serial ATA drive or an older legacy ATA drive? Depending on what the laptop uses the transfer rates for the data on the hard drive will be capped at 3Gbit/s with SATA-2, 1.5Gbit/s with SATA, and depending on which legacy ATA drive it is the speed will be slower than that.

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  • Bott
    go into msconfig and disable all of your startup items ... reboot make sure to disable your Anti Virus/Spyware etc then repeat test without USB involved if the speed is good then hunt down the software causing the issue or boot from a LINUX LIVECD (like knoppix) and try the copy; if the speed is good then its a software issue
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  • Jeffvan
    Mshen, the drive speed is 5400 rpm, but the speed is only a problem when I don't have an external drive plugged in, so, I'm not getting stuck on the hardware limitation. What I want to know is why it performs 80x faster just because I've plugged in an external drive (I'm not using the external drive... just plugging it in). (just spotted a typo in the question that may have confused things - sorry - I'll re-ask in a few days). To be clear... - Copying from the network to my internal drive... speed is 1 Mbps - While letting that copy run, I plug in the external USB drive - Suddenly my copy jumps to 80 Mbps
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  • mshen
    May be a defective south bridge. I would suggest reinstalling your OS, and if you continue to have problems contact the manufacturer to get it replaced.
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