View Full Version : USB 2.0 NTFS External Hard Drive on Mac, SLOW write speed.. why? fix??

01-22-2008, 11:35 PM
I bought a Seagate FreeAgent Desktop 500 GB External Hard Drive (7200rpm, USB 2.0)
It was originally NTFS-formatted.

I did not want to use HFS+ ("Mac OS Extended, Journaled" format), because I need to use the hard drive with Windows computers as well.

I did not want to use FAT32 ("MS-DOS" Format), because the disk gets fragmented very easily, and there are reliability issues, etc.

So I downloaded MacFUSE and NTFS-3G to get writing privileges on the NTFS device. I got the write access after restarting, but the transfer speeds are agonizingly slow (2 Mb/s to 4 Mb/s). Is this normal?

I formatted the drive to FAT32, and the transfer speed was good.
I used the NTFS-formatted drive on Windows Vista, and the transfer speed was good.
The pathetic speeds are only when I use the NTFS-formatted drive on Mac.
Ejecting and remounting does not help. Restarting does not help.
Partitioning into 2 different volumes, and then partitioning back to a single volume, does not help.
Changing the USB port does not help. Removing all other USB devices (only the Mighty Mouse) does not help.

How can I get fast data transfer speeds between a Mac and an NTFS-formatted external hard drive?

As you can probably tell, I'm pretty desperate for help on this. Anything is appreciated.

MacBook 2.2GHz | 2x1GB RAM | Leopard 10.5.1

01-22-2008, 11:57 PM
okay, now there's another problem. The hard drive is not showing on the windows system. This is regardless of whether it is in the FAT32 format or in the NTFS format.

01-23-2008, 12:11 AM
The easiest and most compatible solution is to format the drive in HFS+ and use MacDrive on the Windows machine.

01-23-2008, 12:22 AM
Yes, but MacDrive costs, doesn't it? Are there any freeware alternatives?
Plus, it's easier to install some software on one mac, than to buy MacDrive for all the PCs I intend to take data from... everyone around me has a PC. (I pity them, too, but that's the way it is).

And is there any reason why the device, formatted as MS-DOS format, is not being recognised by the windows vista pc?
(other usb storage devices are still being recognised)

01-23-2008, 01:07 AM
As long as you're willing to sacrifice reliability and quality for price, your current configuration is best.

01-23-2008, 01:07 AM
You'd be happier with a drive that has the dual-option of FireWire/USB. The Mac incarnation of USB 2.0 has come a long way but it still kinda sucks. Meanwhile, FireWire kinda rocks. This is, I think, at least true for NTFS-3G which was initially developed on (ported to, I should say; but then troubleshot on) PowerPC Macs using FireWire, if I understand correctly.

01-23-2008, 02:34 AM
Okay, Windows has finally started recognising the drive. It took a while, but the Seagate site mentioned re-initialising the drive or something to that effect.. and data transfer between NTFS device and Windows machine was pretty smooth.

Well, I'm on a shoestring budget here, and so I can't possibly buy another hard drive with FW400/eSATA capabilities.

But coming back to the main point, does everyone out there suffer from speeds of 2-4 Mb/s when writing to an NTFS volume from a mac? Is there something that I've perhaps missed out on?

All I did was: download MacFUSE, install, restart, download NTFS-3G, install, restart.
Did I miss something?

01-23-2008, 04:14 AM

I'd suggest using this Paragon NTFS for OSX. Yes, it costs US$29.95, but it works and it works VERY well. This way you won't have to muck around with any of the PC's you need to work on. I was in a similar position a while back needing to move my External HD between my Mac and a large number of PC's that I cannot install ANY software on (Forensic work), but everything seems to work just fine with Paragon NTFS for OSX. I didn't attempt to use MacFuse only because I'm lazy and couldn't be bothered with it! :-)



01-12-2009, 07:19 PM
I had this same problem when using MacFuse / NTFS-3G. It works but it's slow. I was getting like 6 MB/s going through USB 2.0. When I compare downloading the same file to another non-NTFS drive using the same USB 2.0 connection I was getting 25 MB/s.