I just got a Western Digital 2 TB "My Passport" USB drive and connected it to my macbook pro (it says it supports USB 3). But when I tried to copy my photo library it said it would take 40 hours?

What could be going on?

Details: I'm on a Macbook pro 8,1. With OSX 10.6.8. I formatted the drive with Mac OS Extended Journaled.

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  • An initial estimate gets made before the system has full information. Have you looked at Activity Monitor to see what rate of IO/second and bandwidth is being logged as a result of this specific copy? It's entirely possible the library has a ton of small files that are IO bound due to writes per second to the drive instead of aggregate bandwidth. Is this something you're seeing time and time again or more idle curiosity how to decode OS X performance? – bmike Mar 24 '13 at 23:30
  • Yeah, maybe you're right. Coming back to it 45 min later, the estimate is down to an hour. I guess 1-2 hours is reasonable for USB 2? Since you guys think I probably don't have USB 3? – Greg Mar 24 '13 at 23:56
  • You definitely don't have USB 3. It wasn't introduced in Macs until halfway through 2012. That sounds like a pretty reasonable time though. – Chris A Mar 25 '13 at 0:38
  • What disk format do you use? Sometimes working with NTFS formatted drives and third party workarounds can resolve is slow speeds. Using natively supported formats (e.g. exfat, HFS+, etc) these portable WD drives can transfer about 30MB per second. So it should take about (132000/30)/60 = ~74 minutes. – CousinCocaine Sep 26 '13 at 7:55

That seems very slow. I have a MyPassport, which is a portable, self-powered drive. When I got it, I found the copies to be slow, but I found that WD has drivers for the drive that speed the copy up considerably. I'm not entirely comfortable having a third-party hard disk driver, but I haven't encountered any problems with it.

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