Copying large files slows my entire computer. Why?

I'm not sure if this is the right forum for this, but...

I have an 80GB SSD as my OS, system cache and working program drive, and a 1.5 TB drive as a storage drive. Whenever I do a large file transfer my entire system slows to a crawl. Let's say I copy 200 GB from my 1.5 TB drive onto itself. My entire system slows down considerably even though my CPU and RAM usage remains low.

I have an overclocked AMD Phenom II x4 955 processor and 6 GB of RAM, why would this system have trouble with simply copying data? This happens in Windows 7, CentOS, Ubuntu and Fedora on this rig.

I'm pretty sure it's just this rig that's the problem. My quad core xeon sandy bridge 16 GB RAM Ubuntu server as absolutely no slow downs when it's working with data, why can't my desktop do the same?

This problem happens no matter which drive I do the transfer on but becomes much worse when transferring from one slow drive to another slow drive. I used to have a 500 GB backup drive that I recently removed.
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More about copying large files slows entire computer
  1. Can you post your complete specs?
  2. I pulled out 2 GB of RAM to put into another machine temporarily, here are the specs minus the normal 6 GB of RAM:

    Field Value
    Computer Type ACPI x64-based PC
    Operating System Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate
    OS Service Pack Service Pack 1
    Internet Explorer 9.0.8112.16421
    DirectX DirectX 11.0
    Date / Time 2012-07-12 / 14:14

    CPU Type QuadCore AMD Phenom II X4 Black Edition 955, 3721 MHz (18.5 x 201)
    Motherboard Name Gigabyte GA-MA785GM-US2H (2 PCI, 1 PCI-E x1, 1 PCI-E x16, 4 DDR2 DIMM, Audio, Video, Gigabit LAN, IEEE-1394)
    Motherboard Chipset AMD 785G, AMD K10
    System Memory 4092 MB (DDR2-800 DDR2 SDRAM)
    DIMM1: OCZ Fatal1ty OCZ2F10662G 2 GB DDR2-800 DDR2 SDRAM (5-5-5-15 @ 400 MHz) (4-5-5-13 @ 333 MHz) (3-4-4-10 @ 266 MHz)
    DIMM3: OCZ Fatal1ty OCZ2F10662G 2 GB DDR2-800 DDR2 SDRAM (5-5-5-15 @ 400 MHz) (4-5-5-13 @ 333 MHz) (3-4-4-10 @ 266 MHz)
    BIOS Type Award Modular (05/17/10)
    Communication Port Communications Port (COM1)
    Communication Port Printer Port (LPT1)

    Video Adapter ATI Radeon HD 5700 Series (1024 MB)
    Video Adapter ATI Radeon HD 5700 Series (1024 MB)
    Video Adapter ATI Radeon HD 5700 Series (1024 MB)
    3D Accelerator ATI Radeon HD 5770 (Juniper)
    Monitor AOC F22 [22" LCD] (P0899HA041489)
    Monitor HP L1730 [17" LCD] (CNP333Q35K)
    Monitor HP L1750 (Digital) [17" LCD] (CND7521416)

    Audio Adapter ATI Radeon HDMI @ ATI Juniper/Broadway - High Definition Audio Controller
    Audio Adapter Realtek ALC889A @ ATI SB750 - High Definition Audio Controller

    IDE Controller Standard AHCI 1.0 Serial ATA Controller
    IDE Controller Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller
    Storage Controller MagicISO SCSI Host Controller
    Floppy Drive Floppy disk drive
    Disk Drive INTEL SSDSA2M080G2GC ATA Device (74 GB, IDE)
    Disk Drive ST31500341AS ATA Device (1500 GB, 7200 RPM, SATA-II)
    Optical Drive ATAPI iHAP322 W ATA Device (DVD+R9:8x, DVD-R9:8x, DVD+RW:22x/8x, DVD-RW:22x/6x, DVD-RAM:12x, DVD-ROM:16x, CD:48x/32x/48x DVD+RW/DVD-RW/DVD-RAM)
    Optical Drive MagicISO Virtual DVD-ROM0000
    SMART Hard Disks Status OK

    C: (NTFS) 76216 MB (12672 MB free)
    E: (NTFS) 1397.3 GB (195.8 GB free)
    Total Size 1471.7 GB (208.2 GB free)

    Keyboard HID Keyboard Device
    Keyboard Standard PS/2 Keyboard
    Mouse HID-compliant mouse
    Game Controller Microsoft PC-joystick driver

    Primary IP Address
    Network Adapter Microsoft Virtual WiFi Miniport Adapter #2
    Network Adapter Realtek RTL8168C(P)/8111C(P) Family PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet NIC (NDIS 6.20)
    Network Adapter VirtualBox Host-Only Ethernet Adapter (
    Network Adapter Wireless N-300 USB Adapter WNA3100 (

    Printer \\L-PC\Canon MX700 series Printer
    Printer Canon MX700 series FAX
    Printer Canon MX700 series Printer
    Printer Fax
    Printer Microsoft XPS Document Writer
    Printer RingCentral Internet Fax
    FireWire Controller Texas Instruments TSB43AB23 1394A-2000 OHCI PHY/Link-Layer Controller (PHY: TI TSB43AB23)
    USB1 Controller ATI SB750 - OHCI USB Controller
    USB1 Controller ATI SB750 - OHCI USB Controller
    USB1 Controller ATI SB750 - OHCI USB Controller
    USB1 Controller ATI SB750 - OHCI USB Controller
    USB1 Controller ATI SB750 - OHCI USB Controller
    USB2 Controller ATI SB750 - EHCI USB 2.0 Controller
    USB2 Controller ATI SB750 - EHCI USB 2.0 Controller
    USB Device SB Tactic(3D) Wrath Wireless
    USB Device USB Composite Device
    USB Device USB Input Device
    USB Device USB Input Device
    USB Device Wireless N-300 USB Adapter WNA3100 #2

    DMI BIOS Vendor Award Software International, Inc.
    DMI BIOS Version F11
    DMI System Manufacturer Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd.
    DMI System Product GA-MA785GM-US2H
    DMI System Version
    DMI System Serial Number
    DMI System UUID 30303234-31444431-39373232-FFFFFFFF
    DMI Motherboard Manufacturer Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd.
    DMI Motherboard Product GA-MA785GM-US2H
    DMI Motherboard Version x.x
    DMI Motherboard Serial Number
    DMI Chassis Manufacturer Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd.
    DMI Chassis Version
    DMI Chassis Serial Number
    DMI Chassis Asset Tag
    DMI Chassis Type Desktop Case
    DMI Total / Free Memory Sockets 4 / 2
  3. Take the OC off the Phenom and see if that helps... If not we can go from there. What power supply do you have on it?
  4. It did it with and without the OC. This is the third PSU I've had. The first two caught on fire. The first one was some unknown brand 400 watter. The second was a 500 watt Antec, this one is a 500 watt Allied.

    This PC has had this problem for almost three years (wow, I've had this thing for a while now).

    I've just learned to do my heavy duty data stuff on my server instead of my PC. I really want to end that limitation though.

    I've upgraded the BIOS to the newest one and all the drivers are up to date. I've had both and Nvida and an AIT card in this machine.

    I've had several version of linux and Windows 7 on this PC.

    I do weekly backups so I know the problems has existed every week since I've owned the PC. The computer this upgraded was a Dual Xeon machine with RAID 1 SCSIs. It did not suffer from the problem unless it was doing something ridiculous like rebuilding the RAID.

    I also tried using a PCI SATA card I had about two years ago. It did not make it any better.
  5. Windows or the BIOS hasn't let the IDE drive slip into PIO mode has it? if DMA is off that would suck up a lot of cycles.
  6. How would I check that? The only IDE drive is the burner, and I just recently installed it. I had taken the old one out after it went out. I went without an optical drive for several weeks while the problem persisted.
  7. I followed these instructions:

    Everything has "Enable DMA" checked
  8. TRIM and AHCI are also enabled
  9. Make sure your not running jumbo frames on your network card.
  10. Why would jumbo frames affect internal hard drive transfers?
  11. It is normala s your computer must do some write and read working on your HHD when you do anything. So copying large file will slwo down your comp no mather what.
  12. My 3.2GHz Quad Core Xeon E3-1230 server doesn't slow down while making large transfers, and it has a slower 500 GB hard drive.

    Load the exact same OS onto my Phenom II x4 955 with better hard drives and the system slows to a crawl.

    Example (Both using Linux Ubuntu 9.04 at the time):
    Rsync a 6 GB directory:
    No problem at all for the server. I can continue large DB operations without trouble.
    Makes my PC nearly unusable for the duration of the rsync. Can't even watch a video better than 480i.

    Interestingly enough, transferring a large directory via Rsync over network (internet) between the two computers has caused a slowdown on my PC in the past, not always though. It seems to happen when transferring a LOT of small files during the network rsync.

    I have no other PCs to test this on right now, but I know something isn't right. Could a bad motherboard cause this issue?

    The only thing I see happening in the resource monitor is that the active time on the hard drive goes up during the slow down. CPU usage remains low, RAM is low... etc
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