USB 3 Hard Drive Very Slow

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USB 3 Hard Drive Very Slow

Postby chuckbass » 12. Jun 2013, 21:30

I have my Linux installation on my external USB 3 hard drive. I can't put it on my internal SSD because it is too big.

Everything works, however it's really slow. Within virtualbox, I have enabled "Enable usb2 EHCI controller" but it's still slow.

Is there any way I can increase the speed of my Linux VM?

Thank you.
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Re: USB 3 Hard Drive Very Slow

Postby noteirak » 12. Jun 2013, 23:37

Please read Minimum information needed for assistance.
Also, define "really slow"?
And finally, are you trying to use a USB3 port? Because that is not supported by Virtualbox.
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Re: USB 3 Hard Drive Very Slow

Postby mpack » 13. Jun 2013, 11:32

If you locate the VM on an external drive that the VM is not using that external drive, only the host is. Performance of host drives has nothing to do with VirtualBox.

Since the VM is not accessing that drive, enabling the VMs USB controller inside the VM is not relevant.

If I were you I'd check that you have the drive plugged into a USB 3.0 port (the drive should fallback to USB 2.0 in a 2.0 port). You could also try some performance tests, look for virus checkers hogging I/O bandwidth etc.
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Re: USB 3 Hard Drive Very Slow

Postby Rajagopal » 31. Jul 2013, 20:35

@mpack

I am a newbie to VBOX.
Is it right both topologies below don't work yet ?

USB 3.0 device -> USB 3.0 controller -> VBOX Guest OS
USB 2.0 device -> USB 3.0 controller -> VBOX Guest OS
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Re: USB 3 Hard Drive Very Slow

Postby loukingjr » 31. Jul 2013, 23:04

As stated above, the fact you have your VM on an external USB drive has nothing to do with how fast the guest is. Neither does the USB controller. A guest on an external drive once booted should run close to the same speed as one on an internal drive for most things. Not sure what you mean by "runs slowly" either or what the guest might be.
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Re: USB 3 Hard Drive Very Slow

Postby noteirak » 1. Aug 2013, 00:17

The USB 3.0 controller is the issue here.
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Re: USB 3 Hard Drive Very Slow

Postby loukingjr » 1. Aug 2013, 01:10

noteirak wrote:The USB 3.0 controller is the issue here.

I don't know why. I have multiple guests on an external USB 3 drive and none of them "run slow". I'm with mpack on this one.
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Re: USB 3 Hard Drive Very Slow

Postby noteirak » 1. Aug 2013, 08:12

Well, there are quite a few topics on the forum about people with USB issues that gets solved from using a USB2 port instead of 3.
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Re: USB 3 Hard Drive Very Slow

Postby mpack » 1. Aug 2013, 09:40

loukingjr wrote:I'm with mpack on this one.

Actually, you are saying things I didn't. I don't deny that external drives can be slow, I only said that performance of host drives is a matter for the host OS. Only if you connect a drive directly to the guest USB (the host having no access) might it become a guest OS responsibility. Connecting to the host USB make this issue not relevant.

One way to get an unexpectedly slow external drive would be to plug a USB3 drive into a USB2 port.

If you aren't connecting the drive to the guest USB then the issue of the guests non-support of USB3 is not an issue at all.
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Re: USB 3 Hard Drive Very Slow

Postby loukingjr » 1. Aug 2013, 11:00

mpack wrote:
loukingjr wrote:I'm with mpack on this one.

Actually, you are saying things I didn't. I don't deny that external drives can be slow, I only said that performance of host drives is a matter for the host OS. Only if you connect a drive directly to the guest USB (the host having no access) might it become a guest OS responsibility. Connecting to the host USB make this issue not relevant.

One way to get an unexpectedly slow external drive would be to plug a USB3 drive into a USB2 port.

If you aren't connecting the drive to the guest USB then the issue of the guests non-support of USB3 is not an issue at all.

that's what I thought was agreeing with. however, I still have a few guests on a USB 2 drive and while the guests boot a bit slower than they would on a USB 3 drive, the guests run as fast once booted unless there is a lot of disk activity. I got the impression the OP's problem was his VM was running slow. this will teach me to agree with anyone :)
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Re: USB 3 Hard Drive Very Slow

Postby mpack » 1. Aug 2013, 14:46

loukingjr wrote:however, I still have a few guests on a USB 2 drive and while the guests boot a bit slower than they would on a USB 3 drive, the guests run as fast once booted unless there is a lot of disk activity. I got the impression the OP's problem was his VM was running slow

The expected max throughput of USB2 is around 30MB/s, for USB3 it's apparantly around 400MB/s, so there should definitely be a difference whenever the disk is accessed. As you say, caching and the nature of the application can affect the visibility of this effect greatly. However booting from a USB2 hosted VM would be much slower than booting from a USB3 hosted VM (assuming the host realizes the potential of USB3), and this of course is the first thing a VirtualBox user would notice when moving the VM around like that.
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Re: USB 3 Hard Drive Very Slow

Postby loukingjr » 1. Aug 2013, 15:14

mpack wrote:
loukingjr wrote:however, I still have a few guests on a USB 2 drive and while the guests boot a bit slower than they would on a USB 3 drive, the guests run as fast once booted unless there is a lot of disk activity. I got the impression the OP's problem was his VM was running slow

The expected max throughput of USB2 is around 30MB/s, for USB3 it's apparantly around 400MB/s, so there should definitely be a difference whenever the disk is accessed. As you say, caching and the nature of the application can affect the visibility of this effect greatly. However booting from a USB2 hosted VM would be much slower than booting from a USB3 hosted VM (assuming the host realizes the potential of USB3), and this of course is the first thing a VirtualBox user would notice when moving the VM around like that.

theoretically USB 3 is suppose to be 10x faster than USB 2 as you mention but, in real world terms USB 3 never reaches near it's potential. On my Mac for example it's about 3 times as fast. Perhaps I don't really notice the boot speed so much because most all my guests boot within 10-15 seconds. I've never actually timed them. It's just not very noticeable. Of course to me anyway, the fact that brand x browser boots in 4.2 seconds and brand y browser boots in 4.8 seconds so brand x is much faster never made much sense to me.
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Re: USB 3 Hard Drive Very Slow

Postby noteirak » 1. Aug 2013, 15:20

Well, USB3 is only a canal, it's not a source. Real speed would depend on the hard drive speed. 400MB/s would require a good SSD to max out.
The other would reach max speed (70 to 100 MB/s) which would sync with your view of 2 to 3x the speed of USB2.
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Re: USB 3 Hard Drive Very Slow

Postby loukingjr » 1. Aug 2013, 15:34

noteirak wrote:Well, USB3 is only a canal, it's not a source. Real speed would depend on the hard drive speed. 400MB/s would require a good SSD to max out.
The other would reach max speed (70 to 100 MB/s) which would sync with your view of 2 to 3x the speed of USB2.

yep. I have an internal Fusion drive which is a hybrid SSD and a 7200 rpm HD but I never measured it's throughput. but it's faster :)
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