High Download Speeds being limited by disk speed.

Jul 20, 2018
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Whenever I start downloading a game, the download speeds spike to 100mb/s to 200mb/s depending on the day and if I am actively using the PC during the download. However, the download speed spikes to 100mb/s or so, stays at that speed for some time, and then returns to 0mb/s while the disk "catches up" because it is only at around 20-30mb/s and the process repeats.
 

Eximo

Titan
Herald
So are you looking for a solution?

Larger/Faster drive is pretty much it.

On SSDs, the best performance is when the drive writes only one bit per cell. Known as SLC cache emulation. Once it writes to all the empty cells it will have to start shuffling data around. So you might start out fast and at a certain point it will slow down a lot. Less empty space on the drive the worse this will be.

Hard drives will have cache, once that is full the drive should slow down to its max sequential read. This speed will be determined by where exactly on the disk it is writing to. Denser platters have more throughput, but it is hard to pick out the right drives, have to know the number of platters and their density/platter. Some drives might use lower density platters but have more of them (Which can help or hurt depending on the write task)

For SSDs, sometimes having more system ram can help with SSD speeds. It can opt to use some of that memory rather than relying on internal DRAM, or in the case of DRAMless drives, exclusively.
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator


Your drive is hugely faster than your internet speed.

A typical 7200RPM HDD can accept data at ~100-150megabytes/sec.
Your internet speed of 100megabits/sec is approx 8-12 times slower.

Also, where are you downloading these games from?
 

LinuxDevice

Notable
May 20, 2017
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+1. Internet speeds listed in bits, hard drive speeds listed in bytes. 8:1 conversion.

FYI, download is indeed limited to the weakest link in the chain. On the other hand, expect large downloads to be throttled by remote sites unless you have something special going on. You're seeing hard drive activity, but odds are much higher you've been throttled and it isn't the drive limiting speed (unless the hard drive is doing other things at the same time).

I've often heard people complain they purchased some high speed internet, and that their ISP is bad...when it is instead the other end of the pipe at fault. Whoever does the upload must also pay for internet access and probably won't give their full bandwidth to one person when they may serve 1000 at a time.
 
Jul 20, 2018
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I am downloading them from the Steam application.
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator


Steam reports in megabytes.
Your ISP in megabits.
Approx 8:1 ratio.

100megabits from your ISP would report as about 12-14 megabytes (best case) from Steam.

Again, your drive is not the limiting factor here.
 
Jul 20, 2018
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Ok, perhaps I am misunderstanding what the Steam launcher is saying, can you explain this picture to me?
https://imgur.com/po7ee5m
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator


What is that image from?

This is from an actual download via Steam, on a 75/75 megabit FiOS connection.
 
Jul 20, 2018
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Apologies, I was using a skin with Steam here is a picture with the regular skin.
https://imgur.com/5KsDKtr

 
Jul 20, 2018
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ISP Internet: 200 Megabits, Speedtest reports: Ping: 29ms Down: 202.75Mb/s Up: 11.68Mb/s, and I have a Crucial 1TB SSD
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator


From that data, and your screencap above, your network performance is about 110% of what you should expect.

If you look at your pic:
"232.2Mbps" Current and Peak is a little bit above your ISP speed of 200Mbps.
The Disk Usage at "31.2MB/s" is right at the 8:1 ratio. megabits vs megabytes. (31 * 8 = 248)

You have no problem, except reading what the units are.
B = bytes, b = bits.
Big B vs little b.

Nothing is wrong, your system is working as expected.
 
Dec 10, 2018
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And I don't think we ever determined...what is the speed you pay your ISP for, and what does speedtest.net report?


 

LinuxDevice

Notable
May 20, 2017
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Exactly correct...but the reason I worded it that way is because of what I saw in the screenshot using odd acronyms.
 
Jan 30, 2019
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And I don't think we ever determined...what is the speed you pay your ISP for, and what does speedtest.net report?

 
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