Update: as many have commented, my testing with /dev/zero might be skewing the results. I’ll be adding a random DVD iso test soon. I have a newborn so give me a sec. I’ll even add the NFS test. :)

@fearthepenguin made an rsync comment that made me curious. He said that rsync in cygwin is faster than native SMB in Windows. Ok I haven’t done this test in a while, let’s get a reminder about how fat SMB is.

Test Setup

SOHO gigabit switch. Ubuntu 9.10 and octo-core 2008 Mac Pro running 10.6. Both pretty fast boxes. Regular SATA drives in each, not very fast I/O. Whatever, network should be the bottleneck.

Get my test file generated. $ dd if=/dev/zero of=1gb_file.zeros bs=1G count=1 1073741824 bytes (1.1 GB) copied, 133.577 s, 8.0 MB/s

Ignore that 8.0 MB/s. You can do a blocksize trick to make it output a file faster, I just didn’t feel like looking up the switches. Now you can see Mr. 1GB Zero File in all it’s empty and big glory.

$ ls -lh
total 1.2G
-rw-r--r--  1 dude herd 1.0G 2010-02-11 12:29 1gb_file.zeros

The Tests

RSync Copy from ubuntu box to Mac Pro:

$ time rsync -t /tmp/1gb_file.zeros dude@mac:~/tmp
real  0m17.694s
user  0m11.577s
sys 0m3.056s

SMB Mount Mac share from Ubuntu box. Copy same file from ubuntu box to Mac Pro over SMB mount. I never do this. It’s stupid, slow, strips permissions and requires a mount. In the name of science!

# time cp /tmp/1gb_file.zeros /mnt/tmp
real  0m32.649s
user  0m0.008s
sys 0m0.568s

FTP Ok let’s goddamn turn on OSX FTP and test that too. FTP is stupid.

The remote file "1gb_file.zeros" already exists.
  Local:    1073741824 bytes, dated Thu 11 Feb 2010 12:29:06 PM EST.
  (Files are identical, skipped)

Hey at least FTP is showing some smarts about it. Or maybe ncftp just rules. I dunno. Deleted it and got FTP time.

$ time ncftpput -u dude -p whoa mac /dest/tmp /tmp/1gb_file.zeros
/tmp/1gb_file.zeros:                          1.00 GB   39.09 MB/s
real  0m26.507s
user  0m0.036s
sys 0m0.828s

SCP Is SCP any different than rsync?

$ time scp /tmp/1gb_file.zeros dude@mac:~/tmp
1gb_file.zeros                                100% 1024MB  42.7MB/s   00:24
real  0m24.303s
user  0m9.641s
sys 0m2.212s

Weird. It is. I wonder if rsync has compression flags whereas ssh does not without the -C magic switches. You can get SCP to be pretty quick with blowfish or arcfour:

$ time scp -c arcfour /tmp/1gb_file.zeros dude@mac:~/tmp 1gb_file.zeros 100% 1024MB 46.6MB/s 00:22 real 0m21.653s user 0m5.452s sys 0m2.032s


  rsync SMB FTP SCP SCP arcfour
time 17.694 32.649 26.507 24.303 21.653
MB/sec 57.87 31.36 38.63 42.13 47.29

So RSync is pretty quick and SMB is pretty slow. @fearthepenguin was right.