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Slow File Transfers: Problem Solved

February 29, 2008

My problem with the two-day 37 GB file transfer appears to have been caused by poor quality network interface drivers.

I had a growing suspicion that the problem was unrelated to Vista and therefore was not going to be solved by the eventual installation of Service Pack 1. So did a little more diagnosis. I downloaded QCheck, a free network performance testing utility and discovered that my slow PC could get a blazing 2 megabit per second connection to the server using its gigabit Ethernet connection.

After eliminating the cable, Vista Ultimate and driver settings as possible causes, I looked into the network interface driver associated with the Ethernet ports on the PCs nForce 680i motherboard. Per the nVidia site I had the latest drivers. More searching at the nForceHQ website‘s forums revealed that there were actually more recent drivers that were WHQL certified (version 67.72). I further discovered that this was the set of drivers that Windows Update would install if asked to look for drivers in the Internet, so that’s what I did. The issue may not have been the driver version, it may have been two other related nVidia applications (e.g. ActiveArmor) that were uninstalled as part of my uninstall of the existing drivers.

Net result: I now have a working 95 megabit connection to the server, a roughly 50-fold improvement.

But I am annoyed by the fact that I can’t get the gigabit connection that I should be able to get. I now blame nVidia, however, not Microsoft.

Update: I now no longer blame nVidia, because I remembered that inbetween my PC and the Gigabit switch was a 100 Mbps switch. Doh! So I replaced that with another 4-port gigabit switch (the DLink DGS-2205) for about $35 and now get about 650 Mbps between the server and my PC.


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