So I noticed that Seagate external drives have a tendency to suffer performance degradation with large back ups. For example, I had a 5TB drive that would start a backup at 130MB/s but then it would slowly drop to 1MB/s. This was extremely frustrating, causing backups to take days instead of hours.
Looking at the SMART data turned up a possible culprit: temperatures. Copying multiple terabytes of files seemed to cause the drive to exceed design spec, and presumably throttle to keep from melting into a puddle of slag.
Fast forward to today when I was trying to restore an image to Macbook. Copying started out at the expected 30MB/s (only had a USB 2 cable handy), but fairly quickly dropped to 13MB/s with an ETA of four hours. Thinking about my past experience with overheating Seagate drives (yes this was a 1TB Seagate Expansion Drive) I decided to increase the cooling surface area. I put the drive on its side, and within minutes the ETA dropped from four hours to 1 hr 50 min and copy speed shot up to 20MB/s.
Am I smoking crack? Is there any possibility this “weird trick” actually works?