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I've never seen or heard anything like this before, and I can't find anything else online that is at all similar.

I've upgraded my network to gigabit and have been transferring large files lately (this one in question is a bunch of DVD images totaling over 200GB). Whenever I try to copy a set of files a few gigs and larger, I've noticed this odd behavior where Mint will load a chunk of the data into RAM-- usually about 1.2 GB or smaller-- sometimes only a few hundred megs-- and then start transferring. When it gets done transferring that, it will literally halt the transfer, spit out the old hunk of data, and wait to continue transferring until the next chunk of data is loaded into the RAM. Then it will resume transferring across the network. Then it repeats. And repeats. And repeats. Until the data is all done.

Here is a screenshot of the System Monitor during one of these weird moments. Screenshot Here. You can see the death of the transfer at the precise moment the RAM dumps the data, and then you see the RAM level out at the same moment that the transfer resumes again. What's also funny is that I actually have six gigs of RAM, not 3.2 as Sys. Monitor would have you believe-- this is the second time Mint hasn't reported it all of the sudden. But that's a question for another day.

It's not the worst thing in the world, but it is a little annoying when every other OS I've used simultaneously loads data in and out of the RAM while it's transferring across the network. It doesn't have to pause to think about it. It would save me time while I'm moving these large sets of data if I could remedy this.

Are there any suggestions, remedies, diagnoses, or theories?

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How do you copy the data? –  Marco Apr 14 '13 at 9:24

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Marco's comment inspired me to try a few things that I didn't think of, and I discovered the answer. Well, I guess I discovered an alternative. If anyone knows more about this, please add an answer.

I ought to have specified beforehand how I was transferring the file. This was done over the network (of course) via a WebDAV connection to my Synology NAS.

After Marco's comment, I tested copying about 11.7 GB to the NAS using several different methods:

Samba: Not only was the average speed much faster, but it didn't have the waiting-for-data-to-load problem.

FTP: The average speed was faster, the transfer didn't stop to wait for data to load into the ram, but sometimes the CPU would get a little funny... and by that I mean that it maxed out one of the cores, and I had to kill the FTP process because it kept eating up the CPU even after I cancelled the transfer.

WebDAV: Same as before-- the RAM would grab a bunch of data, data would transfer, then RAM would dump it and grab more, transfer that, &tc.

So I have discovered that Samba is the better method in this instance. I did a little Googling and saw that some people feel that WebDAV is a clunky protocol especially for LANs.

Still, I don't know if this is just the way WebDAV is-- if other people have the same problem-- or if it's something wrong with Mint, or if it's just my particular setup of Mint. So I think I'll give this a few days before I select this as the best answer just to see if others have better solutions/more to add that I can't add.

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