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How to cut your network speed in half, and get charged for it

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There is plenty anecdotal evidence that Acronis can slow down your computer. I myself noted serious network degradation in the past. I wanted hard facts and spent days on rigorous testing.

I performed a clean install of Windows 21H1 on a 16 core Threadripper machine. To rule out other traffic on the network, I connected without a switch to a 32 core Threadripper machine running Linux. Using iperf3, I made sure that the hardware runs at full speed. Iperf3 measures pure network speed between computers. No file transfer. You need two computers for that, and one should be booted with Linux. To create a baseline, you should temporarily boot your Windows machine with Linux also to make sure that there are no hardware problems. Linux-to-Linux you should get close to 10Gbps. With that done, the testing can begin.

Here are the iperf3 readings between a Windows 10 fresh install and an Ubuntu 20.04 machine, connected via 10 Gbit Ethernet.

 

[ ID] Interval           Transfer     Bitrate        

[  5]   0.00-10.00  sec  8.86 GBytes  7.61 Gbits/sec sender

[  5]   0.00-10.00  sec  8.86 GBytes  7.61 Gbits/sec receiver

 

This was as fast as it would get under Windows 10, and it took some tuning. If both machines were booted with Ubuntu, the speed was a solid 9.4 Gbits, no tuning involved.

With Windows 10 having taken a good chunk out of your network speed, you don't want to lose more throughput. Be careful with Acronis, it could cut your bandwidth to shreds, and charge you for that.

With Acronis "Essential" installed, my 10G network speed did not change. But boy did it drop when the optional "Active Protection" was engaged. 

 

[ ID] Interval           Transfer     Bitrate        

[  5]   0.00-10.00  sec  4.35 GBytes  3.74 Gbits/sec sender

[  5]   0.00-10.00  sec  4.32 GBytes  3.71 Gbits/sec receiver

 

Basically, speed was cut in half.

It's a 30 day trial-upgrade, and it was not immediately clear how much they would charge once the 30 days are over. After intensive sleuthing, it turned out that after those 30 days, they want me to upgrade to an "Advanced" edition for $20 more. Pay more for less speed? No, thanks.

If you don't like losing half of your precious network speed, you can turn "Active Protection" off (and thankfully get your speed back.) But thou shall be punished for giving Acronis the cold shoulder.

Along with the performance-sapping anti-virus with dubious benefits (Windows Defender does a decent job, and it's free) Acronis will also turn off "Ransomware Protection" and "illicit cryptomining" defense which come free with the standard edition.

Ransomware Protection keeps processes other than Acronis from diddling with your backups, and you definitely do not want that switched off. Unless someone shows me the secret handshake that turns Ransomware Protection and crypto mining defense back on, I guess the only way to bring back those options is to uninstall/reinstall.

I did that, and after re-installation, the previously disabled "Active Protection" was back on, and the 30-day countdown was ticking again. Arrrgh.

So if you like your network fast, keep your hands off that optional Active Protection. Or make a full backup before you do the trial, and revert to the backup to switch "Active Protection" off and "Ransomware Protection" back on. 

So finally, a good use of that Acronis backup.

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If you need virus protection, but don’t want to lose speed, I have three recommendations for you:

  • Stick with Acronis Essential, and stay away from Advanced Protection, and ….
  • Use Microsoft Defender. It’s free, and it’s fast. Sure, it was a dog years ago, but recently, it got quite good, and it is tightly integrated with Windows. The top speed in the post above was with Defender on.
  • Get Kaspersky (unless your politics forbid) It is the most feature-rich “retail” security app, and you can get lost in its features and buttons. It also is quite speedy when used on a halfway powerful machine. It uses virtualization, and works those extra cores. Sure, it has some speed impact, but it gives me around 6 Gbits/sec on iperf3, I can live with that price for extra security.
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Bertel, when Acronis Protection was turned on did you allow it time to get the database fully updated and operational. It's known that after install or turning it on it can take quite a while to get things all together. Perhaps this is affecting your times.

If you've prevented Acronis from accessing the internet, you may be experiencing constant retrying.

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BrunoC wrote:

Bertel, when Acronis Protection was turned on did you allow it time to get the database fully updated and operational. It's known that after install or turning it on it can take quite a while to get things all together. Perhaps this is affecting your times.

 

The database was fully updated, and this is not the solution.  Most antivirus solutions  rob bandwidth, simply because they analyze what's coming down the wire, and this tales time. Some take more time, some less. Acronis definitely is in the "more" dept. 

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Bertel, thanks for sharing your findings in this topic.  I have to confess that I would not touch the Essentials version of ATI / ACPHO with a barge pole as to me it is the worst option of all in paying a subscription to get less than my perpetual version gives me!

Since ATI 2021 I have turned off Active Protection and enabled all the options for Windows Defender with no negative issues to date.  I have no intention of going the subscription route (other than testing with the MVP gifting of a subscription).