Bitcoin Core Download Speed

dadlif3
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Forgive my mediocre computer knowledge, last night the initial synchronization was estimated to be complete in under 48 hours which seemed reasonable. Now the progress has slowed to .01%/hour with an estimated completion time of ~1 year on the high end. Obviously not willing to wait a whole year to set this thing up so I've been trying to troubleshoot with no luck so far. I read that it is common for the synch to slow down once the blocks started getting filled with more information but would like to optimize settings on my end to get this thing moving. I intend to dedicate this laptop to running the node 24/7.

Computer is a Windows with 4GB RAM and limited internal storage so I connected an external 1 TB HD (not SSD). The HD specs say capable of 150 MB/s read and write but task manager is showing 2.5 MB/s (. Because the laptop is reasonably capable (I was using it every day until recently) I suspect that the external drive connection is serving as an information chokepoint but am not sure how to resolve it. It's plugged in to a USB 3.0 port, assuming it's a 3.0 cable since I didn't verify. Computer connected to WiFi at 65 Mbps.

I read that an SSD will improve the synch speed, however the SSD I have on hand is too small. Could I buy one, yes but I also just blew a ton of money on Christmas stuff and I really don't want to if it can be helped. In a similar vein, I also don't want to change the RAM/CPU hardware since this is going to be a dedicated node.

Also read that increasing the database cache can help, I went from 450 to 1,000 and restarted the synch, looks like I may have marginally increased the MB/s to the external drive. Unsure how high I can increase without crashing the computer with only 4 GB RAM. Looks like I have ~800 MB of available memory at any given time and the program is using ~250 MB. Will increasing the DB Cache continue to provide an increase in synch speed or have I hit the point of diminishing returns if the program uses less memory than I've allocated for it? Currently using almost 90% of the RAM according to the task manager.

Thanks for reading my novel... I've been typing and troubleshooting at the same time. Take it easy on me, I'm a blue collar guy trying to become more technologically literate. Aaaand right as I was about to post I've seen a jump in progress to .2%/hr with an estimated completion of 2 weeks. Hopefully this trends higher for a faster completion time. Anything else I can do to optimize performance?