I'm watching geth 1.4.17 on Activity Monitor.

Judging by the Network page, it's not doing anything. Rcvd Bytes is 5.9MBytes, and Sent Bytes is 2.6MBytes, and it's been that way for a while now.

But on the Disk page, Bytes Written is 4.66GBytes, and Bytes Read is 5.17GBytes, and both are increasing at about 4-6MBytes/sec.

What, precisely, is geth doing here?

  • what about your memory? are you using a swap.
    – Badr Bellaj
    Oct 12 '16 at 18:54

My guess is that geth is reading blockchain state and reorganizing bits of the chain. IIRC, while compiling geth, I encountered the use of bloom filters in several places which would suggest the need to update a fair amount of data when new transactions take place. Ethereum also includes at least three tree data structures and I'm guessing that one or more of them need rebalancing. These could probably be batched or done in RAM to reduce disk activity and, though I haven't been following along, this is a known issue for geth.


Just adding to what the answer above has stated, when the blockchain begins to sync up on your computer, as the downloaded blocks are being read, an index begins to build up on your computer. This is why some wallets use no less than 40GB of storage space on your drive after the wallet is fully synced up and the full index is built.

It's somewhat similar to how Windows Indexing service works on windows computers and is always indexing all of the files on the hard drive.

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