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Old 28th September 2009, 03:58 PM   #1
PB2 is offline PB2  United States
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Default USB Drives - Inexpensive SS Drive

I'm working on a FreeNAS server which has me thinking that I won't need a large drive on my main computer since most of the data will be on the server. I would however like to have a fast drive such as the new solid state drives - but they are rather expensive being fairly new technology. USB drives of 4 GB are now running under $10, four of these would be inexpensive and certainly provide enough for an XP install. I wondered what sort of transfer rates they might provide, and found this review; several are over 20 MB/sec:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...n,1037-10.html

Hard to believe the difference in random access time; some under 1 ms, and several even name brands well over 20 ms. Have to wonder if some of the drivers are caching the data so that it is not actually going to the stick?

Wonder if XP could do a software RAID across 4 or more of these and boot from them? Having fast access time and no mechanical latency should provide excellent performance.

Given the variation in performance I'm looking for more reviews, if anyone knows of a better one.

They would also obviously be excellent for a HTPC (working off a server of course) since there is no mechanical noise.

Pete B.
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Old 28th September 2009, 06:03 PM   #2
PB2 is offline PB2  United States
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Interesting review of a fast USB drive, however the 2 GB version has a reasonably low 2 mS latency, while the 4 GB version is 62 ms which is far too high for this application:
http://techgage.com/article/ocz_rally2_4gb_thumb_drive/

Another review of the Tubo 1100 version:
http://www.overclockercafe.com/Revie...Turbo/1008.htm

Last edited by PB2; 28th September 2009 at 06:06 PM.
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Old 28th September 2009, 09:14 PM   #3
gooki is offline gooki  New Zealand
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From the research I've done you can't boot from a software raid array with Windows XP.

If you want cheap but slow use a USB stick.

If you want cheap and fair performance SSD go for compact flash via IDE or SATA adapter.

If you want cheapish and fast SSD go for a SDHC SATA raid adapter.
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Old 28th September 2009, 10:21 PM   #4
PB2 is offline PB2  United States
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I think you're right about not booting from a software RAID.
Perhaps the pagefile and much of the rest of the OS files could go there - not sure. Good point, thanks.

Edit: Didn't realize that small SSD's were so reasonably priced, this one seems to
have good bandwidth - as advertised at least:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820141419

This is roughly what I was looking for.

Last edited by PB2; 28th September 2009 at 10:27 PM.
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Old 28th September 2009, 10:36 PM   #5
gooki is offline gooki  New Zealand
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Yeah, that is reasonably well priced. At $85 it's probably worth using that(or similar priced SSD) instead of fiddling around with other solutions.
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Old 28th September 2009, 10:41 PM   #6
PB2 is offline PB2  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gooki View Post
Yeah, that is reasonably well priced. At $85 it's probably worth using that(or similar priced SSD) instead of fiddling around with other solutions.
Agreed, completely. Reviews are mixed on this one, though specs look quite good for the price point.
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Old 30th September 2009, 01:52 AM   #7
PB2 is offline PB2  United States
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Looking for reviews of SSD's. Tom's has this one, however the MemoRight is insanely ($3650 for 128 MB) expensive:
http://www.orbitmicro.com/global/mr3....html?ref=base

Good to see that all the SSD's tested here have very low access times:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...ht,1926-6.html
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Old 30th September 2009, 02:32 AM   #8
sangram is offline sangram  India
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USB drives make for terrible Windows OS drives. Their random write performance is among the slowest of all kinds of drives (except CD-RW) and Windows needs to hit the disk very often (pretty much continuously, even if pagefile and System Restore are switched off).

It can boot quickly enough, but that's about it. It is possible to run XP off a single 4GB stick, FWIW, so $10 may be a worthwhile sacrifice to see how well it works out for you.
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Old 30th September 2009, 04:30 AM   #9
Korrah is offline Korrah  Malaysia
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The problem with USB drives is that they're usually made using the cheapest flash memory the manufacturer can get their hands on (bar a very small number of high-end USB sticks that use SLC memory), and I don't think their controllers are going to be any better than the worst MLC drives in the market.
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Old 30th September 2009, 11:02 PM   #10
gooki is offline gooki  New Zealand
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Quote:
USB drives make for terrible Windows OS drives. Their random write performance is among the slowest of all kinds of drives (except CD-RW) and Windows needs to hit the disk very often (pretty much continuously, even if pagefile and System Restore are switched off).
Unless you use EWF (enhanced write filter). It should completely stop windows from writing to the disk.
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