A few months ago a chap popped up in the Vida groups selling a USB thumb drive version of Boot&Go!
Having been in I.T. all my life I thought, thats a bad idea…..but I also thought hey, you know maybe the new TLC based flash drives are actually OK for this sort of thing, lets give one a go!
The seller in question uses a SanDisk Ultra flair thumb drive, so I got one to test with.
It met with my expectations perfectly hahaha….actually it wasn’t as terrible as previous generations of thumb drive.
Sandisk and the seller both boast the Drives “upto” 150mb/s read speed. UPTO being the operative terms here.
Crystal mark showed it could sustain about 65MB/s read and 36MB/s Write for sequential R/W like moving a single large file, which really isnt bad going, I’d have killed for a hard drive that fast 10 years ago.
But where it actually falls on its face is random read and writes, which is far more in line with what an operating system does. Continual little reads and writes here and there.
The second problem is Disk Queue length, and actually this is a much bigger factor in hard drive performance, really you want a Queue of less than 0, i.e. “0.23” once you get into big numbers…like 5 or 10 things are going to start feeling pretty laggy.
You will see on the below data, that even when moving hundreds of megabytes per seconds of data during the Disk test, Boot&Go SSD only gets a disk queue of 9, the SanDisk by contrast is moving very little data, the system grinds to a halt and has a queue of 35.
The drive also becomes worryingly hot in use. Really barely able to touch hot.
Finally is the read / write life. USB thumb drives are not designed for the continual read write of a operating system. They are design for the occasional file copy on / off. The memory literately wears out.
To keep it fair, all tests were conducted on the same laptop with the same software image and each were give multiple boots / ruin cycles so eveything could settle down.
I tried the Sandisk in a USB 3 port and USB C port. It did better in the USB C port so , in an act of kindness I used those results.
Basic speed tests
|Boot to Windows desktop||1min 35s||28s|
|Boot to Vida Monitor Green||2min 26s||1min 17s|
In summary…. don’t run an operating system from a thumb drive!