0Inside HDD LogoSpeeding up Media Browser

An art­icle on Hack7MC caught my eye a couple of months ago, but I have only just got around to fol­low­ing up on it. The idea is to speed up the Media Browser plu­gin for Media Cen­ter by mov­ing its lib­rary to a Cheap USB Flash drive, which hope­fully offers much bet­ter per­form­ance than nor­mal hard-disk drives. The first thing I did was test a couple of flash-based devices that I have against my desktop Hard­Drive…

Super Tal­ent Pico-C 8Gig
ran­dom 4k read = 8.2mb/s
ran­dom 512kb read = 34.6mb/s

SanDisk Extreme III SDHC 8Gig
ran­dom 4k read = 4.6mb/s
ran­dom 512kb read = 20.45mb/s

–update
Cor­sair Flash Voy­ager 8Gb
ran­dom 4k read = 8.13mb/s
ran­dom 512kb read = 30.41mb/s

I have been led to under­stand that the 4k meas­ure­ments are the most import­ant val­ues, how­ever I would like an explan­a­tion of why this is the case.

The aver­age file size in my media browser image lib­rary is ~42kb so they are rel­at­ively small files, which I believe is relevant

For com­par­ison of a lot more pen drives there is a recent review (2009) at Ars Tech­nica

The cor­sair drive from the ars review is cur­rently on ebay for around £16 — I won­der how much of a per­form­ance increase it offers

–update

  • The cor­sair drive from the ars review turned out to be frac­tion­ally slower (effect­ively on par with) the Pico-C
  • The aver­age files in my Media Browser lib­rary are now 610kb.  They range from 5kb to 2mb.
  • USB 2.0 is the­or­et­ic­ally lim­ited to 60mb/s, and in prac­tice seems lim­ited to 30mb/s
  • Without USB 3.0, or an internal (e.g. SATA) SSD I am skep­tical that any real­istic speed-up can be gained with this method.  Using an SQL data­base for Media Browser may offer a sub­stan­tial speed up, and the data­base can eas­ily be hos­ted on a RAM drive for an addi­tional increase

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