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…
WD VelociRaptor (300Gig)
random 4k read = 0.9mb/s
random 512k read = 57mb/s
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
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
- 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
Think we’ve missed something? Let us know by commenting below. If you would like to subscribe please use the subscribe link on the menu at the top right. You can also share this with your friends by using the social links below. Cheers.