Filesystem performance on flash drives

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I got bored and decided to test out the speed of various filesystems on a USB flash drive. I ran each of these a couple of times but the results are by no means scientific.

First up is the speed of copying some files from my hard drive to the USB drive. In the graphs below, "big" is one 756 MB file, and "small" is about 13,000 small files and directories, with a combined size of 359 MB (I used /lib/modules).

performance of a flash drive when copying to USB drive

Copying one file is largely bottlenecked by the slow speed of the USB drive itself, so the numbers for that are about the same across the board, though ext3 is pretty slow for some reason. Copying small files is a better test of the filesystem. For some reason, ntfs-3g is over twice as fast as the next fastest (xfs) even though it's a FUSE module and not even in the kernel. Repeated runs verified this.

Next up is the deletion speed. Again, "big" and "small" refer to the same datasets.

performance of a flash drive when deleting from USB drive

Most of these filesystems deleted the single large file in about half a second, though vfat and ext3 were both slow at 2.2 seconds. The small files were again more interesting, with ext3 and ext4 winning by a large margin.

Tags: ext3, ext4, fat, filesystem, flash, ntfs, usb | Posted at 20:15 | Comments (0)


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