Flash Drives - Ready Boost

By on February 19, 2012 11:06:45 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

BigDogBigFeet

Join Date 12/2005
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Okay so I saw an 8GB Kingston memory stick USB 2.0 for sale and picked one up.  I also discovered Ready Boost so I reformatted the thumb drive to NTFS and got the 7.4 or so GBs useable and plugged it in.

Then I began looking at what else is available especially as this would make decent storage for music files and the like. 

So now I've come across faster thumb drives for USB 3.0.  Mushkin has some nice offerings but they cost more.

So, my question is does it make any sense to plug in a 16GB or 32GB USB 3.0 thumb drive and use it for Ready Boost?

I currently have Win 7 Home 64bit with 8GB of ram.  Will the larger faster thumb drive make the system faster or is it overkill?

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February 19, 2012 11:08:31 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Depends what you're doing with the RAM....

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February 19, 2012 11:14:26 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I did find this which seems to indicate it could help a good deal. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ReadyBoost

As to the 8GB ram I'm not doing anything with it other than letting Win 7 use it. 

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February 19, 2012 11:37:20 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Ah.... what you're referring to is disk cache... not RAM per se. Speed is increased that way similarly to a ssd (which in this case is flash) or the same way the hybrid drives increase speed, I believe.

So, what happens is that the cache is more quickly available than in the case of a spinning disk. The Ready Boost allows the OS to choose short/small reads to be available on the flash memory, and long reads/sequential reads to be from the disk.

So, say you're going to do a Photoshop involving lots of layers. The flash can really help with that... hope I explained?

Give it a try. W7 will ask you how you wish to use the flash when you plug it in. If you have a USB 3.o socket, I'd use that... it's significantly faster than 2.0 .

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February 19, 2012 12:50:04 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I used a flash drive for ready boost on my first laptop. It does speed things up a bit. Here's a thought. My external drive is 1 TB. Ready boost is available for that too. Now that's overkill. I'm not using it for that though.

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February 22, 2012 8:47:52 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Okay so I now have the Mushkin Ventura Pro 32GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive dedicated as ReadyBoost.  Huge improvement in Windows 7, Internet Browsing,  Program load times etc.  Note this is a high performance flash drive hence the significant improvement.  Wasn't getting this much improvement from the USB 2.0 drive.

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February 23, 2012 3:33:24 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Readyboost is not as fast as ram. Even in USB3. I have a hard time believing you were using up the 8GB you started with to make adding readyboost worthwhile. I run 8GB ram and rarely see it in the 50% usage area. Most of the time I have more than 5GB unused. I run AutoCAD which is a memory hog if there ever was one and it's the only program that will get it up to 50% mark. I can't see a browser using anywhere near that much unless you have a boatload of extensions running all the time.

If you do a lot of rendering or video editing I can see you using a bit more, but you'd be better off investing in more ram.

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February 23, 2012 4:06:09 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

 

It is recommended to not use NTFS for USB flash drives.  If you feel you must change from the FAT16 or FAT32 format that most lower capacity USB flash drives ship with (and for readyboost you do need to change the format) exFAT is the recommended format.

Because of the way it works NTFS should really only be used on physical HD's.

 

I don't have my fingers on articles that support my statements at the moment but I'm sure a quick google search will confirm my statements.

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February 23, 2012 7:20:57 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

The articles I read on it state that NTFS is fine.

Lantec Readyboost does an intelligent cache of the HD.  The flash memory has minimal seek time and hence for small files it is much faster to read from the cache than it is from the HD.  ReadyBoost does not do anything to relieve RAM bottlenecks.  It is solely an HD cache and yes it does work. 

However, if you have an SSD then never try to use ReadyBoost(it will be disabled).

This article should suffice:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ReadyBoost

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February 23, 2012 7:35:55 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting BigDogBigFeet,
The articles I read on it state that NTFS is fine.

Fine may be fine, I just thought I'd make a suggesting for possibly improving on fine.

I suggested exFAT as the format best suited for USB flash drives because it is a format sort of designed for removable media.  It has less 'features' than NTFS but also therefore less resource usage and performs less 'writes' to the media (which goes to the longevity of your removable device).

 

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February 23, 2012 7:37:37 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting BigDogBigFeet,
Okay so I now have the Mushkin Ventura Pro 32GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive dedicated as ReadyBoost.  Huge improvement in Windows 7, Internet Browsing,  Program load times etc.  Note this is a high performance flash drive hence the significant improvement.  Wasn't getting this much improvement from the USB 2.0 drive.

How is the USB 3 working for you?

I have some older PC's and laptops and when I run a USB 2 flashdrive, I always get the pop-up that it would work better if I had a USB hub/port. Are you getting that with the USB 3?

I use ReadyBoost but have honestly never noticed an improvement or a noticeable improvement.

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February 23, 2012 8:00:05 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting PoSmedley,
How is the USB 3 working for you?
I have some older PC's and laptops and when I run a USB 2 flashdrive, I always get the pop-up that it would work better if I had a USB hub/port. Are you getting that with the USB 3?
I use ReadyBoost but have honestly never noticed an improvement or a noticeable improvement.

The USB 3 works great.  I have an external USB 3 HD for backups now and of course the Flash Drive.  My main HD is an internal Sata III with fast large file/sequential file response but it still has the random read seek time slowness of Sata II drives.  I was only getting a 5.9 on my WEI score with it.

With the Flash Drive ReadyBoost Cache (this USB 3 flash drive is fast up to 120MB/sec read compared to a standard USB 2 flash drive at 25MB/sec read)  I have noticed much less HD activity and faster response times.  I think the improvement I'm seeing is due to the faster Mushkin USB 3 flash drive.

Quoting the_Monk,
I suggested exFAT as the format best suited for USB flash drives because it is a format sort of designed for removable media. It has less 'features' than NTFS but also therefore less resource usage and performs less 'writes' to the media (which goes to the longevity of your removable device).

I'll try to research this further thanks for the suggestion and clarification.

 

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February 23, 2012 8:10:01 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Okay here is what I read on exFAT vs NTFS.  exFAT use a small cluster size and will slow writes of small files.  However, it is considered safer because it does not cache writes.  The only downside I could find regading NTFS is it does cache writes and if sudden shutdown or inadvertent removal of the thumb drive occurs it could result in data corruption.  I've read nothing to indicate NTFS can cause premature failure of flash memory.

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February 23, 2012 9:12:22 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Since the lifespan of flash memory is limited by number of writes and NTFS does in fact write many times more often than other file formats (including exFAT) it does contribute to the sooner rather than later failure of same.

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February 23, 2012 9:56:31 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting PoSmedley,
I use ReadyBoost but have honestly never noticed an improvement or a noticeable improvement.

I have the Ready Boost service disabled because I have never seen any noticeable improvement using it. Since I see no improvement, I don't see the point in one more service running in the background.

 

 

 

Quoting the_Monk,
Quoting BigDogBigFeet, reply 8The articles I read on it state that NTFS is fine.


Fine may be fine, I just thought I'd make a suggesting for possibly improving on fine.

I suggested exFAT as the format best suited for USB flash drives because it is a format sort of designed for removable media.  It has less 'features' than NTFS but also therefore less resource usage and performs less 'writes' to the media (which goes to the longevity of your removable device).

 

 

Does exFAT support .iso files, and other large files?

 I know that fat 32 does not. I use my 16 GB flash drive as NTFS without problems so it will support large files, like Acronis backups, etc.

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February 23, 2012 10:05:48 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting the_Monk,
Since the lifespan of flash memory is limited by number of writes and NTFS does in fact write many times more often than other file formats (including exFAT) it does contribute to the sooner rather than later failure of same.

I only have your assertion as to writes more often do you have anything to substantiate what you are saying?

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February 23, 2012 10:19:25 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

reformatted the thumb drive to NTSC

You converted the thumb drive into a TV tuner              thumb(drive)up to someone who can pull that off.

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February 23, 2012 10:24:59 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Lord Cobol,
reformatted the thumb drive to NTSC

You converted the thumb drive into a TV tuner              thumb(drive)up to someone who can pull that off.

<cough> Ya it was a major reformat job.  lol

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February 23, 2012 10:29:40 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I've read further and I think I understand why NTFS is the perferred format for ReadyBoost.  ReadyBoost is a single file on the thumb drive.  The write speeds for NTFS on a single file are orders of magnitude faster than any of the other formats.  Where FAT and exFAT are preferred have to do with using the drive for regular storage.

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February 23, 2012 10:30:10 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

 

My assertion?

NTFS is a journaling filesystem that supports file changelogs, security permissions, ACL's, built-in compression, file ownership etc. etc. (the 'features' I was talking about in my original post).   All of which present more writes to the file system.  The FAT filesystem (even exFAT) does none of those things, hence less writes, which equals longer life.  I'm sure with some googling you can get an in-depth comparison of the file systems I just didn't think it necessary.

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February 23, 2012 10:45:13 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Okay so it adds some overhead to... the one file that is written Readyboost which is the only file on a ReadyBoost stick.  The content of that one file changes but not its features.  At least that's what I understand.

                                         Date Modified                Type                                 Size 

MUSHKIN (G:) ReadyBoost  2/23/2012 5:23 pm       ReadyBoost cache file         30,700,544

That file size will never change on the ReadyBoost drive.  Nor will there ever be any other file on that drive.  Hence, there are no separate features being written.

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February 23, 2012 11:33:05 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

 

None of that means that the "filesystem" itself doesn't initiate more writes to perform its operations. If you're suggesting that seeing only one file on a drive and comparing the very basic information that you can see (ie. filename, date and size) as an indication of filesystem "writes" you aren't understanding what I mean when I say "filesystem features". Those aren't things that only get used sometimes, by the OS. They are inherent differences in how each filesystem accesses, writes to, tracks and structures data on any given storage device.

Having said that, readyboost may force filesystems (any filesystem used) to perform a certain anyway (I'm not an expert on the use of readyboost by any means) so all of this 'exchange' may be moot anyway.....

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February 25, 2012 12:02:13 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Well the_Monk I have to hand it to you.  Based on what you've been saying I kept searching for more souces of info on this topic and I found enough to want to post a question to Mushkin tech support to see what they recommended for ReadyBoost usage.  Even though its a single file apparently NTFS format will cause excess writes over other formats.

Mushkin tech support says I should use exFAT.

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November 9, 2013 5:32:28 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting the_Monk,

 

It is recommended to not use NTFS for USB flash drives.  If you feel you must change from the FAT16 or FAT32 format that most lower capacity USB flash drives ship with (and for readyboost you do need to change the format) exFAT is the recommended format.

Because of the way it works NTFS should really only be used on physical HD's.

 

I don't have my fingers on articles that support my statements at the moment but I'm sure a quick google search will confirm my statements.

Note I will only be going over RB with a USB 3 device as a USB 2 device is too slow to benefit more modern machines, but all below will still apply to a usb 2 RB drive if it's an old or slow system

NTFS actually IS the best format for Readyboost IF, and only IF you are making a LARGE Readyboost drive. Anything other than NTFS, and windows limits you to 4GB, and having multiple 4GB partitions for RB is a waste as the OS would try to use them all at once. TBH if you want to seriously see Readyboost shine, get a 32GB fast USB 3.0 thumb drive

If you only have a 4GB thumb then FAT for exFat is the best because you get more space, and it has slightly faster access

Saying to people "just buy more ram" or "if you have 8GB of ram, you are doing something wrong if ReadyBoost helps you" Those are just plain ignorant statements usually made by people who really do not understand a few things: 1) Capability of Readyboost, 2) windows memory and cache management, 3) Actual speeds of SATA, USB, etc bus speed and/or the speed limitations of the devices connected to them.

1) Most current, consumer mobos are limited to 8 or 16GB of memory (and older machines, still in use, have 4 or 8GB limits). Some gamer/enthusiast mobos can do 32MB of ram, but it's NOT cheap

2) a usb 3.0 32GB thumb drive IS DIRT cheap

If you have NOTHING but SSDs in your computer, the Readyboost will do NOTHING for you. In fact, Windows won't even let you enable ready boost if this is the case as SSDs are just a VERY fast version of thumb drive technology adapted to function as a hard drive. You don't see 4TB SSDs because they would cost a fortune. So many people buy a 200-500GB SD drive as their boot/system drive and use SATA 2/3/e or eSata/Usb 3.0 drives for storage, videos etc. In this case a USB RB drive WOULD benefit any other drive except C: (unless the other devices are faster than the RB drive)

3) Windows will EASILY use 8, 16, 32 of memory for the hard drive read and write cache. It may take it time to get there, but it will use it. It also can free it up in a flash or keep the cache and swap inactive service to the swap file(s). Once no more inactive services can be swapped, the HDD cache is used for programs. And again: Most people don't have more than 8GB of memory due to price or mobo limits, and most don't have all SSD drives do to price and hw limitations.

4) a GOOD usb 3.0 thumb drive can move data at around 150-200 MegaBytes/Sec (That's faster than most Sata 3 drives can handle). In reality, most sata 2-3 drives can only move around 50-150MBytes/sec. The Sata 3 bus speed is 6Gpbs/sec not counting overhead. That's 768 MegaBytes/Sec... (not counting overhead) and NO hard drive goes THAT fast, not an SSD, and especially not a drive with platters and read/write heads! USB 3.0 is a 5Gps connection. So almost as fast as the Sata 3 buss, and again, no usb device that I know of can move data at that rate.

5) Windows 8 (probably 7 too) will do an amazing thing when it sees a fast Usb 3.0 32GB RB drive when put on a system with Sata 2-3 drives. Let's use mine for example: C: = 2TB Sata 3, D=8 TB, Raid 0 Array of 2 Sata 3 drives. I have a fairly new system. Alienware Aurora R4, 16GB RAM (max 32). I have an APC backup so I fully enable write caching and disable my write buffer flushing. This option will make windows use every drop of ram for the read and write cache (even if I had 64GB ram)

So I popped the thumb drive in, formatted it to NTFS (anything else and the RB file is limited to 4GB). It took a few hrs, but over that time, Win 8 was caching my C: drive files like MAD... but guess what did NOT get cached? D:! Why? The raid 0 array is faster than the RB drive! so Windows saw no point to cache it. Normally the RB cache is ERASE on restart and shutdown. This has made RB unpopular because it has to Recache which can slow down a system during this process. With Windows 8 fast start up option, the RB cache is NOT erased, why? When u shut down a win 8 system with this option on, it's VERY simple lol, all windows does is logs you out, then hibernates the system Since it hasn't been truly shut down, the RB cache is preserved. It will only get wiped if you restart windows, but even then, it's still worth it IMO

I also noticed something else. Windows no longer fills the system RAM with cache data now. It does a bit, 2-4GB because it no longer needs to keep the cached data in RAM for C:. Granted RAM is faster, but that cache in RAM gets nuked any time I run high memory apps. The memory will max out with cache data if I do a lot of disk writes because I have write cache on

My system runs a LOT faster now, and it takes me 60-70 seconds after I enter my password for everything to load on my desktop and start up vs 5 MINUTES before because my C: drive is no longer thrashing about

 

In conclusion, unless you have a TOP of the line system ( ALL SSDs, ALL SSDs and Sata 3 Raid 0 (Raid 5 may be fast enough), OR ALL raid 0/5 Sata 3 drives), then a 32GB usb 3.0 RB will GREATLY help you. YES 32-64GB RAM WOULD BE FAR FAR BETTER, by WHY would you pay THOUSANDS of dollars for 32GB more memory when you can pay 20-30$ for a good 32bit USB 3 thumb drive to boost  your cache?

 

Do the math, do the costs, and you will see RB is VERY much worth it when done properly

 

Now if I had a raid 0 array on C and D (of Sata 3 drives), Windows will still allow a RB cache, but it wouldn't do me any good.

 

So again, it all depends on a persons rig config and budget.

 

But people just blindly dismiss RB, put out misinformation, and tell people not to use it... when in fact, probably about 75-80% of any Windows Vista-8 user would GREATLY benefit from a usb 3.0 RB drive

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November 9, 2013 7:05:00 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Starblaze,
WHY would you pay THOUSANDS of dollars for 32GB more memory

If it costs you thousands you're still living in the wrong decade....

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November 9, 2013 10:49:24 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Might as well cost thousands if he is like me and without any income.

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