Archive for May, 2016

Motherboard RAID or Linux mdadm: Which is Faster?

📅 May 24, 2016
mobo-mdadm-raid1-2-100x10MMost SATA motherboards today feature a “RAID Mode” in BIOS. Does it really make a difference compared to mdadm?

I got my hands on a consumer-grade desktop motherboard: MSI Z87-G45 Gaming. Like many other motherboards that contain SATA ports for connecting hard drives, it supports RAID.

I have been using RAID in Linux for many years using mdadm, which is available for free from the Ubuntu repository. This dandy little program allows you to configure various RAID arrays in software whether or not the motherboard supports RAID. It’s reliable, and it works well.

Is there any performance increase from using the RAID supported by the motherboard? What are the differences?

I performed my own simple tests with Linux Mint 17.3 to see if the motherboard RAID offered any advantages over mdadm. Here are the results…

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The Weme External USB 3.0 Enclosure vs. the Sabrent

📅 May 12, 2016
weme01Does the type of USB 3.0 enclosure affect speed?

I really liked the Sabrent USB 3.0 external enclosure. Simply insert a 2.5″ SATA drive, screw it together, and plug it in any USB port. Presto! You have recycled a SATA drive into a portable USB drive!

The Sabrent cases have worked well for me, but I wanted to try a different brand to see if it made any difference in data transfer rates.

After running some benchmarks, it turns out that there is definitely a difference in speed between the two enclosures.

Here are my results with CrystalDiskMark and Disks in Linux Mint 17.3.

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Speed Up Your Hard Drive with Flashcache

📅 May 9, 2016
comparisonDo you have a spare SSD? You can use it as a dedicated hard drive caching device using Flashcache.

Flashcache is software that allows you to use a block device, such as a solid state drive (SSD), to cache the most frequently accessed data from a slow, mechanical drive. It runs on Linux, and it is free.

Most hard drives possess built-in cache memory, but it is usually small — about 64 MB or so. SSDs can hold gigabytes of data, and you can use the entire drive to act as a cache. For example, if you have a 120G SSD, then you can have 120G of dedicated hard drive cache.

Of course, SSDs are not as fast as RAM, so you will be limited to the SSD read and write speeds. However, an SSD is much faster than any mechanical hard drive, so the speed increase is noticeable.

Here are my Flashcache results with 7200RPM hard drives, a Samsung 840 SSD, and Linux Mint 17.3.

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