External HDD and USB Flash Benchmarking

I've posted a few articles about the slow write speeds of typical USB 2.0 flash sticks. I used the ATTO Disk Benchmark tool to measure the read/write speed of a few drives I had on hand. Results are below.

SanDisk Cruzer 16GB USB 2.0 Flash Stick
Starting off with the slowest of them all, a newly purchased 16GB SanDisk Cruzer. This stick averaged around 9MB/s write speed, and only 20MB/s read speed. I tried running a VM from it initially, it was dreadfully slow.

Generic 4GB USB 2.0 Flash Stick
Second, I tried a 4GB USB 2.0 pendrive that I've had for a few years now. This thing has no branding on it, but it managed to score much better than my new SanDisk above. Average write speed of around 12MB/s and read speed of 34MB/s.

Transcend StoreJet USB 2.0 5400rpm HDD
Next is my 320GB StoreJet external portable USB HDD that I use on a daily basis to run my virtual-machines from.

This averages 27MB/s write and 34MB/s read. The write speed is twice faster than the generic 4GB USB stick from above, and the read-speed seems to be capped by my USB interface (even though USB 2.0 is supposed to have a theoretical maximum transfer rate of 60MB/s).

Internal WD Caviar Blue 7200rpm HDD
For reference purposes, next up is my internal main drive, a 160GB Western Digital 7200rpm SATA disk.

This has an average write speed of around 90MB/s, and a similar read speed. That is, the internal drive is about 3 times faster than my external 5400rpm disk that I use to run my VMs from, and about 6 times faster in write speed than a typical USB Flash stick.

TweakTown has written up a nice run-down of the fastest USB 2.0/3.0 Flash storage devices. Check out the results for some of the USB 3.0 drives, they almost double my internal SATA disk.


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