Ok I know I’ll likely get mercilessly flamed for this but while trying to get a Windows 7 PC working better for a friend of mine (yes I do have friends) :slight_smile: I came across a thing called Readyboost which apparently allows hard drive caching to a solid state drive speeding up read write speeds, unfortunately i couldn’t test the effectivness of this as none of the dozen or so drives I have was suitable but it nonetheless seemed a good idea to me in principle .

So my question is is there a similar thing available in Linux or is this something that wouldn’t benefit a Linux system

just curious


Why not get a SSD? They are cheap enough nowdays. Put your OS on it an then put the not so frequently used files onto a HDD, job done (properly).
Alternatively you could just follow this thread. Or this.

Those links aren’t strictly true, but they do raise some damn good points - Linux doesn’t swap until it’s actually out of RAM, which is rare.

Readyboost for Windows, doesn’t use SSDs, it uses USB flash drives. More importantly, it doesn’t put the swap file on them, it uses the USB as a disk cache instead of system RAM (think of it as similar to processor cache, for your hard drive). This is very different, as even when RAM usage is high, the cache may not be used if there are little to no disk operations.

But as those threads have pointed out, under Linux, it’s rare you’re in swap. If you are, it’s cheaper to buy more RAM in the long run, as it’ll be way way quicker, and last a lot longer than the USB drives (which will get eaten though if you’re hammering them with swap all the time)

Readyboost for Windows, doesn't use SSDs, it uses USB flash drives.

Erm, on your average USB2 computer, USB flash runs at ~ 25Mb/sec, whereas the hard disk at ~ 100Mb/sec … so how does caching on USB help performance??

You’d need to ask Microsoft that (reasonable) question, but chemicalfan is right, Readyboost was “originally” touted for USB memory sticks … though now they mention “USB flash drives and flash memory cards” … but I’d still expect USB2 (which it was originally for) would have been slower than hard drive access :o

No matter how you cut it, USB isn’t an ideal data bus for memory, and would be slower than a conventional swap partition/file … it’s all complete rubbish ::slight_smile:

OK there “may” be some small benefit in a few certain cases, where there’s a ton of small files in the cache where seek times (and the fact that the Windows swap file is known for fragmentation) come into play, but I’d agree with MP in “real world” application transfer rates would be a bigger factor, and USB just aint up to the job.

The best solution will always be MORE RAM :slight_smile: