[mythtv-users] USB Flash Memory for boot/system. What is fast enough?

Jim Stichnoth stichnot at gmail.com
Mon Nov 23 14:22:13 UTC 2009

On Sun, Nov 22, 2009 at 2:59 PM, Andrew Close <aclose at gmail.com> wrote:
> i'm planning out a Zotac IONITX-B-E Atom N230 FE and am looking to
> boot/run off of a USB stick.  what speed is fast enough to limit any
> hiccups during playback/menu navigation?  i wouldn't think it would be
> a huge deal since the USB stick will just contain the OS and FE while
> all content would be coming over the wire, but i've seen mention of
> slow USB sticks causing issues.
> most of the sticks i've looked at list their speed at 200x, but what
> does that mean?  i've only seen a few that have any r/w performance
> listed. any thoughts/suggestions?

My experience is that you need to worry about more than the "up to
200x" or whatever rating the manufacturer gives.

My first USB stick had some sort of bulk write problem.  If I did too
much sustained writing, I would get an I/O error and Linux would stop
recognizing the drive until I reinserted it.  This is clearly a
problem if you're trying to install the OS onto the USB stick or clone
an existing OS.

My second USB stick was fine for bulk writes, but had some other sort
of problem.  During myth playback, every 5-30 minutes or so, playback
(and presumably the whole system as well) would pause for a couple
seconds.  I tried cloning it back to a hard drive and it ran
flawlessly for a week, so I'm certain it was a problem with the USB

For my third stick, I decided to choose something with hundreds of
high Newegg ratings.  This led me to the "Patriot Xporter XT Boost"
line, which was rock solid for as long as I used it.  I recommend the
8GB size.  4GB was enough for me, until I started installing this
package and that, until it pushed a little over 4GB.

By the way, be sure to use the "noatime" option when mounting file
systems on the USB stick.  Otherwise every file that is opened, even
for reading, will actually involve another write to the file system.

Of course, in the spirit of ION systems and minimalism, your next step
is obviously to set up your system for net-booting. :)  How to do this
may be obvious to many or well-documented elsewhere, but I documented
my own experience on this list.


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