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USB 2.0 vs. USB 3.0 Flash Drives On Linux

Michael Larabel

Published on 4 March 2013
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 1 of 2 - 11 Comments

With the current Linux USB stack and file-systems, do USB 3.0 flash drives provide much of a performance gain over USB 2.0 flash drives? In this article are some brief benchmarks from USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 Corsair Flash Voyagers.

In picking up some USB flash drives recently for an unrelated project, I ended up settling for the Corsair Flash Voyager products having tested them extensively at Phoronix over the years. I settled for the USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 variants of the 16GB Flash Voyager to see the speed differences when connected to an USB3-capable ASUS motherboard with an AMD FX-8350 Vishera CPU.

The USB 3.0 variant is very similar to the USB 2.0 Flash Voyager except for the faster interface. The USB 3.0 Flash Voyager 16GB is rated for speeds up to 75MB/s reads and 18MB/s writes. Unfortunately, Corsair no longer publishes the technical specs on their USB 2.0 16GB Flash Voyager. Another difference is that the USB 3.0 flash drive is backed by a five-year warranty where as the USB 2.0 Flash Voyager carries a ten-year warranty. The price difference is about $20 for the USB 2.0 model and $25 for the USB 3.0 version.

For this simple benchmarking, the 16GB USB 2.0/3.0 Flash Voyagers were benchmarked with some different Phoronix Test Suite test profiles on the Linux 3.9 kernel. Given the recent file-system test results, F2FS was used when testing both Corsair USB flash drives.

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