List of ReadyBoost compatible FLASH devices

, posted: 8-Oct-2006 08:13

If like me you've been wondering which USB FLASH memory device to use with Vista to boost performance, check out Grant Gibson's list.

There are 72 devices listed already, and you can submit your own test results.

ReadyBoost is a really cool feature in Vista that's worth making the most of. If a suitable FLASH memory device is found, Vista will use it to for paging instead of the hard disk. As FLASH devices are many times faster than mechanical hard drives (and Microsoft's virtual memory system is fond of paging out to disk), ReadyBoost means you'll get a much more responsive system.

However, finding the right device isn't quite the walk in the park it should be. It needs to be a USB 2.0 device with fast seek times, because Vista will put 4,096 byte sized memory pages onto it in random locations. Frequent reads and writes of small amounts of data is the worst kind scenario for any storage device, and it looks like quite a few USB FLASH sticks aren't good enough.

One annoying thing I wasn't aware of is that FLASH makers in some cases only use a small amount of fast
memory in the device, and then fill up the rest with slower stuff. Explains why some of the larger ones I've seen are so cheap I guess.

Speaking of ReadyBoost, I still haven't heard if anything similar will be available for Intel-based Macs with "Robson" hard drives aboard. I asked Intel managers at the recent IDF in San Francisco on three separate occasions about this, but they would only say that Vista has full support and bounced back the question to Apple - and Apple is one of those lovely vendors that ignores requests for comments from the press by default.

Another question that Intel couldn't answer was if Microsoft has locked up access to the FLASH acceleration technologies with patents. I wanted to know if there could be Linux or *BSD kernel support for a feature that would work in a similar fashion. Seen some comments that say it's just a matter of using a USB drive as a swap partition and so forth, but I doubt it's that simple. First, removing the USB drive and thus, the swap partition, would make for a sad Penguin OS I suspect. :)

For completeness, here are Matt Ayer's ReadyBoost FAQ and ExtremeTech's testing of a bunch of devices.

Other related posts:
Fighting with Windows 8
The Windows Phone 7.5 bouncing tiles bug
Windows Live Essentials betas seem good, but oh so flaky

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