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Should I run uTorrent and Portable Firefox on my thumb drive?
Yes 67%  67%  [ 6 ]
No 33%  33%  [ 3 ]
Total votes : 9
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 Post subject: Are portable apps bad for thumb drives?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2008 2:06 pm 
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As the title states, I'm wondering if portable apps are bad for the life of thumb drives. While obviously any writing to a flash memory chip is bad for it in the sense that it is one cycle closer to death, I'm wondering if an app like Portable Firefox will significantly decrease the life of a thumb drive. I *had* been using an 8GB Voyager Corsair to download large files like Linux ISO's on my campus's insanely fast connection, but I've temporarily stopped that due to concerns about longevity.

As far as I know, a thumb drive's cycles are only decreased by writing, not reading. As such, shouldn't I be able to run uTorrent (Linux ISO's, etc) without actually decreasing the life of the drive any more than I would if i were to write the file to the drive in one fell swoop? Firefox, on the other hand, is constantly writing cookies and temporary files, which bothers me a bit more.

Anyone have any thoughts on the matter?


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:10 am 
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I have no idea if it decreases life span, but I do it anyways... ;-) IE or FF Portable, no question in my mind it is FF Portable...Then again, I don't use them all the time, and the stuff I use most is on a portable HDD, rather than Flash...also, their life time is usually right around 100,000 writes...that's a lot! and by the time it dies, something 2x larger in capacity will be 1/2 the price...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:39 am 
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This is a joke, right? Hey don't turn on your computer, tv, ipod, cell phone, and put your car in the garage and don't touch it! Remember if you use them you are one day closer to their end of life! Oh and don't forget to put that nasty plastic on all of your furniture. LMAO!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:48 am 
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jackhyde wrote:
This is a joke, right? Hey don't turn on your computer, tv, ipod, cell phone, and put your car in the garage and don't touch it! Remember if you use them you are one day closer to their end of life! Oh and don't forget to put that nasty plastic on all of your furniture. LMAO!


Trolling on your first post? That's not really a good way to start out.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 11:00 am 
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No, it most certainly is not...I think we shall see by the next post, or even a little sooner if you are allowed to stay... ;-)

SSHHHHH!!!!! I hear a ban stick-a-coming! :-P


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 11:58 am 
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jackhyde wrote:
This is a joke, right? Hey don't turn on your computer, tv, ipod, cell phone, and put your car in the garage and don't touch it! Remember if you use them you are one day closer to their end of life! Oh and don't forget to put that nasty plastic on all of your furniture. LMAO!


I certainly hope THAT was a joke. :x

@others: Given the fact that thumb drive prices aren't that bad, I'm not too worried, I just wondered if intensive (?) apps like uTorrent would prematurely kill a drive. Given that I should be able to see the size of the drive shrink if and when it starts dieing due to the nature of flash memory, I doubt I'll cause myself too much trouble.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 12:27 pm 
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steevols wrote:
@others: Given the fact that thumb drive prices aren't that bad, I'm not too worried, I just wondered if intensive (?) apps like uTorrent would prematurely kill a drive. Given that I should be able to see the size of the drive shrink if and when it starts dieing due to the nature of flash memory, I doubt I'll cause myself too much trouble.


I would certainly agree with you there...I would guess it WILL indeed prematurely kill the drive, but that would still be off in the future, and as I said, they will be sooo cheap by the time it does die, and it's not like they aren't cheap right now anyways...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 7:23 pm 
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jackhyde wrote:
This is a joke, right? Hey don't turn on your computer, tv, ipod, cell phone, and put your car in the garage and don't touch it! Remember if you use them you are one day closer to their end of life! Oh and don't forget to put that nasty plastic on all of your furniture. LMAO!


Don't shit in my pond. :evil:


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 Post subject: Re: Are portable apps bad for thumb drives?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 7:32 pm 
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steevols wrote:
As far as I know, a thumb drive's cycles are only decreased by writing, not reading. As such, shouldn't I be able to run uTorrent (Linux ISO's, etc) without actually decreasing the life of the drive any more than I would if i were to write the file to the drive in one fell swoop? Firefox, on the other hand, is constantly writing cookies and temporary files, which bothers me a bit more.

Anyone have any thoughts on the matter?


Running uTorrent might be problematic.

When you download torrent files, they don't arrive in order, and I think the circuit in charge of the Flash drive's write endurance would attempt to put the packets of data together in order that it was received in, which would end up heavily fragmenting your drive.


nebbuchanezzar wrote:
Then again, I don't use them all the time, and the stuff I use most is on a portable HDD, rather than Flash...also, their life time is usually right around 100,000 writes...that's a lot! and by the time it dies, something 2x larger in capacity will be 1/2 the price...


You would be correct if Barbie Girl was back on Billboard's top 40.

100,000 writes was the standard lifespan for flash drives back in 1997, which was much higher then the 10,000 write cycles we were getting in 1994.

Typical range today is 1 to 5 million write cycles.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 8:21 pm 
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GIMME YO WRITES!!! :-P I can't do it as well as you... damn...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 10:23 pm 
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It may shorten the life of the drive a bit but you are talking about a lifespan of roughly ninety nine years instead of a hundred. Not something to worry about in practical terms. I like the portable apps. I have used Portable Firefox and Portable Thunderbird on a flash drive in Korea, Japan, Thailand and the Philippines with no problems. To me their usefullness far outweighs the possible loss of, maybe, one percent of the drives usefull life. A two gig thumbdrive right now costs about $25. I haven't even seen anything smaller than a one gig drive in a store in about a year. You also need to add in the convenience. I think you are worrying about a non issue.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 11:10 pm 
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TheSimulatorGuy wrote:
It may shorten the life of the drive a bit but you are talking about a lifespan of roughly ninety nine years instead of a hundred. Not something to worry about in practical terms. I like the portable apps. I have used Portable Firefox and Portable Thunderbird on a flash drive in Korea, Japan, Thailand and the Philippines with no problems. To me their usefullness far outweighs the possible loss of, maybe, one percent of the drives usefull life. A two gig thumbdrive right now costs about $25. I haven't even seen anything smaller than a one gig drive in a store in about a year. You also need to add in the convenience. I think you are worrying about a non issue.


Uummm...$25 for a 2Gb is REALLY expensive... newegg has a bunch for like $6... $25 currently gets you an 8Gb...that is why I hate retail stores...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 7:03 am 
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Well, given the inexpensive prices on drives, and the 10 year warranty on my Voyager, I think I'll keep on using it as before.

As to the fragmentation, I had been under the impression that frag. was not much of an issue with flash drives other than speed; does it actually cause corruption, etc?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 7:55 am 
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I looked into it a little more, seems like Torrent files don't get fragmented by the flash drives write endurance circuit.

What happens is your BitTorrent client will allocate all the space for the file at the beginning of the download and that's when the flash drive's write endurance will take care of not fragmenting the file, and then BitTorrent just fills in the cracks.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 8:48 am 
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nebbuchanezzar wrote:
TheSimulatorGuy wrote:
It may shorten the life of the drive a bit but you are talking about a lifespan of roughly ninety nine years instead of a hundred. Not something to worry about in practical terms. I like the portable apps. I have used Portable Firefox and Portable Thunderbird on a flash drive in Korea, Japan, Thailand and the Philippines with no problems. To me their usefullness far outweighs the possible loss of, maybe, one percent of the drives usefull life. A two gig thumbdrive right now costs about $25. I haven't even seen anything smaller than a one gig drive in a store in about a year. You also need to add in the convenience. I think you are worrying about a non issue.


Uummm...$25 for a 2Gb is REALLY expensive... newegg has a bunch for like $6... $25 currently gets you an 8Gb...that is why I hate retail stores...


I stand corrected.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 11:04 am 
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So, in theory, it shouldn't really be any more "destructive" to run uTorrent from the drive than to copy the completed file to it after running it on the main HD. :?:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 11:13 am 
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Correct.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 2:57 pm 
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Sorry about dragging up this old thread, but it just caught my eye now.

There is a lot of misinformation being spread about the write endurance of flash storage.

People read about MLC NAND chips being good for only 10,000 rewrites and SLC being good for 100,000 to 1,000,000 rewrites. They become concerned that if they use a journalling filesystem or run applications or operating systems on an SSD that there will be so many writes that they will "wear out" their SSDs.

Modern flash controllers use dynamic and static wear-levelling to spread the writes evenly about the NAND array.

http://www.corsairmemory.com/_faq/FAQ_f ... veling.pdf

http://www.sandisk.com/Assets/File/OEM/ ... elv1.0.pdf

As you can see, with proper wear-levelling SSDs can be rewritten to for decades or centuries, depending on whether the NAND is SLC or MLC and the size of the array.

The 32GB Mtron SLC SSD in my Eeepc901 has a rated write endurance of 140 years at 50GB writes per day:

http://www.mtron.net/English/Product/Pr ... D-PATA3018


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 11:20 am 
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My 2 cents.

1) Guestimates on lifecycles of flash memory may be misleading. Sure, it's good to see X million writes with uber intelligent controllers, but that doesn't mean that Joe Generic flash drive you got for $6 from Newegg does that. It also doesn't mean that Generic Chinese/Korean/etc. flash drive isn't lieing about the estimated write cycles either.
2) So yes lifespan may be an issue depending on the app. However, it's a calculated risk depending on the app. You can get 4 packs of 1Gb drives at Costco for cheap for example.
3) Utorrent and browsers shouldn't really affect it. However, like any flash drive, never have anything irreplaceable on one. Even if it doesn't fail, you might lose it, run it through wash, etc... If you have 3 or 4 of them in case one fails, then it's less of an issue, right?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 11:29 am 
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jcollins wrote:
Even if it doesn't fail, you might lose it, run it through wash, etc... If you have 3 or 4 of them in case one fails, then it's less of an issue, right?



They're pretty tough.

I found one in a parking lot that had been run over and rained on (part of the USB connector was rusty) and it still worked.


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