Spinrite and flash drives

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Ralph

Well-known member
Sep 24, 2020
46
4
Pretty much every time I run Spinrite I watch the real time activity screen for a while. Watching for pauses (retries) gives me a quick idea of the drive's condition. While the majority of Spinrite threads concern spinning and SSDs, I use a lot of flash drives for everything from Spinrite boot, recovery, bootable OS, encrypted backups, &c. Over time I've run Spinrite on a number of flash drives. With one exception the reties are almost always on a read operation. The majority of my flash drives are Sandisk, but more recently I've also been using Samsung.

Running Windows 10 and watching the flash drive's throughput with task manager while copying files I've always noticed large periodic drops in the transfer rates. I always ignored them thinking it was just a buffer filling and dumping- until today. Today I received 3 micro SDHC cards I ordered. Two were Sandisk Max Endurance U3 32GB for the Pis, and the third a Pro Endurance Samsung U1 32GB. I copied the entire flash drive I had been using for security video to my laptop, then copied that to the Samsung SDHC using a USB3 adapter. Much to my surprise the transfer rate remained almost constant for the entire copy.

I haven't gotten around to running Spinrite on the SDHC cards yet, but I am pretty sure there will be far fewer reties on them than the flash drives judging from the transfer rate. Since the SDHC cards connect to my laptop using a USB adapter I cannot run Readspeed on them or my flash drives. Until I can run some Spinrite tests on the SDHC cards it seems it may be more reliable and faster to use an SDHC card with adapter than a flash drive.

Has anyone else run Spinrite on flash drives or noticed speed variations on file transfers? I know about limited write cycles on solid state devices, but I gladly give up a couple of those cycles to know I can trust a device. I suspect Spinrite and Readspeed may also be of use with flash drives and memory cards. I'll post more information as I get to run more tests.
 

DanR

Dan
Sep 17, 2020
205
52
Has anyone else run Spinrite on flash drives or noticed speed variations on file transfers? I know about limited write cycles on solid state devices, but I gladly give up a couple of those cycles to know I can trust a device. I suspect Spinrite and Readspeed may also be of use with flash drives and memory cards. I'll post more information as I get to run more tests.
I have noticed that on occasion.

SpinRite 7.2, with full USB support, ought to be able to handle those devices with aplomb.

Meanwhile, SpinRite 6.1, when it's released (some months away yet, probably) could have a bit better USB support than SpinRite 6.0.
 

Ralph

Well-known member
Sep 24, 2020
46
4
Spinrite 6.0 seems to work fine on flash drives. What I never tried, but will, are SHDC cards. I am guessing they will work as well. Up until recently I never thought to try micro cards with Spinrite. Now days my use of them is limited to Raspberry Pis. I believe the ones I just replaced were class 10. The U3s seem (never actually timed) to boot and run faster which makes sense from the specs. Apparently my Pis, 3b+ are fast enough to use the extra speed. I didn't bother changing the card in my A1+ which has a dedicated sense hat on it and the software I wrote for it 'sleeps' more than 45 seconds out of a minute. I don't have any 4s, but I bet they could take advantage of the faster cards as well. I'll get to running SR over the weekend at the latest and post what I find.
 

rfrazier

Well-known member
Sep 30, 2020
320
101
I only skimmed over this thread. However, this other thread also talks about the care and feeding of memory devices. In my posts, under the name rfrazier, I talk about my rituals for initializing memory devices. There may be debate on how much is necessary.


For raspberry pi, you may wish to consider "extreme endurance" or "pro endurance" models of memory cards. I like to stick to major brand names from reputable stores with a brick and mortar presence. There's a huge problem with counterfeit memory cards and batteries. I like Samsung and Sandisk. Snoop around for checklists of things to do to help reduce the raspberry pi's thrashing of the card. Having said that, I don't know how much of that I've done on my pi, which I don't used often. But, look into caching, pre fetching, virtual memory, log files, etc. But, if you have no virtual memory, for example, and you run out of RAM, the computer will crash.

May your bits be stable and your interfaces be fast. :cool: Ron
 

Ralph

Well-known member
Sep 24, 2020
46
4
I just ran across this minutes ago, some of you may know about it already. SDCard.org has a lot of info on various memory cards and their specs. Even more interesting is a format utility for Windows and MAC. According to them using your OS format utility is not as good as using their utility. They claim their utility helps with speed, endurance, and compatibility. Apparently there is a hidden partition that gets destroyed when using your OS to format cards. I installed their software but have not tried using it yet. They update the formater so it is maintained.
I'll probably play around with it over the next few days on a couple unused cards I have. I am curious to see if it makes any difference on cards that will not run SR 6.0. Should anyone try running the format utility let us know if it seems to make any difference, thanks.