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Thread: Best Windows 7 Readyboost USB Flash Drive

  1. #1
    Cabledude Avatar Fan purecomedy's Avatar
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    Best Windows 7 Readyboost USB Flash Drive

    I'm looking to get a USB key to enable the Readyboost feature in Windows 7. I've seen a couple of articles indicating that it works substantially better than Windows Vista. I don't know what to say about that as I'm sure USB keys have gotten bigger and faster over that time but the OS may have optimized the idea more over time.

    I was contemplating getting this Lexar Lighting model seen here: http://www.memoryexpress.com/Product...4%28ME%29.aspx

    It is Read 200X (30 MB/s) and Write 140X (21 MB/s). Let me know if that's about the best there is at a reasonable price. It's a 4 Gb model which I'm guessing is more than enough.

  2. #2
    Ohh Hell yeah.. Sava700's Avatar
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    Get one that matches the amount of ram you have.... and get the fastest you can find. That's pretty much it.

  3. #3
    Ft. Couch! morbidpete's Avatar
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    im using a 4 gig SD card, class 4. nothing special but it works wonders in the laptop. but from what i understand read speed isn't really to relevant, ready boost only uses it for very small files to give the HDD time to access the file its looking for (flash seek times are 1ms compared to 7-10 for hdd )

  4. #4
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    How much system RAM do you have? Readyboost really only helps a lot for systems that don't have much RAM in the first place. Once you have adequate RAM, the performance gain curve really flattens out.
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  5. #5
    Cabledude Avatar Fan purecomedy's Avatar
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    I have 8 Gb of RAM so I guess I could buy that size of USB drive as well.

    I agree with you in a sane operating system that having a ton of RAM should nearly eliminate the need to use a swapfile and therefore having something with very fast random seek would become less meaningful....however, for some reason Microsoft OS's love to swap even when it isn't necessary.

    I figured I might give it a shot, USB drives can be handy to have anyway if it doesn't work out as a speed booster.

  6. #6
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by purecomedy View Post
    I have 8 Gb of RAM so I guess I could buy that size of USB drive as well.
    You may see a little gain in performance in some applications, Readyboost will mostly help systems with under 4 gigs of RAM, most of the performance curves I saw had systems with 2 gigs of RAM be the peak.
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  7. #7
    Ohh Hell yeah.. Sava700's Avatar
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    I noticed a nice push at 4gigs... I've not retained a 8gig drive to see how it does with 8gigs of ram when I upgraded a few months ago..but I'll report back if I ever do.

  8. #8
    Dr Tweak mnosteele52's Avatar
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    Readyboost only works up to 4GB, it can't use more than that. Just buy an SD card, that way you don't even see it.
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  9. #9
    Ft. Couch! morbidpete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mnosteele52 View Post
    Readyboost only works up to 4GB, it can't use more than that. Just buy an SD card, that way you don't even see it.
    thats what im doing. my main pc is my laptop, the sd card is int he slot in the front, cant even see it

  10. #10
    Ohh Hell yeah.. Sava700's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mnosteele52 View Post
    Readyboost only works up to 4GB, it can't use more than that. Just buy an SD card, that way you don't even see it.
    I'm not so sure about that.. ya sure?

    Microsoft recommends the amount of flash memory for ReadyBoost acceleration be one to three times the amount of random access memory (RAM) in your computer. This recommendation should not be confused with the message that is displayed in the “ReadyBoost” tab of drive properties dialog: for example, for a flash drive of 16 GB capacity formatted as FAT32 it will display a message that “Windows recommends reserving 4094 MB for optimal performance” even if RAM size is 10 GB, just because 4094 MB is the maximum file size on a FAT32 volume; after reformatting it as NTFS or exFAT, the message changes to “Windows recommends 15180 MB”.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ReadyBoost

  11. #11
    Dr Tweak mnosteele52's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sava700 View Post
    I'm not so sure about that.. ya sure?



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ReadyBoost
    I apologize Sava, back when I bought one I swear it said 4GB was the limit, looking over things now, it was the limit for Vista SP1 but SP2 and 7 allows for a much larger size. Thanks for the correction.
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  12. #12
    Ohh Hell yeah.. Sava700's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mnosteele52 View Post
    I apologize Sava, back when I bought one I swear it said 4GB was the limit, looking over things now, it was the limit for Vista SP1 but SP2 and 7 allows for a much larger size. Thanks for the correction.
    Well I thought Win 7 allowed more..but I wasn't sure either but figured we would find out together

  13. #13
    OK...here is the real deal.

    Windows 7 is king over readyboost, in that it allows you to use multiple devices to boost its speed, and allows up to 256GB of memory.

    As far as what you need to do it? Not all memory sticks work, and the actual requirements for ready boost are all on hard to find specs. Most flash memory sticks will advertise their read/write times, yet ready boost doesn't really care about that. Instead, it is looking for a lightning quick access time of < 1ms, and requires 2.5 MB/second READ speeds (for 4KB), and 1.75 MB/second WRITE speeds (for 512KB)... and these last two have to be consistent throughout the device.

    These spec's are hard to find.... not that it is hard to find a device that meets these, but rather that these specific spec's are simply not published most of the time.

    This is like trying to buy a car based on the thickness of the windshield... even calling the dealer they will probably not have any idea.

    Most flash sticks will give you read/write speeds, but these are averages. This means that one part of the stick might be higher, and another lower... many 'high speed' sticks actually have one segment of lightning fast memory, and the rest is slow. Another problem, here, is these are sustained speeds... readyboost requires much smaller read/write access... which means that a device that responds in 1.2 ms, and then reads at 300 MB/s simply will not work... no matter how fast its listed read speed is.

    Again, most manufacturers don't broadcast these spec's because for most uses, they are trivial. Most of the time, the read/write speeds you see are for large files, where access time shows a diminishing return very quickly.

    Really, the best indicator of how well a flash stick will perform is access time. If the read/write speeds are high enough, and you find a very fast access time, you have a winner.

    Here is a list of access times: http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/c...-Time,846.html

    Much of the confusion as to how well readyboost works seems to be because there hasn't been any credible source doing any reliable benchmarks using well spec'd flash cards. Rather, you have a guy on the net that says "I tried it, and it didn't do much..." Somehow, I don't find that credible. To be a convincing benchmark of readyboost, you would need to isolate three factors... the system(s) that you were using (and you will need high, med, and low spec'd systems to compare), the flash memory that you are using (and again, you will need to be forthcoming about the actual spec's that readyboost relies on), and the types of applications that you are using for the benchmarks.

    As for other memory devices? SD, etc? I wouldn't even bother. Most of these devices are internally wired up to a USB port, and therefore will show diminished access times vs a USB port by itself. In addition, access times are even harder to find on SD card than they are on Flash sticks... for the exact same reasons.

    As for how much of a boost will you get? That depends on your system. Memory generally trumps readyboost, and readyboost will see diminishing returns as RAM increases. In general, the best scenario for it is a system with little memory, or at its memory cap... such as an older laptop. Once you get into the realm of 4GB, there is really no advantage to ready boost at all, and it can, in fact, slow down your system. This isn't me pissing on your parade, this is Microsoft's word on it.

    A lot of people want to boost their already high end system, but it simply won't work that way. "I have 8 gig of RAM, so if I use a 32 GB flash stick, how great will that be?"... ummm.. like an equal spec'd 6GB system.

    Think about it this way... if you hurt your leg, and it is in a cast.. which is faster? With or without crutches? Great, crutches for the win. Now you are an Olympic runner, in great shape... do crutches make you faster? Or slow you down? Right again...

    Ideally, for those that wish to boost their systems to astronomical levels, and are wanting to try ready boost... I would recommend paying strict attention to the access times on the flash USB sticks that you use, and I would use as many of them as possible to avoid bottlenecks when the system is trying to access multiple files at once.... especially with a multi-core machine. I would love to see that benchmark.

  14. #14
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    Or just properly spec out your machine when getting it..since RAM is so cheap.
    Readyboost can help machine that have inadequate system memory....like if you bought a $399.00 el cheapo special computer with 1 gig of RAM. Ugh.
    Readyboost becomes the law of diminishing returns once you're at 2 gigs of RAM...and if you did things right and got 3 or 4 gigs of RAM (or more) ...Readyboost doesn't provide much "boost" at all.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member loop2kil's Avatar
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    This is something good for laptops that don't have a lot of ram and a typically slow hard drive. Also most of us don't usually use the Expresscard bay.
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Lexar-Expresscar...item2a0ec793f4

  16. #16
    Administrator Philip's Avatar
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    I used it on my lappy (4Gb RAM, 4Gb SD card) and saw marginal performance gain... Then I opted for changing the HDD with a SSD wich made a huge difference and don't even bother with the Readyboost anymore.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by mnosteele52 View Post
    I apologize Sava, back when I bought one I swear it said 4GB was the limit, looking over things now, it was the limit for Vista SP1 but SP2 and 7 allows for a much larger size. Thanks for the correction.
    Most USB flash drives are still formatted in FAT32. The single file size limit for FAT32 is 4GB. This is where the Readyboost limit comes from. If the flash drive is formatted in NTFS or if you reformat it in NTFS, there is no such limit. BTW, be aware some USB flash drive manufacturers, such as Maxell, for some unknown reason format their 16 GB flash drives with FAT32 32 KB clusters. This means if a file is 1 byte in size, it will take 32,768 bytes of space on your flash drive!!! The only way to change this is to delete all your data on the flash drive and reformat it using a smaller FAT32 cluster size. Even with a 4 KB cluster size, you can still format up to a 25 GB drive. Alternatively, you could format it in NTFS. The problem is, you must find software which can correctly format flash drives in the file system format you desire. I have no idea WHY Maxell did this. It is EXTREMELY wasteful!!!

    As for the best Readyboost device, it would be the fastest USB 3.0 flash drive you can afford:
    $29 Corsair 16GB Flash Voyager USB 3.0 Flash Drive CMFVY3S-16GB
    Read Speed 79 MB/s
    Write Speed 21 MB/s

    $57 Corsair 32GB Flash Voyager GT USB 3.0 Flash Drive CMFVYGT3-32GB
    Read Speed 135 MB/s
    Write Speed 41 MB/s

    I have been looking over several webpages and even my book "Windows 7 Inside Out". I cannot find any information regarding Readyboost saving across Windows 7 sessions. If you shutdown Windows 7 and return the next day, does Readyboost keep this information on the flash drive to make booting up faster? If yes, then Readyboost is definitely helpful regardless of how much RAM you have or how fast your HDD is. If Readyboost does NOT aid in booting your Windows 7 faster, then it is NOT helpful if you have a fast 7200 HDD and 4 GB RAM or more.

    Does anyone know the answer to this question?
    Last edited by Cypherdude; 11-10-11 at 08:04 AM.

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    I know this thread is fairly old but I'll throw my 2 cents in. I'm new to the "ready boost" feature which I've used on my laptop that I mostly use just to browse the internet and remote desktop with my other computers. It has 3 gig sys mem using a newer 32gig pen drive formated with fat 32 and it does seem to make a great deal of difference when browsing large pic pages such as ebay or newegg. Only uses 4 gig of the pen drive ever. But I've also experimented using on my xp machines allocating it for page file swap and it just crashes all of my systems no matter what pen drive it try.

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    and to elaborte I've used the pen drive in exfat and NTFS and still only uses 4 gig. Used software to trick the drive to format in fat32 mostly so i could use it for its purchase purpose which is mp3s on my kenwood reciever in my car.

  20. #20
    R.I.P. Nov 2015 RaisinCain's Avatar
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    The key is to just upgrade your RAM. Using a flash drive to get a "boost" on Vista, 7 or 8 is just pointless.

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