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Author Topic: flash drive for OS  (Read 2073 times)
haploid23
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July 18, 2011, 08:55:57 AM
 #1

has anyone tried to shave off some mining hardware costs and bought flash drives for the OS instead of using regular mechanical hard drives? i know this is possible and it's more ideal for linux. i'm going to need at least a 16gb flash drive for win7 right? is it possible to have all mining settings set up using a 1gb flash drive on linux? i know nothing about linux, but if this is possible, i'm wiling to learn it if the OS can fit in this small footprint. any comments on this would be great, thanks!

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mikeo
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July 18, 2011, 01:15:46 PM
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I have LinuxCoin 0.2.1b plus a 2GB persistance file all on a Verbatin 4GB flash drive. Works great.

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July 18, 2011, 02:11:32 PM
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I have LinuxCoin 0.2.1b plus a 2GB persistance file all on a Verbatin 4GB flash drive. Works great.

I'm doing something very similar. I have LinuxCoin 0.2.1b plus about 3GB of persistence storage on a PNY 4GB flash drive, and have had absolutely zero problems with it.

That being said, before I found that setup, I was trying to configure Ubuntu 11.04 for mining on a Dane-Elec 4GB flash drive and had all kinds of stability problems. So I would suggest using a quality flash drive, not some cheapo that won't work properly.

For both LinuxCoin and Ubuntu, I used Unetbootin to "burn" the Linux image to USB and to set up persistence. And I was a total Linux noob a few weeks ago before I finally got my first mining rig set up. LinuxCoin has been great.
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July 18, 2011, 02:35:17 PM
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just a little reality check, you're not going to gain that much.

even if you were running a ridiculous hard drive like a seagate cheetah 15k, you'll only gain about 5 or so watts by switching to a flash drive.

If your rig is anything like mine (single 6870, about 300W total system draw while mining), that's about 1.6% hashes/joule efficiency gained, and less if you're running multiple cards.
haploid23
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July 18, 2011, 02:51:22 PM
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so based on the comments so far, 4gb flash drive is minimum for mining? i think i remember seeing people use a very small footprint of 512mb or 1gb space on linux for crunching or folding setups for both the CPU and GPU Cool

just a little reality check, you're not going to gain that much.

even if you were running a ridiculous hard drive like a seagate cheetah 15k, you'll only gain about 5 or so watts by switching to a flash drive.

If your rig is anything like mine (single 6870, about 300W total system draw while mining), that's about 1.6% hashes/joule efficiency gained, and less if you're running multiple cards.
it's not about the extra power draw difference between a mechanical HD and a flash drive, it's about cost and setup. it'd rather spend $5-10 on a flash drive than a cheap $30 hard drive, and also when the mining hardware just lays on the table, it saves a little bit of space, especially when having multiple mining setups on the same table.

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July 18, 2011, 06:16:14 PM
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I have ubuntu server running on 4 GB flash drives for at least a dozen of my rigs.  With phoenix and all the prereq's installed they have about 500 MB free.  Ubuntu Desktop didn't fit on a  4 GB drive.   I had to install X11 and Slim for the window manager myself.  One bonus of going with USB sticks is you can get one setup the way you want, then clone it with dd or winimage.   Installing ubuntu and all the software onto each stick was taking a couple hours, whereas the clone takes 15 mins. 
haploid23
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July 18, 2011, 06:23:41 PM
 #7

thanks, good to know. how come i've seen crunching setups that are about 1gb size? so it's not possible to get a miner started with anything less than a 4gb flash drive?

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July 19, 2011, 02:13:40 AM
 #8

thanks, good to know. how come i've seen crunching setups that are about 1gb size? so it's not possible to get a miner started with anything less than a 4gb flash drive?

Sure, if you want to put the kernel, a few command utils, the needed libs, and the miner software you could get everything in under 1GB, but....

That basically requires rolling your distro, and normally it's just not worth it. It's a lot easier/quicker/cheaper to just get a bigger flash drive.
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July 19, 2011, 11:23:59 AM
 #9

I am pretty sure there is a Debian based mining distro out there that is less than 2 GB.

Watch which USB drive you get though. I got a really small one and it was so damn slow I could hardly run linux on it.
deslok
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July 19, 2011, 11:39:08 AM
 #10

even if you could do it in less than 4gb the effort wouldn't be worth the return.
if you can get a 4gb drive for 8 dollars i have to ask how much the extra time you'll spend mashing everything into a 1gb drive is worth?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820220099

when the cheapest 1gb drives will cost you more because they have a shipping cost
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820244074

and a two gig drive will only save you two dollars
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226213

plus patriot is a good brand for memory products so it's not a bad drive for the 8 dollars either.

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chungenhung
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July 19, 2011, 07:48:01 PM
 #11

make sure you get a QUALITY flash drive.
I have 3x Kingston 4gb drives that came as "FREE" from newegg purchases before, and they are nothing but trouble.
Ubuntu would crash, fail to start, says the drive is corrupt, and other stuff.
While my other machines with Patriot and Corsair flash have been running almost flawlessly!
Again, QUALITY flash drive is key.
In the mean time, I am switching the POS kingston drives with real HDDs.

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July 19, 2011, 09:36:49 PM
 #12

has anyone tried to shave off some mining hardware costs and bought flash drives for the OS instead of using regular mechanical hard drives? i know this is possible and it's more ideal for linux. i'm going to need at least a 16gb flash drive for win7 right? is it possible to have all mining settings set up using a 1gb flash drive on linux? i know nothing about linux, but if this is possible, i'm wiling to learn it if the OS can fit in this small footprint. any comments on this would be great, thanks!

You will need at least a 16GB UFD.My tests on a VM with a 2oGB HDD show that there's 9GB free space when installing from fresh so that's about 11GB used (or was that 12GB free and 7GB used)

To be on the safe side I'd recommend at least a 16GB UFD,32GB UFD are cheap enough to get now (average ones in the Uk are like under £30 now)

booting from a UFD won't be as fast as an SSD (as those are ridiculously expensive,esp an SLC based one,I don't consider an MLC an option as they are too unreliable and have poor service life for my needs due to limited writes,Thankfully my budget can allow for a 64GB SLC type SSD but no more)

I'd also love to try this out myself by running Win 7 from a UFD or High speed SD card.

As for Linux,you can use this to fit it on to your UFD (USB Flash drive):http://www.ubuntu.com/download/ubuntu/download (read the create a USB drive section for walkthrough)
Download this tool:http://www.pendrivelinux.com/downloads/Universal-USB-Installer/Universal-USB-Installer.exe

I hope this helps. It's best that you have at least a 2GB UFD at the very least (as most distros use nearly 2GB when fully installed onto the USB sticks anyway with little room for user data or mining apps.Do yourself a favour and get yourself a bigger UFD)

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FreeJAC
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July 20, 2011, 02:37:05 AM
 #13

8 GB min 16 GB recommended for Windows there is a tut on into windows (i think) on how to do it. You can also use True Image to make copies. I will get to tryin' this out one of these days.

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haploid23
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July 20, 2011, 03:02:47 AM
 #14

make sure you get a QUALITY flash drive.
I have 3x Kingston 4gb drives that came as "FREE" from newegg purchases before, and they are nothing but trouble.
Ubuntu would crash, fail to start, says the drive is corrupt, and other stuff.
While my other machines with Patriot and Corsair flash have been running almost flawlessly!
Again, QUALITY flash drive is key.
In the mean time, I am switching the POS kingston drives with real HDDs.

there are just so many flash drives. how is "quality" measured, and how can i tell which one is a "quality" one for a main OS usage? flash drives are not reviewed as much as SSD, so i almost know nothing about flash drive specs.

deslok
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July 20, 2011, 03:29:51 AM
 #15

the best way to get a "quality" flash drive would be to pick one from a manufacturer with a good reputation (patriot lexar adata) that has some decent reviews on newegg. keep in mind as with any product if you get enough reviews you'll see ones that read "didn't work piece of junk" even the best manufacturers make a bad chip from time to time.

*edit*

I own the 8gb model of this drive and used it until I moved to  usb3 for the drive in my pocket everyday. I have used it to run ubuntu and although more than some of the other 4gb drives it is very good. http://www.Newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=20-220-251

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July 20, 2011, 10:46:37 PM
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Also, the datasheet should at least show read and write speed for comparison.
FreeJAC
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July 21, 2011, 03:58:13 AM
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For a while the 'good ones' were the ones compatible with Windows 7 Ready Boost but I have to admit I haven't seen one labeled as such in a long time.

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July 21, 2011, 07:49:17 PM
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win7 on a flash drive is a very bad idea
it pretty much trashes the system drive constantly
even when idle there are constant writes
deslok
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July 21, 2011, 08:45:56 PM
 #19

That's because of the page file. W7 won't do that if it's turned off. But you'll want more memory at that point nullifying the savings of using the flash drive.

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July 21, 2011, 10:57:32 PM
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I have 3x Kingston 4gb drives that came as "FREE" from newegg purchases before, and they are nothing but trouble.

Same here. Bough Kingston 8GB DataTraveler G3 and got boot and file system problems all the time.
So I just bought a Seagate Baracuda 80GB HHD from ebay for £11 and will reinstall soon.



there are just so many flash drives. how is "quality" measured, and how can i tell which one is a "quality" one for a main OS usage? flash drives are not reviewed as much as SSD, so i almost know nothing about flash drive specs.

I would recommend to get this one - http://www.corsair.com/usb-drives/flash-voyager/flash-voyager-gt.html

And if using Linux use ext2 as ext4 uses journal which just kills the drive (too many reads/writes which can also happen in Windows)

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