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USB Flash Drive Dilemma


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#1 Mindovermaster

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 21:58

I have this drive, that I got like a week ago.

http://www.supermedi...white-usm32gm-w

Problems I have with it, it is dead slow in read/write rate. I know this because how long it takes to install Debian/Ubuntu on it. Plus, when it gets done, I restart, and I get a blinking cursor in the upper left, and it keeps restarting many times.

So, do I take this cheap thing really, is cheap? It does show up in BIOS, but it can never physically boot onto it.

So, do any of you know a 16GB, perhaps, that can BOOT?

I'm running off a 8GB atm.


#2 +warwagon

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 22:09

Well, actually i've never had one that wouldn't boot, except for a 256mb one that I got, I don't know where. That one would never boot. Though I have had some large ones that were slow as ****.

I did purchase a 16GB PNY from walmart to install Mountain Lion on my Mac Pro. One second, i'll run HD tune on it and let you know how fast it is.

25 mb Read

So I guess it might be slow to put the data on it but should install pretty good.

#3 xendrome

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 22:21

Sounds like a defective flash drive.

#4 OP Mindovermaster

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 22:28

Sounds like a defective flash drive.


Any way I can check for that?

#5 +Karl L.

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 04:09

Any way I can check for that?


If you don't mind losing the data you have on it right now, you can get speed statistics using dd. Something like the following should work, assuming your flash drive is /dev/sdx.
sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdx


#6 Salty Wagyu

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 07:51

h2testw is a good way to check for defective/fake drives, plus it throws in a speed bench too. it's Windows only though :/

#7 OP Mindovermaster

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 13:33

Actually, my USB drive is sdg. I have nothing besides the basic OS on there. I'm running the code atm. I'll let you know.

#8 OP Mindovermaster

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 14:52

Still running after 1.5 hours... *twiddle thumbs*

#9 +Karl L.

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 15:29

Still running after 1.5 hours... *twiddle thumbs*


Yeah, expect dd to take a while. Even on a decently fast drive it will take a while. For reference, I used that same method to wipe a 320 GB hard drive recently - it took ~3.5 hours. Unless you have a very high end flash drive it should be much slower than my example (per GB, of course). If your drive is actually experiencing the problems you say be prepared for dd to take a while. I guess I should have put a warning on my original post...

Save a copy of the result, kill dd, and call the drive bad if it takes more than 8 hours. For a 16 GB flash drive, even a low end one, it should take much less than that, but it is definitively faulty if it reaches 8 hours. You can make dd print statistics at any point (rather than just when it completes, which is default) by sending it the signal USR1. For example:
# Make all instances of dd print statistics
sudo killall -USR1 dd

# Make all instances of dd print statistics once per minute
sudo watch -n 60 killall -USR1 dd

# Terminate all instances of dd
sudo killall dd


#10 OP Mindovermaster

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 15:31

Well, I can do other thing whilst this runs, so I'm all good ;)

#11 n_K

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 15:36

Doing a DD of 0 won't necesserially find any problems, it's the same reason why RAM tests have different stages, setting everything to zero checks if all the bits can be disabled, if you have a problem with a bit (or bits) being set to 1, no matter how long you wait, it'll never pick them up.
Not booting from it is strange, are you sure you set it up properly and marked the partition as active?
Are you able to boot from it via GRUB from another USB?

#12 OP Mindovermaster

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 17:03

Tell me, does this look OK?

61046785+0 records in
61046784+0 records out
31255953408 bytes (31 GB) copied, 10255.1 s, 3.0 MB/s


#13 n_K

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 19:27

That's telling you that there's been no problems with the drive whilst writing 0s to it and it's now blank with 0s, as said before that doesn't mean there's no problems with it (doesn't really mean anything)

#14 OP Mindovermaster

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 19:45

Oh, and the DD list didn't seem to bring anything up.

#15 +Karl L.

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 21:02

That's telling you that there's been no problems with the drive whilst writing 0s to it and it's now blank with 0s, as said before that doesn't mean there's no problems with it (doesn't really mean anything)


I didn't suggest it for checking problems with the flash memory, I suggested it for testing the speed. You can't effectively test the write speed with something like /dev/random because that data is not uniform. Bad flash is an entirely different issue.

Tell me, does this look OK?

61046785+0 records in
61046784+0 records out
31255953408 bytes (31 GB) copied, 10255.1 s, 3.0 MB/s


That write speed is pretty close to what I got doing the same test on an older flash drive that I have.

1953793+0 records in
1953792+0 records out
1000341504 bytes (1.0 GB) copied, 326.464 s, 3.1 MB/s

Since your write speed appears to be fine, maybe you should check for bad memory like n_K is suggesting. Try the following:
sudo badblocks -n -s -v /dev/sdx

Your output should look something like this if all goes well:
Checking for bad blocks in non-destructive read-write mode
From block 0 to 975871
Checking for bad blocks (non-destructive read-write test)
Testing with random pattern: done												
Pass completed, 0 bad blocks found. (0/0/0 errors)