using regular flash media for OS


hardware monkey
8 May 2002
i need an 8gb (or maybe 16gb if i eventually go to vista ultimate?) drive as a permanent c: drive for my media center pc. all of the media will be on a raid1 array and would like to keep the OS on a totally seperate drive. at the same time, i don't want to spend $300+ on an SSD.

how feasible would it be to use just a fast USB stick or CF card? i know SSD's have wear leveling, but has anyone started to wear out their flash media? boot speed wouldn't really be an issue since i mainly use standby.
I don't think any normal flash media will have a realistic speed for especially a Media Center based Windows operation. It will run soooooo slooooooow, not talking about just booting. I think even the fastest ones would be too slow.

Are you sure the speed won't be a problem?

I don't know about wearing out flash media. Haven't done so yet but I've only had a total of two USB flash drives (I don't use a cell phone and don't have a digital camera), and the first one I just physically busted.

I can't believe that NewEgg can't let you break down flash media by speed.

Just my two cents but I think it would be more trouble than it's worth. I'd find the fastest performing cheap hard drives instead, even though you only want to put Windows itself on the one hard drive, or two if it's RAID.

The cheapest NewEgg has is $35 for an 80GB and there's several similarly priced. Sure it might be overkill for the size but think how much you'd spend for fast flash media?
well, the case this is for only has space for 2 hd's. actually, space for one, but i'll put the second in the floppy bay. leaves no room for another full size hd. plus the two hd's i got are supposed to be super quiet, they'll be running together in raid1 which will make them louder. i want to avoid having another drive making noise.
Flash media is not designed for everay day use. It'd fail in a matter of months.

Just get a small USB hdd for the os since it won't be used to often and use the hdd's in the box for storage.
Flash media is not designed for everay day use. It'd fail in a matter of months.

Just get a small USB hdd for the os since it won't be used to often and use the hdd's in the box for storage.
i do have an extra 2.5" sata enclosure that could just let hang out the back, i guess. hmm, this might be the answer.
I don't know if you included your 5.25" spaces in your case as spaces you could use for hard drives. That's what I do since my Vista computer's motherboard only has one IDE port and I use them with two of my older hard drives with 3.5"->5.25" adapters, and my main hard drives are in two of the SATA connectors.

Then I have two IDE DVDRW drives with IDE->USB adapters that I turn on whenever I need them.
Plan B - What roirraW said on using a 5.25 bat. They make adapters or you can make your own.

Plan C - who needs drive bays. I have an entire PC (sans case) spread out on my work table that I use for hardware throuble shooting. Just set the third drive on the bottom of the case on a piece of card board and run a strip of tape over it to keep it from sliding around. I do this all the time when backing up or transfering systems.

On the other hand... Using a 4-8 gig thumb drive that is rated for "ready boost" would work IF...

The MB must support boot from USB.
Put the hyberfile, pagefile, system restore, etc. on the RAID array.
Use the machine only for a media center so you are not writing much to the flash.

Speed should actually be faster than with a HD which is what ready boost is all about.

I talked with my flash hardware guru at work a while back and if you are not doing intensive read/writes the latest flash generation should last for years. The key is keeping things like pagefile and hiberfile off the flash drive.

BTW Why keep the OS on a seperate drive? Just avoiding the risk/hassles of data loss when you upgrade latter?
I dangle each piece of my computer's hardware from strings attached the ceiling. Makes everything really accessible for upgrades and changes. I put the hottest stuff (hard drives) at the same level with my air conditioner.

Except for the motherboard itself. That I hang with a bent coat hanger.

Ceilings. All that wasted space...
i would like to keep the OS off the raid array to significantly lower the amount of seeking on the drives, thus lowering noise and wear and tear. plus i might want to remove the drives in the future and want it to still be bootable.

the 5.25" bay is occupied but i guess i could remove the optical drive since it's not used much. i will consider that.

but having drives sitting outside the case isn't an option since it's a media center pc and needs to look neat. the reason i'm considering the 2.5" external enclosure is because it's small enough i could find space behind the system somewhere.

i considered an external enclosure for the actual storage drives, but then i would want it to be NAS so it's always accessible by every computer... and then i figure it should have it's own BT client so it could download without me needing to keep a computer on... then i'm spending a good deal more money. might as well put the drives in the comp and have it do all the stuff for not much more power usage than a full-featured NAS.

the idea of using a thumb drive intriques me, so i may try it anyway. 4gb should be plenty for xp. how much would vista media center need? if i put the pagefile on the raid, that is. i don't use system restore or hibernate.
I'm trying to remember. I believe a fresh Vista Ultimate (but vLited by me although as far as I remember, I only remove System Restore and disable Indexing, besides the unattended stuff) took up less than 7GB. Might have been less than that, though, but probably not much less than 6GB minimum.
and that included the pagefile and/or the hibernation file, right? i think 8gb should be good, if i decide to go that route.

thanks, all. :)
Actually, I don't think I included them, or at least the pagefile, but it was such a long time ago now when I actually paid attention to exactly how much space it took up.

I think 8GB will be good, too. Right now my Vista install is taking up 13GB but that's with Office 2007 and a load of other stuff installed. No games on the Windows partition, though. I always install games to a separate partition.
LeeJend: uuh... i think you got two things mixed up. ReadyBOOST is when using a USB flash drive. there's also ReadyDRIVE.... which is when you're using a hybrid hard drive that has flash memory in the hard drive itself. Kinda the same theory.... both used to help speed up the OS.... but ReadyBoost was designed to aid with disk caching. ReadyDrive was intended to speed up OS booting, resume from hibernation faster, and use less battery power (for laptops).

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