One question that I see show up periodically is “Which storage device is best, fastest, smallest, etc.”
A gentleman named James Chambers has done extensive research on this topic, and has a blog posting, Raspberry Pi Storage Benchmarks, where he discusses the pro’s and cons of various storage types used in various project configurations.
He also provides a script that, when run as root, will evaluate the drive based on a number of parameters and then earns a “score” which is a measure of how well it will do running as storage on a Raspberry Pi. Since it is designed to emphasize short file read/write performance, this will show how well a device will function as a mounted root filesystem instead of just a repository for pictures and videos.
Though provided as a “curl” script, if you download it directly and save it somewhere, you can run repeated tests, and can specify a device to test - via it’s mount point - on the command line.
Storage_Benchmark.sh.txt (32.1 KB)
Rename by removing the “.txt”, allow execution, and run as root from the command-line which will benchmark the root filesystem by default. You can specify an optional path leading to a mounted device to test if you want to test something else.
Though designed specifically for Raspbian on the Pi, it should run under any other Debian/Ubuntu based distribution, on whatever desktop/laptop/Raspberry Pi hardware supports it.
If you have the room and power budget, SSD’s are the way to go.
(Note that the new Seagate One Touch SSD and Seagate Expansion SSD drives are about the size of two flash-drives side-by-side, and appear to require little current, so for a more portable situation that want’s an SSD, this is an option.)
The next best choice are the SanDisk Extreme Plus series of micro SD cards. Since they are “application” (A1 or A2) rated, they’'re much faster than normal SD cards and are almost like SD cards.
Micro Center SD cards are also very good, but not as good as the SanDisk Extreme Plus series. For what you pay, they’re truly worthy cards.
Running from any kind of flash-drive storage is an exercise in frustration.
You can use the attached script to benchmark your own devices and see how they compare.