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I've been wondering about improving the performance and battery life of my netbook by installing my root partition to an SD card. Will there be any performance benefits (or drawbacks)? Are there any special changes that should be done to make this work better.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Your performance will actually drop, if you put Ubuntu on an SD card. Mostly this will be due to the read/write speed/bottleneck of the media, and essentially it will be like installing your system on a USB drive with persistence enabled (it will be usable, but not nearly faster/more stable than a proper installation).

You could run it as a Live installation though.

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Tried it, and you are correct. Read speeds seem acceptable, but writes are quite slow. The reads are also cached in many cases, so are probably quite slow in reality as well. –  Nerdfest May 15 '11 at 14:16

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