This question's comments and answers indicate that it's generally agreed upon that trying to run a Linux-based OS computer off of a SD card is not a good idea for performance and data integrity reasons.

However, most SBCs (single board computers) such as the very successful Raspberry Pi do, in fact, run their Linux-based OS off of a microSD card just fine.

Is there something that these SBCs do differently that make it work OK, or are they just sacrificing performance and integrity to reduce costs? Would they get much better performance if they had their own internal SSD storage for the OS?

  • 2
    If you're not reading & writing data a lot, what does a raspberry need faster disk access speed for?
    – Xen2050
    Nov 8, 2018 at 20:14

2 Answers 2


SBCs like the Raspberry Pi are typically of a different ARM based hardware architecture and designed to boot from a microSD. Traditional desktops/laptops are not.

Surely a better and faster drive like an SSD as mentioned in the question would give better results but the requirements are very different so they can perform quite well even when booting and running the OS from SD/MMC cards.


Modern high level CD cards can be pretty fast. For example cards with UHS-3 speed marking on right hardware (card hosts which supports UHS-3) can easily give up to 90Megabyte per second for read (write speed is slightly lower, ofc).

Related question - https://raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/questions/43072/is-uhs-i-u1-or-u3-a-useful-feature-for-a-microsd-on-raspberry-pi-2-b does not clear up is UHS is actually supported by Raspberry Pi and its quite old too.

SBC, probably, would have better IO performance with SSD but since general idea is to keep cost and complexity down they stick with ready-to-use SD media.

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