I have a situation where I have 2 (old) 80 GB harddrives (yep, PATA 133 MB/sec) on an older VIA mini-ITX board. I am running Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. The system is installed on the first drive, using ext4. I am planing to use the second drive for data (a total of exact 68.2 GB research data distrubuted on 370 individual files). I need fast reading access to this data, but once the data is there, I will never need to change it.

I am no expert in the implementation of file-systems and drivers for them, but my basic assumption is that there might be something to gain (in efficiency) by using a file-system (as basic as possible) that only give me the most fundamental reading capabilities of the disk, but as fast as possible. In my scenario, creating the file-system itself, would require access to an original source to copy it from (another mounted volume).

Importantly, I do NOT need compression, since my files are already compressed (zip). I could try SquashFS and I probably will, but are there other options?

Or have I again made things complicated and we are just talking ext2/ext3/ext4 with read-only privileges?


  • I would guess Squash would be as fast on that kind of drives as a USB 2 stick. – Uri Herrera Dec 31 '11 at 0:47
  • @UriHerrera Maybe you are correct. It seems that the mksquashfs tool has a options for not using compression. I will investigate. – Ole Thomsen Buus Dec 31 '11 at 8:21

You could also try romfs, but I doubt you will find it any faster than ext4. I'd suggest you just stick with ext4 and not worry about it. Mounting it read only also won't gain you any performance; just make sure you don't accidentally modify the files.

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