After publishing my Raspberry Pi Minecraft Server tutorial I got some feedback on Reddit to try using a USB SSD for storage. I expected some marginal improvement but nothing spectacular due to the USB 2.0 bus data rates. In fact the results were so spectacular that I’m changing my storage recommendations entirely. Let the games begin!
Since the M.2 NVME form factor has won the high performance solid state drive war many of you may be stuck with older micro SATA (mSATA) drives. These still have a very awesome use that will only cost you $10 to take advantage and have a blistering USB stick instead of throw them away!
These are full blown SSDs and their performance blows a regular USB flash drive out of the water. They support the trim command and show up as “fixed disks” instead or removable storage. This means they support cache write optimizations that normal USB removable drives don’t. This allows you to do all sorts of awesome things on them. Some examples: Windows to Go, Fast Portable Linux, Virtual Machine storage, etc. You can also just use it as a really fast drive to transfer files back and forth with your friends while looking like a total techie badass.
In my quest for maximum performing MicroSD cards in the Raspberry Pi I decided to purchase the top performing card in most benchmarks which is the Samsung Pro+. However, the common overclock for the Raspberry PI SD port to 100MHz does not seem to work with these cards and they become unstable. However, through a little bit of tweaking and experimentation, I found that these cards can be clocked to 99MHz and work just fine and provide a substantial performance boost. Read on for the details!