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#1 2022-09-18 20:37:51

nobodyuknow
Member
Registered: 2017-09-10
Posts: 162  

[SOLVED] external NVMe SSD is piggish

The system is Devuan Cinnamon Chimaera installed on an external SSD connected via USB 3.0. The laptop has an AMD processor and 16 GM of memory.

The additional hardware is an NVMe SSD (Samsung PM961 with about a hundred hours on it) inside a Vantec NST-205C3-SG external enclosure. The Vantec is advertised to support USB 3.1.

Two relevant lines from lspci are:

04:00.3 USB controller: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD] Raven USB 3.1
04:00.4 USB controller: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD] Raven USB 3.1

I copied music files to the external SSD, but the performance is no better than an external HDD. I've tried a few changes -- different external enclosure, different cable, different USB port -- but the performance never improves. And often when I double-click on a folder, it takes a few seconds or even longer to respond, exactly the same as with a HDD.

USB 3.0 should be saturated with the hardware. Of course, the USB 3.0 port could be having problems.

The only thing I can think of is that the Linux driver is some kind of generic one, in other words, slow. The driver for the SSD's cousin, Samsung 960 EVO, would be nice, but Samsung probably never released one for Linux. Does this sound right?

Last edited by nobodyuknow (2022-09-18 20:40:08)

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#2 2022-09-19 09:22:04

Camtaf
Member
Registered: 2019-11-19
Posts: 248  

Re: [SOLVED] external NVMe SSD is piggish

USB3 has great read speeds, but I've found the write speeds to be all over the place, some of my USB3 pendrives only write at 10mbs!

USB2 pendrives write much faster than these.

Last edited by Camtaf (2022-09-19 09:22:59)

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#3 2022-09-19 09:26:28

Head_on_a_Stick
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From: London
Registered: 2019-03-24
Posts: 2,772  

Re: [SOLVED] external NVMe SSD is piggish

nobodyuknow wrote:

The only thing I can think of is that the Linux driver is some kind of generic one, in other words, slow. The driver for the SSD's cousin, Samsung 960 EVO, would be nice, but Samsung probably never released one for Linux. Does this sound right?

The driver in question would be for the USB3 interface itself (xhci). If the drive is detected as a storage device then the driver is fine.


"Who's the idiot in charge?" — ralph.ronnquist

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#4 2022-09-19 15:44:24

andyprough
Member
Registered: 2019-10-19
Posts: 276  

Re: [SOLVED] external NVMe SSD is piggish

I ran Devuan on an external NVMe enclosure attached to a USB 3.1 port for about a year recently, and the speed was so good I never really noticed it wasn't an internal drive. I did everything I can think of with it - I ran big VMs, ran multiple VMs, did tons of data transfer. Ran every kind of popular program except Steam (I don't game, so had no reason to try it).

I used the EXT4 file system - make sure you are using a fast file system. Also, sometimes I would plug another USB device into the machine that for some reason would grind the whole USB system nearly to a halt. I've never figured out why, but I had one 128GB Samsung thumb drive that used to bring the system to its knees. Try running it with nothing else plugged in except a keyboard, mouse, and monitor and see if you get any better speed.

The NVMe enclosure I use is one from the "plugable" company. Make sure it's a newer one, as apparently their older ones used a non-ideal chipset. I read a lot of reviews on the different enclosures before choosing this one, as hidden in those reviews sometimes are clues that they aren't worth a crap for running an OS externally for some reason. I think it's usually that they use cheap or old chipsets.


I visit the Dev1Galaxy using 3 different browsers: 1) links2 in a terminal; 2) self-compiled Pale Moon; 3) Mull from the F-Droid store. If you want Pale Moon with no dbus dependency or with sndio support, I can help.

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#5 2022-09-19 19:56:56

nobodyuknow
Member
Registered: 2017-09-10
Posts: 162  

Re: [SOLVED] external NVMe SSD is piggish

Thanks to all for the replies.


@Head_on_a_Stick

Ah, yes, the relevant driver would be for USB 3.0. I was chasing the wrong tail, or whatever that metaphor is.


@andyprogh

Actually I have a Plugable unit too which I bought first, though it exhibited the same piggish performance. I noticed in the Plugable reviews that some people were angry that the performance was only USB 2.0. There's got to be some combination of factors that results in piggish performance.

As soon as I make sufficient backups, I will try your suggestion and reformat the NVMe SSD to EXT4 and recopy the data from the aforementioned backups. I'm running NTFS now, but that's a legacy from Windows systems.

I ordered a cable from Startech, a vendor I've had nothing but good luck with. We'll see if it makes any difference.

Last edited by nobodyuknow (2022-09-19 19:57:54)

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#6 2022-09-19 20:39:09

andyprough
Member
Registered: 2019-10-19
Posts: 276  

Re: [SOLVED] external NVMe SSD is piggish

nobodyuknow wrote:

As soon as I make sufficient backups, I will try your suggestion and reformat the NVMe SSD to EXT4 and recopy the data from the aforementioned backups. I'm running NTFS now, but that's a legacy from Windows systems.

From what I'm reading unless you are using kernel version 5.15 or later you are going to get crappy performance with NTFS. Head_on_a_stick probably knows more about this. But you could try just going with the most recent available kernel as long as it is post-5.15 with the new NTFS3 driver. It's supposed to be much better performance. Prior to NTFS3, I think the drivers were in poor condition and in some cases almost abandoned, and you would get the type of poor responsiveness that you've noticed.

Overall though, you'll probably be better with EXT4. You are already pushing the envelope a bit by running the system from an external drive. No reason not to give it the best available natively supported file system to work with.


I visit the Dev1Galaxy using 3 different browsers: 1) links2 in a terminal; 2) self-compiled Pale Moon; 3) Mull from the F-Droid store. If you want Pale Moon with no dbus dependency or with sndio support, I can help.

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#7 2022-09-21 22:26:21

nobodyuknow
Member
Registered: 2017-09-10
Posts: 162  

Re: [SOLVED] external NVMe SSD is piggish

@andyprough

Wow! Reformatting to EXT4 made an amazing difference. Transfers are at least five times faster. And I'm running 5.18, though there's something amiss about the drivers it provides for my laptop (but that's another story). Thanks for the help.

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#8 2022-09-22 02:55:22

andyprough
Member
Registered: 2019-10-19
Posts: 276  

Re: [SOLVED] external NVMe SSD is piggish

nobodyuknow wrote:

@andyprough

Wow! Reformatting to EXT4 made an amazing difference. Transfers are at least five times faster. And I'm running 5.18, though there's something amiss about the drivers it provides for my laptop (but that's another story). Thanks for the help.

Awesome!

My experience is that too new of a kernel will often bring in a bunch of regressions with their own driver problems. If you aren't using NTFS any more then you don't need to be post-5.15. Possibly the stock 5.10 Devuan kernel will serve you well. Anyway, best of luck.


I visit the Dev1Galaxy using 3 different browsers: 1) links2 in a terminal; 2) self-compiled Pale Moon; 3) Mull from the F-Droid store. If you want Pale Moon with no dbus dependency or with sndio support, I can help.

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#9 2022-09-22 18:06:03

nobodyuknow
Member
Registered: 2017-09-10
Posts: 162  

Re: [SOLVED] external NVMe SSD is piggish

UPDATE:

I simplfied the story somewhat before. I actually had two NVMe SSDs -- Toshiba and Samsung -- and two external enclosures -- Vantec and Plugable. Like any situation with multiple variables, sometimes it's difficult to know what to blame.

I reformatted both NVME SSDs to EXT4. First I tried Toshiba/Plugable, which worked as above. Then I wrote my last post. But then I tried Samsung/Vantec -- and it still was piggish. This time I tried Samsung/Plugable and the response was fast as with Toshiba/Plugable. So I actually had two problems: NTFS and defective Vantec. I'll recycle the Vantec.

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#10 2022-09-23 16:03:46

chris2be8
Member
Registered: 2018-08-11
Posts: 168  

Re: [SOLVED] external NVMe SSD is piggish

What happens if you put the Toshiba SSD into the Vantec enclosure? If both SSDs run fast in the Plugable enclosure and slow in the Vantec then you might be able to return it as faulty (if it's still in warranty). Or at least scrap it with full justification.

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#11 2022-09-23 18:32:12

nobodyuknow
Member
Registered: 2017-09-10
Posts: 162  

Re: [SOLVED] external NVMe SSD is piggish

@chris2be8

Toshiba/Vantec gives the same piggish results as Samsung/Vantec. Actually it's worse than that, because I've realized that the Vantec has been causing errors which are getting worse. The last time I plugged the Vantec into my laptop, it caused the system to react as if I had unplugged the system drive, for example, showing unprintable (if that's the right word) icons in the start menu and elsewhere. I'm really disappointed with Vantec, as all of my 2.5" HDD/SSD external enclosures are Vantec and they work perfectly.

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