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SubjectRe: SATA-performance: Linux vs. FreeBSD
Hello, Martin.

Martin A. Fink wrote:
> Test OpenSuSE(AHCI) FreeBSD(AHCI)
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> SSD(vfat 25GB) 41+/-2 MB/s at 4-10% 15+/-0 MB/s at 2% CPU
> SSD(raw 25GB) 26+/-1 MB/s at 4-10% CPU 48+/-0 MB/s at 1% CPU
> SSD(ext3 25GB) 39+/-5 MB/s at 10-15% CPU 34+/-0 MB/s at 14% CPU
> SSD(ext2 25GB) 42+/-1 MB/s at 10-15% CPU 32+/-0 MB/s at 10% CPU
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Test OpenSuSE (AHCI off) FreeBSD (AHCI off)
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> SSD(vfat 25GB) 22+/-4 MB/s at 6-19% CPU --
> SSD(raw 25GB) 33+/-4 MB/s at 7-14% CPU 41+/-0 MB/s at 1% CPU
> SSD(ext2 25GB) 27+/-6 MB/s at 6-14% CPU --
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Question 1:
> Can anybody explain to me, why writing to a SATA-I device with AHCI consumes
> so much CPU time using Linux, while it takes almost no CPU time on FreeBSD
> 6.2 ? Especially comparing values of writing to the raw device?

Can't tell. AHCI needs very few MMIOs to perform each request. As Andi
suggested, please do oprofile. It's easy.

> Question 2:
> Can anybody explain to me, why writing to a solid state disk (a kind of memory
> that always has the same constant bandwidth) has such big standard errors in
> writing rate using Linux (between 1 to 6 MB/s error) while FreeBSD gives an
> almost constant writing rate (as one would expect it for a SSD) ?

The default iosched is heavily optimized for regular disks with moving
head and for more usual workload. Requests are sometimes paused to wait
for requests in adjacent area. Use deadline or noop for ssd.

Also, try turn off NCQ. Some of early drives from major disk vendors
had all kinds of issues with NCQ implementation. SSD firmwares don't
tend to be of high quality.

> Question 3:
> Why is writing to a raw device in Linux slower than using e.g. ext2 ? And why
> is Linux writing rate much lower (-12.5 % for the best case) compared to
> writing rate of FreeBSD?

As written above, the first thing I can think of is interaction with
iosched. SSD and your workload are pretty unusual.

> Question 4:
> When writing to the SATA-II HDD Linux is around 10% slower than FreeBSD when
> using ext3, but around as fast as FreeBSD when writing raw. Why?

Dunno much about that. Where's the test result?

> How can I improve the speed of Linux,

Other ppl have pointed out but use /dev/sdX not the raw devices. If you
use raw, you end up writing each chunk synchronously.


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