Flash storage to blame for sluggish smartphone performance says study
The problem seems to be that the technology behind flash storage is not keeping up with the hardware of today's mobile devices, and can be traced back to the way that random I/O data is handled by the software. This is the theory espoused by Hyojun Kim, a doctoral student at the College of Computing at Georgia Tech.
A solution, according to Kim, would be to use phase-change random access memory (PRAM) which could be better at managing random data writing. The research shows that microSD cards can have better performance by reorganizing its file subsystem and keeping storage space neat and tidy. Ironically, benchmarking tests showed that some lower grade microSD cards performed better than some higher grade cards. As for naming names, Kim writes that Kingston's microSD card performs so badly that its results need to be removed from test data to get realistic averages. Transcend performs the best for random writes by as much as a factor of 100 compared to the competition.
Check the sourcelink for the dry as dust report. The bottom line is that the brand of microSD card you use in your device does make a difference in how fast it runs. Kim checked the launch time for eight popular apps including Angry Birds, Twitter and YouTube and found that Kingston's microSD cards offered up the slowest times for most of the apps. But there is hope based on the four suggestions listed in the report. First is that mobile devices need better storage media. Secondly, Firmware and device driver should be better at utilizing existing and upcoming storage devices. The mobile OS needs to be enhanced to prevent the bottlenecks from storage and offer new functionality. Finally, there should be changes made at the Application-level to use the supplied storage interface.
What is interesting is that some of the latest Android devices are not launching with a microSD slot which means that Kim might have to revisit this study using some of those devices. And for those who complain about how sluggish their Android model is, a change in the microSD card brand you use could make the difference.
source: Usenix via Phandroid
1. theBankRobber (Posts: 645; Member since: 22 Sep 2011)
Something is off with these numbers, what class cards were they using for this study? I have a 16gb Sandisk class 4 card and on my photon, Angry Birds loaded the game rather quickly then it suggested in the study.
2. squallz506 (banned) (Posts: 1075; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)
lol i have that same card.
sucks because the class requirements change between manufacturers. so they only matter when comparing the same brand. but im happy with the class 4 from sandisk.
3. Cwebb (Posts: 501; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)
Still rocking the 8GB that HTC game me when I got my Evo and I'm sure its not effecting performance much
11. ghost__uwi (Posts: 175; Member since: 28 Nov 2011)
Trust me it does. I swapped out my card for a 16gig (the fastest sd card available at the time) and really good performance increase. 720p videos were coming out less choppy
16. Cwebb (Posts: 501; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)
I've been meaning to buy a new 32 GB card, but I just don't think its worth the money. I've been able to save space to make it reasonable. Maybe if they release a NFC enabled SD card with good speed and a lot of space
4. bvalde09 (Posts: 172; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)
I will have to agree with it. I have an S2 i9100 and I used to have an Micro SD cars installed in order to save some space sometimes the apps didnt load correct I have to take out so it would recognize the apps. My girlfriend has an infuse and has the same problem. I guess you could use them to save music or docs but in my experience not suit for apps
5. p0rkguy (Posts: 683; Member since: 23 Nov 2010)
Agree, My Evo that came with an Samsung 8gb C2 often messes up from time to time when I restart my phone, forcing a restart. But it's probably because I've filled up my entire card with apps and it would try to boot them all at once on start ups.
I should really clean up my phone considering it has 4 pages filled of games but I'm just too lazy and awaiting GS3.
6. mercorp (Posts: 967; Member since: 28 Jan 2012)
that is why microsoft and apple dont allow you to insert memory cards.
8. blazee (Posts: 251; Member since: 02 Jan 2012)
I dont think this is the reason why apple doesn't allow you to add your own memory stick lol they make millions more by forcing customers to buy extra built in storage every time they get a new apple product
20. illiad (Posts: 108; Member since: 07 Feb 2012)
No it is purely a money thing.. to change a basic design, it takes 1000's to change the tools, add is a decent card slot and the contacts, holder etc required.. and the you have problems with a suitable cover, and all the support issues arising from this...
Apple have shown already that their engineering skills are not up to much, otherwise they would have known about the problems with RF antennas at the design stage!!!
so NO, they do not want extra problems from their idiot users, who are happy enough just to buy another phone..
The way it is sold, and the way it is bought, is not just a phone, more a 'fashion accessory', upgraded every year ....
9. andro. (Posts: 1935; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)
No this is certainly not why apple doesnt put a micro sd card in three iphone,apples reason is for money where they try to get as much wool from their sheep as possible,after all you can get a decent 32gb micro sd card online for about 30 bucks but apple charge up to 100 bucks extra for a 32gb iphone compared to a 16gb model. Using that ratio apple would charge 200 bucks for 32gb memory while a good old sandisk 32gb card is 30 bucks
12. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 2927; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)
You truely are brainwashed if you actually believe thats why....
18. quakan (Posts: 1136; Member since: 02 Mar 2011)
part of it might be due to performance but you have to also think about money too. Do you think Apple would be able to sell many 32 gig iPhones if you could just get the 16 gig and add a 32 gig card?
7. jagon91 (Posts: 13; Member since: 03 Aug 2010)
I don't see any lack in performance when I use the 16gb provided with my dell streak in an xperia x10a or in my new galaxy s2. All of them loaded anything I stored to them almost instantaneously.
10. andro. (Posts: 1935; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)
Ive used both a class 4 32 gb micro sd card in my phones and also a class 10 32gb card and i found any difference in speed to be minimal between the two or even between the phone with a card inserted or without a card,the phone was blazingly fast either way. Dont think this study in the article holds any real value and was time wasted
13. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
is this for apps that are loaded on the external SD? I see where he has an internal set as well as ram. How does he get the device to load ram only and not from the internal? Since the internal is pretty much just an SD card in most phones, that cant really be a category on its own since it would differ from phone to phone. Also, where are samsung micros? thats a pretty major brand to miss. Also, Im shocked at kingston.. they are normally a really good brand.
19. thelegend6657 (unregistered)
Internal memory is not an SD card . More of an SSD . Example try playing a game on a thumb drive on your pc , isnt it slower ? Lesson : store music , docs , photos but keep apps , HD vids off your SD card
22. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
thats not always true. Sometimes its just an SD card. There was a windows phone.. actually i think it was the HD7, that u could take apart and literally switch out the 8gig internal SD for a 16 gig SD and reformat it to WP7 and use it. I dont know if all windows phones are like that, but obviously some phones are.
14. Evil_SaNz (Posts: 258; Member since: 20 Oct 2011)
Just pure logic tells me to not store apps on a removable microSD, it's like installing windows on a usb pen. I see this research as a new style of propaganda, an indirect justification of a product lackage. I'm starting to feel paranoic lol...but all seem to fit in the mosaic I call "brainwashing of the 21st century".
I'm curious to see soon a research telling us that using itunes improves life quality.
15. dreammixer (banned) (Posts: 81; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
This is why Apple doesn't use sd cards and android makers are now following their lead along with windows.
17. LoneShaolin (Posts: 307; Member since: 14 Jan 2012)
someone didn't read Mercorp's comment.
21. -box- (Posts: 3706; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
I wish they would have put class ratings on these cards. I recently bumped from a class 4 to a class 10, and it's astonishing just how much faster it is. Not much difference between a class 6 and a class 10, but it's silly they didn't include that in the graph