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Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide
This guide was created as an overview of the Linux Operating System, geared toward new users as an exploration tour and getting started guide, with exercises at the end of each chapter.
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The utility hdparm only shows raw speed. It does not count for speed of the filesystem. Also cache has nothing to do with the throughput of the hard drive. Cache is only there when multiple files are needed to be access at once. The throughput depends on bus, PCI controller, cable, hard drive, and filesystem. With hdparm I get over 54 megabytes per second with an IBM/Hitachi 180GXP 120 GB hard drive connected to a Highpoint HPT372 controller. The filesystem that I'm using on that drive is XFS. It can create a few gigabyte files in about 30 to 40 secs even though it had about 10 GB of space left. I tried bonnie and bonnie++ but the results that it gave was not accurate. I used dd and used /dev/random to make 1 megabyte file. I then copy multiple of these files to combine them in a 100 megabyte file. The ext3 filesystem is slow compared to many filesystems. You can try using ReiserFS or XFS if you want to increase the speed of the hard drive. I do not suggest using Reiser4 because it can be unreliable at times.