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External harddrive speed woes

Posted 02-22-2011 at 01:31 AM by William (Dthdealer)

A few minutes ago I was preparing to distribute video encoding of files on my portable harddrive across multiple computers in the house. Just to get the quality and codec settings right before I finished, I started encoding one of the videos on only my main computer.

I'm glad I ran this test.

At first when encoding, I noticed the second CPU wasn't being used. I thought perhaps the encoder wasn't designed to be multi-threaded, but that would be ridiculous. I decided to check my system load:
whales ~ $ uptime
 18:15:56 up 55 min,  3 users,  load average: 0.35, 0.31, 0.27
It seems both simultaneously writing and reading to the external harddrive reveals a bad bottleneck. Trying to distribute the load of encoding video off this device would actually slow things down with what would otherwise be minimal ssh and network overhead.

Now to play some intensive first person shooters while encoding video at full speed... It's amazing what you can do in Linux.
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