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How does a modern web browser cache on disk respond to transfer rates vs access times?

Here's a real world example. HD Tune tells me that I have a traditional HDD with 54.7 mb/sec and 8.1 ms vs a USB flash device with only a 18.4 mb/sec transfer rate but a 0.8 ms response time. Which should I choose to put my browser cache files (Chrome)?

aside: I'm already using junctions in Windows to be able to move the cache around easily.

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Do you mean a NTFS Junction point, or a piece of software called junctions. Junctions will do nothing to speed or optimize your cache, it just allows you to place it at a different location, according to what I have read. Could you elaborate on your use of junctions? –  Benjamin Schollnick Oct 28 '10 at 14:59
I mean NTFS Junction points. As you say, I just use them to easily move the cache directory. –  CoreyH Oct 28 '10 at 15:58
NTFS Junction points won't do anything to speed up cache, nor to reduce the latency caused by an overly large cache. Now it could help, if you move the cache to another disk (not partition, physical disk), but that's minor compared to a too large cache. –  Benjamin Schollnick Oct 29 '10 at 18:42

3 Answers 3

A combination of 3 factors:

  • Seek Time
  • Transfer Time

In my experience, all of these come into play... But often SIZE OF CACHE is the biggest issue.

For example, in most of the computers today that are being sold, Internet Explorer is still set to use 5% or 10% of your hard drive... For a system with a 500 GB hard drive that's 25 GB (@ 5%), which means that IE will spend more time going through the cache, than it would have if you just re-downloaded the page. Even if it's been changed to 1%, that's still 5GB of data...

Now, Firefox & I assume Chrome may have better standard defaults, but generally on any high speed connection, I change the cache size to be at most 10-20 MB (Often I use 5 MB). I would not suggest anything higher than 50 MB, and even then I would seriously question the choice of going that high...

After that, I would suggest Seek speed, and then transfer speed.

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Browser caching is usually a lot of small files, right.

That means lots of file seeks, and that means that seek time will be the limit.

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The Response time is how fast it can read/write from the Volume while the Transfer rate is how fast it can send contiguous files. typically for caching IO is king.

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