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I am installing Linux (YDL) on my old Powerbook G4. Thinking only of speed, which would be faster to install it on: a Lexar JumpDrive TwistTurn 32GB USB flash drive, or a DVD (a CD hasn't got enough memory.)?

Does this even make any difference, with the speed of the hard drive?

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Please specify the exact model of your USB drive. – Daniel Beck Jan 28 '12 at 12:39
@DanielBeck have edited. – gadgetmo Jan 28 '12 at 13:01

The key is random read or sequential read. If the data is pure sequential, the DVD has a chance of winning. If the data is all random, the DVD won't have any chance as the seeking on the disc consumes most of the time.

Random read => usb wins, maybe even on usb 2.0.

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It depends on your DVD reader speed. Usually the read speeds on DVD drives are faster than on flash drives, however if you have USB 3.0, then that would be a faster alternative.

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You ignore the USB drive's speed here. It's a specific one, otherwise the user probably wouldn't mention the make. – Daniel Beck Jan 28 '12 at 12:39
I was just making an assumption on how fast it was because I didn't know. – Mythrillic Jan 28 '12 at 12:53
The USB flash drive will be limited to the USB spec it attaches with. So transfer internal to the drive will be a moot point as it will be limited to the speed the USB port allows. That means it's pretty safe to ignore the USB drive's speed if it's on a slow port. It's all about the Lowest Common Denominator in the chain. Who cares if the Ethernet connection is 1G when the internet connection is a T1 line. The only difference between USB and an internal DVD drive that might crop up is seek times on the DVD which might then render the USB stick faster despite the higher DVD raw transfer rate. – Fiasco Labs Jan 13 '13 at 7:49

When installing Windows 7 or Windows 8, the flash drive is the way to go. Onto a platter-based disk, I can install Windows 7 in under 7 minutes (lucky number). With a DVD, the copy phase alone usually takes me about 10-15 minutes.

I imagine it is the same with your Linux. I believe the reason is because of the speed of the DVD drive, and spinning the DVD to the right area, then copying the files

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I don't have any specific speed numbers but when installing from a DVD it takes my machine upwards of 5 min to ask me if I want to install Linux or just try it out. From a USB 2.0 flash drive it took less than 30 sec. Both for a clean install. The rest of the install process continues the same trend.

From this an other, similar experiences I would go with the flash drive.

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