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I currently have XAMPP installed in a Sandisk thumb drive, USB 2.0. This is great for portability but as you might imagine, it is quite slow.

I tried out a USB 3.0 version of this setup, with a USB 3.0 port and the speed wasn't noticeably faster.

I would love to have a portable web server (external). I work on three machines currently and I really like having the mercurial repositories and web server in one place.

Any idea if a solid state drive via SATA or USB 3.0 would be any faster than the USB flash drive method I have already tried?

Has anyone tried different setups for portable web servers?

My apologies if this should be on I was unsure because it is kind of cross board topic-wise.

EDIT - I purchased an enclosure and a 64 GB SSD with USB 3.0. They are on their way so I will report back with some speed numbers and hopefully it will show some good results.

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I don't have hard numbers, so this isn't an answer, but the problem with USB3 flash drives is that even though the USB3 bus is significantly faster, the read/write speed of the flash memory itself is still really, really bad. This shouldn't be a problem with a proper SSD. – Shinrai Apr 16 '12 at 22:42
Ahh, good information - thanks for the quick note. – nicorellius Apr 16 '12 at 23:50
Plus the life expectancy of the flash memory on a USB drive is lower due to the limited number of writes. I'd go SSD. You get what you pay for. – user3463 Apr 17 '12 at 3:25
not to mention, your bottleneck would be USB 3.0 (a traditional HDD would be able to saturate it) and your network). It might be fast, but you arn't getting the most of it. Mount SSD internally or via esata – Journeyman Geek Apr 20 '12 at 0:00
USB3 shouldn't bottleneck a traditional hard drive. It's about equal to SATA2 in single-device throughput. – Ben Voigt Apr 21 '12 at 20:44

It appears that are some usb 3.0 thumb drives that are offering performance that approaches SSD's. Here is an example product.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

I went with a 64 GB Crucial SSD installed in a Raven enclosure with 3.0. Speed with XAMPP was nice, much faster than USB 2 on a thumb drive. Although I didn't do direct comparisons, it felt just as fast as running XAMPP on the spinning HDD, which is good enough for me.

Thanks for all the input.

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