I’ve covered the benefits of taking your Raspberry Pi to a solid state drive (SSD) before extensively in this article but in a nutshell you get around a 280% increase in raw throughput and a 1000% increase in 4k random read/writes over a MicroSD card.
In this article I will teach you how to upgrade to a SSD on your Raspberry Pi for under $30.
After publishing my Raspberry Pi Minecraft Server tutorial I got some feedback on Reddit to try using a USB SSD for storage. I expected some marginal improvement but nothing spectacular due to the USB 2.0 bus data rates. In fact the results were so spectacular that I’m changing my storage recommendations entirely. Let the games begin!
Many things have changed since I wrote my last Raspberry Pi Minecraft Server guide. OpenJDK is now the better supported Java for Raspberry Pi and Oracle is discontinuing support for Java 8 in January 2019. Java 9 is out and Java 10 is soon to follow. The Raspberry Pi 3B+ has also arrived! After testing the server on the new 3B+ using Java 9 I was blown away by the performance and decided to write an updated guide and a script that will have you up and running in minutes.
To give you a taste of how smooth the timings are in Java 9 OpenJDK headless using the Paper Spigot Minecraft Server here is a nearly 2 hour session I played with my girlfriend. This was played in survival mode on a brand new server so no blocks had been pregenerated and no settings were modified from the defaults. Nothing is overclocked except the SD card. There was even a village right by the spawn so many entities were in use. Here’s the timings output report:
Since the M.2 NVME form factor has won the high performance solid state drive war many of you may be stuck with older micro SATA (mSATA) drives. These still have a very awesome use that will only cost you $10 to take advantage and have a blistering USB stick instead of throw them away!
These are full blown SSDs and their performance blows a regular USB flash drive out of the water. They support the trim command and show up as “fixed disks” instead or removable storage. This means they support cache write optimizations that normal USB removable drives don’t. This allows you to do all sorts of awesome things on them. Some examples: Windows to Go, Fast Portable Linux, Virtual Machine storage, etc. You can also just use it as a really fast drive to transfer files back and forth with your friends while looking like a total techie badass.