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Date:      Sat, 25 Apr 2020 13:52:06 -0700
From:      David Christensen <>
Subject:   Re: FreeBSD live USB stick
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <>
References:  <> <> <> <>

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On 2020-04-25 11:21, Ralf Mardorf via freebsd-questions wrote:
> On Sat, 2020-04-25 at 11:01 -0700, David Christensen wrote:
>> On 2020-04-25 08:03, Ralf Mardorf via freebsd-questions wrote:
>>> Hi,
>>> I want to have FreeBSD on a 32 GB USB 3.0 stick. Since I'm an openbox
>>> user NomadBSD [1] looks promising to me. Any opinions or hints?
>>> Regards,
>>> Ralf
>>> [1]
>> I have installed FreeBSD onto SanDisk Ultra Fit 16 GB USB 3.0 flash
>> drives.  I like these for their compact form factor, which reduces the
>> chance of mechanical damage to the drive and/or port/ motherboard.
>> However, they run hot, they are not a good choice for high-endurance
>> applications (I cooked a 128 GB model using it for Time Machine backups
>> in a MacBook Pro), and write performance is an obvious limitation when
>> running a graphical desktop.  I have experienced problems with both
>> FreeBSD and Linux when using these drives in USB 3.0 ports, but not with
>> USB 2.0 ports.
> Thank you for the pointer.
> I noticed that a Toshiba 32 GB USB 2 stick gets hot when either
> connected to my Roland GR-55 guitar synth or to a hub connected with my
> Linux PC, just by being connected and at worst by sharing a few bytes of
> data. For the live FreeBSD I ordered a Toshiba USB 3 stick. I never
> noticed that my aged 8GB and smaller USB sticks get hot, by just being
> connected or sharing a few bytes of data. I still could cancel the order
> and purchase another aged USB stick.
> Fortunately the openbox Window manager is not that bloated as almost all
> desktop environments.
> However, I didn't had head in mind. I hope the temperature would not
> become a show stopper.
> Until now I only used Linux live DVDs, if I needed a live media. I
> thought it would be a good idea to migrate to either a BSD or Linux on
> an USB stick.

After the 128 GB Ultra Fit failed, I shopped around for high-endurance 
USB flash drives.  These are hard to find, especially in larger capacties.

I did find one OEM that makes industrial flash devices in various 
capacities and form factors, including USB:

Unfortunately, Cactus Technologies is an OEM and does not sell into 
retail channels.  I contacted them, and they offered to sell me two 16 
GB drives (USB 2.0?) for $39 plus shipping with a lead time of 5 weeks 
ARO (if not in stock).

STFW 'industrial usb flash' there are a few other manufacturers and/or 

The MacBook Pro has an SD Card slot.  SanDisk high-endurance microSD 
cards are readily available, so I went with that:

SanDisk also makes a "max endurance" model:

STFW I see that some people put these into USB adapters and use them as 
live drives.  If you run embedded systems with SD/ microSD slots 
(Rasperry Pi, etc.), this might be a better way to go.


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