You may recall that earlier this month, we talked about speeding up the original Nexus 7’s internal memory by using F2FS. F2FS was created at Samsung early last year for use on Linux-based operating systems. As its name implies, Flash-Friendly File System is a file system designed specifically to cater to the specific characteristics of NAND-based storage devices.
This log-structured file system is widely thought to be faster than traditional file systems such as EXT4 on flash memory, but is it really faster? And if so, by how much? XDA Recognized Contributor Androguide.fr set out to measure the performance differences on his Sony Xperia Z1 using popular synthetic benchmarks, and the results may very well surprise you.
As one might expect, F2FS proved to be faster on the Z1 than EXT4 in the vast majority of cases. This was demonstrated in various different types of synthetic benchmarks ranging from database operations to the higher-order storage benchmarks found in AnTuTu and Quadrant. And when looking specifically at AndroBench (screenshot shown to your right), database operations were consistently around an order of magnitude faster on F2FS than on EXT4. Storage write speeds were improved to an even greater degree for sequential and random writes in this synthetic benchmark, with both being greater than two orders of magnitude faster on F2FS.
But before you go out and convert your device to F2Fs, there are a couple things to keep in mind. First, it seems that at least on the Z1, F2FS is actually about 20% slower in sequential reads than EXT4. Next and far more importantly, these are simply results from one specific sample of one specific device from one specific manufacturer. In other words, your mileage will almost certainly vary, especially if you’re not trying this on an Xperia Z1, as the real world performance gains (or losses) will be subject to the NAND chips and flash memory controller in your device, as well as various other factors that are beyond the scope of this article. That said, we wouldn’t be terribly surprised if your results show similar trends.
If you’d like to read more about Androguide.fr’s experiences and the methodology used in his tests, head over to the benchmark thread. What are your thoughts about F2FS? Do his results parallel your observations? Have you had any issues from switching to F2FS? Let us know in the comments below!
March 12, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
It’s no secret that despite being a great device overall, the Google Nexus 7 (2012) offers less than ideal flash memory performance. While the issue has been mitigated to a certain extent through the use of TRIM, file system performance is still often the device’s Achilles heel. Because of this, it stands to reason that any steps taken to improve storage performance on the device will greatly improve the overall user experience.
XDA Senior Member legolas93 decided to take on the task of improving the Nexus 7’s storage performance through the use of F2FS, which is a different file system created to be more optimized to the characteristics of NAND memory in flash devices. But before we go any further, it’s important to note that when changing your file system, you will lose all of your data. So please make sure that you make a full backup, and then transfer that backup to your computer while you perform the required steps.
To get started, you must first download the F2FS-enabled kernel and a modified TWRP capable of reformatting the tablet with F2FS. Then you flash the kernel through your current custom recovery and the modified version of TWRP through fastboot. Next you access the modified TWRP and format to the new file system. And finally, you can restore your backup after copying it back onto your tablet form your PC.