It seems the general consensus is “don’t do it”.
Hmm. As I said, I’ve done it on this same machine already, don’t remember where I got the instructions but it was very similar process to the one described here:
Use your USB-Flash as SWAP for UBUNTU! or Linux
Flash drives are much slower for continuous reading/writing but they are a lot faster for quick random access, something like 1ms comparing to 12ms up for hard disks, and that’s why they are used to complement Ram on Windows.
Win Readyboost, however, sorts out big, continuous requests and doesn’t send them to flash drives, I’m not aware of such funcionality on Linux.
In my particular case system slows down on copying large files, especially from fat32 flash to external ntfs disk and vice versa. In that case writing to swap on flash drive would probably be slower but nothing can be as slow as going into “disk sleep” that takes several minutes to clear and transfer rate grinds down to zero. If I can avoid that with swap on flash that would be a big plus already.
Who cares if flash drive wears out after a couple of years - they cost nothing comparing to either Ram or hard disks, not to mention that moving the working system to a new hard disk is a major pain in the neck and is a subject for another thread. So far Linux flags damaged sectors, there’s constant number of 31 on a 120GB drive. I think it’s far from dying, only three-four years old.
Interesting argument about the hardware, I’ve actually replaced Ubuntu 9.10 with OpenSuse precisely because it’s the only system that works. Upgrade from 9.04 to 9.10 killed driver support for my card on Ubuntu but on OpenSuse, with native ati drivers, I can still run KDE with most Kwin effects without any problems and it looks better than any Windows, including Win7 that I have in dual boot which can’t do Aero. With KDE I get fully funcitoning plasma desktop.
I’m sure I can find less resource hungry window manager and applications but that’s not the point, I want to get best possible experience, it’s a kind of showcase of what Linux can do comparing to Windows.
768MB doesn’t sound like enough memory if you have 1, 2, or 4 GB, but recommended value is 512 and, during my normal use, the system hardly ever even touches swap. I have 2GB on a laptop with the same OpenSuse 11.2 and there’s no noticeable difference in performance under normal conditions.
Back to the thread - what I really want to avoid is “disk sleep” state when system uses swap on hard disk. I thought trying swap on USB could solve the problem, that’s all.