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I am running a web server off of a SheevaPlug, and the OS and system are stored on an SD card with an ext3 file system. I know that atime is a major source of writes that wear out flash memory.

This question recommends using the relatime mount option over the noatime one, but it isn't clear if that holds true with flash memory too (where total number of writes is also a concern). This much cited blog on kerneltrap as well as this other question imply that using the noatime option does not produce any problems, in which case it seems preferable.

So would it be better to use noatime and avoid atime writes entirely, or to use relatime to avoid any software problems?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Aside from the software issue with the Mutt email client mentioned in an earlier question, there aren't any real downsides to mounting filesystems noatime. I've run many production systems this way and haven't experienced any negative application interactions.

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