Solved HDD and SSD performance vs flash drives when BitLocker is used


hsehestedt

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I use BitLocker. A lot. One of the things I use it for is to secure personal data that I save on flash drives. But there are also partitions on HDDs and SSDs that I secure with BitLocker.

On either an SSD or a HDD, BitLocker doesn't slow me down in any noticeable way at all. I've specifically tested this and found that I can blast data to a disk very rapidly (several GB per second on a good NVMe drive). Remove BitLocker and I see no performance increase. So this indicates that BitLocker isn't slowing me down.

However, flash drives behave differently for some strange reason. I have a few good flash drives to which I can easily write in excess of 200MB per second if the drive is not BitLocker protected. However, enable BitLocker and I may only get something like 20MB per second (if I'm lucky).

I'm having a tough time wrapping my head around what the difference is. If I can maintain several GB per second to an NVMe drive, then clearly the system can encrypt the data at a very rapid rate so why the lousy performance to a flash drive?

If anyone has some thoughts or theories, I'd love to hear those.
 

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  • OS
    Windows 11 21H2
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    Intel i7-11700K
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    HP Spectre x360 15-BL012DX
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    Intel i7-7500U
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    RAM Upgraded from 16GB to 32GB WiFi Upgraded from WiFi 5 to WiFi 6 SSD upgraded from 512GB NVMe SSD to 1TB Seagate FireCuda 510 NVMe SSD

Dru2

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Be aware the use of BitLocker will cause about a 1 percent performance hit (per Microsoft).

That said, I use BitLocker on my desktops (NVMe/SSD) and it hasn't caused any noticeable issues/performance drops where I needed to disable. Haven't tried it on flash drives o_O
 

My Computers

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    Windows 11 Pro 21H2 (22000.613)
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    PC/Desktop
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    Custom built
    CPU
    Intel i9-9900K
    Motherboard
    Gigabyte Aorus Z390 Xtreme
    Memory
    32G (4x8) DDR4 Corsair RGB Dominator Platinum (3600Mhz)
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    5 Samsung SSD drives: 2X 970 NVME (512 & 1TB), 3X EVO SATA (2X 2TB, 1X 1TB)
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    EVGA Super Nova I000 P2 (1000 watt)
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    Cooler Master H500M
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    System used for gaming, photography, audiophile media center, work.
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    Win 11 Pro Dev build 22454.1000
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    Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga X1
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    Intel i7-7600U
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    Intel
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    16igg
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    Intel HD 620
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    Onboard
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Dav

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I use BitLocker on 2 of 3 laptops. It is used on both internal drives, 1 SSD and 1 HardDrive each. Also I use it on several flash drives and they work fine just as one would expect. I don't notice any performance issues or any thing else.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro
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    HP/Envy-17T
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    Intel Core i7 @ 1.80GHz
    Motherboard
    HP - 8485 (U3E1)
    Memory
    16gb
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    Intel UHD Graphics 620 and NVIDIA GeForce MX150
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hsehestedt

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For me, I have no degradation of performance anywhere with BitLocker (at least, nothing noticabale) except on my flash drives. Yesterday I completely wiped a flash drive, then created two partitions - one with BitLocker, one without. The same data copies to the non-BitLocker partition almost ten times faster. No clue why.

In any case, I have well over 100 flash drives but I'm transitioning away from them to SSDs.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 21H2
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Home Built
    CPU
    Intel i7-11700K
    Motherboard
    ASUS Prime Z590-A
    Memory
    128GB Crucial Ballistix 3200MHz DRAM
    Graphics Card(s)
    No GPU - CPU graphics only (for now)
    Sound Card
    Realtek (on motherboard)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    HP Envy 32
    Screen Resolution
    2560 x 1440
    Hard Drives
    1 x 1TB NVMe Gen 4 x 4 SSD
    1 x 2TB NVMe Gen 3 x 4 SSD
    2 x 512GB 2.5" SSDs
    2 x 8TB HD
    PSU
    Corsair HX850i
    Case
    Corsair iCue 5000X RGB
    Cooling
    Noctua NH-D15 chromax.black cooler + 10 case fans
    Keyboard
    CODE backlit mechanical keyboard
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    300Mb down / 20Mb up
    Browser
    Chromium Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    Additional options installed:
    WiFi 6E PCIe adapter
    ASUS ThunderboltEX 4 PCIe adapter
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 21H2
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Spectre x360 15-BL012DX
    CPU
    Intel i7-7500U
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Dual Intel HD 620 and Nvidia GeForce 940MX
    Sound Card
    Built-in Realtek HD Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    4k 15-inch
    Screen Resolution
    4k (3840 x 2160)
    Hard Drives
    1TB Seagate FireCuda 510 NVMe SSD
    Internet Speed
    300Mb down / 20Mb up
    Browser
    Chromium Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    RAM Upgraded from 16GB to 32GB WiFi Upgraded from WiFi 5 to WiFi 6 SSD upgraded from 512GB NVMe SSD to 1TB Seagate FireCuda 510 NVMe SSD

Dru2

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For me, I have no degradation of performance anywhere with BitLocker (at least, nothing noticabale) except on my flash drives.

Run a benchmark with and without as I did. Anyway, this is what Microsoft says...
Is there a noticeable performance impact when BitLocker is enabled on a computer?

Typically, there's a small performance overhead, often in single-digit percentages, which is relative to the throughput of the storage operations on which it needs to operate.
Source: BitLocker deployment and administration FAQ (Windows 10) - Windows security

That said, it's not something you'll notice. The only way I found out (realized) was when I ran a speed test on my drives. Was wondering why I wasn't getting the numbers I expected and found it was BitLocker. Did it make me disable BitLocker... no. Is it impactful... no.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro 21H2 (22000.613)
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom built
    CPU
    Intel i9-9900K
    Motherboard
    Gigabyte Aorus Z390 Xtreme
    Memory
    32G (4x8) DDR4 Corsair RGB Dominator Platinum (3600Mhz)
    Graphics Card(s)
    Radeon VII
    Sound Card
    Onboard (ESS Sabre HiFi using Realtek drivers)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    NEC PA242w (24 inch)
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1200
    Hard Drives
    5 Samsung SSD drives: 2X 970 NVME (512 & 1TB), 3X EVO SATA (2X 2TB, 1X 1TB)
    PSU
    EVGA Super Nova I000 P2 (1000 watt)
    Case
    Cooler Master H500M
    Cooling
    Corsair H115i RGB Platinum
    Keyboard
    Logitech Craft
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 2S
    Internet Speed
    500mb Download. 11mb Upload
    Browser
    Microsoft Edge Chromium
    Antivirus
    Windows Security
    Other Info
    System used for gaming, photography, audiophile media center, work.
  • Operating System
    Win 11 Pro Dev build 22454.1000
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga X1
    CPU
    Intel i7-7600U
    Motherboard
    Intel
    Memory
    16igg
    Graphics card(s)
    Intel HD 620
    Sound Card
    Onboard
    Monitor(s) Displays
    14.0 WQHD OLED Touch
    Screen Resolution
    2560 x 1440
    Hard Drives
    1TB NVMe Drive (OEM)
    PSU
    laptop
    Case
    laptop
    Cooling
    Laptop cooling
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Anywhere 2S
    Keyboard
    Laptop
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    100MB
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hsehestedt

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I've run benchmarks in the past. As I said, all is well except on flash drives for me. I go from 200+ MB/s down to under 20 MB/s.

Would have been nice to know why but I've put a new strategy into play, so it now no longer matters to me :)
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 21H2
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Home Built
    CPU
    Intel i7-11700K
    Motherboard
    ASUS Prime Z590-A
    Memory
    128GB Crucial Ballistix 3200MHz DRAM
    Graphics Card(s)
    No GPU - CPU graphics only (for now)
    Sound Card
    Realtek (on motherboard)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    HP Envy 32
    Screen Resolution
    2560 x 1440
    Hard Drives
    1 x 1TB NVMe Gen 4 x 4 SSD
    1 x 2TB NVMe Gen 3 x 4 SSD
    2 x 512GB 2.5" SSDs
    2 x 8TB HD
    PSU
    Corsair HX850i
    Case
    Corsair iCue 5000X RGB
    Cooling
    Noctua NH-D15 chromax.black cooler + 10 case fans
    Keyboard
    CODE backlit mechanical keyboard
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    300Mb down / 20Mb up
    Browser
    Chromium Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    Additional options installed:
    WiFi 6E PCIe adapter
    ASUS ThunderboltEX 4 PCIe adapter
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 21H2
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Spectre x360 15-BL012DX
    CPU
    Intel i7-7500U
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Dual Intel HD 620 and Nvidia GeForce 940MX
    Sound Card
    Built-in Realtek HD Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    4k 15-inch
    Screen Resolution
    4k (3840 x 2160)
    Hard Drives
    1TB Seagate FireCuda 510 NVMe SSD
    Internet Speed
    300Mb down / 20Mb up
    Browser
    Chromium Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    RAM Upgraded from 16GB to 32GB WiFi Upgraded from WiFi 5 to WiFi 6 SSD upgraded from 512GB NVMe SSD to 1TB Seagate FireCuda 510 NVMe SSD

Dru2

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Just FYI. Do with it what you will :)
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro 21H2 (22000.613)
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom built
    CPU
    Intel i9-9900K
    Motherboard
    Gigabyte Aorus Z390 Xtreme
    Memory
    32G (4x8) DDR4 Corsair RGB Dominator Platinum (3600Mhz)
    Graphics Card(s)
    Radeon VII
    Sound Card
    Onboard (ESS Sabre HiFi using Realtek drivers)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    NEC PA242w (24 inch)
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1200
    Hard Drives
    5 Samsung SSD drives: 2X 970 NVME (512 & 1TB), 3X EVO SATA (2X 2TB, 1X 1TB)
    PSU
    EVGA Super Nova I000 P2 (1000 watt)
    Case
    Cooler Master H500M
    Cooling
    Corsair H115i RGB Platinum
    Keyboard
    Logitech Craft
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 2S
    Internet Speed
    500mb Download. 11mb Upload
    Browser
    Microsoft Edge Chromium
    Antivirus
    Windows Security
    Other Info
    System used for gaming, photography, audiophile media center, work.
  • Operating System
    Win 11 Pro Dev build 22454.1000
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga X1
    CPU
    Intel i7-7600U
    Motherboard
    Intel
    Memory
    16igg
    Graphics card(s)
    Intel HD 620
    Sound Card
    Onboard
    Monitor(s) Displays
    14.0 WQHD OLED Touch
    Screen Resolution
    2560 x 1440
    Hard Drives
    1TB NVMe Drive (OEM)
    PSU
    laptop
    Case
    laptop
    Cooling
    Laptop cooling
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Anywhere 2S
    Keyboard
    Laptop
    Internet Speed
    100MB
    Browser
    Edge Chromium
    Antivirus
    Windows Security
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