Skip to main content

Protect Your Data! TrueCrypt 7.0a's Performance, Analyzed

Conclusion: AES-NI Preserves Performance Reserves

When it comes to a basic assessment of TrueCrypt, the benchmark results do not really matter that much. The open source program is a mature and highly recommended security solution that allows you to effortlessly encrypt partitions and hard drives, keeping files and folders on your computer safe. Regardless of whether you are running TrueCrypt on Windows, Mac OS, or Linux, the files selected by the user are encrypted using strong algorithms, at all times protected from access by unauthorized third parties.

Its versatility enabled even the previous TrueCrypt version 6.1 to stand out from competitors, such as BitLocker. It only lacked AES-NI support. This has now been taken care of in TrueCrypt 7.0a, finally making it our encryption tool of choice. We're even extending that recommendation to computers without hardware acceleration of AES. Compared to an unencrypted system, TrueCrypt encryption does affect system performance (as expected). But it in no way interferes with the user, and it doesn't demonstrate a performance impact that would be noticeable on a mainstream PC.

However, you should not install TrueCrypt by default if you are running a system that relies heavily on I/O (a database server, for example). Even if it can handle real-time encryption, the program cannot match the I/O performance and data throughput of an unencrypted system yet.

Exploiting the AES-NI instruction set is highly recommended if your computer is equipped with an Intel CPU that offers the feature. This includes the 32 nm Clarkdale-based processors, six-core Gulftown-based CPUs, and second-gen Core i5/i7 chips that center on Intel's Sandy Bridge architecture (Sandy Bridge-based Core i3s do not support AES-NI, unfortunately).

For simple encryption, the performance gain attributable to AES-NI is not that large compared to standard non-accelerated AES encryption. However, the CPU load drops significantly when the feature is active, giving the computer more power reserves and enabling even higher levels of security if necessary. AES-NI-compatible systems allow for more flexibility when setting up the encryption, and can handle a double encryption without any noticeable performance hit.

  • truchonic
    can we send this to sony?
    Reply
  • eddieroolz
    I like the jab at Sony in the opening page!

    Anyhow. I've used TrueCrypt 7.0a for about a year now to secure my sensitive information. I've only encrypted a non-system partition as of now, but for the purpose of storing sensitive files the performance hit is unnoticeable. Took a bit of time to set up, but in the end, all worth it.
    Reply
  • kikireeki
    TrueCrypt is the best, but anyone who uses it should keep in mind that the data encrypted by it is not meant to be recoverable.
    Reply
  • I encrypted my HP dm1z "netbook" system partition with Truecrypt. Even without AES-NI support by AMD E-350 the computer is still very responsive for non-gaming tasks. Thanks to Truecrypt for their great encryption utility and also to AMD for making a decent low-end APU.
    Reply
  • jrnyfan
    True Crypt pwns. fin.
    Reply
  • alidan
    a strong password and change it often...
    yea thats so not happening.

    i could make my password look like that,
    €‡“ŸeVmAE•kvÕbœ
    but it would be REALY HARD to remember, and changeing it on a, lets say, monthly basis.... who are you kidding.

    i have a 5 letter password
    i have an 8 letter password
    and i have a 6 letter password for when places force me to use a number, but at the same time, wont let me have 2 letters that are the same in a password.

    i find it agonizingly annoying that i cant use a 5 letter password for everything, because i despise having more than 1. its my account, i will make it as secure as i want. i pay 10$ a month for id theft protection, is an account is lost because of "hacker" i tell someone about it and the account is dead to me.

    i have only had 1 hacker in my life go for any one of my 100's of accounts (i mean 100's literally) and that is my gaia account that i made when gaia was new, and someone tried to brute force the account, 5 times back in 2008 (i have the emails in a special folder labeled F@$#ING BRUTEFORCER, without the censoring) and not a f@#$ was given by gaia (i didn't care, i stopped using it years before, i just informed them that some a$$hole was hacking my account to hopefully ban them, but they told me to p!SS off in almost those exact words). honestly security is overrated, yea id theft is bad, if you are parinoid, get protection and stop worrying, get a password that is 10 letters and number long, as no one is bruteforceing that, refuardless of where the account it, as long as they don't have your info or actually hacked the service.
    Reply
  • memadmax
    alidan,
    hackers use bruteforce as last resort as it takes so long.
    Now they do the sneaky worm into your keyboard with a keylogger most times. Or if they are really targeting you, or want you bad, they will dig in your garbage....
    Net Security 101...
    Reply
  • sudeshc
    You want best encryption deal with the drawbacks as you find them or else write your own encryption logic.
    Reply
  • alidan
    memadmaxalidan,hackers use bruteforce as last resort as it takes so long.Now they do the sneaky worm into your keyboard with a keylogger most times. Or if they are really targeting you, or want you bad, they will dig in your garbage....Net Security 101...
    not realy, what they do first and formost, is check any online foot mark you have. usualy your password is something you know, such as mothers maden name or a birthday. i use to use my birthday completely spelt out, but that is to long for MANY passwords, and, as you can see, my spelling is atrocious, so i spell it wrong 9 times out of 10.

    but its my point exactly, they will get the info weather you want them to or not, and odds are, they will dumpser dive a hospital, dentist office, or doctors to get the info before they will ever go online.
    Reply
  • Wamphryi
    I think that some may be missing the point about the benefits of encryption. For data on more portable media Truecrypt is most excellent. Also to be considered is that the data thief you should worry most about is not the Super Hacker on line but the opportunist thief who happens to steal your laptop. Your mail and photos etc in the hands of some petty thief?
    Reply