FileVault 2 Performance Numbers

The impetus for this post stems from my own interest in security and the recent comments by Tim Cook on encryption and privacy. In the event my laptop is stolen, I deserve to have the confidence and safety in having a full-disk encrypted machine which is (as much as possible) impervious to snooping.

Unfortunately I also need the highest level of performance possible as I routinely compile code and run heavy IDEs (IDEA, Eclipse, etc.). Until recently I thought that full disk encryption would hinder my day to day development tasks at home on my MBP. I’m now convinced otherwise.

Today I re-installed OS X and ran various benchmarking tools (with and without FileVault 2 enabled). Here are the results:

FileVault 2 Enabled:

FileVault 2 Enabled Performance Numbers

FileVault 2 Disabled:

FileVault 2 Disabled Performance Numbers

As we can see from the numbers above (I ran them repeatedly to ensure there wasn’t much of a difference between runs), the performance penalty is not nearly as pronounced as one might expect. As a result I plan using full-disk encrypting both my laptop and it’s Time Machine backup.