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Admetus 10-06-2012 07:26 AM

How to ensure an SSD drive's compatibility with both GPT-BIOS and EFI motherboards
First the context. I'm intending to install arch linux on a 120Gb SSD. My foremost concern is to ensure maximal compatibility with various computers as I travel from job to job overseas, therefore booting the SSD in a different PC without trouble is crucial (migrating the SSD to a new motherboard and set of devices). As well as the booting, the arch wiki has detailed what one can do to improve performance of SSDs, but without indicating what modifications have the greatest priority. It has convinced me that the I/O scheduler should be changed, the alternatives I have mentioned in the last section.


The installation will leave me a choice between MBR and GPT partitioning. In the case of GPT, a 2MiB boot partition needs to be prepared for grub2 to ensure BIOS compatibility. I lean towards GPT but it's worth noting that the number of partitions I will prepare on my SSD will not exceed the capacity of the logical drives available on MBR, so please inform me if it's otherwise not worth the hassle.

If I do use GPT, I would have a 2MiB grub-bios partition. Now, what happens if I move my SSD to an EFI motherboard? The installation guide suggests a grub-efi partition of the same 2MiB size.

How do I ensure my SSD (GPT partitioned) works on both a BIOS and EFI motherboard? Should I have two separate 2MiB boot partitions? Or can one 2MiB boot partition be converted between the two? (with efi alternatively mounted on /mnt/boot/efi)

Compatibility (open for discussion)

What problems may I face when I boot arch linux with a different architecture and set of devices?

SSD management

It may be best for me to change to NOOP or Deadline I/O schedulers, prior to which I want to ask which is the best and most friendly for novices?

What other modifications might you recommend for the management of the SSD? I have noted reducing swappiness if physical memory is above 2GB. Any more suggestions of what I should do to increase performance and lifetime of the disk?

Thankyou for your help!

Ztcoracat 10-16-2012 03:46 AM


In a prior post another member made it clear that he choose GPT over MBR but in his case he was working with a 1TB drive not an ssd.

From the research I did on UEFI and EFI I'll share what I know and hope it helps.

The bootloader must be compiled for the architecture correctly.
Since each OS can maintain it's own files within the EFI Sys Partition w/o affecting the other multibooting using EFI is a matter of launching a different UEFT application corresponding to the particular OS's bootloader.

For the sake of Windows UEFI booting, the Linux bootloader should also be installed in UEFI-GPT Mode if booting from the same disk.

For Linux to access UEFI Runtime Services the Firmware Processor architecture and the Linux Kernel processor must match. It is independent of the bootloader used. If not you will get Kernel Panic!
It's recommended to use kernel 3.0 or higher

The Linux Foundation made a PDF for this secure boot and how to implement it:

This article may help you.

I'm not sure what will happen if you move your ssd to an efi motherboard but it should recognize the architecture that you are mounting.( you may have to make adjustments in the BIOS) The Linuxfoundation article said:
You would have to extract the OS vendors key exchange key and install it to the database. Also lock down a secure boot using a platform key and a key exchange key to generate signed binaries.
This tool would be activated by the UEFI System as soon as it saw the un-autherised media inseerted so the platform owner (you) could decide wheter they wished to accept the key for OS install and boot.

Sounds like it could get intresting to say the least.

I'm not the expert here but I've shared with you my research; hope it helped-

Ztcoracat 10-16-2012 04:17 AM

These articles are helpful as well:
"SSD Optimization Tweaks to Increase SSD Performance"

"The SSD Optimization Guide Redesigned"

"Understanding SSD And It's Implications"

Good luck:D

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