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Old 02-19-2020, 06:59 PM   #1
Joydeck
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Optimum SSD and HDD setup on a new Linux PC


I am about to switch from Windows 7 to Linux Mint on a desktop I am yet to buy. I am looking at a 2 TB HDD and a 500 GB SSD (Samsung 860 EVO) and have a question about setup and SSD usage.

I am new to Linux and plan to install Linux OS, programs and my Home directory in one partition on the SSD. Downloads, music, photos and videos will stay on HDD directories and I will direct log files to the HDD.

I understand installing the Home directory in a separate SSD partition or on the HDD is less favoured these days. I am keen to extend the life of the SSD and will follow SSD optimisation advice.

Is my plan reasonable?

Last edited by Joydeck; 02-25-2020 at 03:57 AM. Reason: Removed senseless reference to a 150 GB partition
 
Old 02-19-2020, 07:27 PM   #2
baldur_1
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absolutely. but not really. reading and writing over and again is what stresses an hdd/ssd so if you put downloads on that, you are stressing the drive more and making it more likely to failure. put the stuff you want to keep on the hdd and use the ssd for the os, home dir and downloads and logs (most downloads go in your home dir anyway). those are high reading/writing processes so keep them on the same drive. if you want your home dir backed, use rsync to sync it to a directory on your hdd and you should be good. just dont sync the active downloading directory.

it is not a HUGE deal but from what i have read and stuff, it is better that way. also, depending on the quality of the ssd, mlc, qlc, slc or tlc, is how reliable your ssd is going to be. slc is the highest quality and considered enterprise grade. you dont have that. mlc or qlc are more likely what you have. samsungs are usually mlc which is solid for longer term storage but if it is not mlc, it is not good for longer term storage. like tlc and qlc are basically cheap and not good for longer term storage.

so, that is my 2 cents, take it for what it is.
 
Old 02-19-2020, 07:32 PM   #3
frankbell
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Sounds reasonable to me. I think some of the concerns regarding read/write on SSD drives have been found, not unfounded, but not as dire as they were portrayed with SSD drives first came out.

Regarding a separate /home, I always set up my machines with a separate home partition. It makes like much easier if you must reinstall or wish to switch to another distro.

I am not aware of separate /home partitions falling in--er--popularity. What I am aware of is that, with machines having 16GB or more of RAM, some persons are choosing not to have a separate /swap. The machine I'm using now has 16 GB RAM and an uptime of about two weeks and I've been mucking about with VMs, sometimes using two at a time, and is using less than 20 MB of a 4GB /swap.

I prefer a separate /swap, because it makes the amount of swap a known quantity.

Last edited by frankbell; 02-19-2020 at 07:34 PM.
 
Old 02-21-2020, 02:10 AM   #4
Joydeck
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankbell View Post
I am not aware of separate /home partitions falling in--er--popularity.
From Google (the last year), I understand SSD lifespan is no longer an issue with quality SSDs in a normal usage, so long as the drive is 25% empty. SSD life should be excellent if I leave the SSD half empty, avoid hibernation, lower the swappiness, and keep my high throughput directories (like Downloads) on the HDD using symlinks. With 32 GB RAM, I expect the Linux Mint swap file on the SSD will be rarely used.

I may yet create a 350 GB partition on the SSD for Home and 150 GB for the OS, but I understand increasing the 150 GB, later, may not be easy. I am told Home partitions only make the SSD less flexible, while backing up Home for an OS upgrade is easy. Am I right?

Thank you both for helping.
 
Old 02-21-2020, 03:51 AM   #5
syg00
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The only problem I've had with SSD in the last several years is having to extract them when the laptop dies. Not the SSD, but the laptop dies.

Why do you think you need 150G for the OS - especially if
Quote:
I may yet create a 350 GB partition on the SSD for Home and 150 GB for the OS
20G should be plenty with a separate /home - add 50% if you need a security blanket. Linux filesystems can be easily enlarged if (pre-)planned properly - usually online, and in use. Linux has LVM, like dynamic disks or storage spaces in Windows, that makes this essentially transparent, but if you use normal (think basic disk in Windows) partitions, you need to allocate free space appropriately. As for the separate /home, it adds flexibily - I almost always set up this way.
 
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Old 02-21-2020, 07:59 AM   #6
sevendogsbsd
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I have 2 SSDs and trim is the only thing I do to "take care" of them. One for /home, one for /. People get all crazy about SSD set ups but to me this is not necessary. Buy a quality SSD, install to it and forget about it. Back up your data though, just like you should be doing anyway.
 
Old 02-21-2020, 09:45 AM   #7
fatmac
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Presuming this is for home use, create a system (/) partition, about 25% bigger than the intended needed for the programs you expect to install, another partition for your /home, don't bother with a swap, unnecessary these days with anything over 4GB of ram, unless you're into heavy processing. Having all your music & media on a standard HDD is good.

As said before, having a separate /home is always worth doing.


P.S. I don't know what people keep on their computers these days, I have enough room on a 64GB SSD for all mine.

Last edited by fatmac; 02-21-2020 at 09:48 AM.
 
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Old 02-21-2020, 04:35 PM   #8
Hermani
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Recently I read an interesting article from ZDNet (https://www.zdnet.com/article/ssd-re...es-experience/) and analysing Google outcome data they found the following:
  1. multilayer SSD's are no less reliable that the single layer SSD's
  2. age, not use, correlates with increasing error rates
  3. a SSD is less likely to fail during its normal life, but more likely to lose data

The outcome of the Google study mentioned above does show that earlier worries about multilayer SSD's, heavier use or short life span did not hold true. And while as Linux users we all of course love those spinning drives they might as well be confined to server use and we shouldn't worry about our SSD's in desktop or laptop machines any longer.

Because of this I'd stay away from using a HDD in the future. You can have a 2 TB for as low as about $ 200 so I'd just use one drive or use a second 2 TB SSD for your /home folder.
 
Old 02-25-2020, 04:53 AM   #9
Joydeck
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All very helpful replies.

I now intend a 1 TB mid-range SSD and no longer need an internal HDD. A 4 TB external USB 3 drive will suffice.

I intend to create a 40 GB partition for the Linux OS and programs, leaving 960 GB for my home partition. I plan to leave 250 GB of the SSD (25%) unused to preserve SSD speed and life expectancy. With so much unused SSD space, LVM is unnecessary.
 
Old 02-25-2020, 07:08 AM   #10
JeremyBoden
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If you create a separate /home partition it makes backups & major upgrades much easier.
BTW I'm running quite a heavyweight distro and I've got 20GB allocated for / (of which 50% is actually used).

Reinstalling the OS takes minutes, not hours so a backup is probably not necessary for the OS.
 
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Old 02-25-2020, 02:58 PM   #11
Hermani
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeremyBoden View Post
If you create a separate /home partition it makes backups & major upgrades much easier. (...) Reinstalling the OS takes minutes, not hours so a backup is probably not necessary for the OS.
I'd second that. A separate /home is probably more useful than leaving 25% unused. You probably won't fill up the SSD to the brim anyway, and the controller takes care of the rest. Although it will never hurt you (except in the back pocket ).

SSD controllers already have some level of overprovisioning programmed into them, as explained in this simple but clear article from Kingston: https://www.kingston.com/us/ssd/overprovisioning. So I don't really know whether the 25% blank space recommended an article of How-to Geek (https://www.howtogeek.com/165472/6-t...-state-drives/ still holds true.

Last edited by Hermani; 02-25-2020 at 03:00 PM.
 
Old 02-25-2020, 05:01 PM   #12
binkyd
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A separate home directory will also allow you to completely change distros with minimal hassle - something a lot of linux users do with great abandon.
You'll just need to maybe get rid of some of the hidden files, but that will be it.
 
Old 02-26-2020, 01:30 AM   #13
Joydeck
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeremyBoden View Post
If you create a separate /home partition it makes backups & major upgrades much easier...

Reinstalling the OS takes minutes, not hours so a backup is probably not necessary for the OS.
Yes, I shall create a separate /home partition.

I am curious. If I don't backup my 40 GB OS partition, I presume I must somehow backup a list of installed programs. When I reinstall the OS and these programs, I presume program settings in the 960 GB /home directory will still be recognised.
 
Old 02-26-2020, 06:57 AM   #14
JeremyBoden
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If you install lots of programs or do a lot of customisation it would be a good idea to have a list of packages installed.

System wide (all users) settings are held in /etc/ whilst settings that only apply to a single user will be held in hidden files in the users home directory.
All settings will still apply after a reinstall, except if you've changed files in /etc/ then they will revert to their old values.
 
  


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