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Old 11-06-2017, 10:43 PM   #1
1337_powerslacker
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Slackware on M.2: Practical or no?


I've been considering for some time the practicality of upgrading my system to use M.2 drives. As my system is currently a few years old, M.2 sockets are not available native on my motherboard. If I decide to go ahead with the purchase, I will buy a M.2 adapter card. But the questions I need answers to are:
  • Does Slackware boot significantly faster on M.2 than SATA III?
  • I currently have a working, customized Slackware installation I wish to keep intact, and I heard that LILO does not work with NVMe, only elilo. My boot drive has LILO installed on it. Would it be possible to simply copy all files from the SATA drive to the M.2 drive and install elilo manually, or will it be best to reinstall?

I would prefer not to have to reinstall, if at all possible. Thanks for any suggestions you might have.
 
Old 11-07-2017, 02:33 AM   #2
ppr:kut
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M.2 on its own doesn't say much. There's plenty of M.2 SSDs out there using SATA as interface and then you'd hardly get any speed benefit.
Switching from SATA SSD to NVMe SSD (Samsung 950 Pro), however, was for me as much a speed boost as switching from HDD to SSD.

I'm using grub as bootloader, because of both NVMe and EFI, and it works just fine. Migrating the harddisk should theoretically work fine as well, but if you have EFI you might run into some boot device selection problems if the harddisk ID changes. You'll have to play with efibootmgr in that case. But I suppose if you didn't have to do that on initial install, you don't have to do that now either.
 
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Old 11-07-2017, 04:23 AM   #3
solarfields
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check this out:
https://alien.slackbook.org/blog/bui...all-slackware/

Quote:
So, the question became: I want to run a stable Slackware release on my new build server, but how am I going to install it? I was facing two major issues:

The installer of Slackware 14.2 does not support NVMe boot devices (the new type of SSD hard drives with a M.2 PCI-express interface)
The Slackware 14.2 installer lacks network capability on this new hardware, so I would have to perform a local install
 
Old 11-07-2017, 11:52 AM   #4
1337_powerslacker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ppr:kut View Post
M.2 on its own doesn't say much. There's plenty of M.2 SSDs out there using SATA as interface and then you'd hardly get any speed benefit.
Switching from SATA SSD to NVMe SSD (Samsung 950 Pro), however, was for me as much a speed boost as switching from HDD to SSD.

I'm using grub as bootloader, because of both NVMe and EFI, and it works just fine. Migrating the harddisk should theoretically work fine as well, but if you have EFI you might run into some boot device selection problems if the harddisk ID changes. You'll have to play with efibootmgr in that case. But I suppose if you didn't have to do that on initial install, you don't have to do that now either.
I apologize for not being more specific, as I am new to M.2. Yes, I am speaking of the NVMe variety. It's good to know that the speed difference will be substantial. I'm all for faster boots, as well as faster operations overall.

Also, I will have to brush up on grub, as I have only used LILO in the past. It looks like I've got some reading to do!
 
Old 11-07-2017, 11:55 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solarfields View Post
I saw that post awhile back. I'll keep it in mind when I purchase my drive. Thanks for the heads-up!
 
Old 11-07-2017, 01:40 PM   #6
bassmadrigal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1337_powerslacker View Post
Also, I will have to brush up on grub, as I have only used LILO in the past. It looks like I've got some reading to do!
If you don't want to, you don't need to learn grub. elilo works great with NVMe drives using UEFI (although, if you want to use eliloconfig, you need the one from -current as the one from 14.2 doesn't recognize NVMe drives). And elilo.conf has an almost identical layout to lilo.conf with the added benefit you don't have to run lilo (or elilo) after making changes to it. You can simply reboot.
 
Old 11-07-2017, 02:33 PM   #7
1337_powerslacker
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My motherboard does not have the ability to boot from NVMe SSD directly, being manufactured around 5 years ago; however, I think I may have a workaround: chain-loading.

Simply put, since my motherboard does have the ability to boot from USB, I will put the LILO bootloader on a flash drive, and configure lilo.conf such that it points to the NVMe SSD. In theory, it should work.

As for the NVMe, I'll copy the files from the SATA drive over, and install grub directly on the NVMe. So what should happen is something like this: LILO (USB) --> grub (NVMe)--> Slackware

Anyone see any potential issues with this? Thanks!
 
Old 11-07-2017, 02:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bassmadrigal View Post
If you don't want to, you don't need to learn grub. elilo works great with NVMe drives using UEFI (although, if you want to use eliloconfig, you need the one from -current as the one from 14.2 doesn't recognize NVMe drives). And elilo.conf has an almost identical layout to lilo.conf with the added benefit you don't have to run lilo (or elilo) after making changes to it. You can simply reboot.
Thanks for the heads-up! So it will be instead: LILO (USB) --> elilo (NVMe) --> Slackware.
 
Old 11-11-2017, 11:00 PM   #9
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After fiddling around with various methods as a workaround for my system being too old to boot from NVMe, I've come up with a method that, in retrospect is obvious, but since I have had no need to do in the past: I have partitioned my SSD such that I have a /boot partition, but / is on the NVMe. And it works wonderfully. Thanks again to everyone who chimed in. It was greatly appreciated!

Oh, and BTW, I'm taking ppr:kut's suggestion and using grub; it appears to be the least troublesome solution (for the moment).

Happy Slacking!

Last edited by 1337_powerslacker; 11-12-2017 at 03:15 AM.
 
  


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