Using a 40 gig SSD

Marius Gedminas marius at
Sat Apr 10 15:13:07 UTC 2010

On Fri, Apr 09, 2010 at 09:50:21PM +0800, Sandy Harris wrote:
> I have acquired a 40 gig solid state disk, wonder how best to use it.
> Context is a single-user desktop, Xubuntu on 2666 MHz Core 2
> with 4 gigs of RAM. Current setup uses a hard drive with separate
> partitions for / /usr and /var with about 1, 7 and 1 gig used
> respectively.

If it's a good SSD, put everything on it and enjoy fast boot times,
near-instant Firefox/OpenOffice startup times, near-instant greps
through gigabyte-sized source trees and all the other goodies.

If it's a crappy SSD, put everything except /home and maybe /var and
/tmp on it.  Random writes are slow on crappy SSDs.  Although I would be
tempted to put /home on the SSD too and see how fast it is or isn't.

Oh, and don't put swap partitions on the SSD.  You've got 4 gigs of RAM,
you don't need swap.  Unless you want to use suspend to disk.

> What file system should I consider for the SSD?

If it's a good SSD, ext3 or ext4.

If it's a crappy SSD, use ext2.  A crappy 16 GB SSD died in under a year
on my Asus EeePC 900: the ext3 journal started spewing bad block errors
on read (which surprised me; I'd've expected write errors).

Crappy SSDs have poor write-leveling, so places that get rewritten a lot
(like the ext3 journal) can become unusable before the rest of the disk.

> Should I put
> only / and /usr there and have the more volatile /var on
> rotating storage? Any other advice?

Keeping up-to-date backups is always good advice.

Intel makes good SSDs.

Interesting reading:

  * AnandTech series of SSD reviews

  * Linus Torvalds about SSDs:

  * Linus Torvalds about putting swap on an SSD:

Marius Gedminas
I used to think I was indecisive, but now I'm not so sure.
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