Mint on SSD, HDD on a later date

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elise_s1
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Mint on SSD, HDD on a later date

Post by elise_s1 » Sun Mar 20, 2016 5:29 am

Hi,
I'm new and registered here as it looks the right place to get correct answers... so Hi everybody! :D

I had a look both here and with Google on the Internet (including other forums) but got inconsistent answers... so here am I explaining my issues
first my spec:
Dell Optiplex 960 with chipset Q45 (SATA II and Intel Graphics GMA X4500)
8GB RAM
Sandisk SSD SATA III 64 GB
I just installed Mint Rosa for one single user and did all the usual tweaks for SSDs (removed hibernation et al)
With Gparted I reduced the swap partition to 2 GB and left about 6GB unallocated for over provisioning.

first question is about where to "place" the swap and unallocated space to make both work at best. Is it ok as is
gparted.jpeg
or should I change something?

second question is about storage: within a week I will add an HDD where ALL documents will be stored. How should I deal with this? Ideally I wouldn't like to lose the quick response of the SSD so it would be nice to access the HDD only when needed.

third question is about the graphic adapter as there is an annoying glitch when browsing the menu (FF is fine) and I am not sure if is driver related or not.

Finally, as the next LTS is arriving in few months, I'd like to adjust the system now to make the OS update easier when Sarah arrives.

thanks a lot

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Re: Mint on SSD, HDD on a later date

Post by elise_s1 » Sun Mar 20, 2016 5:58 am

here are the detailed specs:

Code: Select all

System:    Host: pc-OptiPlex-960 Kernel: 3.19.0-32-generic x86_64 (64 bit gcc: 4.8.2)
           Desktop: Cinnamon 2.8.6 (Gtk 3.10.8~8+qiana)
           Distro: Linux Mint 17.3 Rosa
Machine:   System: Dell product: OptiPlex 960
           Mobo: Dell model: 0H634K v: A00 Bios: Dell v: A18 date: 08/06/2013
CPU:       Dual core Intel Core2 Duo E8500 (-MCP-) cache: 6144 KB
           flags: (lm nx sse sse2 sse3 sse4_1 ssse3 vmx) bmips: 12635
           clock speeds: max: 3166 MHz 1: 2000 MHz 2: 2000 MHz
Graphics:  Card: Intel 4 Series Integrated Graphics Controller bus-ID: 00:02.0
           Display Server: X.Org 1.17.1 drivers: intel (unloaded: fbdev,vesa)
           Resolution: 1920x1080@60.0hz
           GLX Renderer: Mesa DRI Intel Q45/Q43
           GLX Version: 2.1 Mesa 10.5.9 Direct Rendering: Yes
Audio:     Card Intel 82801JD/DO (ICH10 Family) HD Audio Controller
           driver: snd_hda_intel bus-ID: 00:1b.0
           Sound: Advanced Linux Sound Architecture v: k3.19.0-32-generic
Network:   Card: Intel 82567LM-3 Gigabit Network Connection
           driver: e1000e v: 2.3.2-k port: ece0 bus-ID: 00:19.0
           IF: eth0 state: up speed: 100 Mbps duplex: full mac: <filter>
Drives:    HDD Total Size: 64.0GB (8.2% used)
           ID-1: /dev/sda model: SanDisk_SDSSDP06 size: 64.0GB
Partition: ID-1: / size: 51G used: 4.9G (11%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda1
RAID:      No RAID devices: /proc/mdstat, md_mod kernel module present
Sensors:   System Temperatures: cpu: 34.0C mobo: N/A
           Fan Speeds (in rpm): cpu: N/A
Info:      Processes: 157 Uptime: 13:33 Memory: 753.3/7819.9MB
           Init: Upstart runlevel: 2 Gcc sys: 4.8.4
           Client: Shell (bash 4.3.111) inxi: 2.2.28 

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Re: Mint on SSD, HDD on a later date

Post by prestonR » Sun Mar 20, 2016 8:35 am

Looks good to me. What I'd do:

- boot into a 'live system' and open gparted
- if you want to use 'suspend' give the unallocated space back to swap to match your RAM
- shrink sda1 to about 30GB, plenty until June, Mint hardly 'grows', I'm at 23GB after 2 years
- use new space to create a second partition in preparation for Mint 18
- to fix the graphic glitch try the Mate edition

As far as your second disk is concerned, I'd keep it as a data disk. That keeps all operating system activities on the SSD, preserves the responsiveness of the system and keeps power usage down by 15Watt.
If you from time to time move rarely needed data from your SSD's home directory to the external disk you should be able to run Mint 17 and 18 parallel without running into disk space limitations, thereby allowing for a smooth transition.
Last edited by prestonR on Sun Mar 20, 2016 8:55 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Mint on SSD, HDD on a later date

Post by amethyst_igor » Sun Mar 20, 2016 8:46 am

elise_s1 wrote:Hi,
I'm new and registered here as it looks the right place to get correct answers... so Hi everybody! :D
...Finally, as the next LTS is arriving in few months, I'd like to adjust the system now to make the OS update easier when Sarah arrives.
This advice is fur elise...

Based on your specs, you aren't going to be playing the latest video games, so with an abundant 6GB, I doubt you will have much need of swap. Swap may be a good idea as a precaution, although some people get by without it. I would locate the swap partition on the SSD for speed. Based on your screenshot, it appears you have already done so. SWAP only gets used when programs use up a set percentage of available RAM. The percentage is controlled by a single plain text line found in /etc/sysctl.conf. Remember that most files in /etc control system settings, are in plain text, and can be edited by any text editor. This makes Linux a bit easier to configure sometimes, but the catch is learning which files do what.

So, back to our /etc/sysctl.conf. What value to use? The computer I am writing this reply upon has 8GB of RAM. I do not play big-time video games. So I do not need much swap at all. What I want is for the system not to bother with swapping at all unless it is in dire straits. Swapping is unnecessary I/O for my purposes, in most cases. My line reads:

Code: Select all

vm.swappiness = 2
, which means only when free RAM is reduced to 2% of total RAM, SWAP will be used. Ubuntu, from what I understand, tends to set the percentage higher by default, perhaps for compatibility with users whose computers have very limited RAM, for example, 2GB or less. Ubuntu does not design their system only for you and me, but for everyone, all over the world, of course. So we should make little adjustments for our RAM-rich systems. It is only fair.
elise_s1 wrote: second question is about storage: within a week I will add an HDD where ALL documents will be stored. How should I deal with this? Ideally I wouldn't like to lose the quick response of the SSD so it would be nice to access the HDD only when needed.
You are right to use Gparted to prepare the HDD. That is the first step. You have a couple of options. When installing Linux Mint, you can set the home partition (/home) to be anything you want, such as the HDD. Alternatively, you can simply store your documents and other media files on the HDD, but keep your home partition on the SSD for speed. This may be the better alternative, but bear in mind that Linux applications tend to default to saving things in /home. You will just have to remember to save things to a path on your HDD.

You will want to modify your /etc/fstab file to control the settings of your SSD and HDD. Linux Mint will do this for you automatically and put some good generic defaults in there during the installation process. But if you are adding a new HDD, then modify /etc/fstab. Mine looks like this:

Code: Select all

# /etc/fstab: static file system information.
#
# Use 'blkid' to print the universally unique identifier for a
# device; this may be used with UUID= as a more robust way to name devices
# that works even if disks are added and removed. See fstab(5).
#
# <file system> <mount point>   <type>  <options>       <dump>  <pass>

# / was on /dev/sda1 during installation. this is the SSD.
UUID=9b2011b7-c11b-210c-2dd3-a14ec4ba81a8 /               ext4    errors=remount-ro,noatime,discard	0  1

#/dev/sdb1, the HDD
UUID=06DCEA23DAFA3343 /media/sdb1/   ntfs    defaults,noatime,nobootwait	0  1

#a network drive i wish to have access to upon system boot
//192.168.156.201/intel-gathering		/trusted/serve  cifs guest,uid=1000,iocharset=utf8,domain=gnome,file_mode=0777,dir_mode=0777,noperm  0  0

#it is possible to make little ramdrives to take advantage of the system ram, if desired
#tmpfs /home/igor/.cache/mozilla/firefox tmpfs mode=1777 noatime 0 0
#tmpfs /home/igor/.cache/wesnoth/ tmpfs mode=1777 noatime 0 0
tmpfs /tmp tmpfs defaults,size=2G,noatime,mode=1777 0 0
tmpfs /var/run tmpfs defaults,size=2G,noatime,mode=1777 0 0
tmpfs /var/lock tmpfs defaults,size=256M,noatime,mode=1777 0 0
elise_s1 wrote: third question is about the graphic adapter as there is an annoying glitch when browsing the menu (FF is fine) and I am not sure if is driver related or not.
On one of my systems, I run a Core 2 Duo with GMA graphics, and I haven't had problems, but on the other hand, I installed an ancient NVIDIA 8400 GS video card on it in order to speed up high-def video playback. Unfortunately, such an ancient card does not work with the proprietary driver, even old versions, so I use the open-source Nouveau driver, which seems fine and is installed by default anyway.

I am not sure of the cause of your issue, but you will want to check for drivers on a new install. Use Linux Mint's nifty Driver Manager. Sure, it may not really be necessary for your Intel chip, but Driver Manager is fun and easy to use, and a nice bragging point about Linux Mint, so I like to give it a whirl on new installs. It may detect something that could be easily installed and improve your system. Also, you may wish to install vaapi using the Software Manager, because it is a nice little graphic accelerator that will offload a bit of processing to the video driver in certain applications, such as SMPlayer when used in conjunction with MPV. While you're in Software Manager, do a search for GMA as well.
I run both Windows 10 and Linux Mint 18 in dual boot with two SSDs and have other rigs running various versions of Linux. My blog.

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Re: Mint on SSD, HDD on a later date

Post by elise_s1 » Mon Mar 21, 2016 1:43 pm

thanks everybody.
- I've disabled hibernation so larger swap shouldn't be needed
- Swappiness is already set to 10
along with other minor tweaks

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Re: Mint on SSD, HDD on a later date

Post by elise_s1 » Tue Mar 22, 2016 5:03 am

Now need to find the best way to move /home on the new HDD.
which file system is it adviceable for it? NTFS? FAT32? or ext4?

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Re: Mint on SSD, HDD on a later date

Post by FabioBeneditto » Tue Mar 22, 2016 7:42 am

Hi!
elise_s1 wrote:Now need to find the best way to move /home on the new HDD.
which file system is it adviceable for it? NTFS? FAT32? or ext4?
To preserve permissions, I'm using ext4 on my SSD.
:wq
Fabio Beneditto
"A hacker does for love what others would not do for money."
"A Vida é mais bela quando vista de cima de uma motocicleta.
"
Linux Mint 17.3 Mate (at Work) / XFCE (at Mobile / Home)

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Re: Mint on SSD, HDD on a later date

Post by elise_s1 » Tue Mar 22, 2016 10:30 am

SSD has already been set in Ext4.
Was thinking about Btrfs with compress=lzo but decided against it at the end

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Re: Mint on SSD, HDD on a later date

Post by elise_s1 » Wed Mar 23, 2016 10:22 am

still not sure which file system for /home... any suggestions?

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Re: Mint on SSD, HDD on a later date

Post by Derek_S » Fri Mar 25, 2016 1:44 pm

Hello elise_s1 and welcome to the Linux Mint forums. To answer your first question, it's an SSD you have there, correct? That means it does not matter where your partitions are located on the device or the order they're in, access speeds will not be affected. Unlike conventional HDD's, there is no beginning, middle, or end with an SSD, so you have to give up thinking that your data is stored in a linear order.

To answer your second question, you'll have to do another install using the "Something Else" option in order to have a separate partition for /home. In light of the fact that you've installed Linux Mint just a few days ago, you shouldn't have a large amount of data to backup and restore. Don't do like I do sometimes, please remember to backup your browser's bookmarks as well! :oops:

What I like to do is use Gparted to create and format my disk partitions prior to installation. If you're unfamiliar with using Gparted, here is a good tutorial I recommend reading: http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/gparted.html I suggest using ext4 for both root and home, since I don't believe that the Mint installer supports Btrfs - yet. Maybe that will change with the release of LM18.

Two things that I would change from what you have now: First, think about moving swap from the SSD to the conventional drive, leaving just root on the SSD and having both swap and home on the HDD. Second, root does not have to be 52GB. Try what PrestonR has already recommended, think about making root 30GB in size.

Here is a screenshot that illustrates what you need to do when using the "Something Else" option to install:
#11.png
Note that you must do three things for both the root and home partitions: 1.) For "Use as", select "Ext4 journaling file system". 2.) Check the box marked "Format". 3.) For "Mount point", select " / " for root and " /home" for home. Then go down and make sure that "Device for bootloader installation" corresponds to the SSD, not the conventional HDD. In other words, if the SSD is /dev/sda and the HDD is /dev/sdb, make sure to select /dev/sda. After that, it's just a matter of repeating what you did the first time you installed.

To answer your third question, usually graphics issues and drivers can be sorted out after the installation. In light of the fact your system has Intel graphcs, I'm a little surprised you're having a problem. Usually Intel graphics have no issues at all compared to Radeon or Nvidia graphics.

To answer your last question, when LM18 Sarah is available, you can install it using the "Something Else" option as well, with one very important exception from what I explained above: When you get to the part where set the partition type (Ext4) and mount point (/home) for your home partition, DO NOT check the box marked "Format". This will preserve your data on the home partition during the new install.
"When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself." - Tecumseh

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Re: Mint on SSD, HDD on a later date

Post by elise_s1 » Fri Mar 25, 2016 4:39 pm

Hi Derek, thank you for the welcome and the comprehensive answers.
Derek_S wrote: To answer your second question, you'll have to do another install using the "Something Else" option in order to have a separate partition for /home. In light of the fact that you've installed Linux Mint just a few days ago, you shouldn't have a large amount of data to backup and restore.
In fact I don't have any data at all (not even bookmarks) but there are all the updates, all the customizations for the operating system and Firefox, all the new programs installed (including Gparted).
Unfortunately once I have the HDD I won't have internet access (or very limited) so I'd rather not do the fresh install again as all the downloads wil be problematic. Would it be feasible to edit the system with live USB ? Swap file is not an issue (I can delete it and create a partition somewhere else).
moving /home might be a touch more challenging but I'll give it a go (a guide could be much appreciated).
Derek_S wrote: Two things that I would change from what you have now: First, think about moving swap from the SSD to the conventional drive, leaving just root on the SSD and having both swap and home on the HDD. Second, root does not have to be 52GB. Try what PrestonR has already recommended, think about making root 30GB in size.
I understand root could be much smaller but is there any benefit in doing so? will the SSD (or something else) take any advantage from this empty space (50% instead of 10%)?
Derek_S wrote: To answer your third question, usually graphics issues and drivers can be sorted out after the installation. In light of the fact your system has Intel graphcs, I'm a little surprised you're having a problem. Usually Intel graphics have no issues at all compared to Radeon or Nvidia graphics.
the graphic performance is fine.
only on some menus there is some sort of "flickering" as long as the mouse is hovering on icons. it is a minor glitch and graphics is rock solid on Firefox or other programs.

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Re: Mint on SSD, HDD on a later date

Post by Derek_S » Fri Mar 25, 2016 5:03 pm

Hello elise_s1 - I described what I felt was the easiest way for you to create a separate home partition. It is possible to create a home partition on an already installed system without having to re-install, but this approach is a quite a bit more complicated. I was hoping to spare you that and avoid any chance that something might go wrong in the process.

Here is a link describing how to do this: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Parti ... ome/Moving

The above guide follows these 9 basic steps:

1.) Create and format your new home partition on the HDD
2.) Find the uuid of the new partition using blkid
3.) Backup and edit your current fstab to mount the new partition as /media/home (temporarily) and reboot
4.) Use rsync to migrate all data from /home into /media/home
5.) Check that copying worked using diff
6.) Change the directory /home to /old_home to prepare for the switch
7.) Edit fstab once more so the new partition mounts as /home instead of as /media/home - switching home directories
8.) Reboot or remount all. Check system seems to be working well
9.) Once you verify there are no problems delete the /old_home directory - but don't do this immediately just in case!
"When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself." - Tecumseh

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