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Thread: Replacing/using Intel Optane NVMe on a new Lenovo Ideacentre PC

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    Lightbulb Replacing/using Intel Optane NVMe on a new Lenovo Ideacentre PC

    Actually this is both a question and a log of experience in installing opensuse Leap 15.0 (beta) on a new Lenovo Ideacentre PC.

    Disclaimer: I have not kept up with all the new stuff happening on the hardware side and that might explain my confusion.

    Question: Can I replace the 16GB Intel Optane M.2 NVMe module on my motherboard with a compatible but larger (say 128GB NVMe) M.2 drive and install the OS on it? If not, how do I get the most out of the Intel Optane "memory"?

    Installation experience: The Lenovo Ideacentre PC came with an Intel 3.6GHz i7 CPU, 2TB hard drive, 16GB RAM, nVidia 1050Ti card, 16GB Intel Optane NVMe card (attached to the motherboard), DVD RW, integrated sound, WiFi, Bluetooth and card reader.

    It's been a while since I tried installing linux from scratch on a new machine, so please bear with me.

    The machine came with Windows 10. I tried installing opensuse Leap 42.3 but it first hung on udev. Then, when I added "nomodeset" on the command line (because of the nVidia card) it got past the udev hang, but it stopped with "No hard disks found." I then decided to try the beta version of opensuse Leap 15.0.

    Leap 15.0 (beta) discovered the hard drive and allowed me to install linux on it. But when I rebooted for the first time (with the Leap 15.0 beta DVD still in), it hung with something like "Unable to boot." To my amazement, when I removed the DVD and booted, it went into Windows 10 which I thought had been eradicated. Massive cognitive dissonance time.

    Y'all are probably laughing your asses off right now but eventually I figured out that the problem was the Intel Optane M.2 NVMe SSD which had cached Windows 10. I then went into the BIOS and disabled the Intel Rapid Boot SATA controller thingy. Reinstalled opensuse Leap 15.0 beta on the hard drive (and not on the Intel Optane stick) and now everything looks fine. Even the sound and WiFi work out of the box.

    But my question remains? Can I get more/something out of the Intel Optane NVMe? Or can I replace it with a larger and compatible NVMe? I have an M.2 Samsung PM961 256GB card but it won't go into the slot vacated by the Intel Optane card.

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    Default Re: Replacing/using Intel Optane NVMe on a new Lenovo Ideacentre PC

    Quote Originally Posted by anandrajan View Post
    Question: Can I replace the 16GB Intel Optane M.2 NVMe module on my motherboard with a compatible but larger (say 128GB NVMe) M.2 drive and install the OS on it? If not, how do I get the most out of the Intel Optane "memory"?
    You probably can. But that's really a question to ask the manufacturer of your computer. It isn't a linux question.

    The machine came with Windows 10. I tried installing opensuse Leap 42.3 but it first hung on udev. Then, when I added "nomodeset" on the command line (because of the nVidia card) it got past the udev hang, but it stopped with "No hard disks found." I then decided to try the beta version of opensuse Leap 15.0.
    Going with Leap 15.0 was probably a good decision. The NVME devices are relatively new, and might not have been supported by the kernel used in the 42.3 installer.

    I probably have not been of much help with this reply. Sorry about that.
    openSUSE Leap 15.3; KDE Plasma 5.18.6;

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    Default Re: Replacing/using Intel Optane NVMe on a new Lenovo Ideacentre PC

    Quote Originally Posted by nrickert View Post
    [Re: Replacing Intel Optane NVMe:] You probably can. But that's really a question to ask the manufacturer of your computer. It isn't a linux question.
    It would be good to know other people's experience in installing linux on an NVMe (non volatile memory) drive. There's very little information out there on linux installations on these newish NVMe M.2 SSD drives.

    What I've been able to find so far is that people have installed linux on NVMe drives and have fixed boot issues by adding an EFI_boot_section partition on the NVMe. However, these are still early days and there may be driver issues that have not been worked out. I don't think there's an equivalent in linux to caching the entire kernel and boot utilities a la Windows 10 and using a Fast Boot approach. This may not be needed if the NVMe has enough space to install linux (though my 16GB Intel Optane drive is probably not sufficient, certainly not with btrfs).

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    Default Re: Replacing/using Intel Optane NVMe on a new Lenovo Ideacentre PC

    It should not matter where the EFI partition is. So putting it on the NVME drive won't be much different from putting it on the hard drive. And you only use that partition for booting, so you don't need it on a fast drive.

    I suppose you could use that 16G for swap. However, to me that seems a waste, unless you are doing something that uses a lot of swap.
    openSUSE Leap 15.3; KDE Plasma 5.18.6;

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    Default Re: Replacing/using Intel Optane NVMe on a new Lenovo Ideacentre PC

    Quote Originally Posted by anandrajan View Post
    It would be good to know other people's experience in installing linux on an NVMe (non volatile memory) drive. There's very little information out there on linux installations on these newish NVMe M.2 SSD drives.
    Never experienced NVMe related problems during 2 years/6,000 hours of operation with the machine displayed in the signature.

    What I've been able to find so far is that people have installed linux on NVMe drives and have fixed boot issues by adding an EFI_boot_section partition on the NVMe. However, these are still early days and there may be driver issues that have not been worked out. I don't think there's an equivalent in linux to caching the entire kernel and boot utilities a la Windows 10 and using a Fast Boot approach. This may not be needed if the NVMe has enough space to install linux (though my 16GB Intel Optane drive is probably not sufficient, certainly not with btrfs).
    It is always a good idea to have all partitions accessed during boot on a single drive. This helps to ease recover from trouble. Currently the spare system uses EFI boot and 30 GB ext4 on a 850 Evo. The main system uses legacy boot. I will switch to EFI boot too. Use Btrfs (60 GB) only when needed.
    AMD Athlon 4850e (2009), openSUSE 13.1, KDE 4, Intel i3-4130 (2014), i7-6700K (2016), i5-8250U (2018), AMD Ryzen 5 3400G (2020), openSUSE Tumbleweed, KDE Plasma 5

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