I’ve received a Crucial M4 64GB SSD for Crimbo and I need some help with installing it. I’m running OpenSUSE 12.1 with Gnome 3 and using the BTRFS file system. At present, I have 2 conventional hard disks installed - sda and sdb. On sdb, I have an NTFS Windows XP partition and a BTRFS OpenSUSE partition. On sda, I have various temp/scratch partitions for use with XP, an ext4 /boot partition, an NTFS data partition which is shared between XP and OpenSUSE, an NTFS page-file partition, a Linux Swap partition, and a BTRFS /home partition. My plan is to make an image of the /boot and OpenSUSE partitions and transfer them to the SSD, keep XP and the remaining partitions where they are and still be able to dual boot. How would I need to prepare the SSD prior to restoring the images and which config files would I need to alter? Thanks.

So if this was me, I would:

  1. Do a new install of openSUSE 12.1
  2. I would modify your BIOS to place the new SSD as the boot drive
  3. I would do a custom partition setup and put / (root partition) on the SSD only
  4. I would make the new partition EXT4, primary and load Grub into the MBR of the SSD
  5. Only Mount your old /home and do not format it, using it as it is.
  6. Do a mount only of all other existing partitions selecting a proper new folder name for them to mount to
  7. Make sure the Install has the SSD First and Grub in MBR
  8. After a restart edit the /etc/fstab file so that the SSD entry looks something like this:
/dev/disk/by-id/ata-Corsair_Performance3_SSD_1117810101000341020B-part4        /        ext4    acl,user_xattr,noatime,discard    0    1

openSUSE should pick up and add the other system to your fstab file for booting, so remove any that do not boot. You can switch back to your old booting if you like and place the equivalent of a chainload for openSUSE in your old boot setup if you wish. Your best speed up will be avchived if not only boot but temp is on the SSD and instead of splitting it all up, why not just put all of that on the SSD?

Thank You,

Thanks JD, I initially tried to create separate ext4 boot and btrfs root partitions on the SSD but that didn’t work - on boot up, I would just end up with a grub prompt on the screen. I then followed your suggestion and used a single ext4 partition for /boot and /root and that worked fine, though it’s not as spectacularly fast as I thought it would be, but maybe that’s because I haven’t a 6Gbit port on my motherboard. I’m still pleased with it as it’s much faster than the Samsung Spinpoint it replaced.

So a SSD is faster and we get used to its speed pretty quickly. Of course, once a program is loaded, only temp files or data files get a speed up after that. My boot up time was shortened to 25 seconds and my kernel compile was reduced in compile time by about 10%. So, I think that startup gets faster, but on average, other applications only see about a 10% speedup, depending on what they use the disk for. I ended up buying a second SSD and put /home on it which does add a little more speed to media files being read from my /home area. In exchange for the speed (and more money) I do find myself on a constant lookout for programs wasting disk space, removing them when it gets too great for something I don’t need, like doing a regular cleanout of /tmp or even my Downloads folder. But, I would not want to go back to the old days without a SSD.

Thank You,

Yes, people tend to have exaggerated expectations of the speed benefits of SSD, forgetting that the greatest benefit is in boot times but also that boot times depend on much else besides the read/write speed of the boot medium. And, as James says, you get used to it so quickly that you overlook the benefits. My boot time on SSD is about 20 seconds or so faster than it was on a SATA hard drive, which is good but of course not earth-shattering, especially with Linux running for days and weeks on end without the need for rebooting. They’re probably most useful for laptops rather than desktops, for boot speed but also reduced power consumption/battery life.
The absence of a 6Gb SATA port on the mobo makes no difference IMO: no 64Gb SSD is going to go anywhere near those transfer speeds.