The Big SSD Research Post

Intel730Series

Introduction

This article was written at the end of 2014. Most of the content will remain relevant in the future but there may be aspects which become outdated as hardware and usage practices evolve.

I have purchased an Intel 730 Series 480GB SSD with the intention of using it in my Fedora desktop machine. There are many articles online that discus how to configure an SSD, what to put on it, which partition structure to use, which mount options etc. I wanted to set the drive up to get the best out of it and my system as a whole. What follows are the results of my research and the decisions I have made based upon it. The writing style is based on my own note taking and primarily for my own reference. It is my hope that it posting it here that it may be of use to others.

What do I put on my SSD?

There are many posts/articles online asking this question and the answers to them vary. What became apparent immediately was the age of some of the discussions. Information from 3-4 years ago based the decisions on drive size (32-128GB).

An SSD with a limited amount of capacity is often set-up along side a traditional HDD.

A typical partition layout for a smaller SSD & HDD:

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SSD:
    /boot
    /
HDD:
    swap
    /var
    /tmp
    /home
    /data

/boot & / are the main operating system and program partitions/directory structure. SSD's are sometimes referred to as 'boot drives' as by having the OS and applications on it would allow the system to boot and respond faster.

Swap wouldn't be placed on the SSD as if you were frequently using the swap space you would be putting additional wear onto the SSD.

/var contains log files from the syslog daemon. Frequently wrting small amounts of log data increases SSD wear. /tmp in much the same way has small temporary data that increases wear. /home is occasionaly placed on the SSD depending on the space required by the user. The HDD would be used for music, photos, large files and other user generated data.

SSD's have been increasing in size over time and the space limitation isn't such an important factor. What does remain in the considerations of the amount of data being written to an SSD.
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Fedora 15 – Initial Thoughts

I took the plunge a few days ago and updated my machines to Fedora 15. The results have been mixed. My netbook and laptop were the first to be upgrades with Intel and Nvidia graphics respectively. Both upgraded fine and the Gnome 3 experience was ok, if a little strange. The problems started with my server with an AMD/ATI graphics. The screen was tearing in places and the smooth experience I was getting on the netbook and laptop had been lost. I still have not fully resolved this problem and it proving difficult to use gnome 3 without it.

The one thing I am finding an issue with in Gnome 3 is the change in panel functionality. I previously minimised some applications like my RSS client to run as a minimised icon. Whilst there is a sort of similar function present I think apps need to be updated to take advantage of it.

Another problem presented itself in the form of a reboot leading to the a message saying the lan cable was unplugged. Rebooting again didn't solve the issue. I had to shut the machine down completely and cold boot before the network stated working again. At least one problem is solved. I will review again once a few more bugs are fixed.

Gentoo Linux – Toshiba Satellite X200/X205 (part 5)

SOUND!!! Yes it is now possible to get the ALC268 hda-intel audio chipset working along with the headphone jack. It has taken a few hours trying to hack a solution together from notes relating to other distros but I finally have something acceptable. I guess you want to know how to do it, instructions now follow.

I am using the gentoo-sources kernel 2.6.23-gentoo-r4 without alsa compiled in. Alsa will be compiled as a module. I am using the latest Alsa drivers 1.0.15. You may need to unmask and emerge the packages listed below.

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=media-sound/alsa-utils-1.0.15 ~amd64
=media-libs/alsa-lib-1.0.15 ~amd64
=media-sound/alsa-headers-1.0.15 ~amd64
=media-sound/alsa-driver-1.0.15 ~amd64

This guide should provide the information to get Alsa setup http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/alsa-guide.xml. Once Alsa is setup and the above packages installed run alsaconf (if not done so already) to setup alsa.

At this point I got some sound from the speakers and the 1.0.15 drivers gave me slightly different mixer options over the 1.0.14 drivers.The key to getting everything working is adding the following line to /etc/modprobe.conf

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options snd-hda-intel model=toshiba

Reboot or restart alsasound to get the sound working. The headphone jack should mute the speakers when headphones are plugged in and unmute when they are removed. The sound from the speakers is also noticeably louder and richer and the integrated sub is generating the lower frequencies. I have not tried the other i/o jacks on the front of the notebook so I cannot say for sure if they are operational.