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I have a (couple of) regular HDDs on my machine , and I'm about to buy an SSD, probably 128GB, for it.

I would like the machine to be a Dual-Boot Linux (3.x kernel) + Windows 7. My question has two parts.

First, suppose I completely ignore my current partition structure. How would I best partition my drives?

Second, my current partition structure has a bunch of NTFS partitions, one 49GB ext4 partition on one of the drives, and a 4.5GB swap partition. What would you recommend so I don't need to do a lot of shuffling-around of files and partitions?

Notes:

  • I have an Intel Z77 board, with Smart Response Technology, I'd like to utilize that
  • I'm quite open to using LVMs
  • I don't have HDDs which are the same, so no RAID-0/1'ing I guess (correct me if I'm wrong).
  • I have 8GB of RAM; if you think a RAM drive is relevant (I've heard it suggested), I can consider that as well.
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Part of the answer: with 8GB use it all for the OS (Windows), don't use a RAM drive because you'll be paying back with more swapping. Especially if you use VMs. –  Jan Doggen May 14 '13 at 7:56
    
Part of the answer (Windows): If you use all of your 8 GB a lot (e.g. because of heavy use of VMs), put your swap file on the HDD, not on the SSD, because of its limited number of write cycles. If possible extend memory to as much as you need to prevent using virtual memory, then put the swap file on the SSD. –  Jan Doggen May 14 '13 at 7:58

1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I currently own a 128 GB SSD and have both Windows and Linux running. I've split them 50:50 and and put the operating systems and swap drives on the SSD. After a few months I realized that I had more stuff in my home directory than I could store, so I moved that onto another, bigger, non-SSD drive.

Recommended partition setup:

  1. 100 MB UEFI boot drive
  2. ~20 GB Linux
  3. ~40 GB Windows
  4. 2x RAM Linux swap
  5. 2x RAM Windows swap

Also remember to move your Windows temp and download directory to a different drive because they will fill up quite quickly. You may also want to set your Windows swap file to a fixed size.

If you are worried because of your SSD write cycle limit move your Windows swap- and temp file to a non-SSD drive. If you however have sufficient RAM (like me) your swap file will almost never be used anyway.

Update: As for SRT, you could alternatively use your large drive as the primary one and only use the SSD for caching via SRT. The same partitioning can apply here, maybe leave a bit more space for Windows since it tends to be disk-hungry. If you have a disk larger than 2 TB you absolutely must boot using UEFI, which may be a pain to set up if you have for example a SuperMicro BIOS. (That's why I chose to boot from the SSD.)

When setting up SRT, pay attention to the mode to set it to. Enhanced mode offers more data security, while maximized offers more speed at the expense of data security. Do not use maximized mode unless you have frequently tested UPS if your data is the least bit precious.

In summary: I found my 128 GB SSD to be a bit small for two OS', so that may be a compelling reason to use SRT. However, the technology itself is a very advanced form of RAID. In the server world everybody fears data loss and therefore nobody dares to use a RAID controller that has no barebone recovery instructions. SRT may be perfectly safe, but I urge you (quite independently of SRT actually) to do your backups.

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... and what about SRT? –  einpoklum May 14 '13 at 20:34
    
Updated answer with description. –  Janoszen May 14 '13 at 22:09

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