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Old 12-30-2012, 12:28 PM   #1
Rikard
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Default Size and partions of a new SSD

Hi! Due to an emergency a while back I had to use my 2 TB WD Green as my main drive, and with the SSD becoming more affordable lately I am thinking of using it for storage (as it was intended) and get an SSD for my OS's. I have very limited experience with SSDs so I need some advice.

My use case:
I will put Windows 7 and Ubuntu on separate partitions and dual boot. Windows is mainly for gaming, while Ubuntu is for everything else (can be quite CPU and RAM intensive, but not GPU intensive). I estimate Win7SP1 with patches and some programs etc is about 60 GB and Ubuntu is 11 GB. These I would like to have on one SSD, possibly two separate ones.

I usually make a "User" partition for Windows and a "home" partition for Ubuntu that has a rather variable size. For example, at this computer I have 32 GB in my home. If the OS goes pear shaped I can still access my personal files this way. Ideally these partitions could be on SSDs too, but I am not sure if that is strictly necessary.

Things like Steam folder etc are quite large, so I would probably keep them on the slow HDD or move just one or two games I actually play to the SSD.

My questions:
I hear that SSDs need quite a lot of free space to perform well, so while I could squeeze in both OS's on a 128 GB in principle I think 180 or 240 GB are probably better suited for that. But is it a good idea to partition an SSD at all to begin with? Does it matter that the SSD will be formatted for different filesystems (NTFS,ext4 or similar)? What size would you go for in a best-value-scenario, and how would you partition the SSD?
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Old 12-30-2012, 04:33 PM   #2
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I recently got a Samsung 840 Pro on Black Friday. Win 7 only, w/ good sized platter drives for storage. Looking back I'd have done it a little differently. Thinking about dual booting Windows 8, and wishing I had 256GB for that. Also thinking I could have bought a Samsung 830 and had a great drive w/out a noticeable loss in performance.

I guess I'm saying - I'd suggest a 256GB Samsung 830.
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Old 01-02-2013, 03:25 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by tracerbullet View Post
I recently got a Samsung 840 Pro on Black Friday. Win 7 only, w/ good sized platter drives for storage. Looking back I'd have done it a little differently. Thinking about dual booting Windows 8, and wishing I had 256GB for that. Also thinking I could have bought a Samsung 830 and had a great drive w/out a noticeable loss in performance.
How much space do you keep for non-OS files? Doing the math I cannot really get two OSs on a 256 GB disk if I keep document folders etc on the SSD. For example:
  • TRIM 25%: 64 GB
  • Windows OS + programs: 80 GB
  • Linux OS: 20 GB
  • Linux home: 30 GB
  • Windows Users: 40 GB
  • Games: 40 GB
That would break the 256 GB limit, so I would need to compromise either by using smaller partitions, or move some partitions to the HDD, or do not use dual boot from the same SSD.
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I guess I'm saying - I'd suggest a 256GB Samsung 830.
Yes that is on my short list, but it is very hard to find in stock these days.
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Old 01-02-2013, 06:47 PM   #4
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For you, I would suggest getting a 256GB SSD. However, a 128GB will probably work, especially if you are not afraid to use disk compression. I have Windows 7 and Steam with Team Fortress 2 running on a 40GB SSD. TF2 caused it to run out of disk space, over time swelling to over 15GB. I just compressed the entire SSD, and gained 10+ GB back. I've been using disk compression with various SSDs since they came out, and have never noticed any performance penalties, or reliability issues. A lot of folders, such as program files, are usually just read-only, so compression shouldn't hurt performance at all. Interestingly, the computer system still ran quite fast (e.g. SSD-like) even when I was down to 100MB of free space.

Edit - I've also never had any issues partitioning SSDs. I wouldn't worry about keeping tons of free space available. Your benchmarks will probably suffer a little with less free-space, but real-life performance will be fine. Just get a quality SSD (Samsung, Crucial, or Intel).
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:01 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Rikard View Post
How much space do you keep for non-OS files?
Aside from the 128GB SSD, I also have a pair of 3TB platter drives mirroring each other (RAID 1). I set up Windows (7) to ship all my data over to it. As for what's left on the SSD, it's just the OS and installed programs, which is something like 30GB shortly after setting it up and installing some things. Since I'm sort of repeating how I had XP set up, I'm expecting I'll have around 70GB on it at some point, including plenty of useless programs and a handful of games.
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Old 01-04-2013, 05:13 PM   #6
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Thank you for the replies!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kmmatney View Post
Edit - I've also never had any issues partitioning SSDs. I wouldn't worry about keeping tons of free space available. Your benchmarks will probably suffer a little with less free-space, but real-life performance will be fine. Just get a quality SSD (Samsung, Crucial, or Intel).
I was under the impression that setting aside free space for TRIM will not only improve performance but also increase the life expectancy of the SSD, but I could be wrong.
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rikard View Post
Thank you for the replies!


I was under the impression that setting aside free space for TRIM will not only improve performance but also increase the life expectancy of the SSD, but I could be wrong.
The drives firmware already has a spare area set aside for that purpose. No reason to do it yourself.
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Old 01-05-2013, 07:06 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by A5 View Post
The drives firmware already has a spare area set aside for that purpose. No reason to do it yourself.
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Originally Posted by Rikard View Post
Thank you for the replies!


I was under the impression that setting aside free space for TRIM will not only improve performance but also increase the life expectancy of the SSD, but I could be wrong.
I personally leave about 20% free (spilt between the spare area and free space), but that is just my own preference from what I have read.
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:54 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Rikard View Post
Thank you for the replies!


I was under the impression that setting aside free space for TRIM will not only improve performance but also increase the life expectancy of the SSD, but I could be wrong.
You don't set aside space for TRIM, TRIM is just a command the OS can optionally send to the device to let it know a cell or range of cells is now unused so it's firmware can reuse them intelligently. There is already a chunk of space set aside for garbage collection, wear leveling, etc and I don't know if it would even help to leave another chunk (especially 25%) for the same thing.
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Old 01-06-2013, 12:19 PM   #10
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Dear Rikard,

I want to inform you that there is one big problem in your thoughts.
Here is why:
TRIM will only work inside one partition. If you make more partitions on your SSD there is less space for every partition to use TRIM. So if there is one smaller partition there is a higher risk, that it gets filled too much. This is a thing most people do not know or ignore.
Overall I would NEVER recommend to make partitions on an SSD. (Except Windows, it makes one 100MB Partition for the Bootmanager by itself, which is completeley OK.)
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Old 01-06-2013, 02:29 PM   #11
Rikard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aviator78 View Post
TRIM will only work inside one partition. If you make more partitions on your SSD there is less space for every partition to use TRIM. So if there is one smaller partition there is a higher risk, that it gets filled too much. This is a thing most people do not know or ignore.
Are you sure? Reading what Anand wrote here http://www.anandtech.com/show/6489/playing-with-op
it sounds like TRIM works outside the OS partition, and in which case I do not see how the other partitions are done would matter:
Quote:
If you want to replicate this on your own all you need to do is create a partition smaller than the total capacity of the drive and leave the remaining space unused to simulate a larger amount of spare area. The partitioning step isn't absolutely necessary in every case but it's an easy way to make sure you never exceed your allocated spare area. It's a good idea to do this from the start (e.g. secure erase, partition, then install Windows), but if you are working backwards you can always create the spare area partition, format it to TRIM it, then delete the partition.
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Old 01-06-2013, 03:15 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aviator78 View Post
Dear Rikard,

I want to inform you that there is one big problem in your thoughts.
Here is why:
TRIM will only work inside one partition. If you make more partitions on your SSD there is less space for every partition to use TRIM. So if there is one smaller partition there is a higher risk, that it gets filled too much. This is a thing most people do not know or ignore.
Overall I would NEVER recommend to make partitions on an SSD. (Except Windows, it makes one 100MB Partition for the Bootmanager by itself, which is completeley OK.)
You should go back and learn what TRIM actually is and how it works.
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Old 01-06-2013, 04:38 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by aviator78 View Post
Dear Rikard,

I want to inform you that there is one big problem in your thoughts.
Here is why:
TRIM will only work inside one partition. If you make more partitions on your SSD there is less space for every partition to use TRIM. So if there is one smaller partition there is a higher risk, that it gets filled too much. This is a thing most people do not know or ignore.
Overall I would NEVER recommend to make partitions on an SSD. (Except Windows, it makes one 100MB Partition for the Bootmanager by itself, which is completeley OK.)
Your just wrong.
TRIM doesn't work like that at all, it could care less how the filesystem is arranged.
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Old 01-06-2013, 05:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aviator78 View Post
Dear Rikard,

I want to inform you that there is one big problem in your thoughts.
Here is why:
TRIM will only work inside one partition. If you make more partitions on your SSD there is less space for every partition to use TRIM. So if there is one smaller partition there is a higher risk, that it gets filled too much. This is a thing most people do not know or ignore.
Overall I would NEVER recommend to make partitions on an SSD. (Except Windows, it makes one 100MB Partition for the Bootmanager by itself, which is completeley OK.)
No.
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