What is a current (Fedora 34) recommended setup for a new system with both an SSD and a HDD?
I don’t want this to be specific to my setup (although I am putting together a new computer), so here are the broad-strokes assumptions I’d like recommendations for:
- A modern SSD with decent size (from a couple of hundred gigabytes up to a terabyte or more) and a lifetime write capacity that’s not worth worrying about.
- A HDD that’s bigger than (or at least as big as) the SSD.
- Looking to benefit from the SSD’s speed as much as possible, while using the HDD for things that aren’t speed-critical, like holding media files and documents.
- (Optionally) Leaving room to dual-boot the system with Windows, but not trying to work around an existing installation.
I would also like the why and the how as much as possible: what are the benefits/drawbacks, and what options are needed to make it happen?
I’ve done a lot of searching, and there have been questions about this before—not just here, but on Reddit, on FedoraForum, on non-Fedora communities, etc.—but everything I could find is quite old, quite specific to a particular situation, quite technical, or some combination of them. Here’s what I’ve been able to piece together so far:
One option is to just let Anaconda pick the defaults. As far as I can tell (correct me if I’m wrong!), this will:
- Make a boot partition on the SSD
- Combine the remaining SSD and the entire HDD into a logical Btrfs partition.
- Distribute data more or less evenly across the two drives, without any consideration for the speed benefits of the SSD.
Another option is to manually choose the partitions. The general gist I get is:
- Most (all?) of the install should go on the SSD. Certainly
/bootand root go here. (Some people talk about moving
/var/logto a HDD partition?)
- The HDD should be turned into its own partition(s) that you mount under
/home, e.g. documents or downloads or music.
A third suggestion I met, but with little detail, was using (part of?) the SSD as a cache for the HDD.
- I gather that this would mean you lose some capacity from the SSD, but you don’t have to plan which files go where—the cache ensures your most-used files are in fast storage.
- Also apparently you have to watch out for possible corruption if writes to the cache and the HDD fall out of sync.
And lastly, there’s not a lot out there about dual-boot setups that doesn’t assume you’re trying to scrape whatever meagre space you can off of an existing Windows installation! I don’t know if I’m going to have a dual-boot myself, but if I do I’d like to plan for it now.
- Seems like just splitting both drives 50-50 and letting each OS do its own things would be the most straightforward option?
- But if the HDD gets used for media files etc., it’d be nice to be able to access that from either OS. In which case, what should it be? NTFS?
Oh, one last thing: What is even happening with swap these days? Do I need or want a swap partition?