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Arch Linux Adventure


amenditman
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amenditman

I got up this morning and had this wild idea to install an unused Corsair Force 60 GB SSD as my / and /home drive in my main computer.I downloaded the latest nightly build of Arch NetInstaller ISO, burned it to disk.I removed the case from it's shoehorn home under my desk, took it outside and blew it out.Then I mounted the SSD in it's adapter and plugged it up as SATA1. All other drives unplugged for now.Ran Parted Magic, used the terminal to run fdisk.

fdisk -H 32 -S 32 /dev/sda

That should align the cylinders, heads, and sectors to be optimal for SSD.

fdisk -lu /dev/sda

To check it out and got 255 heads and 63 sectors which means the first operation failed. No biggie, maybe I forgot to write my changes to disk. I'll just do it again.The second time I ran the command to reset heads and sectors I made sure that I wrote the changes to disk. Still no good. I've seen fdisk fail this operation before, so I opened cfdisk and changed the geometry from there and wrote the changes to disk. Re-ran fdisk -lu and all was as it should be.Then used mkfs to create a primary partition 1 of 12 GB for root and a primary partition 2 of the balance for /home.So far so good.Put the Arch NetInstall disk in the drive and rebooted.Started the installer and got thru Select Source, Set Clock, Prepare Hard Drive.When I went to Select Packages it ran a long time then failed. What?Tried again, same result.Spent about 10 minutes trying to figure it out.My internet connection was down.Pinged my router, couldn't ping the web.Reset Cable modem and tried again, no go.Called Brighthouse Tech Support, sometimes the only way to fix the cable modem is for them to reset it from their end.Found out there was an outage in my area, a construction crew cut the line, it was being fixed.Well, couldn't proceed with install, so I shut it down and rebooted into Parted Magic to move a few partitions around on my old #1 HDD to make a new /tmp and /var on a spinning disk because there are a lot of writes in those and they are best not on your SSD.I am currently writing this on my Motorola Atrix Lapdock over WiFi, internet access was restored after only 1 1/2 hours, because the partition move will take about 5 hours.Maybe I'll get to re-start the install late tonight.I should have stayed in bed! :hysterical:

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amenditman

I had to start from scratch. At least it's not Linux From Scratch!I knew I had to switch my SATA controller from IDE to AHCI for my SSD. I just didn't know that I had to do it before installing or it would be a total pain to fix after.Also, the 5-16-11 nightly build iso has a real problem with creating filesystems, it fails every time, so I had to redo my partitions with Parted Magic Live CD again. Ended up being good because I found a mistake in my notes and I don't know if it was just the notes or if it was the disk also.I'm at a shiny new command prompt as we speak.I should have never gotten up this morning!

Edited by amenditman
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amenditman

An SSD will just work without you doing anything different from what you know for a HDD.Aligning the Heads and Sectors to the Erase Block Size reduces needless writes by making sure it falls within one cylinder. Setting the noatime option for a partition eliminates the need for the filesystem to perform a write operation when then file is merely being read. Setting the SATA controller in BIOS to AHCI and and setting the discard option for a partition enables TRIM support and garbage collection. Each of these 3 steps are supposed to insure the longevity of the SSD and help maintain performance over time.

Edited by amenditman
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securitybreach

Good job and great tips!!! :thumbsup:I am going to have get me an ssd drive one of these days :clap:

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amenditman

I was tired last night and I goofed.This morning before I started to configure I ran

fdisk -lu /dev/sda

to see if all the settings were right from last night. When I made my partitions I did not successfully align the C-H-S and the partitions. fdisk showed heads=255, sectors=63 when I should have heads=32 and sectors=32.Sooo... I had to start again.Everything went well until I got to Install Packages step. At that point it still sees the old package install and tries to do a re-install of everything.It fails and kicks me out.I am unsure why this is happening.I have used dd to overwrite the entire disk with zeroes, deleted the partition table, created a new blank partition table, created my new partitions, and used

mkfs.ext4

on each of them, formatting them.Right now I am stumped as to what to do next to fix this problem.Any suggestions.

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securitybreach

Maybe try a different iso or use the Arch installer to format and set your mountpoints? If you are doing a net install, try using a different mirror? I am just throwing ideas since I have never ran across this issue.

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amenditman

Looks like it may have been the installer in the nightly build. Seems to be consistent problems with the installer.I tried my old 05.2010 install disc and it is currently installing packages without errors and it didn't tell me it was doing a re-install.

Edited by amenditman
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securitybreach
Looks like it may have been the installer in the nightly build. Seems to be consistent problems with the installer.I tried my old 05.2010 install disc and it is currently installing packages without errors and it didn't tell me it was doing a re-install.
Well at least you figured out what the issue was. :clap:
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securitybreach
Arch on a SSD how will your brain keep up :hysterical:Arch on a SSD how will your brain keep up :bounce:
Well it could not be much faster than I already am, I currently have 16gb of ram and a quad core (i5). Oh you meant read/write speed? Well I already use Sata 6Gbit/s, so how much faster could it get?
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abarbarian
Well it could not be much faster than I already am, I currently have 16gb of ram and a quad core (i5). Oh you meant read/write speed? Well I already use Sata 6Gbit/s, so how much faster could it get?
Ah I forgot you across the pond folk don't have the same brand of humour as us.The pc will be lightening fast but how will the brain cope with speeds like that is what I meant.Mind you were you giving specs for your brain ? If so I have to deduce that you are a robot or possibly a Borg type who has unwittingly been assimilated by his pc. B)
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securitybreach
Ah I forgot you across the pond folk don't have the same brand of humour as us.The pc will be lightening fast but how will the brain cope with speeds like that is what I meant.Mind you were you giving specs for your brain ? If so I have to deduce that you are a robot or possibly a Borg type who has unwittingly been assimilated by his pc. B)
Ah ok, I was still waking up :hysterical: Nah, that was my main computer. I have yet to find the right adapter to hook my brain up to the Borg but if I do, hopefully it is faster than the computer I have. B)
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SSD is essential. Resistance is futile. borg.gif
The biggest problem with SSD is their limited size. Once we can store data in living tissue rather than in dead silicon, you can simply grow more memory as you need it!
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amenditman
The biggest problem with SSD is their limited size. Once we can store data in living tissue rather than in dead silicon, you can simply grow more memory as you need it!
Spoken like a true leader of the collective!
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  • 2 years later...

So how is Arch doing on that Corsair Force 60 GB SSD ? :breakfast:

After all that early futzing around and zeroing the drive with dd (a no-no, don't do it there are new ways to wipe an SSD) the SSD failed after less than 2 years.

Good news is that Corsair stepped right up and replaced it with a new one. The old one was only a SATA II type and the replacement was a SATA III.

I have used it in my new build and it is great. Lightning fast and dependable.

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Good news is that Corsair stepped right up and replaced it with a new one. The old one was only a SATA II type and the replacement was a SATA III.

I have used it in my new build and it is great. Lightning fast and dependable.

 

That is a good result. From out of the ashes........................ :shifty:

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  • 4 months later...
securitybreach

Smooth sailing.

 

Excellent!! I really need to get me one of those when I can afford it....... I just dropped $265 on a new video card, so it won't be anytime soon B)

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Just do it. 120GB can be found for under 100 bucks and you'll regret not getting one sooner. You only need big enough to put the OS on.

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securitybreach

Just do it. 120GB can be found for under 100 bucks and you'll regret not getting one sooner. You only need big enough to put the OS on.

 

Yeah I know but I haven't had the money here lately. I had to get another video card as my old one is failing... B)

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http://www.thessdreview.com/our-reviews/kingston-ssdnow-v300-ssd-review/?ModPagespeed=noscript

 

I recently acquired a 60 GB really cheap. Intend to use it to play around with bcache but have done a quick install of my present Arch to it as a way of testing out my backup routine. I am hoping to do some benchmarking with it as standard before I bcache to see if bcache is worth running.

As sunrat says ssd's are brill. With my F3 drive I have to wait a noticeable time for my password to be asked for and accepted in a terminal with the ssd it is instant and I have noticed file copy or moves flying along. An the smaller ssd's are not as fast as the larger sizes 240/256 GB's seem to run the fastest generally.I have not seen many reviews about larger ssd's but I think that speed seems to plateau at 240/256 GB.

When you get one you will be suitably impressed as you will run at SATA !!! whilst I am limited to SATA !!.

:shifty:

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abarbarian

 

You should try to do your install on a two drive system, one SSD and one HDD.

It is really a pain, and a lot of extra work, to minimize writes to the SSD for swap, /temp, /var, browser cache, and some other misc. stuff.

As well as, the SSD should never be more than 60 - 70 % full to optimize wear leveling.

 

I wore out my 60 GB drive in less than a year because of learning/experimenting.

 

Here is my, CRAZY, partition scheme

NAME	 SIZE FSTYPE MOUNTPOINT
sda	   55.9G				
├─sda2	 2G   ext4	 /boot	
├─sda3 15G ext4 /		
└─sda4 38.9G ext4 /home	
sdb 465.8G				
├─sdb1 15G ext4 /tmp	
├─sdb2 15G ext4 /var	
├─sdb3	 5G ext4 /var/log
├─sdb4 10G swap			
├─sdb5 150G ext4 /Data	
└─sdb6 150G ext4 /Music	
sdc 465.8G				
├─sdc1 100M ntfs			
├─sdc2 74.9G ntfs		   
└─sdc3 10G swap [sWAP]   

Edited by amenditman
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