Monday, June 04, 2012

Best of both SSD and HDD for your Laptop

The old rule of thumb for when I wanted a cheap upgrade of performance was to install additional RAM because this increased the amount stored in fast memory and reduced usage of the slower HDD. Now SSD is comparable with RAM speed we have more choice for improving performance. But there is always a but. SSD is still expensive so storing all your MP3s, pictures and videos could hurt my wallet. But there is another way thanks to a piece on lifehacker Podcast: Install a small super quick SSD into the laptop for OS and apps and keep HDD in CD bay for multimedia.

Here are the advantages:
  • Fast boot times
  • Fast application loading
  • Perfect balance in cost
  • Only a small SSD is required
  • Reuse HDD for storage

And disadvantages:
  • You lose your CD rom drive (I bought a external USB dock for sending drive) 

Required hardware and Software:
  • SATA to SATA HDD caddy for laptop cd drive bay
  • SSD drive (60gb) 
  • Ubuntu LTS 12.04

  1. Backup
    I used TAR command to back up contents of the /home/. Alternatively you could use Deja Dup.
  2. Remove CD drive All CD drives will be different so please consult your manual on how to remove the drive.
  3. Remove HDD
    Same as the CD drive... consult your manual.
  4. Insert SSD
    Slide the SSD into the location that used to be inhabited by the HDD
  5. Insert HDD into caddy
  6. Insert Caddy into CD drive bay

  7. Reinstall OS and restoreI installed Ubuntu 12.04
  8. Configuration changes
    • I made sure SWAP is on the HDD
    • I made it s RAM needs to be 85% utilised before it will use the SWAP
      • Added vm.swappiness = 15  to /etc/sysctl.conf 
    • Updated /etc/fstab to use TRIM, disable meta data and move tmp file system to memory:
        • /dev/sda   /   ext4   noatime,nodiratime,discard,errors=remount-ro 0 1
        • tmpfs   /tmp       tmpfs   defaults,noatime,mode=1777   0  0
        • tmpfs   /var/tmp   tmpfs   defaults,noatime,mode=1777   0  0
    •  Changed  the file system scheduler to deadline which is better suited to SSD
      • echo deadline >/sys/block/sda/queue/scheduler
    • For more infomation go to


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