This is going to be a question about your opinions on setting up a new laptop with both a regular 1TB HDD and a 250G SSD. Let's suppose that...

/dev/sda = 1,000 GB HDD (931 TiB)
/dev/sdb =   250 GB SSD (232 TiB)

It is my understanding that many people use this method:

/dev/sdb1 --> /boot
/dev/sdb2 --> / [root]
/dev/sda1 --> /home
/dev/sda2 --> /swap 

Or use it without a separate /boot partition

/dev/sdb1 --> / (root)
/dev/sda1 --> /home
/dev/sda2 --> /swap

I know that the speed of SSDs is the main reason why most would want their root to be on that device but doesn't a 250 GB /boot and / completely overkill? I could never fill up 250GB worth of system files and folders.

Would a possible configuration be the following:

/dev/sda1 --> /boot
/dev/sda2 --> / [root]
/dev/sda3 --> /home
/dev/sda4 --> /swap
/dev/sdb1 --> [something else like frequently used media files avaiable to all users]

Or the same without a dedicated boot partition, where /dev/sda1 has the boot flag /dev/sda1 --> / (root) /dev/sda2 --> /home /dev/sda3 --> /swap /dev/sdb1 --> [something else like frequently used media files available to all users]

Or putting Swap on the SSD, where /dev/sda1 has the boot flag

/dev/sda1 --> / [root]
/dev/sda2 --> /home
/dev/sdb1 --> /swap
/dev/sdb2 --> [something else like frequently used media files available to all users]

Something else entirely

/dev/sda1 --> ?
/dev/sda2 --> ?
/dev/sdb1 --> ?
/dev/sdb2 --> ?

I can keep listing the possibilities, but I'm positive you should get the gist by now.

Are there other partitioning schemes when using a laptop (or desktop) with both an internal HDD and internal SSD? I suppose that when / (root) is installed on the SSD, I could install several different distros which use the HDD as a common /home along with /swap being on either the HDD or SSD.

I'd really appreciate it if your suggestions are not to just the partitioning schematic but also an explanation of why you are suggesting it. Which scheme do you use? Why did you pick it? If you could go back, would you do it differently next time? I have never used a computer with two internal storage disks before and am very curious about using them both the most proficiently.

  • Put all on SSD except /home and /var. – affan Dec 16 '18 at 10:15

Put both into a LVM volume group and create/extend logical volumes on demand on the fly, depending on the task at hand requiring lots of space or battery/shock friendliness and random access performance.

You may also like the RAID feature to improve reliability, since both HDDs and SSDs have their distinct failure modes in a laptop setting.

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  • Do you think you could give me an example of what these LVM are set up in terms of initial sizes? – Ev- Dec 16 '18 at 8:23
  • @Ev- I'd start with something like 50G / and 100G /home LVs, both RAID1. Maybe also ~5G swap LV on SSD, depending on the RAM size and expected workload. – L29Ah Dec 16 '18 at 8:36

I would also find 250GB to / + /boot too much. (But I would also find 1TB+250GB quite much in a laptop.)

For performance (fast boot is really nice), I would probably still put / and /boot on the SSD, probably around 25-40GB for / and at most 1GB for /boot/.

How to distribute the rest of the space depends a lot on your actual usage patterns. I've never had a laptop with other users besides myself, so I find it hard to provide good advice.

LVM is probably a good thing, but be aware that performance might be a little weird if you create volume groups across the discs.

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For performance, you should have all software and swap space on the SSD, and only actual data (home folders, other things which don't require performance but are present in bulk) on a HDD.

Personally I would have liked a 256GB SSD instead of my 128GB, I could make my multiboot completely on SSD instead of having the Linux system installed on the HDD.

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