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I've just ran a test install of Arch on a separate computer, and now I'm ready to do the real thing on my main one.

However, since the guide didn't explicitly recommend it, I did not install with a swap partition.

It would generally seem like a nice idea to have swap, but I was wondering where should I actually place it relative to my two other partitions.

I have three partitions in mind: /, /home and the swap one.

Is it OK to place them in random order?

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Way back when the earth was young, people would point out that if you have a constant number of bits per inch and a constant number of rpm, the "outside" of a hard drive is slightly faster than the inside. But these days, there's so many abstraction layers between you and the physical layer I'm not sure you even can put a partition there if you wanted to. So I wouldn't worry too much from a performance point of view.

If you ever need more space, removing the swap partition and enlarging the partition before that seems like a safe move, so swap after home might be a good idea.

Finally, you don't need a separate partition, you can also have a swap file, which might have a slight performance impact, but on a desktop machine with 2G? 4G? of RAM, you might not ever use swap in the first place.

  • Wait, if it's a circle technically, how can you have a constant number of bits per inch? – jcora Jul 13 '13 at 20:40
  • @Yannbane - they waste bits on the outside tracks. – slm Jul 13 '13 at 23:16
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As far as I know, it does not make a difference in what order to place the partitions in.

That being said, "random" is probably not the "correct" word to use here. Maybe you meant to say "arbitrary". Also, maybe you should have the first partition be the /, the next one /home and the last one be swap. This, in my opinion, is better than picking an arbitrary order to put them in because there is "some sort of ordering" here as opposed to an arbitrary ordering.

  • But if I chose the order at random wouldn't that make it both arbitrary and... random? – jcora Jul 13 '13 at 19:53
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    Random implies that you actually go out of your way to find a "random" ordering. Arbitrary implies that you just pick one, not necessarily randomly. Semantics. – mtahmed Jul 13 '13 at 20:01

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