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New Computer

If you are having a problem with getting any of your computer's hardware to work with MEPIS or you can't find the right driver, this is the forum to use. It's for newbies and regular users to post questions. Just make sure to post what hardware you are having problems with, in the subject and not just in the post's text area, please.
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peregrine
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New Computer

#1 Post by peregrine » Fri Aug 15, 2014 12:26 pm

My first build (with help)

Code: Select all

$ inxi -F
System:    Host: mx1 Kernel: 3.12-0.bpo.1-686-pae i686 (32 bit)
           Desktop: Xfce 4.10.2 Distro: MX-14.2 Symbiosis 30 June 2014
Machine:   Mobo: ASUSTeK model: A78M-A v: Rev X.0x
           Bios: American Megatrends v: 0504 date: 01/20/2014
CPU:       Quad core AMD A10-6800K APU with Radeon HD Graphics (-MCP-) cache: 8192 KB
           Clock Speeds: 1: 2000 MHz 2: 3200 MHz 3: 2000 MHz 4: 2600 MHz
Graphics:  Card: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] ATI Device 990c
           Display Server: X.Org 1.12.4 drivers: fbdev,ati,vesa (unloaded: radeon)
           Resolution: 1280x1024@0.0hz
           GLX Renderer: Gallium 0.4 on llvmpipe (LLVM 0x209)
           GLX Version: 2.1 Mesa 8.0.5
Audio:     Card-1 Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] FCH Azalia Controller
           driver: snd_hda_intel
           Card-2 Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] ATI Trinity HDMI Audio Controller
           driver: snd_hda_intel
           Sound: Advanced Linux Sound Architecture v: k3.12-0.bpo.1-686-pae
Network:   Card: Realtek RTL8111/8168B PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet controller
           driver: r8169
           IF: eth0 state: up speed: 100 Mbps duplex: full
           mac: 40:16:7e:67:bd:c9
Drives:    HDD Total Size: NA (-)
           ID-1: /dev/sda model: KINGSTON_SV300S3 size: 120.0GB
Partition: ID-1: / size: 5.7G used: 226M (4%) fs: rootfs dev: N/A
Sensors:   System Temperatures: cpu: 3.5C mobo: N/A gpu: 2.0
           Fan Speeds (in rpm): cpu: N/A
Info:      Processes: 123 Uptime: 51 min Memory: 266.3/7289.4MB
           Client: Shell (bash) inxi: 2.1.28
demo@mx1:~
Live CD runs fine, I have not installed MX yet.
I have a used 500GB sata for data. I rarely store much in /home. I assumed I should get MX installed on the SSD before attaching it.
I planned to partition the SSD into 15-20GB partitions.
I found some info on installing Linux on an SSD and it says "If you don’t already, you should have the drive set to AHCI mode in your BIOS settings." Is that something I need to do? I looked around and did not see anything. The bios is not a place I am comfortable with so that does not mean it was not there and I did not find it.
I know there has been some discussion on a new version of gparted. Is the version on MX14.2 ok to use?
Asus A78M - AMD A10-6800K - 8GB Ram - 120GB SSD - Samsung SyncMaster 2243SWX LCD MX17 ------ Asus X550LA intel i5 4200 / MX17 | W10

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Jerry3904
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Re: New Computer

#2 Post by Jerry3904 » Fri Aug 15, 2014 12:38 pm

I know there has been some discussion on a new version of gparted.
Only part I can speak to: 0.19.0 is already in the testing repo:

http://forum.mepiscommunity.org/viewtop ... 4&p=346243
Production: 4.15.0-1-amd64, MX-17.1, AMD FX-4130 Quad-Core, GeForce GT 630/PCIe/SSE2, 8 GB, Kingston SSD 120 GB and WesternDigital 1TB
Testing: AAO 722: 4.15.0-1-386. MX-17.1, AMD C-60 APU, 4 GB

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JimC
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Re: New Computer

#3 Post by JimC » Fri Aug 15, 2014 12:44 pm

It's always a good idea to use AHCI mode for any disk drives (physical or SSD), since AHCI supports NCQ (Native Command Queuing), and ATA mode does not. Most modern drives (both SSDs and "spinners") support Native Command Queuing for better performance if a system's BIOS is set to either AHCI or RAID mode (versus ATA).

Basically, NCQ allows the operating system to send multiple commands to a drive at the same time, letting the drive firmware figure out the best way to execute those commands (which can speed up performance).

It's usually a good idea to make sure a drive is set to AHCI mode *before* installing any operating systems on it. That's because different drivers may be needed for AHCI versus ATA mode. With Windows, switching to AHCI mode after it's installed can lead to an unbootable system. But, there are some ways to fix it after the fact.

With linux, changing to AHCI mode later may not be a problem (try it and see), and your BIOS may already be set to AHCI mode by default anyway (varies by system).

BTW, that Kingston V300 SSD has been the subject of a lot of controversy. Basically, they used faster NAND memory when they first released it, then switched to much slower NAND memory *after* it was reviewed by many sites; resulting in a significant drop in performance over the original drive release.

You'll see tons of buyer complaints about Kingston using that tactic in the feedback sections of vendor listings for it.

There are even some articles about it now. For example, this one:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/7763/an-u ... icron-nand

So, Kingston is on my "avoid list" for SSD purchases now. I'm using a Samsung 830 series SSD with my desktop and I'll probably go Samsung the next time I need to buy another one.

BTW, you'll also want to implement a trim solution to keep performance optimized. The way linux users were doing that for a long time was adding a discard option to fstab. But, that can hurt performance while the discard (trim) operation is being executed, and the newer preferred way to implementing trim is by using a utility known as fstrim (which can be set to run periodically using cron, running only at reboots, etc.).

Here's one of many articles on the subject.

https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/ssd

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BitJam
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Re: New Computer

#4 Post by BitJam » Fri Aug 15, 2014 12:55 pm

peregrine wrote:I found some info on installing Linux on an SSD and it says "If you don’t already, you should have the drive set to AHCI mode in your BIOS settings."
You sure want AHCI mode. I'd bet money that is already the default setting. Maybe a new machine like yours doesn't let you go back to the old way. My new UEFI laptop has the option in BIOS and it came set to AHCI. I suggest you do an image search for "bios ahci" (no quotes). That should give you an idea of where to look in the BIOS. As long as you don't go mucking about playing "I wonder what this setting does?" you should be very safe. They always give you the option to exit without changing anything. I think the default setting will be the one you want. If you want to be sure then go in and poke around until you find it and then exit without saving. If needed, on the next boot go in again and go right to where that setting is and change it and then save the settings this time.

For ssd you want to use a file system that support trim. I recommend ext4 unless you want to be adventurous and use btrfs. Soon, btrfs will be the default on at least some distros. IMO ext4 is still a little bit safer but btrfs has some really great features. Also, you should not set the trim option in fstab. It is better to run fstrim regularly as a cron job. I run it every 12 hours via my /etc/crontab. You may not need to run it so often. Here is the script I use:

Code: Select all

#!/bin/bash

LOG=/var/log/trim.log
echo "*** $(date -R) ***" >> $LOG
fstrim -v / >> $LOG
Something like this may come for free when you install the OS (or the trim package?).

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jdmeaux1952
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Re: New Computer

#5 Post by jdmeaux1952 » Fri Aug 15, 2014 1:02 pm

IMHO, I would divide the Kingston into five (5) 24 Gib for OS's, and utilize the used 500 Gib for "homes" and data :rock: At least that way you get to keep your data.

Right now no one is sure how long an SSD will last. Some say about the normal time a HD dies; others say indefinitely. Even if you decide to install (heaven forbid) windoze on the SSD, that only takes up about 35Gib (with 8.1) and less with older versions.

Anyway, have tons of fun. :party: :dancingman:
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I am not CrAzY. And I have a paper from the doctors to prove it!
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chrispop99
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Re: New Computer

#6 Post by chrispop99 » Fri Aug 15, 2014 1:20 pm

When running an OS on an SSD, and data on a spinner, I always put swap on the spinner to reduce the number of writes.

It's unclear whether it is necessary to do that, but I haven't found any negatives.

Chris
Test machines:
32-bit non-PAE - Thinkpad T41, 1.6GHz Pentium M, 1GB RAM.
32-bit PAE - DELL Latitude D610, 1.73GHz Pentium M, 2GB RAM.
64-bit - Lenovo T61, 2GHz Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM
64-bit - Gigabyte Z77P-D3, Intel i3-3220, GeForce 8400 GS, 4GB PC3-12800.

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peregrine
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Re: New Computer

#7 Post by peregrine » Fri Aug 15, 2014 2:02 pm

Thanks everyone for the tips. AHCI was already enabled.
Asus A78M - AMD A10-6800K - 8GB Ram - 120GB SSD - Samsung SyncMaster 2243SWX LCD MX17 ------ Asus X550LA intel i5 4200 / MX17 | W10

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BitJam
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Re: New Computer

#8 Post by BitJam » Fri Aug 15, 2014 3:04 pm

The last few years I've been using GPT partitioning instead of MBR:

PROS:
  • It is more robust. It saves the partition table at the beginning and at the end of the disk.
  • All partitions are primary. You don't have to worry about primary/extended.
  • There is more room in the "mbr" so you can use brtfs for a boot partition without any problem.
  • You can boot using root=PARTUUID=xxxx without an initrd. I think Debian systems come with an initrd that handles this so it may not be a big issue for you.
CONS:
  • I don't know if the MX installer handles GPT. Someone here must know.
  • It might not work on some really old systems.
It is really easy to set up in gparted. Go to Device --> "Create Partition Table" and then choose "gpt" instead of "msdos". I think you need to erase all existing partitions on the device (not just have the erasures pending) before it will let you do this. You need to set the "legacy_boot" flag on the boot partition if you want to boot it via BIOS (often called "legacy boot mode" on UEFI systems). I don't think it works with legacy grub but it works just fine with both grub2 and with syslinux.

I use this on all of my new internal drives now and even on some of my LiveUSBs.

BTW: I only create partitions for what I know I want now and leave the rest free space. This makes even more sense with GPT because you don't have to worry about extended partitions. It is easy to add partitions at a later date but it is hard for me to predict the sizes now for what I might want later on.

I too have swap on hdd. Partly this is to slow things down if something is running amuck and give me time to shut things down before the system freezes. For what I do do day-to-day, the speed of the swap partition is not an issue. Sometimes I put a lot of stuff in tmpfs for speed and let the swapper deal with moving things in and out of memory. I really don't see a performance hit. IOW, if the speed of your swap partition is an issue then you probably need to get more memory or something. By the same token, if a swap partition on an sdd is causing significant wear then you also need more memory.

Some reviewers have tested sdd lifetimes. One group tested two Intel 840 ssds. Each one survived the equivalent of 10 Gigs of writing per day for 136 years. IOW, 100 Gigs of writing per day for over 10 years. When they finally failed, well after SMART said they were worn out, you could still read the data but not write anything new. IMO if your sdd is similar then you simply don't have to worry about wear due to swap unless you are doing something really foolish.

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Adrian
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Re: New Computer

#9 Post by Adrian » Fri Aug 15, 2014 3:46 pm

I don't know if the MX installer handles GPT. Someone here must know.
I think mx-installer uses fdisk while for GPT we need gdisk. I'm new to all this GPT and UEFI, what can I do if my old hardware just works...

In my opinion making sure MX installs on GPT should be the priority for the next release. However, since I don't have hardware to test on and I don't know much about GPT I think somebody else should take the charge for this one.

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uncle mark
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Re: New Computer

#10 Post by uncle mark » Fri Aug 15, 2014 5:02 pm

peregrine wrote: I have a used 500GB sata for data. I rarely store much in /home. I assumed I should get MX installed on the SSD before attaching it.
I recently built a new machine with an SSD for the primary drive, and was advised to keep /home on the SSD but to move all the data folders (Documents, Movies, Music, etc.) to the HDD and link them back to /home. That way the faster drive is being used fully for all the common everyday tasks like web browsing and email and what-have-you, but the space hogs aren't using up the more valuable real estate on the SSD.

I also asked about trim and all that jazz, and was told to just chill out -- with a modern OS on modern hardware, just use the defaults and not sweat the small stuff.
Desktop: Custom build Asus/AMD/nVidia -- MEPIS 11
Laptop: Acer Aspire 5250 -- MX-15
Assorted junk: assorted Linuxes

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