Drive layout options on Clean install, SSD's and HDD to LVM or not?

I have been running various Linux distros of the years. Given the whole Windows 10 = spyware I’m going to nuke my Windows partition and clean install. Ubuntu-Mate is my chosen distro leaving only one question…

How to best handle my drives. Back when SSD’s were very small it made sense to put / on the SSD and /home on the HDD and just leave it at that. However SSD’s are larger and that makes that solution more than a bit silly. In the past I have have installed on to my SSD and had the HDD mounted within the /home folder. I feel this is less than ideal. Some time back I looking into disk caching but rejected that idea as being a little too tricky. It would be great if I had just one drive, SSD’s first HDD second.

So to my question, can you install onto an LVM and if you can is it a dumb idea or not?

SSD Crucial 256GB
SSD Sandisk 60GB
HDD WD Black 1TB


my personal choice is still keep / and home separately. In mi opinion SSD has a bigger chance of data lost so i keep home dir on separate 500gb drive. Even my ssd is quite new (about 3 moths) i just have it as a system drive i can replace it any time. My home dir there are stuff i do not want to lose or at least they have a temporary value for me like some documents.

i wouldn’t use ssd as a long term data storage. I do not really trying to extend the life span. my expectations are 2 years then i will replace it.

I have a NAS for long term backups and stuff. I’m not overly concerned by data loss due to hardware failure. If it goes it goes there is nothing that is not recoverable. More an annoyance at this point.

What I’m looking for is the effect of just one big drive. you know install all of my Steam games without having to be bothered by where they are going. A set up once and forget sort of situation.

The “effect of just one big drive” sounds like a RAID 0 setup, something I’m not experienced in at all, but these guides shows it is possible:

Many motherboards also support using them as RAID controllers, achieving that effect as “one big drive”.

Since you say you’re not too concerned by data loss, then this might be what you’re looking for.

I installed everything in / on my SSD, but then have Back-in-Time automatically make snapshots of my home folder onto the HDD. Benefit is speed, and also redundancy. Back-in-time is nicer that Deja-dup in my view because you can browse the files in the backups at different time points.
One argument for combined / and home (single partition) is that it provides good wear levelling as all the disk can be used.
Regarding encryption, I prefer to encrypt the homefolder only, then when the computer is running, back-in-time takes snapshots onto an automounted encrypted 20 GB LUKS/LVM partition on the HDD every hour, day or week as you wish. A second much bigger unencrypted ext4 HDD partition is where I keep large unconfidential stuff e.g. movies.
Finally, the timeshift program makes automated system snapshots (restore points) onto the large HDD partition (personal folders in /home are excluded so no need to encrypt this backup which makes it easy to reinstall if you bork your system).

I’ve installed Ubuntu Mate-64 on a SP 120Gb SSD with GPT partition scheme with the following partitions: /,home, usr, var, tmp and a formatted partition for general storage. I followed a ‘how-to’ that causes the ‘fstrim’ to run at every boot, shutdown, restart and hourly for each partition. Trying to mitigate risk I make sure anything valuable (documents, data, pictures, music, etc., is backed up on an external USB drive.
The drive is used for web surfing, downloading, streaming audio, VMs(Linux and Win) and time wasting simple games.
System has been up and running almost 24/7 for one month with no issues.
How long the SSD drive will survive is speculation at this point.

There is a quite well described bug originating from Ubuntu’s new systemd implementation where if you select only to encrypt home (and therefore swap ) during installation on a GPT partition scheme, forever after you are continually prompted for password during boot up (to mount cryptswap) and during apt-get upgrade procedures. It is really annoying, especially during the first upgrade (request appears about a dozen times - just press enter to cancel it).
The issue is solved by using msdos partition scheme not GPT, or if you must use GPT (e.g. dual booting with windows) switching back to Upstart from systemd (instructions on Ubuntu website) - possible on 15.04, not sure about 15.10.

I have a 250GB Kingston SSD. I give ~64GB for /, and format the rest for Steam games I want to load in a zippy fashion, which I used chown to make it my own. I then mount a separate /home physical HDD. No problems.

I’m a bit of a game hoarder and have over 350GB of Linux games on Steam that will only get bigger as games I own are ported. Witcher 3 is coming soon :smile: , the whole collection is over 1TB if you include the Windows games. If we are to mention Windows games then there are a couple of hundred GB on Origin. As you can see I have problems…

Here we go, been and gone and done it. Three drives using LVM and one big volume. It’s going to take a while to download the Steam collection. I also have InSync downloading my Google drive.

I’m spanking my internet connection right now lol. There are a couple of hundred Gb to pull from my NAS.