Ubuntu 9.10 on SSD

Dmitri Popov

Productivity Sauce

Nov 24, 2009 GMT
Dmitri Popov

I've been thinking about replacing the hard disk on my production notebook with a solid-state disk (SSD) for quite a while. So when I stumbled upon a good offer on Kingston 64GB SSDNow V series SSD I decided to take the plunge. 64GB is a far cry from the modest by today's standards 160GB hard disk on my notebook. But since I store all my files on a Bubba Two server, I rarely use more than 15-20GB anyway. The Kingston 64GB SSDNow V series SSD model is available in several versions, including a so-called notebook kit. It's slightly more expensive than the disk itself, but it's well worth a few extra bucks. The notebook kit includes hard disk cloning software (which is, obviously, of no use on Linux) and a hard disk enclosure. The latter is a very handy addition, as you can use it to convert the replaced hard disk into an external USB drive. So I pulled the old hard disk out of the notebook, inserted it into the enclosure, and moved files and profiles to the freshly installed SSD. The entire procedure of installing the SSD and moving the files took no longer than half an hour.

While I was hoping to get a slight speed boost, my expectations weren't very high: the Kingston V-series SSD is designed for the consumer market and the disk offers relatively modest read/write speeds. I was therefore pleasantly surprised when the Ubuntu 9.10's installer zoomed through the installation process in about 10 minutes -- almost twice as fast as with the old hard disk. And I was completely blown away by how fast my notebook booted into Ubuntu 9.10 -- it took about 10-15 seconds. Still skeptical, I launched OpenOffice.org. Yep, it started noticeably faster than before. I haven't done any scientific measurements, but I can say that switching to the SSD disk has had a more significant impact on the system's performance than doubling the amount of RAM.

So if you are considering replacing the conventional hard disk on your machine with an SSD, I say go for it. Before you make the move, though, you might want to do some research to find the SSD model that fits your needs and budget.


  • Ubuntu on SSD

    My experiences were very similar to Dimitri's, after first installing an OCZ 32gb SSD, then a couple of months later, doubling RAM from 1gb to 2gb. Fast access time trumps everything else for day-to-day desktop usage on a netbook. Using swap was a rare occurrence with 1gb of RAM, but it did happen occasionally, and performance fell off a cliff. With 2gb of RAM, I have never seen swap get used. I am using Ubuntu 10.04 LTS on an Acer AA1 netbook -- a very modest platform. Boot = 20 seconds; shutdown = 4 seconds; most apps (including OpenOffice) load in 2-4 seconds.

    There are various blog posts and tutorials out there for fine tuning SSD performance, primarily by reducing swappiness, and aligning SSD memory block size to "cylinder" boundaries. In my experience, they offer modest performance improvemenst, on the order of 5-10% -- hardly worth the effort.

    There have been a flurry of articles/posts since mid-November on further speed improvements from a ~200 line kernel patch, OR, a few very small modifications. For example: http://www.webupd8.org/2010...to-200-lines-kernel-patch.html

    This works!

    Thanks to the cumulative effect of all these changes, my little netbook is now faster at most day-to-day tasks than my desktop iMac.
  • need help !

    I bought a 128go Kingston SSD but i have no idea of how i can move my Kubuntu (9.10) on it !
    The SSD is in its USB box, i've got somme dmesg errors and somes stuff with lsusb
    Some help ?

    dmesg :

    usb 1-2: new high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 4
    [947418.386910] usb 1-2: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
    [947418.391368] scsi4 : SCSI emulation for USB Mass Storage devices
    [947418.391955] usb-storage: device found at 4
    [947418.391970] usb-storage: waiting for device to settle before scanning
    [947423.389383] usb-storage: device scan complete
    [947423.390065] scsi 4:0:0:0: Direct-Access PI-291 FCR-HS2SATA 1.04 PQ: 0 ANSI: 4
    [947423.392415] sd 4:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg2 type 0
    [947423.413366] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdc] 250069680 512-byte logical blocks: (128 GB/119 GiB)
    [947423.417578] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdc] Write Protect is off
    [947423.417591] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdc] Mode Sense: 23 00 00 00
    [947423.417599] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdc] Assuming drive cache: write through
    [947423.424486] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdc] Assuming drive cache: write through
    [947423.424506] sdc:
    [947423.429620] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdc] Result: hostbyte=DID_OK driverbyte=DRIVER_SENSE
    [947423.429636] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdc] Sense Key : Illegal Request [current]
    [947423.429650] Info fld=0x0
    [947423.429656] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdc] Add. Sense: Logical block address out of range
    [947423.429670] end_request: I/O error, dev sdc, sector 0
    [947423.429682] __ratelimit: 22 callbacks suppressed
    [947423.429690] Buffer I/O error on device sdc, logical block 0
    [947423.431751] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdc] Result: hostbyte=DID_OK driverbyte=DRIVER_SENSE
    [947423.431768] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdc] Sense Key : Illegal Request [current]
    [947423.431782] Info fld=0x0
    [947423.431788] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdc] Add. Sense: Logical block address out of range
    [947423.431802] end_request: I/O error, dev sdc, sector 0
    [947423.431817] Buffer I/O error on device sdc, logical block 0
    [947423.437488] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdc] Result: hostbyte=DID_OK driverbyte=DRIVER_SENSE
    [947423.437504] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdc] Sense Key : Illegal Request [current]
    [947423.437519] Info fld=0x0

    lsusb => (cf Initio)

    Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
    Bus 001 Device 004: ID 13fd:1840 Initio Corporation
    Bus 001 Device 002: ID 0bda:0158 Realtek Semiconductor Corp. Mass Stroage Device
    Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
    Bus 005 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
    Bus 004 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
    Bus 003 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub

    Any idea? I'll appreciate.
  • Access times vs throughput

    There is more than throughput to storage devices.
    SSD's have ridiculously low access times, which speeds everything up significantly.
    Even if they don't have a very high throughput.
  • btrfs

    You can save even more power and get MUCH higher speed, if you use a btrfs filesystem with compression enabled.
  • Power consumption

    I noticed the 40GB drive has significantly less power requirement than the 64GB drive. At first I thought it must be a typo in the specs, but realized the read/write speeds are significantly less. At the same time, the r/w speeds seem to be on par with the average consumer mag hard drive.

    If your aim is power saving with speed secondary, then get 40G drive.

    And you may say "Well, it takes the same number of cycles to write a 3 GB file no matter what the speed, so the same energy is drained from the battery" . This is true, but the 40G also has lower idle power consumption, simply due to less memory to leak power in the idle state.
  • Get over the anxiety

    I bought a stock Dell netbook with a 16GB SSD, loaded with Ubuntu, and have had no problems, so you just don't need 64GB (necessarily).

    Furthermore, what I did later was to replace the Ubuntu with Fedora 11, in the process wiping out the wasted 5GB of wasted rescue partition that Dell sent it with. So really, Ubuntu did quite fine with the 11GB it had to work with. I am not seeing any issues with boot or shutdown times.
  • testing speeds

    Could you run some file copy speed tests and give us the details please on your drive
  • Mounting SSD drives

    If you haven't done so, set the "noatime" option in the mount line for the slices on your SSD drive in /etc/fstab. This prevents the inodes from being updated each time a file is accessed, and should make your SSD last longer.

    I have a 16GB SSD on my Dell Mini-9 netbook, and set this option when I installed UNR.
  • SSD

    I too replaced my old Samsung V20 laptop's HD a few months ago with a 60gb SSD that I got on eBay for about £60. It has just 1meg of memory which is more than enough as I run Ubuntu 9.10 and just about everything is stored in the 'cloud' [Google Docs, Picasa etc.] so the disc is never more that about 1/3rd full. Boot times are brilliant [sub 20 seconds] so you don't even have to bother hibernating or whatever.
  • SSD's rock

    I installed a SSD on my machine as well with Ubuntu its really fast.
    I installed Linux and the Boot loader to the SSD and use my old 500gb magnetic drive as my my home drive.
    It boots really, really fast.
    I should have only bought a 32gb drive though instead of the big expensive one I bought.
  • What about battery life?

    Has the battery life improved? I slightly played a couple of days ago with Moblin off a USB stick and it didn´t seem to make the batt last for much longer (if any) than the HD...

  • SSD

    I have been running a 128Gig SSD for a while, it has been pretty good.
  • Tweaking

    Disable the readahead service, set the noop IO scheduler and try different filesystems on it...
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