At Ohio LinuxFest I had lunch with Carl from System76 and Chase Douglas, who has been working on bringing multitouch to Ubuntu. Since we’re nerds the subject of hardware came up, and I got a glimpse of the amount of effort S76 puts into getting quality parts that are known-good Linux compatible components and some of the challenges they face. They have a budget box that boots in 6 seconds, if you get the SSD option. So, speaking about SSDs …
I had a first generation Intel SSD, and like most Intel SSD owners there’s really nothing like it. But it can get expensive, especially on a nice home machine where you want lots of room. On a laptop you can compromise with a hybrid drive, like this one, which I put in my new netbook and is a nice middle ground. However if you’ve got room in your PC case there’s a great compromise that I’ve been rolling with at home. Life is too short to worry about partitioning, however, a 40gb SSD is about one hundred bucks and a worthy addition to your existing PC.
"But it’s only 40gb!"
Yes. You will get this, and then put / on it. /home will go on your normal 1tb drive or whatever. So your OS is on the SSD, and all the stuff you need space for will be on the big disk.
"Is it worth the hundred bucks?"
Yes, because instead of spending $250 to get a 200mhz microbump or another 2 cores on the CPU you will get the mid priced CPU option and then buy this and then come out on top, by a mile. Or you will put this in your existing PC and realize that your existing computing needs are just fine once you get rid of the drive bottleneck.
"Aha, but what about stuff in /home, that’s still on spinning platters!"
Login time is about the sameish, since you’re reading a bunch of junk from .gconf, but the rest of the boot is so fast you won’t mind the compromise. Apps will launch very quickly. Your data will still be on disk, so copying stuff around will be normal, etc. You can also make a temporary directory under / and symlink things there that is important to you (like your Firefox profile, trust me on that one). And there’s enough room on the drive to pop into /tmp if you want to build something and want the SSD speed.
On a related note ZaReason does offer the X25-v and dual drive setups, though I have no idea if they partition it for you how you would expect. If anyone is familiar with this leave a comment!