New SSD for old HP G60

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Andy
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Iscritto: 02/02/2020

I hope that I have not overlapped other topics too much..? I have read with great interest on this forum about RAM vs SSD and can confirm as my swap is not used with 3GB RAM; I have taken advice from Magic Banana, nadebula.1984, FernandoV, Ianun plus many more and am now waiting for my cheap (£28) widely available, well specified GX1 2.5" 240GB SSD to arrive. Though I am unsure if the SMART and TRIM features…
https://www.teamgroupinc.com/en/product/gx1
….will be recognised or supported by Trisquel grub.. However this will not break the Bank at this price!
I have noticed that the old slow 2.0GHz Intel CPU T5800 Core Duo briefly 100% maxes out from time to time so suspect this may limit the overall performance gain to some extent. Even so with Hitachi HDD; Disk is OK, 131074 bad sectors (44° C/111° F) my laptop works 100% reliably – no freezing - no gaming - Just getting a bit slow opening stuff since upgrading to Trisquel 9.

Not expecting any gnu-linux instructions with the GX1 SSD but hope you guys can confirm that all that is required is to boot from DVD or USB ISO and let Trisquel take care of everything. Not sure about installing Libre-boot or buying another SSD and posting it on to Leha Rowe to do her thing…? Yes I will backup all files onto external USB 1TB USB drive but would be grateful for any advice offered.
I have a fast Dell E6420 i7 with Trisquel-mini LXDE for editing videos etc, but prefer my old HP NVIDIA with better screen and full English keyboard.

Magic Banana

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Iscritto: 07/24/2010

You probably want to choose the "Something else" type of installation, have the root partition (i.e., the partition with the filesystem mounted at /) and the swap partition on the SSD, and the partition for /home taking the whole HDD (for more space for user files). Or you could have all three partition on the SSD, hence a rather small (~200 GB) partition for /home but with for a faster access to its files. The partition on the HDD could then be dedicated to heavy user files that take are less commonly accessed, typically multimedia files such as collections of videos, pictures, music, etc.

Andy
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Iscritto: 02/02/2020

Perhaps I have confused you with my lack of knowledge? I am hoping to completely replace old Hitachi HDD with the new 7mm thick 2.5” GX1 SSD and not – if I understand you correctly – add another drive. Are you saying that if I let Trisquel ISO image install using default settings the partitioning may be less than ideal..? Do I have to format prior to installing Trisquel 9.0 ? Do we know if SMART or TRIM will be recognised..?
ps – I am not so heavy on storage these days as I no longer have 3D CAD SolidWorks on the HP. I am also a lot more selective with picture and video files to save; plus have 1T USB external drive which I plug in for storage and backups of both laptops.
Bought 240 size SSD as I thought it was a good deal and would allow me to follow your recommendations on performance

Magic Banana

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Iscritto: 07/24/2010

I assume there is room in the computer for both the existing HDD and the SSD (by the way, I hope you checked you can indeed plug a SSD on your motherboard). If so, why would you remove the HDD? Just to lose weight? It looks like you want the second option I wrote about. Something like 40 GB for /, 16 GB for swap and the rest for /home, all three on the SSD, and the existing internal drive could store the files you have on your external drive (that could be used to backup the user files, in /home and on the internal HDD).

I do not know what the installer does by default in presence of two internal drives. I imagine it uses only one of them. Choosing the "Something else" type of installation, the installer proposes you to partition the drives the way you want: no need to "format prior to installing Trisquel 9.0". The SMART and TRIM features should work.

amenex
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Iscritto: 01/04/2015

Magic Banana, reflecting, said:
I do not know what the installer does by default in presence of two internal drives.
I imagine it uses only one of them.

Choosing which is where things can go awry ...

Choosing the "Something else" type of installation, the installer proposes you to
partition the drives the way you want: no need to "format prior to installing Trisquel 9.0".

When there are complicating factors, "something else" is the safest fork in the road.
Be sure to look things over with GParted beforehand. GParted always gets the drives in
the right order: primary = /dev/sda, then /dev/sdb, /dev/sdc and so on. Your SSD may have
a different designation. Thumb drives are detected as well. Don't be tempted to format
any drives with GParted; that's for the installer to do with your assistance. You're starting
with an empty drive, so all of it will have to be formatted, which the installer is well
designed to do.

For the target partition, one of the smaller partitions on a given drive gets the operating
system, and you have to tell the installer as much. Also, you should designate that one
as the mount point or root (/). You will also be given the opportunity to pick the boot
(boot) partition; prudence dictates that it be in the primary drive. Another small partition
should be formatted as swap. The installer will designate any other swap partition in the
'puter as another part of "the swap partition." You're not allowed to pick and choose swap
space when the system is later in operation. It's all or nothing, swapon or swapoff.

GParted indicates how much of each partition is already occupied. Your SSD ought to be
the empty one. My experience with Trisquel is that it's happiest with /dev/sda1 for the
OS, /dev/sda2 as linux swap, and /dev/sda3 as the data (largest) partition. Magic Banana
has sage advice about fitting those partitions into the structure of a solid state drive.
For example, swap will get a lot of use and has to be placed where the designer of the
drive placed his designated sacrifice zone. I don't know how much file shuffling the OS
does to minimize wasted space; Magic Banana can address that far better than I can.

Andy
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Iscritto: 02/02/2020

Thanks amenex. "Swap will get a lot of use" - In my experience having done a lot of monitoring with Abrowser or Midori watching video while writing with AbiWord and Gimp open have never seen swap used at all. I Use faster Dell E6420 laptop for video editing..!
Here is a screenshot of existing HDD with partitions by default settings when I installed Trisquel v9 over v8...

Hitachi-250-HDD-Partition.png Trisqel-Load-01.png
Magic Banana

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Iscritto: 07/24/2010

In normal conditions, swap should not be used (otherwise, you need more RAM). Notice however that it is used for hibernating. As a consequence, if you plan to hibernate, having a swap partition as large as the RAM is good. If you do not plan to hibernate, it can be smaller.

Further reacting to amenex's post:

  • One can dimension and format the partitions before running the installer; it is just not necessary since the "Something else" type of installation allows it as well and is necessary to specify where each filesystem will be mounted;
  • I do not see much point in having /boot separated from / (unless one wants to encrypt everything but /boot); creating more partitions has a clear drawback: it is easier to end up with one of them full, while there is much space on another one.
  • It is actually possible to create swap files while the system is running, but, I repeat, a system should not swap in normal conditions;
  • I very much doubt the numbering of the device has any kind of importance.
Andy
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Iscritto: 02/02/2020

Hi Magic Banana - you wrote “I assume there is room in the computer for both the existing HDD and the SSD (by the way, I hope you checked you can indeed plug a SSD on your motherboard). If so, why would you remove the HDD? Just to lose weight?”
Yes: I did a little research before buying and deduced that there is a standard connection and indeed a standard “drive module” – 2.5” with various thicknesses – the thinnest being 7mm which the existing HDD is – even had a look under the hood and removed the drive – very simple – and after a few pics put it back again. See photos.
So new GX1 SSD should fit to the bracket or caddy then its multi-pin connector should align with motherboard connector strips?
As a design engineer I was impressed by build, quality and compactness with no space to spare as can be seen in the pictures. Perhaps you can understand my confusion when I read about second drives and mixing HDD and SSD – above my pay grade.
There is space in Desktop Tower cases like my old WinXP-Pro 3D CAD workstation but in a laptop or should I say notebook where design quest is for thin, compact, light etc…???
Latest Linux Format magazine has DVD279 with Rescue Toolkit, Rescuezilla inc GParted, Clonezilla (plus Zorin Lite.) This may prove usefull? However hope to just boot from USB drive with image Trisquel 9.0 and go for the “something else” option for custom partitioning as you suggest.
As I respect and value your opinion - would you leave notebook as is with HDD and use new SSD for paying with new Distros - Arch etc? Once again thanks so much.

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Magic Banana

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Iscritto: 07/24/2010

Latest Linux Format magazine has DVD279 with Rescue Toolkit, Rescuezilla inc GParted, Clonezilla (plus Zorin Lite.) This may prove usefull?

To install Trisquel, all you need is to run its installer on the live ISO.

would you leave notebook as is with HDD and use new SSD for paying with new Distros - Arch etc?

What you really want on the SSD are the systems, so that they start faster and so do the applications you launch: that is where you will feel a real difference. You can put on the SSD the swap partition too, so that the system is not too sluggish if something goes wrong (like a memory leaking in some application you run). As I explained above, the swap partition can be as large as your RAM. In presence of several systems, they can all use the same swap partition.

/home can be shared by different systems too. Nevertheless, that may create some issues, if a same application in different versions is used on different systems (the newer versions may write things, typically in ~/.config, that the older version does not understand). If you only want to "play" with distributions (by the way, prefer Parabola, which is 100% free, to Arch), it is safer and simpler to only define a small root partition for each of them with everything (including /home) in it. You will be able to read/write the files on the /home partition of your main system. Because your SSD is rather large, that /home can be on the SSD and you can have your whole HDD be occupied by a "data partition" where you put all your large files you rarely access (typically, your pictures, your music, your videos, etc.).

In summary, you can have:

  • ~40 GB for / on the SSD;
  • a swap partition as large as your RAM on the SSD;
  • ~40 GB of free space on the SSD to "play with distributions" (single root partitions in that free space);
  • the remaining space on the SSD for /home;
  • one single partition (not mounted by default) on the HDD for your large files.
Andy
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Iscritto: 02/02/2020

Hey Guys – So sorry – I just do not understand where to fit another internal drive?
I thought that my photographs clearly show that there is space for only one drive?
Do ANY notebooks have space to mount an internal 2nd drive?
kind regards to all - merci

Magic Banana

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Iscritto: 07/24/2010

I thought that my photographs clearly show that there is space for only one drive?

Sorry, I had not understand that. If you can only have the SSD plugged, the same partition scheme I detailed holds, but without the "data partition". You would have to rely on an external drive for that purpose.

Do ANY notebooks have space to mount an internal 2nd drive?

SSDs can be much smaller than HDDs. I have one with the M.2 form factor, as on https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/55/SSD_Samsung_960_PRO_512GB_-_front_and_back_-_2018-05-27.jpg

Some (most?) notebooks, such as mine (which is pretty thin), have connectivity for both a SATA HDD and a M.2 SSD. If your SSD has a SATA interface, I guess you cannot have it plugged at the same time as the HDD.

Andy
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Iscritto: 02/02/2020

Hey Magic Banana – Phew! I was getting worried – so thank you for confirming that there is no space for a 2nd internal drive in my HP G60 notebook.
If you have the time could you point me to such a notebook with two drives capability so that I can educate myself a little more? This is all new to me! Thanks and kind regards – merci.
Will let you know how I get on when GX1 SSD arrives next week.

Magic Banana

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Iscritto: 07/24/2010

If you have the time could you point me to such a notebook with two drives capability so that I can educate myself a little more?

Well, mine is a Vaio FE14, which I do not recommend for unrelated reasons (I could not install Trisquel 9, at least with the graphical installer, the touchpad stops working after some time with Debian Testing, which I ended up installing, what makes two USB ports used: one for the mouse and one for the Wi-Fi dongle, the internal Wi-Fi card requiring proprietary firmware I refuse). But, again the M.2 form factor is tiny, compared to the space a HDD takes.

nadebula.1984
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Iscritto: 05/01/2018

If your computer has an SATA-interfaced optical drive, replace it with a hard disk adapter and you could install another hard disk.

If you don't wish to (or cannot) use hard disk adapter at the optical drive bay, almost any ThinkPad starting SandyBridge could host at least two hard disks (one of them is usually M.2 (either SATA or NVMe) or mSATA). For freedom's sake, SandyBridge or IvyBridge ThinkPads are strongly recommended, whose coreboot implementation doesn't require any binary blob. For, example, X220/t, T420/s, T/W520, X230/s/t, T430/s/u, T431s, T/W530 and many more. However, you must first flash coreboot on them (or at least try to remove the white list restrictions by any mean), then could you use Atheros wireless NICs (maybe mini PCIe or M.2) on them.

Andy
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Iscritto: 02/02/2020

Hey Guys – the 71 year old brain is awake again – thanks for the insight into SSD + HDD
My HP G60-120EM has a motherboard F2.4 3617 wistron and MrMemory has some useful guides as a pdf and a video on installation etc etc for all laptops
https://www.mrmemory.co.uk/ssd-upgrades/hp/g-series-notebook/g60-120em

However for SSD + HDD this guy explains in some detail what you need to know and provides his own side links to further information if you do not understand the concept or terminology – very useful.
https://www.deskdecode.com/how-to-use-ssd-and-hdd-both-in-a-laptop/
…. and M.2 to Mini-PCIe Adapter for old Laptop
https://www.deskdecode.com/m-2-to-mini-pcie-adaptor-for-old-laptop-types-benefit-issues-compatibility/
Well, at least now you can sound like you know what you are talking about….!
Yet it gets quite complicated with the introduction of “it always better to use a mSATA SSD over the M.2 for Mini-PCIe slot, as it can run on its best with the perfect connection.”

As I still need the optical drive then perhaps I should remove the bottom casing and have a look or ask the more knowledgeable to say if it is feasible given….. (if relevant?)

00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) PCI Express Port 1 (rev 03) (prog-if 00 [Normal decode])
Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0, IRQ 25
Bus: primary=00, secondary=02, subordinate=02, sec-latency=0
I/O behind bridge: 00003000-00004fff
Memory behind bridge: d6200000-d71fffff
Prefetchable memory behind bridge: 00000000d3000000-00000000d40fffff
Capabilities:
Kernel driver in use: pcieport
Kernel modules: shpchp

00:1c.1 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) PCI Express Port 2 (rev 03) (prog-if 00 [Normal decode])
Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0, IRQ 26
Bus: primary=00, secondary=03, subordinate=03, sec-latency=0
I/O behind bridge: 00002000-00002fff
Memory behind bridge: d5100000-d61fffff
Prefetchable memory behind bridge: 00000000d4100000-00000000d50fffff
Capabilities:
Kernel driver in use: pcieport
Kernel modules: shpchp

Hope some of this helps visitors to this thread as most is beyond my experience thus far?

nadebula.1984
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Iscritto: 05/01/2018

It is theoretically and practically possible to use an NVMe SSD on a legacy notebook via M.2 (2230 or 2242) to mini PCIe converter card, and I am using one.

However, there are many problems to overcome, mainly regarding to the BIOS/UEFI firmware.

1. BIOS/UEFI firmware may not allow users to install NVMe SSD on the mini PCIe slot and thus prevent the system from booting (i.e., white list restriction)
2. BIOS/UEFI firmware may not allow I/O access to the mini PCIe slot if the type of the installed device changes (i.e., the SSD will not be recognized if installed on a mini PCIe slot which is designed for a wireless NIC, even if the slot does have PCIe definition)
3. BIOS/UEFI firmware may not allow booting from NVMe SSD, even if there isn't restriction 1 or 2 (although this is no big problem, as you can install grub on the SATA hard disk)

To sum up, before using an NVMe to mini PCIe converter card, you should first get rid of the proprietary BIOS/UEFI firmware, i.e., flash coreboot on your notebook.

For example, there are three mini PCIe slots (two full height, one half height) on X200 series. With proprietary BIOS firmware, the WLAN slot only accepts few approved WLAN cards (Intel 5100/5300, Realtek 8191SE, and Atheros AR2425); the WWAN slot only accepts few approved modems; the trubo memory slots only accepts turbo memory cards. With coreboot, all these restrictions are gone, and the three slots are interchangeable. However, not all NVMe SSDs are perfectly supported via NVMe to mini PCIe converter cards, depending on coreboot and/or payload (e.g., SeaBIOS, TianoCore, etc.). I once installed one NVMe SSD on my X200 with coreboot and SeaBIOS payload, the parameters of the SSD were not correctly recognized, preventing the system from booting, even if the operating system was on the SATA drive.

In one word, installing NVMe SSDs on legacy notebooks is very tricky, and flashing coreboot is a prerequisite. Therefore it's strongly recommended that you replace your optical drive with a hard disk adapter. You can purchase a converter cable to connect your optical drive to USB ports when you need to use it.

Andy
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Iscritto: 02/02/2020

Back from holiday so time to play with new SSD. Firstly when package arrived in the post I was shocked by lack of weight – so light I thought the cardboard envelope must be empty! Copied most files to my USB 1TB external drive but forgot to save Abrowser bookmarks – Duh – no big deal. Second surprise was when fitted to the mounting bracket (caddy) it was much thinner than the 7mm HDD. See Photos. Downloaded Trisquel v9 iso from Spanish uni and made a bootable USB drive.
Loaded up pretty fast, noted Wifi LED flashing, followed by auto update then added Hardinfo and Abiword. Pretty sluggish to start with but still faster than old HDD, however after two restarts and a shutdown things like start up and Abrowser got noticeably faster. Start up is about five times faster and Abrowser loads up from cold in about two seconds instead of fifteen. So was it worth it – sort of…? £28 cost OMG!!! Shhh; it's so quiet! Sall I turn the fan off!
My juiced up Trisquel-mini on the Dell E6420 i7 is just so fast that most tasks seem instant; yet this HP G60 Notebook is much nicer to use so deserves a little TLC. In conclusion those who recommended SSD over RAM take a bow – thanks Guys.
Any ideas on how to quantify real read and write speeds – please?

Good job I did not buy from Western Digital...
https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2021/08/silent-changes-to-western-digitals-budget-ssd-may-lower-speeds-by-up-to-50/

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Magic Banana

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Iscritto: 07/24/2010

Copied most files to my USB 1TB external drive but forgot to save Abrowser bookmarks – Duh – no big deal.

Why not regularly backing the whole home folder up? You can use Back In Time, by default in Trisquel 9, to not have multiple copies of the same files.

Sall I turn the fan off!

I guess it is a joke. Anyway: do not do that.

In conclusion those who recommended SSD over RAM take a bow – thanks Guys.

Nobody "recommended SSD over RAM", but SSD over (or, for more space: in addition to) HDD. RAM is ~50 times faster than your SSD but it is not persistent: its content is lost whenever the computer is switched off. Different purposes: RAM is only for the programs that are currently running.

Andy
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Iscritto: 02/02/2020

MB > Why not regularly backing the whole home folder up? You can use Back In Time, by default in Trisquel 9, to not have multiple copies of the same files.
You are quite correct - please accept my lack of experience in this subject.
Of Course initially I used Back in Time but looking at the result - see screenshot - I did not understand just what was there, so did not trust it. Do not know file extensions...!
Made a folder off home with sub folders to cover everything - I then copy or update these folders on the external SSD - I then know for sure what is where.
Again please accept my lack of experience and thus lack of confidence in this subject.

BackUpHPG60-1.png
Magic Banana

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Iscritto: 07/24/2010

Of Course initially I used Back in Time but looking at the result - see screenshot - I did not understand just what was there, so did not trust it.

You have not used Back In Time but Déjà Dup, which was the default backup tool in Trisquel 8 (and before). It is not in Trisquel 9's repository anymore, for some reason I do not know. Back In Time would give you a result similar to a copy. Nevertheless, subsequent backups would not copy files that have not been modified. Back In Time would make hard links instead. They are indistinguishable from the original copies but essentially take no space (each link takes 4 KiB, I believe; that actually depends on the filesystem where the files are backup up).

Andy
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Iscritto: 02/02/2020

Once again thanks Magic Banana for pointing out this error – so yes I will try Back in Time and check results. This will be a lot quicker than comparing latest files in 10 folders!
Very interesting how you say files can be stored with such a small footprint – incredible n’est pas? Like writing the Lord of the Rings on a pin head.

Magic Banana

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Iscritto: 07/24/2010

This will be a lot quicker than comparing latest files in 10 folders!

Back In Time compares for you your files to those you backed up last, to only send those that have been created or modified since then.

Very interesting how you say files can be stored with such a small footprint – incredible n’est pas? Like writing the Lord of the Rings on a pin head.

Creating a hard link is defining a new name (well, path) for an existing file. The file is stored once. Creating a hard links is not "writing Lord of the Rings on a pin head". It is writing a new title on a new cover and where to find the content of the book. The original cover and the new one are indistinguishable. You cannot tell which one existed first.

nadebula.1984
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Iscritto: 05/01/2018

Obviously memory is much more important than hard disks. However, for you computer, upgrading memory is very costly (4-GiB DDR2 modules are very expensive).

We never implied that hard disk (including SSD) is more important than memory. To be honest, if I were you, I'd like to spend $60 to purchase two 4-GiB DDR2 modules to maximize the memory.

Andy
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Iscritto: 02/02/2020

Hey MB it should by OAP’s like me who loose some memory – persistent or otherwise – please excuse the pun. You write…. > Nobody "recommended SSD over RAM"
Well in December you wrote …. > But none of that makes any significant difference, in my humble opinion. If you do not have an SSD, you had better save the money you want to spend on RAM to later buy a small SSD where to install the system: it makes a significant difference (system and applications starting significantly faster).
Beformed wrote > But definitely the SSD is a must and I'll spend more money on that than RAM. - > An SSD will make your computer feel like a newer computer.
Thanks also to nadebula.1984 for the detailed knowledge you imparted.
So I took all this advice on board and splashed out on a hugely expensive £28 SSD – (Joke) So thank you guys – I’m sitting here confused thinking my hearing has gone - (half joke) as noticed in BIOS fan is set to always be on – Presume it can be temperature controlled…?
Talking of BIOS (see photo) can I rearrange boot order to firstly speed up boot up time but to save DVDRAM being hammered trying to read an empty tray..? What is a USB floppy?
Perhaps put internal SSD at the top – first read? Never messed with BIOS before other than specifically to boot demo distros or Tails+Tor on a USB stick.
Can I ask if there is a way to benchmark test read-write speed…? Thanks again to all.

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Magic Banana

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Iscritto: 07/24/2010

Well in December you wrote ….

I mean SSD does not replace RAM. You need enough RAM to never swap in normal conditions. There is no point in buying more RAM that will always be unused. So, in that situation, the bucks are indeed much better spent in substituting/complementing a HDD with a SSD: that does make a significant difference whenever programs/data are read/written on permanent storage (and makes no difference while the programs are running, reading from and writing to the main memory).

Talking of BIOS (see photo) can I rearrange boot order to firstly speed up boot up time but to save DVDRAM being hammered trying to read an empty tray..?

Yes, you can.

What is a USB floppy?

A USB device to read floppy disks (that essentially nobody uses anymore).

Perhaps put internal SSD at the top – first read?

Yes.

Can I ask if there is a way to benchmark test read-write speed…?

To measure how fast is /dev/sda, you can execute in a terminal:
$ sudo hdparm -t /dev/sda

To see that the the throughput of the processor, cache, and memory is much higher:
$ sudo hdparm -T /dev/sda

Andy
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Iscritto: 02/02/2020

Thanks Magic Banana – see terminal screenshot below….
As expected does not meet the “get out clause – UP TO” - quote > The sequential read/write speed is up to 530 and 480 MB/s.
Whilst writing to this internal SSD; copying folders and files from backup external SSD the highest speed was about same as results. Any comments please..?

hdparm-t.png
nadebula.1984
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Iscritto: 05/01/2018

Your hard disk controller (ICH9M) doesn't support SATA 6 Gb/s mode. It only supports SATA 3 Gb/s mode, so the maximum speed is capped at 300 MByte/s.

Andy
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Iscritto: 02/02/2020

I have been into BIOS Boot Order and moved Notebook Internal Drive to the top and at the same time I have disabled the “USB floppy” - The boot up is a bit faster but DVDRAM is still getting same hammering. Perhaps disable DVDRAM too, but my old brain might not remember when trying out a Linux Format distro DVD..?
Edit:- Disabled DVDRAM but still same hammering - as I do not know what is instructing the drive to be read perhaps put in blank CD as a workaround ( as an engineer I do not like unnecessary mechanical abuse )

Magic Banana

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Iscritto: 07/24/2010

The sound you hear probably only relates to the DVD drive switching on. Not to checking whether a bootable disc is in.

Andy
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Iscritto: 02/02/2020

I just had to know….! Grabbed bookmarks too!
So quickly swapped back to old HDD and ran sudo hdparm -t /dev/sda to find out, quantify speeds:
HDD = 60 MB/sec SSD = 240 MB/sec
So thanks guys the old girl is running considerably faster – booting up and opening Abrowser, LibreOffice etc. The fan now runs much slower and hence much quieter coupled with the silent SSD. Guess a little less power consumed..?
Cannot justify spending £80 per 4G RAM especially as 3.1G swap is never used and I edit movies on my Dell notebook.
As a footnote ran same command on my Dell E6420 i7 SSD = 438 MB/sec which proves what nadebula.1984 wrote about disk controller limitation.