New PC build -- questions on hd's

My current computer is about 11 years old so it was time to get something new. My new setup had the M2 1TB gift so I didnt get a hd. I read some articles, threads, posts about putting your OS on the ssd/M2 and data a std hd but I dont see that that makes any sense any more. Why not put it all on the M2 and throw all your backups on one hd which will probably not be used often. Or am I missing something.

You’re not missing anything mate…

People only did that back in the days when big SSD’s were thousands of dollars…

I still do it on my desktop machine - because I’ve got a plain SATA 256 GB SSD to boot off and for system files - but everything else goes to a 1 TB mechanical HDD (e.g. my Steam games library)… and it’s an old system (circa 2010/2011) and doesn’t support M2 or NVMe etc… I won’t buy a bigger SSD for it until I upgrade the whole motherboard, CPU and RAM…

Ok… just making sure.

One drive is much easier to deal with … and I wast looking forward to separating all of that :slight_smile:

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With servers - I usually do things like separate partitions / disks for applications and/or databases (e.g. /opt), and if they’re going to be doing a lot of logging, or sendmail/postfix, I make /var a separate partition…

But for desktops? I mostly just have everything in “/” - e.g. most of my laptops I use have 512 GB M2 or mSATA drives - so everything is in “/”… Except in the case of this “legacy” desktop machine (AMD phenom II X6 16 GB of RAM) - gave it a new “lease of life” recently by replacing a GTX650 with a GTX1650ti, amazing what a different that a long made… if push came to shove, I could probably buy a 1 TB SATA SSD and keep using it for a couple years more - but ideally I’d like more cores (24-32) and 32 or 64 GB of RAM…

Same goes for RaspberryPi - just 500 MB for /boot (the default from Raspbian) and all the rest for “/”…

Single partition is so much easier to deal with, especially if you don’t dual boot (and I don’t). :smiley:

Even with one drive, I keep my system files separate from my data files. In other words, I place /home in a partition by it self. This way, if I have to restore my OS, I do not affect my data. I do two different backups, but I believe it is worth it.

I am kind of a hoarder: I hardly throw things away, so all my old hard drives (HDD and SSD) go into my computer for storing mostly useless stuff, I can’t bring over me to get rid of (videos, photos, music, texts, backups and so on). I even had to by a second SATA controller…

Did you know that you can perfectly reuse broken USB hard disks as internal drives if you rip off the USB connector?

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I hate to say - I am a bit that way too.

I have around 10GB of email that I have going back over a decade and while I have needed once or twice, I should just delete it. Same with a lot of old files, data, pictures, etc.

I might make that one of my project - just pull up my big boy pants and use my pointy finger and hit -> DELETE.

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I have three home built pc’s, all boot with SSD and use Sata HDD’s for data

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I built my desktop machine with a single1TB m.2 SSD and use external drives for making backups.

After spending the money for an m.2 (as opposed to a SATA SSD) I learned that the greater speed potential of an m.2 drive is generally NOT seen in practice. Benchmark comparisons show it to be no more than 5% faster than a SATA SSD when used as a system drive. Apparently, the fast writes and reads that m.2 is capable of are only seen when moving very large single files such as in video editing. Oh well…

I didnt have any ssd and the cost of this m2 was less than the ssd so - Im pretty happy at this point.

Sorry to barge in but, you did had an SSD! You said it yourself: you already had an M.2 and an M.2 is an SSD!
Now, answering to @don.karon:
When you say ‘m.2 (as opposed to a SATA SSD)" what you are saying is that the M.2 form factor is opposed to the SATA form factor… and I think you are talking about the connectors.
I’ m saying this because you mentioned only a 5% increase in performance to a SATA SSD… So, what I assume (and correct me if I’m wrong) is that you have an M.2 SSD with a SATA inner interface and not an M.2 SSD with a PCI-E Interface or the following generation NVMe. ('though now you may be looking for the new PCI-E 4.0)
And if you are reading this you may be saying “no way” and I say “yes way”. You still have on the market M.2 SSD drives that are as “slow” as an 2.5" SATA SSD (those that you connect with 2 cables: data and power) because they have a SATA interface, although they connect through a M.2 connector.
I hope this sheds some light on the subject.

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Yes, both drives are SSD storage. They differ by the interface. The drive I used is a Samsung EVO m.2 that has a PCI-E interface on the motherboard. It is said to be capable of very high-speed writes, in the neighborhood of 3500 MB/s where the SATA interface tops out at about 550 MB/s. The benchmark speed tests I mentioned were not done by me.

Having built my computer with the m.2 PCI-E drive I can say that it’s not six times faster than my prior machine which had a similar speed processor and a SATA SSD. Based on my observations I believe the benchmark finding is correct: there’s only a small apparent speed difference. The speed potential of an m.2 drive is only seen in certain use-cases and I don’t happen to do any of those things.

I prefer the m.2 drives because they require fewer cables and I’ll stick with them on future builds.

wadesmart is right. His comments made me check what type of interface is present on my two computers. Both drives are m.2 of the same form factor. One has a PCI-e interface and Ubuntu’s disk utility tells me that it reads at about 3400 MB/sec. The other has a SATA interface and tops out at about 530 MB/sec.

However, the computer with the slower SATA interface has a faster processor and is obviously faster than the one with the PCI-e interface. The rate-limiting factor is not the disk interface but, rather, is somewhere else in the computer.


I doubt the CPU (processor) is the item that is causing the slower response, unless it is a very old CPU. The processor is by far the fastest part of any PC. With L3 cache, you can expect something like 175 GB per second. Not Gb, but big B.
For different data rates for a PC, check out article at