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  • File systems, and SSD vs. HDD with Linux Data Drives

    Posted on Bill C. Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support Non-Windows operating systems Linux – all distros File systems, and SSD vs. HDD with Linux Data Drives

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      • #2087427 Reply
        Bill C.
        AskWoody Plus

        I have a few questions regarding a second (or more) DATA drive(s) for my new build with Linuxmint 19.3. (The OS SSD is a 1TB NVMe M.2 PCIe drive.) I have been researching and believe I have the required info, but since many here are users (current or past) of Windows as well as Linux (or planning to migrate), I wanted to pick brains.

        First is what file system for a separate data drive would folks recommend. I was leaning towards ext4, but am also wondering if using FAT32 (or even NFTS), would be advisable in case I wanted to transfer the entire data drive to a Windows machine if I return to Windows (by need or by choice). I understand Linux can read FAT32 and NFTS disks, but Windows cannot read ext4.

        Other than the maximum partition sizes possible, and number of partitions allowed, are there any other variables I should consider. I would most likely be limiting any storage drive capacities to 1TB for SSD and 1 or 2TB for an HDD.

        Second, involves the data drive itself. I already have an unformatted 1TB SATA 3 SSD and a couple of NIB and spare 1TB WD Black SATA 3 spinners to use for data. Since these are not for the actual OS or game files, data speed is not the first priority. My current machine is currently using WD 1TB Blacks for the Win7Pro-64, and for video transcoding and data storage with no discernible problems. Is there an advantage to one or the other for real world use and for longer term hardware compatibilities.

        A third involves drive images. Would the SSD speed this up appreciably, or would stability of a HDD be a more conservative option?

        One final observation is that this new build with no HDDs inside feels light as a feather compared to the old PC with its 4 TB of 3 HDDs, but that is NOT a consideration. Maybe I am overthinking this, but I keep a PC longer than many folks as my current box just had its 9th birthday.

        Thanks

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2087837 Reply
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        Bill C: I do not know the answers, but these are questions about things I also would like to know more about. So I hope this comment helps bring them to the attention of those more learned in these matters by making it visible on “Recent Replies” section at the top of the left bar. Now, with any luck, let the answering, at last, begin.

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

        • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by OscarCP.
        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2088368 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        I was leaning towards ext4, but am also wondering if using FAT32 (or even NFTS), would be advisable

        If you want to use any other OS to view / recover files on that drive use NTFS.

        Partitions are a personal choice, but I see no reason to do anything other that use one partition per drive these days. The OS drive is excepted as the OS will partition it for you, but don’t add extra partitions.

        Is there an advantage to one or the other for real world use

        What are you asking?
        SSD is always better for speed, especially video editing. Apart from that it doesn’t really matter what you use if it fits in your machine and does what you want.

        A third involves drive images

        Use HDD for external backups, more space for less $ and we know they are reliable long term without power. If the backup is in a NAS then whatever disk the NAS is happy with will be fine.

        cheers, Paul

        3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2109982 Reply
        Bill C.
        AskWoody Plus

        Use HDD for external backups, more space for less $ and we know they are reliable long term without power. If the backup is in a NAS then whatever disk the NAS is happy with will be fine.

        Thanks. This my be straying from the original question, but I found this last statement of interest. Without getting too technical, does a SSD or flash storage have a “Shelf Life” if not powered on for long periods? By that, does the media lose some aspect of its storage reliability and/or file integrity in the absence of electrical current. If so is this a real world length of time, or is it months, or even years, or mainly archival terms?

        For my photos, I have always stored the original RAW images and sister JPG (camera is set to create 2 images at once on separate media cards) on archival CD-R and DVD-ROMs, while keeping working copies on the PCs internal HDD and/or an external HDD. For frequently used images, I use a USB stick. So far, no issues, but it did pique my interest. Thanks

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2110017 Reply
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        does a SSD or flash storage have a “Shelf Life” if not powered on for long periods?

        ..

        SSD drives are supposed to retain data for about ten years. MLC and TLC based devices tend to lose data earlier than SLC-based devices. SSDs are not suited for archival use.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solid-state_drive

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2110023 Reply
        Bill C.
        AskWoody Plus

        does a SSD or flash storage have a “Shelf Life” if not powered on for long periods?

        ..

        SSD drives are supposed to retain data for about ten years. MLC and TLC based devices tend to lose data earlier than SLC-based devices. SSDs are not suited for archival use.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solid-state_drive

        Thanks! That was a BIG help. It also verifies that I will retain at least one 3.5″ spinner in the case, as well as the USB spinners.

        When I did my search, Wiki was not offered in the list. Head smack here!!!

        Further scan of the linked contents is now mandatory as it also revealed answers to some of my other questions asked (and unasked) in my OP.

        Thanks.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2110026 Reply
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        Alex5723: Thanks for the link to the Wikipedia article. The most relevant paragraph that explains why SSD drives are not suitable for long-term memory storage, disconnected from a power source, is probably this one:

        SSDs based on NAND Flash will slowly leak charge over time if left for long periods without power. This causes worn-out drives (that have exceeded their endurance rating) to start losing data typically after one year (if stored at 30 °C) to two years (at 25 °C) in storage; for new drives it takes longer.<sup id=”cite_ref-Archived_copy_8-0″ class=”reference”>[8]</sup> Therefore, SSDs are not suitable for archival storage. 3D XPoint is a possible exception to this rule, however it is a relatively new technology with unknown data-retention characteristics.

        Also, for completeness’ sake: what about hybrid drives that are, in part, SSD and, in part, HD, such as Apple’s “Fusion” drives? Are they suitable for long-term data storage? If so, for how long, in average?

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_drive

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

        • #2138033 Reply
          satrow
          AskWoody MVP

          This causes worn-out drives (that have *already* exceeded their endurance rating)

          The above addition is intended to clarify that these drives were retired as EOL before storing.

      • #2137803 Reply
        W2BLC
        AskWoody Plus

        For several years I have been using SSDs mounted externally.  On a weekly basis, I pop the current drive out of the external housing and duplicate the drive to a like drive using a StarTech stand alone drive duplicator. I have three drives in rotation – one in use, one on the shelf, and one in the safe. I am going to add a 4th drive to be duped monthly – which will be a spinner. I now believe that the HDD is more stable in the long term than the SSD.

      • #2138202 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        I also want to thank you for your post.  I’ve been considering converting my old machines to Linux Mint.  I intend to format them as NTFS to maintain compatibility with Windows.

        I also want to thank those who have written about the storage capabilities of various media.  One of my old machines will be turned into a NAS and  based on what you’ve said I will populate it with “spinners.”  Any suggestions for software for my NAS conversion?

         

        • #2138324 Reply
          Paul T
          AskWoody MVP

          A NAS must have reliable data storage. The 2 common and readily available forms are ZFS and Btrfs.
          To provide file share and network access you can use one of the free Linux platforms, FreeNAS, NAS4Free, OpenMediaVault etc.

          cheers, Paul

      • #2138233 Reply
        Bill C.
        AskWoody Plus

        Since I posted the question, I have decided to essentially split the baby. The 1TB internal SATA3 SSD is formatted in ext4. This was a real interesting experience as after formatting, I could not access the drive, even though it was showing up in Computer. I did some research and with another post in this Linux section of forum focused on ownership and learned how to take ownership as well as mounting options.

        It is now accessible, but not automatically mounted. Mounting it automatically gave a notice that an external drive was attached (it is internal).

        I have also decided to install the WD Black 1TB spinner for manual file backups (Firefox and Thunderbird weekly Profile backups) and important files archives. I have a few WD USB Drives I have been using for backups and for off box storage. I also have a USB 3 7200rpm 1TB HGST Touro S external drive that is way faster than the other external drives. Unfortunately they are no longer available. Once I research and setup a backup, snapshot and Image routine I will introduce drives into the routine, formatted as appropriate.

        External drives will be in NFTS, as will the internal WD Black, for Windows compatibility.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
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