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zaphthegreat

Building a new PC - Dual booting Windows 10 and Linux Mint - SSD and HDD combo

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Weird.. I just tried to post this, but the forum ate it.

 

Second attempt...

 

 

Hi everyone.

 

In 2010, I made a thread here about building a new PC and people were very helpful, so I'm back for more now that it's time for a new machine. A few upgrades aside, I have indeed been using the same rig ever since. I kept putting off the upgrade, mostly due to financial reasons.

 

I can no longer put it off. Yesterday, I took advantage of Boxing Day deals and bought my new parts. However, last time around, I was working with a single HDD and a Windows 7 installation. Years later, I wanted to try Linux out, so I set up a dual-boot with Mint. I eventually switched over to Windows 10 as well and would use the Windows partition for gaming and the Linux one for everything else. Today, many of my Steam games are available on Linux, but I still need a Windows partition for games like Rocksmith Remastered and a handful of others that have no Linux versions. My plan is to install every game I can on Linux Mint and to use Windows only for games that don't exist for Linux (and my little income tax program that's also Windows-based).

 

So now, I bought (still waiting for the items to ship) a 525GB SSD and a 1TB conventional HDD. I'm trying to sort out what is the best way to set up a dual-boot. I've been looking online and finding a lot of differing opinions. Also, most of the articles/threads I found were about setups that were quite different from mine (2 SSDs, for example).

 

Some people seemed to favour installing only the OSs on the SSD and everything else on HDDs. Others described something that was more like installing OSs and programs/applications on SSDs and keeping the HDD for file storage, a bit like a built-in external drive, if you will.

 

What I'd like to ask is if the following plan is viable, as well as a few follow-up questions on it:

 

-Partition my SSD, possibly a 50/50 split or a 60/40 favouring Mint;

-Install Windows and all my "Windows only" games and a program or two on one partition;

-Install Mint on the other partition, along with all its games and applications;

-Use the HDD for file storage for files I'd like to access quickly without having to plug in external drives.

 

Assuming this is viable, I then have the following questions:

 

-Should I only plug in the SSD at first, install everything, and THEN plug in the HDD?

-Is there a way to be able to access the HDD from either OS, like I can do with an external drive?

-If not, will I need to do anything with the HDD, like dedicate it to one OS or partition is for both?

-If my needs change over time and I need more space for games/programs/apps, is there a way to partition the HDD as well, so that it can also be used to install programs for both OSs on that? In this scenario, I'd basically have both drives divided between the two OSs.

 

Knowing myself and remembering the experience I had here with the kind posters and their wealth of knowledge, I expect I'll have many more questions after I get responses to this, but I suppose that this is a good starting point. :-)

 

Now for the obligatory computer info, here are the parts I bought. Keep in mind that I'm in Canada, so not only do we have the exchange rate to consider, but Canadians pay more for most things in life.  Also keep in mind that I was going for a mid-range-or-so build, because I can't really spend more and, y'know, remain happily married.  I compromised less on the case, however. I like large, sturdy cases with good airflow and room to work. Note: Edited to use a table. Canadian prices no longer apply, but it cost me $1,550 Canadian.

 

 

 
Motherboard: MSI Z170A SLI ATX LGA1151 Motherboard  ($133.98 @ Newegg) 
Storage: Crucial MX300 525GB 2.5" Solid State Drive  ($128.05 @ Newegg) 
Video Card: MSI Radeon RX 480 4GB GAMING X Video Card  ($229.99 @ Newegg) 
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Home Full - USB 32/64-bit  ($132.98 @ Newegg) 
Total: $1199.94
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2016-12-27 16:55 EST-0500

 

Linux Mint is free, so no need to link anything. :-)

 

For what it's worth, I'll also be taking my old optical drive from my old tower and moving it over to the new PC.

 

Thank you all for reading and big thanks to those who are able and willing to help.

Edited by zaphthegreat

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I am going to suggest something different that may cater to your needs just for the fact that I personally don't like dual boot.

Get Windows 10 Pro, install Hyper-V (free), and virtualize your Linux Mint instance on Hyper-V.  This way you don't have to keep rebooting and switching.

 

You can have all your games on Windows 10, and whatever it is that you do on Linux you can do on the VM.

This means your c:\ drive (SSD) can be strictly for Windows, and everything else on your terabyte drive.

If you really must have Linux on your host, I am not sure if you would like this idea.

My 2 cents.  :wave:

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I am going to suggest something different that may cater to your needs just for the fact that I personally don't like dual boot.

 

Get Windows 10 Pro, install Hyper-V (free), and virtualize your Linux Mint instance on Hyper-V.  This way you don't have to keep rebooting and switching.

 

You can have all your games on Windows 10, and whatever it is that you do on Linux you can do on the VM.

 

This means your c:\ drive (SSD) can be strictly for Windows, and everything else on your terabyte drive.

 

If you really must have Linux on your host, I am not sure if you would like this idea.

 

My 2 cents.  :wave:

 

Beware of Hyper-V.

For some time now, I have been on Win 10 Pro and have installed Hyper-V.

I finally uninstalled it because Hyper-V does not support USB drives nor does it support a shared DVD.

When your Hyper-V partition takes over your DVD drive, Win 10 no longer recognizes it.

And, it is a real challenge to get your DVD drive back to Win 10 even after you uninstall Hyper-V

Just saying...................

Oh, The old Hyper-V did not used to be that way.

Good Luck

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All right, duly noted. I'm not that comfortable using virtual environments like that anyway. I never run Windows software through similar applications on Mint either. If I need to use Windows, I boot into it.

 

That said, I appreciate the advice because I always enjoy learning.

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Well my question to you would be how many files do you expect to have? Applications (especially games) tend to be significantly larger in size than documents (save maybe HD movies and large photo libraries), so many would find it difficult to fill 1TB with purely files.

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Well my question to you would be how many files do you expect to have? Applications (especially games) tend to be significantly larger in size than documents (save maybe HD movies and large photo libraries), so many would find it difficult to fill 1TB with purely files.

 

Over time, quite a lot, but then again, most of it could be kept on external storage.

 

That said, I think the plan is to format the HDD as NTFS. That way, unless I'm misunderstanding how it works, I'd be able to install games/applications on there if the need arises, while still able to access files on it from Linux. If this sort of thing is possible, I might also create a smaller Ext4 partition on it for the sake of having a bit of space that's dedicated to files that I'd only use with Mint.

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My personal recommendations in that case would probably be;

 

SSD:

Partition 1: NTFS Windows Install

Partition 2: ext4 Linux Mint

(You could add a swap partition for mint too if required)

 

HDD:

Partition 1: NTFS Windows Games

Partition 2: NTFS Files

Partition 3: ext4 Linux Games

 

The reason for this is often modern games can be up to 50GB or so installed, and assuming you split the SSD in half, that'd be Windows + 4 games on the SSD to fill it to capacity. Windows also performs a lot better with free space on the drive. Linux on the other hand is much more forgiving.

 

That said, that is purely my recommendation and do with it as you see fit :)

 

The beauty of modern systems is you can always resize partitions if you find the original layout doesn't work. That said it is better to size them properly first time!

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Thank you for that. I was actually planning to have the SSD partitions as 375gb for Windows and the remaining 150gb for Linux, minus 4 to 8gb for a swap (I'll have 16gb of RAM and I'm having a hard time finding any consensus on the proper size for a swap partition, assuming it's even needed).  I've been told to avoid playing higher end games on Linux with that GPU, so I'll mostly play smaller indie games on Linux, meaning that I'll require far less space for applications on Linux than on Windows. I figure I'd have Windows along with 3 or 4 games on the NTFS partition of the HDD and leave the rest as wiggle room to keep Windows happy.

 

With regard to the HDD, why did you opt for two separate NTFS partitions? Couldn't files and games be on the same NTFS partition, or would it have a negative impact on performance?

Edited by zaphthegreat

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The reason I'd suggest the separate partitions would be should you have to reinstall Windows and hence reinstall the games, you wouldn't need to move your files about, as you could just wipe the games partition. There shouldn't be a significant performance impact either way.

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