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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there,

I plan on setting up Gentoo on my PC with two hard disks. Now I wonder what partitions to set up in order to use the two disks best.

This is my system:

CPU: AMD Athlon XP 2500+
RAM: 512 MB (2x256 MB PC3200)
Mainboard: MSI K7N2 Delta-L (nVidia nForce2 SPP chipset)
HDD 1: Samsung SP2514N (250 GB, 8 MB Cache)
HDD 2: Western Digital WD1600BB (160 GB, 2 MB Cache)

What I use the PC mainly for is: (in the order of significance) playing MP3s, internet, office applications, graphics- and sound editing.

What do you think about the partitions, esp. concerning

- software-RAID0
- putting /usr and /usr/lib on different disks
- setting up a swap partition on each disk, with same priority ?



TSF Team, Emeritus
3,152 Posts
Well, I don't know anything about RAID, but I have a few suggestions.
I'm assuming that you are not dual booting.
Putting the Home (usr) on a separate partition is nice, but optional. Safer, too, obviously because if the OS gets screwed, you don't have to lose any files.
I don't see any reason to have 2 swap partitions for one OS. It will only use one anyways, if I'm not mistaken.

1,131 Posts
You actually should be able to have multiple swap partitions if you really want. More physical RAM would benefit performance more, but spreading swap over multiple physical drives should give you at least a small performance benefit. If you set up the drives with LVM, you should be able to play around with different setups (size of partition, location if you get more drives) for swap.

RAID - From what I've heard, it's too much of a pain for the average user. You could achieve a similar result with LVM (Linux Volume Management). I haven't personally used it since the machine with my large hard drives is running FreeBSD (I think there's something separate for FreeBSD, but I didn't have the time to look into it). With LVM, you should be able to change the size of partitions somewhat at will (ex. add multiple hard drives to a single partition). I'm not sure, but I remember something about being able to reorganize partitions when needed.

Separate partitions for /usr and /usr/lib - I don't really see a reason for it, but you could consider putting /usr/home on a separate partition. That would give you a good separation between the operating system's files and your personal files. Linux will also want a /boot partition (which I think is required when using LVM).

The partitions on my FreeBSD machine are:

/tmp and /var on separate partitions is nice in case a temp or log file fills up one of the partitions. My FreeBSD partition setup is one I've seen people use for Linux with the exception of Linux would have the /boot partition.

Someone with more experience in partitions and filesystems might have a different setup, but this one has worked great for me so far.

EDIT: Are you interested in using one of the drives for storage/backup? If so, I'd probably reserve the Western Digital as the storage and/or backup since it has a smaller cache.
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