SSD or HDD? (and good KDE distros)

Dear lazyweb…

My operating system hard disk has failed (again – kinda, poking it from a live CD shows that the filesystem isn’t recognised, though I can mount it if I explicitly state it is ext4 and a fair bit of the data is still there). It’s a vintage 70GB Seagate, the SMART diagnostics are not good, it has got corrupted before and I didn’t really trust it anyway – data is on another disk.

So, it’s time for a new disk.

Broken PC, fortunately not mine

Broken PC, by Sarah Baker (cc-by)


The question is whether to buy another spinning disk or go for solid state? Does anyone have experience of an SSD and have a view on advantages/disadvantages (I’ve Googled a bit already). I’d be going for a cheap MLC SSD at probably 30-60GB (Intel or OCZ) which is plenty for the OS and .kde etc – i.e. stuff with little files and lots of seeks, most of my data would stay on the other magnetic disk. Alternatively I’ll get the smallest magnetic disk I can find. The SSD option is likely 50-100% more expensive.

I also need to decide what distro to put on the new disk. The old system was Fedora 12 and I’m pretty happy with that, but I always have a bit of a look around when I’m doing a new install. I have a laptop on F12 too and my work PC runs F11, while a geriatric Shuttle PC acting as a media centre runs Arch.

I’m looking for a distro that:

  • Packages the latest KDE SC (and does it well)
  • Installs only free software by default, including drivers
  • Has good repos for multimedia stuff, if not included – 3rd party is fine
  • Isn’t obsessed with re-inventing the wheel (use NM, one of the major package managers/PackageKit – or have a good reason for not doing so)

Bonus points for working well with upstreams and contributing to KDE. Good (free) Radeon drivers are also a plus. I’ve recently played with Kubuntu and Mandriva in VirtualBox and not been convinced they’d be better, but maybe I missed something?

Any thoughts?

50 Responses to “SSD or HDD? (and good KDE distros)”

  • Peter says:

    I guess, Chakra Project ? It is good as far as I’ve seen. It’s based on the very reliable ArchLinux. The best KDE coming though is that one from the Archlinux repos, not KDEmod (a slightly modified KDE for Chakra Project).

  • I’m afraid I can;t help with the HD/SSD issue but for the distro points you mention, I’d recommend openSUSE.

    * Packages the latest KDE SC (and does it well):
    There’s always the latest released version of KDE packaged, as well as the weekly snapshots. I’ve even been using the weekly snapshots to develop off. http://en.opensuse.org/KDE/KDE4

    * Installs only free software by default, including drivers:
    As far as I know, this is true. However, there are repositories available (called NON-OSS) for things like flash etc but they’re definitely not included in the CD or DVD distributions. They’re easily addable though.

    * Has good repos for multimedia stuff, if not included – 3rd party is fine:
    http://opensuse-community.org and particularly http://opensuse-community.org/Restricted_Formats

    * Isn’t obsessed with re-inventing the wheel:
    They use NM and their KDE comes with a package updater which can interface via PackageKit just fine.

    *Bonus points
    They contribute much to KDE and as you probably know, employ a number of KDe developers (e.g. Will Stephenson)

  • Sinok says:

    You should really take a look at opensuse, its default distrib is free (and an optionnal non-OSS repository can be activated if needed), there are a whole lot of repositories, especially the third party packman wich contains the upgrades of the multimedia stack (mainly xine-lib and mplayer stuff).
    http://en.opensuse.org/Additional_package_repositories

    It’s package management is done using RPM via libzypp with clients above(Yast & cie).
    And it provides up to date KDE SC, and even more, weekly trunk snapshot http://en.opensuse.org/KDE/Repositories

  • Sinok says:

    Moreover, Opensuse is the distro wich defaults to kde, and wich employs the biggest number of KDE devs.

  • dipesh says:

    Have a look at OpenSUSE 11.2. But after installation update asap to 4.3.5 (or 4.4.0). Suse provides still one of the best KDE-integrations out there.

  • Eike Hein says:

    I heartily recommend Fedora, which I switched to in September 2009 following seven years on Gentoo. I enjoy its focus on providing current software and system-level improvements, and its no-nonsense, very vanilla but well-integrated and maintained KDE packaging.

    A particular highlight for me is the crew in #fedora-kde, i.e. the Fedora KDE packagers, which I’ve found to be an extremely dedicated, competent, friendly and helpful bunch.

    I also really like Fedora’s release model: The new releases, which happen every six months, are basically a sliding window over a rolling model. A release has a lifetime of 14 months, and for most of those 14 months very liberally receives updates and new or modified packages. Thus Fedora 11 for example started out on KDE 4.2 als later got KDE 4.3 as a regular update, and will soon receive KDE 4.4 even though Fedora 12 was released in November 2009 (in fact the various KDE 4.4 pre-releases have long been available for F11 and F12 from the KDE team’s staging repository).

    People involved with Fedora also do a lot of work on pushing free drivers along (for example Fedora was the first distro to ship Nouveau, I believe) and are major contributors to projects like NetworkManager and PackageKit, both of which are used by default.

    I’ve heard that the KDE “spin” of Fedora (i.e. the KDE live/install CDs, similar to what Kubuntu is for Ubuntu) accounts for about 30% of the BitTorrent downloads of Fedora these days, which is a lot of people consciously choosing the non-default. That fits with my experience of the Fedora KDE community being healthy and growing right now.

  • Eike Hein says:

    Some more about Fedora which I forget to mention: They’ve also been contributing code to KDE (e.g. a lot of PolicyKit support work) and have people in KDE e.V. (Rex Dieter, the KDE team lead, and others).

    As for Radeon drivers, I think the maintainer of the Radeon driver is a Red Hat employee, so I’d expect Fedora to have current bits there.

  • anon says:

    i am using arch+chakra since 4 month now (switched after 4 years of kubuntu, before opensuse and gentoo). Best distro i ever had:
    Everything is set up by yourself -> your OS does what you want, nothing non-free if you dont want to
    rolling release -> no more breaking the system by dist-upgrade, latest software
    chakra has some useful patches while standard arch-kde is vanilla -> choice between rock-solid and some extra features
    AUR -> almost every software available, whats not in the repos is built on yor pc so you dont have to go looking or 3rd party repos (and is much more secure)

    of course setting the whole system up means more work than ubuntu/fedora/opensuse, chakra causes troubles sometimes when arch packages change and the kdemod packages arent updated. I think chakra is (right now) only a good idea if you know some linux/kde. The kde-gui for package management is also quite unstable but there is an excellent CLI program for that (yaourt). Some things like upstart are afaik not in arch, and i dont know about the radeon situation.

  • AdeBe says:

    I recommend OpenSuse. They have very good packaging, LOT of stuff is available from Packman repo (including non-free codecs). IMHO good choice for both a geek and a non-tech people.

  • AdeBe says:

    Oh, I forgot: check also for their integration of Firefox with KDE (file dialog, notifications etc.)

  • Brian says:

    For your SSD/HDD trade off, it call comes down to this: how much do you care about the responsiveness? The main advantage of SSDs is their [comparatively] short random access times, and this shows up mainly in application responsiveness (especially when launching multiple programs at the same time). SSDs are obviously silent and much more power efficient than HDDs too. SSDs perform best the more free space they have, and you’ll definitely want to use the TRIM support just added to 2.6.33.

    Controller breakdown:
    Sandforce: If you can wait till around April, this is what you want.
    Intel G1/G2: Your best bet if you must buy now.
    Indilinx: Cheaper, slower.
    Samsung: Don’t bother, Indilinx is better on all fronts.
    JMicron: Don’t even think about it; these drivers should have never hit the market.

    For further research, I highly recommend anandtech.com – their SSD coverage is unequaled anywhere on the net.

    If you’re gonna stick with a HDD, remember to pay attention to how many platters you’re getting – you want fewer with higher density than more with less density. In other words, capacity and performance are still linked on HDDs.

  • Tom says:

    yes, openSuse is def. worth a try ! i switched from gentoo to oS a year ago and i’m happy with it. good package repositories, including different KDE repos, yeah !

    btw, i’m hoping for some SSD vs. HDD suggestions to appear !!! i plan to replace my hdd with a small (30 gig) but fast SSD, but i’m not sure how things are with filesystems and so on. does it require special treatment on the OS side?

  • Anonymous says:

    As an Ubuntu 9.10 user running 4.3.95 (RC2) with no RC3 in the pipeline, many bugs that go ignored even with confirmations, fixes AND fix confirmations, I can safely say that UBUNTU IS NOT FOR ANYONE WHO WANTS TO RETAIN THEIR SANITY.

  • ikkefc3 says:

    I would recommend Opensuse. It has very good KDE 4 packages from trunk.

  • KDS says:

    I it known that Canonical doesn’t care so much about any *buntu than for Ubuntu, but it is slowly changing (i think, and hope). In Kubuntu 9.10 KDE 4.4 RC2 work ok, 4.3.* did also work ok for me. I think they need more paid developers. The translation where broken all the time, I think this is changing.

    I only use it because the debs, apt, and there are many packages and it has a big (from ubuntu) community. So any non-KDE problem has sure a solution in the forums.

    But better try for your self openSUSE, Fedora and Arch / Chakra

  • hammerman says:

    To me it sounded like Debian testing/unstable (I’d go with unstable, but you’re on your own…).

  • Jorge says:

    For distros I would recomend sidux (as is debian sid with a stability focus) using it right now with no problems. My laptop uses fedora. Fedora gives you the stable kde 1 month after release.

  • Björn Ruberg says:

    Another vote for Fedora here. I recently read an article on the planet, that is much better suited for KDE development than even arch.

    Concerning your HD-Question: Don’t go for the smallest HDD you can find! The bigger the HDD, the faster it is (that is true in general, of course it is not always and in any cases true). But even more important: Look for new models, don’t by harddisk from the previous year unless you exactly now what you are doing.

  • byter says:

    @Bjorn — can you provide a link or pointer to that article?

  • Andre says:

    What works for me is the following:

    Work Laptop: OpenSUSE. No hassle at all, everything works and is comfortable and reliable. Huge supply on OneClick installs, third party repositories, non-oss packages, etc.

    Work Desktop: CentOS. Even more reliable, RHEL compatible (important for Oracle and stuff). Very outdated, but very stable.

    Home Desktop: Arch Linux. Gives you the right mix between playing and being productive. Is fun to use while not wasting time (Gentoo) and still bleeding edge (rolling release).

  • Linuxcomics says:

    According to me, Pardus (http://www.pardus.org.tr/eng/) has got the best KDE integration.

    This distro is very user friendly but has some particularities such as PiSi, her powerful package manager (see http://developer.pardus.org.tr/index.html for more info).

  • NoPatents says:

    Go for Arch, dont support novel & microsoft by praising OpenSuse. Arch is best, you will see, just need to start using it. You will not want to go back to anything else.

  • Pascal says:

    I bought a “Kingston SSDNow V-Series – 128 GB” a few months ago. I have not regretted it for a second. The machine is much faster at startup and installing programs via the package-manager than with my HDD. It also faster at starting applications, such as firefox.
    Only thing I’ve experienced is that when I resume from suspend, sometimes the SSD is a few (3-4) seconds before it is actually ready to work.

    According to Bootchart, the SSD peaks at a reading speed of 124 MB/s during system boot.
    I believe the specs for the SSD says it can read sequential data 240 MB/s.
    btw. I’m using the solid state disk on Kubuntu. Haven’t tried it on other dists.

  • iac says:

    Only Debian SID! 🙂

  • Jack says:

    As a major reason for picking SSD is performance I’ll would recommend Fedora/Arch/Sidux. Any of those would do, but Arch would provide improvements (graphics/Xorg/filesystems/trim+++) earlier than the other two.

    OpenSuse/Kubuntu/Mandriva are slow (no point in using SSD to compensate for a distro with heavy overhead) and Chakra has propietary drivers. (Get KDEmod on top of Arch).

    Got a Intel G2 160 running Arch (no swap – temp++ in Ram) myself – it’s blistering fast. In terms of what SSD: Intel G2 or OCZ Indilix. OCZ has a really good thread/guide for Linux that makes it worthwhile.

  • usr says:

    Don’t use a KDE distro, use THE KDE distro (openSUSE, of course).

    And, about Kubuntu: definitely is the worst KDE distro, it is a disease. I was a Kubuntu user for two years 6.06-8.04, and always the same history. The next versions (with KDE 4), worse.

  • Kaismh says:

    +1 for Pardus, lovely KDE distro

  • gfdsa says:

    redhat->debian->gentoo->opensuse->archlinux in 10 years
    no idea what kde packaging looks now in fedora
    archlinux works great for me

  • Peter says:

    As I have already commented, use Arch (or/and Chakra Project), before trying any of the many “popular” distros. Most people starting using Arch, never left again to use another distro 😉

  • Kevin Kofler says:

    > I’m looking for a distro that:

    Sounds like you’re defining Fedora there:

    > Packages the latest KDE SC (and does it well)

    Check. 4.3.5 is now in the official Fedora 11 and 12 updates and we’re already working on 4.4.0. (For those who like the bleeding edge, 4.3.98 is also available (in the process of being upgraded to 4.4.0), in Rawhide, i.e. the development version of the next release, and in the unofficial “kde-redhat unstable” repository.)

    > Installs only free software by default, including drivers

    Check. In fact we don’t even have proprietary software in the official repositories at all (but stuff like proprietary drivers is available from RPM Fusion’s “Nonfree” section for those who want it).

    > Has good repos for multimedia stuff, if not included – 3rd party is fine

    Check, see RPM Fusion. There’s a “Free” section which has all the usual “Free, but patent-encumbered” suspects and no proprietary crap. (Note that libdvdcss isn’t in there, there’s a repository called “Livna” which now ships only that library.)

    > Isn’t obsessed with re-inventing the wheel (use NM, one of the major package managers/PackageKit – or have a good reason for not doing so)

    Check. Fedora uses NetworkManager, PackageKit and other shared components (PolicyKit etc.).

    > Bonus points for working well with upstreams and contributing to KDE.

    Working with upstream rather than against it is one of Fedora’s policies. Admittedly, sometimes we fail to communicate properly there, but so do other distros. And we’ve seen other popular distributions do some really heavy patching to their software and/or shipping invasive, untested and/or broken patches. We try hard to minimize patches and to resist applying poor-quality patches which cause more breakage than they fix. Even our most controversial backport (panel autohide from 4.2 to 4.1; FWIW, we haven’t done such a massive KDE backport ever since) was only shipped when we were confident that it didn’t have any real issues (there were just some minor graphical glitches), I did what I could to backport bugfixes from trunk on top of openSUSE’s backport and they ended up snatching my bugfixing backport set.

    Sadly, we Fedora KDE packagers don’t have enough manpower to make massive upstream contributions, but we do try to help where we can. For example, Radek Nováček and Jaroslav Řezník from Red Hat worked a lot on PolicyKit 1 support. As for me (a community volunteer), I resurrected Kompare just in time for the 4.0.0 release (the KDE 4 port was not completed, I spent a night on making it build and run again) and am now its official maintainer.

    > Good (free) Radeon drivers are also a plus.

    Fedora is about as up-to-date as you’ll get in a stable mainstream distribution there. Fedora 12 ships stable support up to r5xx series (all the non-HD Radeons) and a mesa-dri-drivers-experimental package with r6xx and r7xx (Radeon HD up to 4xxx) 3D support which is reported to work just fine for most of the people who tried it.

  • Kevin Kofler says:

    PS:

    > I’ve recently played with Kubuntu and Mandriva in VirtualBox and not been convinced they’d be better, but maybe I missed something?

    No, you didn’t miss anything, they aren’t better, you were already using the best. 🙂

  • Kevin Kofler says:

    @Jorge:
    > Fedora gives you the stable kde 1 month after release.

    Usually faster than that (1-2 weeks). But 4.4.0 will take a while, like all the .0 upgrades.

  • Tommy.S says:

    I have only one distribution to suggest. Mandriva Linux 2010 Free.

    I run openSUSE 11.2 and Mandriva Linux 2010 Free (+ propietar drivers after install) on multiple computers and Mandriva is better after you just choose a another theme (about taste).

    You only need to add repositories from easy urpmi site, actually only the PLF (Penguin Liberation Front) repos and you are fine. You get working PulseAudio out of the box (only distro to do so as far I know), best hardware support what you can imagine and very easy Mandriva Control Center (MCC) if wanted someone to do some things in GUI.

    Mandriva and openSUSE are both more on same first class players while others fall to second class.

    And I choose Mandriva almost everytime because they work with the upstream and even hire developers to do so (Nepomuk & K3b by start) and if just wanted best KDE SC experience, then it is it.

    Free edition is only free software (even by firmwares etc) so the hardware support is what to expect by some cases and it is on DVD. But One edition is LiveCD with wanted desktop environment (KDESC, XFCE, GNOME and LXDE) and language support. While then the Dual edition is for 32/64bit computers with a minimal installation with IceWM and helps you to build your own system easily with the great amount of metapackages. And then there is few other editions for commercial use like PowerPack what is more like Free + One.

    You can easily use backports to get a latest (still stable) KDE SC 4.4.
    And usually in a week KDE devs will make a own packages to Mandriva to offer.

  • Thomas says:

    Sabayon Linux (http://www.sabayon.org/) is definitely worth a try. Based on solid the solid Gentoo Linux distribution (http://www.gentoo.org/) but skips the compile-everything approach by providing binary packages. Quite current regarding KDE (4.3.4 is default).

  • David says:

    Hi
    well on our supercomputer in the department we have solid state disks. One thing I noticed was that a simple command like “ls” takes a while sometimes. So far I couldn’t figure out why. The disks are really fast when copying stuff but starting applications seems to be delayed sometimes. Maybe it is the system itself, running on RH Enterprise Linux 5.0.

    About the KDE distro I would recommend ArchLinux. Only rolling release cycles itself is good reason to chose it. Second you have the choice between vanilla KDE or Kdemod both providing also unstable packages. The complete system is simple and clean and the package management very easy to use and fast. Installing your own packages is in my opinion much easier and faster than trying to build deb or rpm packages. I like to be in control of my system, means no system administration tool required.
    Another plus is the community which is very helpful and competent.

  • Kevin Kofler says:

    @Tommy.S: You also get working PulseAudio in KDE out of the box in Fedora. (Well, we screwed things up with the Fedora 12 live image, but it’s fixed in the updates. You even get the complete Phonon PulseAudio integration developed by Mandriva’s Colin Guthrie in Fedora 12 updates. And KMix support is also coming soon (Fedora 13, maybe Fedora 11/12 updates). See also: https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Features/KDE_PulseAudio_Integration )

  • Alex says:

    Arch is the only distro that really satisfied me, and I tried the usual Kubuntu (definitely unusuable)/OpenSUSE (tampers with KDE too much)/Fedora set. The Kdemod (or Chakra) team does the best work at packaging KDE that I’ve ever seen. And Arch is always stable and up-to-date.

    If you don’t mind spending a couple of hours installing your distro, it’s a no-brainer.

  • Stu says:

    Many thanks to everyone who commented

    SSD versus HDD

    Thanks in particular to Brian (anandtech.com was very useful as you said). I’ve gone for a 2nd gen Intel as this is my main PC and I want to get it up and running again – other than via a live CD – soon.

    Thanks also for people who made comments about HDDs, I should probably have said that by “smallest” I didn’t necessarily mean “cheapest”. Unfortunately a lot of the better ones are also high capacity and therefore not that much cheaper than an SSD, including extra storage I don’t really need.

    Distros

    Wow, lots of suggestions 🙂

    I think I’ll re-install Fedora on the desktop (as Kevin pointed out, my checklist pretty much points to why I had Fedora on there in the first place). I’ve seen over the past couple of years the generally excellent – and close to vanilla – KDE packaging and I’ve also seen the stunning improvement in Radeon support – this particular machine actually has a built in Intel GPU, but my work machine has a Radeon X1300.

    Some of the others:

    Pardus – I’ve been meaning to check this out for a long time but forgotten, in fact it’s probably the only suggestion on the list that I hadn’t already thought about in the last couple of days. It’s a bit of a leap of faith to put it on my main system, but I’ll put it on the laptop when I have a chance.

    Arch – Again, I’m using this in my media centre and it’s great for speed and installing exactly what you need. I’m not such a fan of the package manager at present (perhaps just because I haven’t used it enough to get used to it). If Pardus doesn’t work out for me on the laptop then I think Arch will be next. It’ll definitely stay on the media centre unless something breaks badly. Arch has (imho) the best user forums of any distro for actually finding answers. Chakra is indeed interesting, but for me the point of Arch is to really tailor your needs, so installing from a live CD seems to lack that.

    Debian and derivs – I’ve always had a softspot for Debian, but stable and testing are quite outdated and unstable has, in my experience, a few more nasty surprises than I’m willing to live with on the main machine. I’m skeptical that Sidux can solve that. Kubuntu, when I’ve tried it before has done too much patching for my liking, I didn’t like the (graphical) package manager very much – but there seems to be renewed interest in Kubuntu among some KDE folks so maybe in a year or two it will be worth exploring.

    Mandriva – also too patched for me, different control centre/network management to learn and it always seems a little sluggish. I acknowledge of course some of the great work they’re doing with KDE software – integrating PulseAudio and the Nepomuk stuff which is getting pretty exciting.

    openSUSE – I used SUSE/openSUSE exclusively from 9.1-10.2, but have no interest in running openSUSE at present

    Sabayon – fails (I think?) the free software by default thing, also has a funky package manager

    Did I miss anything? I’m kinda surprised no one suggested PCLinuxOS as that’s had a fir bit of hype in the past few years. Pardus is probably next up and I clearly should give Arch a run on a system I use quite a lot, so they’ll probably both get a go on the laptop.

  • Ffejery says:

    I’d also recommend Arch, albeit with some caveats. It seems to fit most of your requirements, as was already stated, and I would say that it provides one of the best Vanilla KDE experiences going (OpenSuSE does KDE well too, and I have a lot of respect for them, but I don’t really like using the distro itself). Keep in mind that with the AUR, it is dead simple to package things,l and to get the buildscript to others; thus whenever something new comes out, it’s usually there – and if not, then you can do it yoursef with minimal trouble. OpenSuSE’s Firefox mods and other such things are available from the AUR as well. My personal issue with Arch on laptops is that I’ve had trouble configuring wireless, although that might just be PEBKAC. Chakra looks like it will be good for those sorts of issues, but the LiveCD won’t be out for months still.

  • d2kx says:

    In theory, Kubuntu is the best KDE distribution imho. Ubuntu is a nice basis, apt/deb, nice package selection, only Qt apps, etc. but we all know its issues (slow, unstable, translations). However, it seems as if all the Kubuntu problems will be resolved with the Lucid release, so I would definitly check that out once it releases!

  • Kevin Kofler says:

    FYI, AFAIK Kubuntu is actually using KPackageKit as its default package manager these days (which is what we’re using in Fedora KDE as well). Of course, they use it with the apt backend whereas we use the yum one, so there are some differences in the details.

  • A says:

    I’m lazy and I haven’t read the other comments, but…

    My experience with a 60GB SSD (Vertex from OCZ) in my laptop is that it’s very snappy – software loads very quickly. It’s reassuring that you won’t ruin your data when you drop the PC. You could even install your distro while jogging 🙂

    Advice from my personal POV:
    *Get the SSD
    *Buy a nice huge thumb drive/SD card for big media files if you use those
    *Enjoy the biggest noticable speed boost you can give your laptop (for reasonable money)

  • A says:

    BTW I use it with ext4 on sidux AMD64 with a cheap centrino/vpro laptop. Like it very much. I ran Kubuntu AMD64 before and it was also great. I have not tried another filesystem with the SSD.

  • Aerion says:

    Another hearty recommendation for Arch Linux here. After years of Kubuntu I grew tired of the ugly stepchild treatment it got from Canonical, and the fact that each new release seemed to introduce more problems rather than less, I discovered Arch Linux.

    During all those years on Kubuntu, I had done a great deal of distro hopping – mostly on my laptop but occasionally on my main PC if I liked a distro enough to try it out on a daily basis. Having ‘grown up’ on Debian, I found myself returning to Kubuntu time and time again. The main reason for switching back was APT, and the fact that Kubuntu is the closed thing to an up-to-date (and supported) Debian.

    I did look at Arch at some point, but didn’t really have the time to get to grips with the pic-and-mix installation procedure.

    In October 2008 I bought myself an Eee PC 901 and was looking for a lightweight distro that would fit comfortably on the Eee PC’s small 4GB SSD. Mandriva was the first distro fo fully support the Eee PC models so I installed it and used it for a couple of months but it was a little slow and bugs with the wifi and touchpad took too long to get fixed so I was on the search for a distro again. Then I remembered Arch, and this time took the time to go through the installation procedure. I installed KDEmod as that allowed me to only install the KDE bits I needed – essential when you only have a 4G OS drive.

    Two days later I had Arch running on my desktop too, and I haven’t looked back since.

    It’s very fast, contains no bloat, it has great support (both forum and wiki), an excellent package manager (on par with APT) and makes no assumptions as to what the user wants/needs.
    Users can contribute packages directly to Arch via the AUR and if a package receives enough votes, it will get adopted and maintained by the Arch developers. And one of the things I love most about it is the rolling release model: no more major breakages due to a version upgrade (I’m looking at you, Kubuntu!) no waiting for newer packages to appear in a backports repository. You just run your daily updates, and you’ve got the latest Arch.

  • Brian says:

    Another decent option to consider if you wanna spend less is the Kingston SSDNow V+ 64GB drive. It uses the same controller and firmware as the Intel G2, but comes in a bit cheaper… Newegg has it for 200. The Intel G2 is a 10-channel controller, and 80GB fully utilizes all the channels. Kingston’s 40GB drive uses 5 channels and the 64GB drive uses 8. The number of channels is directly correlated to bandwidth but latency isn’t affected. Judging from the way the 40GB drive performed it’s primarily sequential read/write that suffers, and both should come in around 20% slower than Intel’s 80GB drive on Kingston’s 64GB. Random performance is pretty much unaffected because it’s dominated by small files that can’t (individually) be parallelized across as many channels, so a SSD’s main advantages – bootup and application loading – should be very close to Intel’s 80GB drive for about a 100 bucks less. But, if you do lots of work with saving/loading photos or other bigger files then you would probably notice a difference between the two and maybe it’s not worth it. Then again, it’ll still blow the socks off any HDD so ya know… everything’s relative.

  • Stu says:

    @ Kevin – ah ok, I guess it shows I haven’t used Kubuntu properly for a while then. The (KDE) graphical package manager was still Adept last time I remember, though I think because I wasn’t a big fan of that I just always used the command line so I could have missed the presence of KPackageKit that way. Nice to see KPackageKit spreading (aren’t openSUSE using it for updates too?). If I recall correctly some Arch/Chakra people are working on an alternative KDE GUI too (also for their package manager in addition to PackageKit) which could be interesting.

    General comments – I’m up and running now with the Intel SSD. Some observations:
    – Installing was very fast
    – Boot time isn’t noticeably changed (though I haven’t timed either before or after)
    – The time delay between entering a password in KDM and having Plasma Desktop fully loaded seems shorter
    – Applications launch noticeably faster
    – No hard disk noise during boot and software updates etc is a bit weird, but nice really
    – Suspend (to RAM) and resume is now pretty much instant (though I wouldn’t have thought the hard disk is much involved in that in terms of data transfer, perhaps the SSD can just be switched off and back on quicker)

  • Greg says:

    Wait for the official release of PC-BSD 8.0 (it is in R.C. by now) and forget all those linux distributions, forever.

    Cheers, G.

  • Robert says:

    I would say if you can spare the money, get a Kingston 40GB SSD they are making them under license from intel and are plenty fast for a sub 100€ disk. If I weren’t tiptoeing the student budget line I would definitely get one as my OS disk

  • Kevin Kofler says:

    The funny thing is that Adept was actually developed by a Red Hat employee (in his spare time). But it’s discontinued now as it was being developed primarily for Kubuntu and they’re no longer using it.

  • Stu says:

    @ Greg – don’t confuse matters 😉 Yep, PC-BSD is also on my list of things to try but has been there for well over a year now. One day, maybe.