There comes a time in the lifespan of a computer where you decide that the performance becomes a little lacking. That was my case with this computer and the state of the drive was becoming a little dubious as it felt like it was getting slower and having periodic file system errors. Rather than just reinstall openSUSE on the same drive, I decided, I wanted to make an inexpensive upgrade so I purchased a Solid State Drive (SSD) for it.
After completing this write-up, I realized that this is very uninteresting… so… for what it’s worth, this is basically a blathering for my own records. If you find this useful, great, if you don’t care about this bit of hardware, this is not worth your time… so… go ahead and click that [X} in the corner now.
Since this computer hangs above my sink using a VESA mount, there is a bit of work involved in pulling it down. My preferred method is to use a
Since I have taken this unit apart before, I already knew what I was doing with it. The back of computer comes off but does take some time to get all the snaps to release. I would really prefer that this was held together with screws instead of snaps.
Upon releasing the back cover from the chassis, it exposes the 2.5″ drive which sits in the lower left corner of the machine.
The drive is held in a caddy that snaps in to the chassis, no tools required to remove or insert the drive. I think this is actually quite the clever design.
The last bit of assembly is snapping the back cover back together, with a little family assistance.
After hanging the computer back on it’s VESA mount, I proceeded to install openSUSE Tumbleweed once again, creating a 60 GiB Root partition
The one thing I can note is that the software installation proceeded so much faster on the Solid State Drive than on the traditional Hard Disk Drive. I didn’t time it but I can assure you it is noticeably faster.
After installation of openSUSE Tumbleweed, I began the setup of my applications that I wanted, specifically on this machine. Things to note, this computer has a touch screen interface, so I made some changes as compared to my more traditional desktop setups. For starters, I switched the menu to the “Application Dashboard” because it is more “touch friendly” than the “Application Launcher” and “Application Menu”. At least, from my perspective.
Some of my applications have shifted a bit from the original setup. Many are the same but the core set of applications I use, not likely to change, on this machine are as follows:
Kontact Personal Information Manager
Mostly for the calendar application and it works fantastically well. I use this to synchronize my activities using the Google Calendar plugin. I am not proud of using Google Calendar but I am sort of stuck with it for the time being.
I find using this has been a bit better experience on some machines than Syncthing-GTK. In a way it doesn’t feel like as polished of an experience but I feel like it has a better experience in the way of access to the system details with less digging. I use Syncthing to keep my drives synchronized between machines where there is no single point of failure. I am quite enamored with this application.
This hasn’t changed at all. I use this heavily in the kitchen and aside from the browser, I probably interact with this the most.
This is my primary communication application. Basically, it is the only real-time direct access to me, even more so than SMS. Though, I can access my SMS messages through the computer, this is by far my preferred method and it would be nice if more people were on it.
This application is used daily. Not exactly related to kitchen activities but since it seems like much of my life revolves around the kitchen, to include my workouts, I use this application for timing my workouts and keep me on track. I am sure that there are some question marks popping up but this is very much the truth. I also use this application when I am smoking meat. I use the lap function and take notes on tracking temperatures over time of the smoker cavity and the temperature of the meat itself. So, this is a very handy application to have.
I have mentioned this before, but Falkon is a better touch-friendly web browser. Though, as I think about this decision, I wonder if there is an extension for Firefox to make that experience better. Regardless. The browser is an important part and currently I am using Falkon more than Firefox.
I’m not a benchmark nut, maybe I should be, regardless, I am a fan of the application Gnome Disk Utility which gives a nice breakdown about your drives.
The downside is, in GNOME fashion, this has the odd titlebar setup, but whatever. This gives you the ability to examine the health of your disks. I find this very interesting, but admittedly, I don’t know what it all means but so long as it says the Disk is OK, I’m going to leave it there.
The benchmark utility is interesting. I don’t run the benchmark on the write speed because it does give a warning about backing up your data, so… do that on an empty drive, I suppose. The average read rate of this drive is 443.9 MB/s with 100 samples. The access time is pretty great compared to the typical seek time of “spinning rust” hard drive platter.
I want to reiterate that I am not a benchmark nut but it is nice to see what they are, just to see. It’s also fun to compare with my other systems. This seems to be about on par with my other SSDs and more than 4 times faster than the HDD I use for my Virtual Machine images.
I resisted for a long time going to SSDs because, that seems to be my M.O. on new technology. I am glad that the SSD technology has come down in price and increased in efficiency. It has greatly improved the performance of this aging all-in-one and extended the life of this machine. The performance improvements of SSDs over HDDs is not in any way a revelation. The point I want to emphasize here is that by putting in an SSD, the machine is far more useful and the user experience is vastly improved. So, rather than chuck the old computer, swap out the Hard Disk Drive with a Solid State Drive.