I have a older PC with mostly SATA3 connections, and wondering how best to keep it chugging along with linux for a few more years.

4 x SATA3 ports
1 x PCI-E card for NVME (not bootable)

Motherboard is a z68 https://www.asus.com/Motherboards/P8Z68V_PROGEN3/

cpu is 2600K intel

I am aware the board likely cannot boot off the PCIE drive.. but how to do Setup a fresh install of drives and partitions so that I can perhaps have linux mostly all installed on the NVME drive (which is significantly faster)

If this doesn't work I might just buy 2 Sata based SSDS, run them in raid 0.. and give up.. but it would be great if there is a way on a fresh install of the OS to setup this way.

Target OS: Ubuntu 20.04 LTS
1 x SATA 3 : Set to Boot
1 X PCIE NVME : /root , /home
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    I think I saw one user who just had grub on internal drive's MBR and system on unbootable DVD caddy. And another used a /boot partition (and grub in MBR). Is that old enough to be just BIOS or is it also UEFI? I prefer gpt and used it on my old BIOS only system without issue, but had to have a bios_grub partition on boot drive. – oldfred May 28 at 13:10
  • thank you oldfred, I am actually very very newb at this.. I use linux a lot but unsure how to use the installer .. do I use LVM, do I make a swap/ ? any step by step guides are appreciated.. because most people are talking about dual boot systems.. which this is not – Erik May 28 at 13:55
  • There is UEFI I believe.. here is a link @oldfred to the exact Motherboard , will add to post too asus.com/Motherboards/P8Z68V_PROGEN3 – Erik May 28 at 13:57
  • Make sure you update UEFI/BIOS to latest available. Some of the early implementations were a bit flaky. My Z97 worked without issue in UEFI mode. Ubuntu now uses swap file, so no swap partition unless you use LVM. If new user, I do not suggest LVM unless you must have full drive encryption, then you have to jump into the deep end of the pool. I do not know nor use LVM. I prefer / of 25 to 30GB if you have separate /home or data partition(s) as its your data that will take up space. If just experimenting with Ubuntu then a large / is ok. If using UEFI you need and ESP on gpt boot drive. – oldfred May 28 at 18:39
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    Not that hard to try. But if using UEFI you will need ESP on SATA drive. If BIOS and maybe with UEFI you will need /boot on SATA drive. Then /, /home & data partition(s) can be on NVMe drive. Once BIOS/UEFI turns over boot to whatever program is on SATA drive, it should not matter that NVMe is not bootable. But it does have to be seen from grub or /boot. My install from RAM to NVMe drive was under 10 Minutes. I had partitioned in advanced. Just try it. If it does not work then we can try something else. Even my install to USB3 SATA SSD was just over 10 min. Flash drives were 40 min. – oldfred May 28 at 22:46

This is what finally worked:

Install Ubuntu 20.04 as usual until you get the the screen that asks if you want to erase Ubuntu, etc etc... you should select Something else, which brings up the custom partitioning dialog of the installer.


sata drive

  • 1GB for a /boot area
  • the rest formatted as a "System Partition"

nvme drive

  • 50GB for a root / area
  • the rest is /home/

thanks to @oldfred!

| improve this answer | |
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    What do you mean with "System Partition" in your answer? Is that the EFI System Partition (ESP) partition? Did you format the rest of your sata drive as ESP partition?? – Marty Sep 10 at 12:35

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