You know that Ubuntu installer has an option to encrypt the whole root partition. The password is asked every time you boot. This seems to be a great deal, easy, convenient, really nice except one thing - I don't think that it is so necessary to encrypt the whole installation. It would be nice to set up separate partitions for private information (like /var and /home) and keep them encrypted while leaving system files (all binaries, mans, etc.) unencrypted. I think it should be nice not so much for performance but for SSD life-time and stability. So, the password is asked on every boot like it has the whole installation encrypted, but actually only several partitions are encrypted. Is there a way to set that up smoothly during installation? And what do you think about all that? Please advise.
Possibly the easiest way to achieve what you ask is to do an install without encryption and afterwards set up ad hoc encryption on specific folders. The Community documentation suggests encfs for the task. A plugin exists to integrate encfs with Nautilus.
Ecryptfs is an alternative that facilitates the specific encryption of users' home folders.
You might also consider moving /home and /var to their own partitions and then just encrypt those; but IMHO the possibility of improved SSD life is negligible, and you will still be prompted to password in at boot for booting requires access to /root.
If you want the SSD to last longer, add more system RAM and do without swap. That's what I did and it works well for me.