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Currently I run a Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon and unfortunately it only has 1TB of space, which I don't want to partition or shrink. My options then seem to become buying an external SSD and installing Ubuntu onto it or buying another cheaper laptop and installing Ubuntu on to that.

I have seen other posts and it is doable to install Ubuntu onto an SSD, but is there any performance loss or other negatives I should know about?

Buying an SSD seems to be the cheap option since I can get SSD's off Amazon for around ~$200 whereas a laptop might cost more (since I need it portable). Also, since portability matters, the SSD would be perfect (assuming it's a good option).

Has anyone ever tried this? I don't want to buy the SSD if it's not a good option.

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    Even will all you say here "and unfortunately it only has 1TB of space, which I don't want to partition or shrink" I would reconsider this. – Rinzwind Dec 6 '17 at 18:01
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I've tried similar things in the past. I always seem to run into small annoyances that dissuade me from setups like this. If I were you I would test on a cheap usb flash (before you buy your SSD).

If you're open at all to partitioning your drive, consider partitioning just enough for Ubuntu, and using your external SSD for storage.

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I tried so. It is very simple, fast and reliable. I have SSD with 12.04 LTS and 16.04 LTS, it acts as portable server.

You have the following options here:

  1. External SSD with USB 2.0 or internal one with USB 2.0 enclosure.
  2. External SSD with USB 3.0 or internal one with USB 3.0 enclosure.
  3. Very fast USB 3.0 flash drive such as SanDisk Extreme family.

Nowadays fast USB 3.0 flash is preferred I think.

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    +1, I have 'SATA SSDs' that I put into a USB 3 and eSATA enclosure, and it works well, much faster than the best USB 3 pendrive, that I have. It is a good solution. – sudodus Dec 6 '17 at 20:27
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    The eSATA connection offers TRIM, which USB doesn't. Maybe just a regular disk instead of an SSD if the only connections offerd are USB 2 or 3. – ubfan1 Dec 6 '17 at 22:17
  • I have a laptop though. How would I connect it to eSATA? Or is it not possible? I was originally looking at usb-c SSDs if they exist. But if you have other suggestions I'm listening – Van-Sama Dec 6 '17 at 22:23
  • You need not trim the drive every time you use it. Maybe you can connect it via eSATA (or directly via SATA) a few times per year in a computer where it is possible. (Some laptops have an eSATA port, but it is often easier to get it connected via SATA or eSATA in desktop computers or workstations.) – sudodus Dec 7 '17 at 7:00
  • As far I can understand eSATA nowadays is replaced with USB 3.x, Thunderbolt, etc. Laptops with eSATA are 1% of overall. USB 3.x to eSATA adapters exist, but they are big. I do not have performance (and S.M.A.R.T) problems with USB 2.0 and 3.0 external enclosures. We can always run fstrim manually on needed period of time. – N0rbert Dec 7 '17 at 17:07

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