Cheap "SSD" option? (mPCIe->USB + Thumb drive)

Ashton

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Nov 13, 2004
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When I'm going to attempt something risky on my laptop (such as accessing files on a HDD infected with a virus or opening email that's from someone important but looks suspiciously like it could be a virus) I like to boot into Linux to ensure that windows code cant execute, I usually use a live CD for this, but I'm thinking seriously of replacing my optical bay with another HDD for media (since I otherwise dont use the optical drive)

I have 2 free MiniPCI-e slots on my laptop, one intended for a cellular card and one intended for a add-on card that boots a (far far too simple) proprietary linux version called Dell ON. I found this adapter on eBay for a few bucks:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mini-PCI-E-...457?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2ec7078151

That specifically lists one use being for a thumb drive (and really it's even shaped appropriately for this) so I'm thinking I could just stick one of these in my laptop with a bootable linux install on the flash drive and not have to worry about the CD drive or re-partitioning my current HDD

I am already aware that flash drives do NOT have the same life-span as a HDD, but considering I rarely do this and when I do I dont make a ton of writes to the linux drive usually, I figure a 16gb drive running a lightweight version of linux (Puppy or Mint) would last for quite some time. (And yes, I know I could just stick the USB drive into a free USB port, but where's the fun in that? :p ---- not to mention I seem to never have the right drive when I need it...)

Would this work? I'm not too familiar with the Mpci-e standard and whether it's even bootable (I assume so since the Eeepc netbook used mPCI-e SSDs, but I've seen a lot of mixed stories about this working in other devices)

So... thoughts?
 

drescherjm

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So... thoughts?
A modern 128GB or larger SSD would have a longer expected lifetime than a hard drive however you are not talking about an 128GB SSD but a small USB stick. In that case you are correct that if you do as much writing on a 16GB USB stick as a hard disk it will probably wear out in less than the 5 years that you expect a hard drive to last.
 
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Ashton

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A modern 128GB or larger SSD would have a longer expected lifetime than a hard drive however you are not talking about an 128GB SSD but a small USB stick. In that case you are correct that if you do as much writing on a 16GB USB stick as a hard disk it will probably wear out in less than the 5 years that you expect a hard drive to last.
True, but I'm talking about booting for *maybe* 2 hours tops once a month or less, I'm basically just looking for a "bootable CD" option that lets me save my preferences (such as Puppy does *not* include an internet browser and it has to be downloaded every time you install it, and it also defaults to 800x600 resolution iirc) So in a year I'd probably put around 24 hours, or if I'm really busy maybe 50 hours, so that's 250 hours in five years, as opposed to my HDD install which would get around 9600 hours per year and 48000 in five years, which is 192 times more than the Linux-USB would get...

EDIT:
Also I'm looking at the only slot I have avalible is a mPCI-e slot --- dont get me wrong, if I was going to use linux as much as windows I wouldn't think twice about partitioning, but since 99% of what I do is windows and I use linux monthly or so at best, I'm thinking the stick would "live" long enough to handle that...
 
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Instead of dedicating cash on something you hardly use, why not just use a virtual machine? Install virtual box and run your test environment in there?

Also, im not sure that your spare mPCIe is wired up for use as storage
 
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Ashton

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Instead of dedicating cash on something you hardly use, why not just use a virtual machine? Install virtual box and run your test environment in there?

Also, im not sure that your spare mPCIe is wired up for use as storage
I had an issue just recently where I took an infected HDD and as soon as I plugged it into my PC, it started executing an install-file of some sort that I can only assume was the virus. So if I'd not caught this thing before it completed my PC would probably be infected too (with a virus that at that time NONE of my scanners could detect)

That's what I'm trying to find out, if anyone knows if this is even possible... all my sources so far are anecdotal from all accross the internet
 

UhClem

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Jun 8, 2011
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When I'm going to attempt ... I like to boot into Linux to ensure that windows code cant execute, I usually use a live CD for this, but ...

So... thoughts?
You can put a Live version on the USB drive also; that way, there will be a RAM-drive (tmpfs) created implicitly upon boot, which will be used for all system writes (eliminating concerns about write-wear on the USB drive). And, you can also create an additional partition which can store any add-on programs or data you want available, and for saving files from these rescue missions. (You will have to mount that partition each time, unless you modify the Live init files.)

All that said, I'd just use the USB drive alone. Find a place to secure it to/in the laptop, so it will be there when you need it. This way, you've eliminated any question about the bootability of this mPCIe thing, and you have not complicated your normal boot procedure (with the mPCIe option).

Remember, Keep It Simple S* .
 

Aesma

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You can find USB drives that take only 2-3mm once plugged in the computer, perfect to keep on a laptop.
 
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