How do I control the physical disk location of partitions on a system with two physical disks?

Bought a new Dell XPS desktop with two drives, a 500 GB SSD and an 2 TB HDD. I would like to have /, /usr, /home, etc. on the SSD and one big partition on the HDD. (I guess /boot should be on the SSD as well.) My idea is that this will give me faster interactive performance. Installing from a live USB of Fedora 33 workstation. When I choose automatic partitioning, I seem to get one big partition of a size that is the sum of the two drives. Two questions:

  1. Am I right that I will get a performance boost using the SSD for interactive stuff? Or should I just not worry about it?
  2. If this is a good idea, how do I get there?

Some notes:

  • I had to choose AHCI rather than RAID On as the SATA Operation option in the BIOS to even see the SSD during installation.
  • I am selecting both SSD and HDD at the partitioning stage and using the automatic option.
  • If I try to select only the SSD (thinking I can add the HDD later, by hand) I get an error saying part of the SSD partition lives on the HDD drive and I have to select them as a set.
  • If I use custom partitioning, then I cannot “reclaim” the space on the drives and it complains that there is not enough space for the installation, which is true enough.
  • I just got the box and am willing to blow everything away and start over. (Note that the Windows 10 which came pre-installed is already history.)
  • I suspect LVM is involved here, but I don’t really know.

Any hints appreciated.

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I think I solved it. I had to learn how to use the custom partitioning interface. Not completely intuitive, at least to me, but muddled through and now I think I have what I want.

I must say that the “middle” option in the installer is the least intuitive for me. The basic one (just click next until it starts, basically) is easiest of course, but I had two partitons on separate drives just like you, and pre-partitioned as well (replaced an Arch install).

I found the “most advanced” option being the easiest one to use, tho it still needs a lot of polish compared to other installers.

I used the middle. Didn’t like the first successful attempt (too much space for /, not enough for /home) so I tried it again. The second time there was no less fumbling around than the first time!

I’ll keep “most advanced” in mind for next time. Thanks!

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