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Discussion Starter #1
I'd like to repurpose the SSD in my Windows/Kodi HTPC box and possibly switch to using a bootable USB and KodiBuntu. What will I be losing/gaining by making this switch? I see that there are drivers for Intel integrated graphics but are there codec limitations? Is Samba reliable enough at accessing WHS shares? Will I notice any substantial differences in going from SSD to USB?

To add some context I work in a linux environment at work but do little development and only have limited troubleshooting experience. That being said I do have access to people with a lot of linux knowledge so I'm not too fearful of the platform itself.
 

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Drivers are good, samba is plenty reliable accessing windows shares (I use a w8.1 server, but whs should be barely any different in speed smb2 vs smb3)

An SSD is only required for snappy performance in windows, usb performance will be good in linux

Rather than Kodibuntu, just go with OpenELEC. It's much straighter forward and more of a "bare metal" Kodi-OS

OE just requires 2 usb drives to get installed. Download the tar release from here http://openelec.tv/get-openelec (Likely the 64 bit stable 5.0.5 release -- not diskimage). The unpack the tar (7zip) and run the createinstallstick.bat file on windows with your USB install media plugged in. It will ask you for the drive letter, then take care of the rest and tell you when it's done. Then unplug your existing SSD and boot from the new USB instead. I like to boot into the install media first, then it gives a super simple menu for what to select. Now plug in the USB you will be using for the permanent install. The simple menu should be on the first option (quick install openelec), so select that and it will then ask you where. You should select the permanent USB, and they are usually identifiable by manufacturer/brand name. After it installs it will ask if you want to reboot. I usually hit reboot and then go to BIOS or UEFI. There I change the first boot device to the permanent install USB and unplug the "installer" USB, and Kodi should boot up

To re-enable sleep when booting from USB (disabled by OpenELEC since version 4 :( ) enable SSH and then ssh into your OE box, user - root :: password - openelec
Then run these commands
echo "rm /dev/.suspend_disabled" > /storage/.config/autostart.sh
chmod +x /storage/.config/autostart.sh
reboot
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Drivers are good, samba is plenty reliable accessing windows shares (I use a w8.1 server, but whs should be barely any different in speed smb2 vs smb3)

An SSD is only required for snappy performance in windows, usb performance will be good in linux

Rather than Kodibuntu, just go with OpenELEC. It's much straighter forward and more of a "bare metal" Kodi-OS

OE just requires 2 usb drives to get installed. Download the tar release from here http://openelec.tv/get-openelec (Likely the 64 bit stable 5.0.5 release -- not diskimage). The unpack the tar (7zip) and run the createinstallstick.bat file on windows with your USB install media plugged in. It will ask you for the drive letter, then take care of the rest and tell you when it's done. Then unplug your existing SSD and boot from the new USB instead. I like to boot into the install media first, then it gives a super simple menu for what to select. Now plug in the USB you will be using for the permanent install. The simple menu should be on the first option (quick install openelec), so select that and it will then ask you where. You should select the permanent USB, and they are usually identifiable by manufacturer/brand name. After it installs it will ask if you want to reboot. I usually hit reboot and then go to BIOS or UEFI. There I change the first boot device to the permanent install USB and unplug the "installer" USB, and Kodi should boot up

To re-enable sleep when booting from USB (disabled by OpenELEC since version 4 :( ) enable SSH and then ssh into your OE box, user - root :: password - openelec
Then run these commands
Awesome write up! Thank you. I was going to go with an 8GB drive, would you advise differently?

Edit: Also, I will be scaling down to 4GB of ram. This is more than plenty I assume?
 

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2GB is enough ram, and 8GB is plenty USB. I have a 16 GB USB just because the price difference was less than $2

My system info at the moment shows I'm using about 800MB of storage and 750MB of RAM. I have a couple heavy skins installed, the youtube add on, serverwmc, and a mysql library of around 1800 movies and 60 TV series

Another thing you can do that is totally unnecessary, but nice if you want is to replace your PSU with a picoPSU. Not a big deal to have an extra ATX psu if you are like me, or you could repurpose and sell it. Depending on your processor, you could take most of the fans out of there as well. I run OE on a g1610 w/ only the stock HSF blowing and a picoPSU powering everything in a milo3 case. The PicoPSU is a little better on power than the atx psu, not enough to justify price difference but I bought and use it for the silence. The stock HSF runs pretty low, I set the bios temperature preferences to the lowest fan setting and highest temperature setting. I don't hear anything from it and it only pulls 13W at idle with the screen off
 
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