I came across this guide on optimizing CrunchBang Linux for use with a solid state drive (SSD), which gave me the idea of formatting my SSD using GUID Partition Table (GPT) via Gparted. One benefit is that partitions are automatically aligned on a 1024KiB block size base.
Below is the relevant section:
Step 1: Formatting the drive with a GUID partition table
Boot #! from a live cd or usb drive. Start up Gparted and go to Device–>Create New partition Table. Instead of using the traditional MS-DOS partition table, select GPT (GUID Partition Table). This will make Gparted automatically align your partitions on a 2048 sectors (or 1024KiB) block size base which should be compatible with the vast majority of SSD if not all. Create a single root partition that takes up the whole disk (more on this later). Before you apply these changes, right click the partition that you created and click on “Information.” Make sure that the last sector is one less than a multiple of 2048. If it isn’t, decrease the size of the disk accordingly until it is. For example, my 120gb drive has a first sector of 2048 and a last sector of 234440703, which is ((2048*114473)-1). Then just run the #! installer like you normally would (make sure to use ext4 as the file system type, install everything to the root partition you made, and ignore the messages about not having a swap partition (swap space not recommended for use on solid state disks for both performance and disk health reasons, and is not really necessary if you have at least 2Gb RAM, and if you don’t, why are you spending money on a solid state disk!). GPT partition tables are not supported by GRUB legacy, but the #! disk I used installed GRUB2 by default, so if you are using an older version or a different distro, you might have to boot from a live environment again afterwards and run update-grub.
For the first time ever, I installed a Linux distro without a swap partition. So far, I’ve not experienced any issues without a swap drive. My system has about 4GB of RAM.