Wow, amazing tips in this thread.
I think we ought to continue the conversation in this direction by way of talking more about good kernel boot paramters.
I know for me, just adding "threadirqs" seems to speed up every distro I ever use except for the ones that already have it. I guess it's a hardware type of thing that finally matured in a good way. I don't know much about the hugepages settings; I'm not sure if they change much.
Also, I do like the idea of reducing the swappiness from 60 or whatnot to 10. That's a decent tweak.
I'm of the opinion that for every type of Windows DAW optimization/tweak, there's a Linux equivalent too. And then Linux has some extras that Windows does not have available for most users most of the time even with Registry hacking and control panel settings, special utilities, etc.
One thing which I think makes a heckuva lot of sense is the "noatime" /etc/fstab option. I'm happy that it's starting to show up in non-DAW distros.
Last but not least, I took a look the ext4 developer site pages and although I don't use it yet, eventually it will probably be even more appealing than it is now. That is unless there's too much fiddling and feature creep. Once my system wouldn't boot because I'd used a more modern gParted to format my partitions as ext4 and ext3 with some backwards compatible ext4 features (yeah, it's possible to do without making the system not boot).
The problem was that the OS versions of ext4 (and maybe even ext3) wasn't as modern as what gParted was doing to the partitions. I didn't realise it at first because the versions of ext and e2fsprogs as listed on sites such as distrowatch.org seemed to match, but I had to read the fine print from the developer and the error/boot logs more closely.
I came to the conclusion back then, that although now almost every common distro uses ext4 formatting by default, it's still actually in development, not necessarily a final phase of development. Even on the ext4 website they acknowledge that it's a work in progress and some performance features are still risky. It's for that reason and other reasons I just WON'T use ext4 for another couple of years. It needs to stabilize and be vetted. Ext3 has been thoroughly stabilized and vetted; it's pros and cons are pretty well understood it seems like (except for it's speed benchmarks(!) hmmm!). I've seen some speed tests comparing ext4 to btrfs or whatnot, but hardly any tests of just plain old ext3.
Well, that's all for now. I could go on about this stuff forever. But the masses wouldn't stand for it