It's all automatic now and I have not found a good reason to go back to manual.
However it is a good idea to know about GPARTED. It's even usable on VM partitions as we read http://www.techrepublic.com/article/how-to-resize-a-virtual-red-hat-enterprise-linux-partition/
The unknown megabyte could be partition alignment (more at https://www.google.com/search?q=linux+partition+alignment but again, automatic does this for me and with disk space cheap as borsch I don't fret if 5MB is lost here on a 1TB HDD.)
The only people I know this bothers are the ones the run LFS Linux. More at https://www.google.com/search?q=linux+from+scratch
By now you get a partial idea of my view on this. I want to spend time using my PC, less time tinkering.
This came up recently.
I've used Ubuntu, Lubuntu, OpenSuse, Fedora, CentOs for starters.
Recently after an issue, I decided to reformat my laptop 500gb drive on a i5 and try Mint. Why not. So, i actually handed it to a friend to give me a little guidance as to what his best practice was on setting up the drive (partitioning.) Some other people said just leave it one whole volume and be done with it. My friend left a unknown megabyte for buffer, then put a swap disk space.
Just curious. What would you, or what do you, partition your laptop drive as, with a general purpose machine??