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Multiple partitions on an SSD?

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  • Hard Drives
  • Partition
  • Systems
  • System Administration
  • System Builder
  • SSD
  • My Documents
Last response: in Systems
October 3, 2013 7:18:46 PM

Hello my fellow geeks! Mind if I pick your brain for a moment?

I have the following:
Windows 7 Pro
250GB SSD
1TB HDD


What benefit (if any) is there to installing my software applications to a different partition (D:\) on the same physical SSD?

I realize there are a lot of factors involved (page files, .\temp files, etc); however, it seems like my system slows down after a few months. It's just not as snappy. So... I re-install the OS and applications onto the SSD and it lasts for another few months before it starts slowing down again.

Here's what slows down:
Opening my browser (Chrome)
Opening MS Excell, word documents, etc.

I normally use the entire SSD for the OS + applications, and use the HDD for "my documents, media files, etc).

This time, I'm considering the following configuration:
SSD Partition 1 = C:\System Only (120GB)
SSD Partition 2 = D:\Program Files + temp files (120GB)
HDD Partition1 = E:\Documents + Multimedia (360GB)
HDD Partition1 = F:\OS Backup Image (120GB)

My documents and media will be backed up to a NAS so I'm also wondering how this configuration will affect me when its time to re-install the OS. Will it be easier, more difficult, etc?

Thanks in advance for your input.

More about : multiple partitions ssd

October 3, 2013 7:25:05 PM

I do not think you will see any advantage to the SSD partitioning other than organization.

SSD's do not keep data in the bound of the partition anyway, they just store data in free space.

So performance wise it is no different(It will not hurt anything as long as you leave some free space on either partition for the SSD to manage wear leveling).

You can place your web browser and its cache on a ramdisk if you want more speed(but it takes a bit longer to load windows and shut down from the load and save of the ramdrive to the hdd or ssd on shutdown.). This also eats system memory.

On a hard drive keeping Windows near the start of the drive can reduce access times(head has a shorter distance to move) as long as the other partitions are not currently in use. It has a positive effect, but ssd's just do not work that way.

All your files on the HDD is a great idea. I have a similar setup, but the files are on another system on the network allowing the computer to just need an SSD(or 2 in my case) and making it more easy to perform backups because ALL systems get files from the same location and save to the same location. Before, each system needed its own backup drive(external OFF when not backing up).
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October 3, 2013 7:26:13 PM

That works.... tho Id leave the temp and page files on 1st partition..... I dunno if it will help ya speed tho.... does make it easier to restore a fudged OS form a backup image tho

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October 3, 2013 7:37:53 PM

As others have said partitioning the SSD won't really help with it slowing down over time.

What you really want to do is minimize the writes to the drive.

Here is a link to a few helpfull tweaks for an SSD:
http://www.computing.net/howtos/show/solid-state-drive-...
The only 2 i would avoid doing is turning off system restore (unless you know you wont be needing it) and disabling the page file all together, i personally set a page file size of 1gig to a max of 3.
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October 3, 2013 7:41:03 PM

There will be no benefit that I can see. Certainly not from a performance point of view.
The big problem reinstalling an os is the reinstallation of the programs, and that issue remains the same, even with a separate partition.
Since you have a large hard drive, just take some backups of the ssd to the hard drive as you need them.
The main reason a ssd will slow down is if it starts go get full. say 80%. 90% and windows will show your capacity in red.
The other reason might be if you did not have trim support.
Multiple partitions are harder to manage if one of them fills up while the other has available capacity.
Keep it simple, do not bother with "tweaks" which might be suggested to you. They are a pain to maintain, and accomplish little.
Put everything on the ssd, and put large files such as video's and backups on the hard drive.
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October 3, 2013 8:08:24 PM

nukemaster said:
I do not think you will see any advantage to the SSD partitioning other than organization.

SSD's do not keep data in the bound of the partition anyway, they just store data in free space.

So performance wise it is no different(It will not hurt anything as long as you leave some free space on either partition for the SSD to manage wear leveling).

You can place your web browser and its cache on a ramdisk if you want more speed(but it takes a bit longer to load windows and shut down from the load and save of the ramdrive to the hdd or ssd on shutdown.). This also eats system memory.

On a hard drive keeping Windows near the start of the drive can reduce access times(head has a shorter distance to move) as long as the other partitions are not currently in use. It has a positive effect, but ssd's just do not work that way.

All your files on the HDD is a great idea. I have a similar setup, but the files are on another system on the network allowing the computer to just need an SSD(or 2 in my case) and making it more easy to perform backups because ALL systems get files from the same location and save to the same location. Before, each system needed its own backup drive(external OFF when not backing up).


Thanks for responding. I appreciate it. So,.. in regards to your network storage, you use that for a central location to work from any computer. I assume you're just creating a mapped network drive? I may do the same thing. However, I also do video editing/rendering with Camtasia. And video output to a shared drive on a NAS would probably slow things down considerably, wouldn't it? Any thoughts on how I should handle that?

Also, the RAMDisk is something I just learned about. I do have 16GB of RAM and my system usually occupies about 4.5GB of memory at idle and even running a VM, it rarely hits 5.75GB of RAM so I've got plenty of that to spare. The only concern with the RAMDisk, is that it writes the files to the SSD upon shutdown, correct? If this is the case, doesn't that "increase" writes to the SSD?

Also, in regards to my partition idea, I'm trying to prevent all those applications from creating their files in "my documents" folder. It makes it hard to find my stuff as I prefer to keep "my documents" clean with only 7-8 folders.

Thanks again for your help.
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Best solution

October 3, 2013 8:47:36 PM

You can MOVE the Users folder to another drive.

Use this with care(I do not recommend trying to pull this over a network).
http://lifehacker.com/5467758/move-the-users-directory-...

With the way Vista/7/8 work, You will need to make an account on the sharing system with the same log-in info as the systems you use(as many as needed). With this done, the share folder should allow this user(as opposed to the general administrators group) full control. This has to be done because with Windows Vista/7/8 your login is not a member of the admin group at all times. It actually is only given that right when elevation is required.

An example of how it looks on the computer storing the files.


Thing I would like to warn you about.
-You do not have a recycle bin over the network with Windows on the other end as the sharing system(most proper NAS boxes DO). If you use a share as a location for a users folder, Windows will allow the recycle bin to work(on that folder). You have to play with this to ensure it works the way you want it to.
-The Admin(elevated user) does NOT see network drives. You can make a simple batch file and run it as admin to ensure the mapped drive works for the elevated accounts(without this, some programs will not work properly as they will see the drive as invalid).
-Use of the Location tab will allow most users folders to be located on a network share without issues, but some programs do not work well. I symbolic linked some of the folders from the "Users" folder to the network shares to make sure even if the software wants to go c : \ users \ me \ documents \ it will still be on the network location(Access by this means will have NO recycle bin for sure because windows thinks the files are on c : ).
-When adding a new drive(hard drive or optical, the system may sometimes take the networked drives letter. This in my case leads to an empty documents folder and desktop/ect). After fixing it a log off and on will realign my desktop icons. Making your network drive you mapped a higher letter cab avoid this(mind is d : . Bad idea to be honest, but I have a habit of d : = files).

I started small(as a test) just with Music over the network because it sucked having to try to keep the same music on all systems then just jumped in and moved everything over.

If you have questions, do not hesitate to ask here or with the private message system on Tom's. Once it is setup, its quite nice to have ONE point of backup.

Crap, forgot to cover speeds. I get upto about 118megabytes/sec, but this was SSD to SSD over the network. Gigabit lan is a MUST as 100megabit maxes out at 12.5 megabytes/sec. That was a slow down for the SSD's, but not had for a network test.

I have done some slight FRAPS recording over the network and was surprised that it worked out just fine. I expected all kinds of frame drops to be honest.

I will try to run some benchmarks for you if you wish to know the actual speed(I have a WDC red 3tb(and a 1tb notebook drive, but that is used for local storage(media center) on that system with its 128gigabyte ssd for the OS/programs) in the sharing system so it is not the fastest drive in the market or anything).

Edit a 5gigabyte file copy averaged about 110megabytes/sec from the share to my system. pushing the same file back did not fare as well starting out great, but ended just over 60(I would guess the average was in the 80 or so range). This may have been because the drive was in use for listening to loss less(30-40 megabytes/song) audio as well at the same time. The hard drive still has to write to one location and read from another.

As for SSD wear. With the current firmwares and controllers, most SSD's can take quite a bit of writing. Its either that or keep a small hard drive for local storage(buy a big one and short stroke it).
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October 3, 2013 9:28:26 PM

That's exactly the kind of detail I was looking for. Thank you so much for taking the time to provide such an in-depth explanation. I've got a Synology Diskstation NAS so mine will be a little different -- but you certainly helped me consider the recycle aspects that I would've overlooked. And having one point of backup is something I should've done a long time ago. I've been maintaining 3 machines, multiple files, their backups, and just too much fiddling.

I also have an HTPC with an i3 and plenty of SATA ports and storage. I might "dual purpose" that puppy and use it for a Windows Server. :-)
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October 3, 2013 9:34:39 PM

My media center is my storage system :) 

I think the NAS will be less painful to use(more easy to set permissions and whatnot).
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