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Does partioning a disk effect performace?

Last response: in Storage
June 28, 2007 2:35:40 AM

Does having a drive partitioned into 3 partitions with a dual boot effect performance? My system drive has Windows XP on one partition and Vista on the other. But i need best performance possible.
June 28, 2007 3:23:09 AM

I've dual booted from a partitioned drive in the past and it didn't affect performance at all on my machines. So, based, based on my experience, I'd say no, you don't have anything to worry about.
June 28, 2007 3:25:54 AM

No effects from partitioning. Just keep in mind NOT to transfer your Windows paging files to another partition other than the master (where your windows resides). That would bring your performance down. Now for more performance get a faster drive (eg Raptors, or SCSI).
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June 28, 2007 4:12:42 AM

Not at all.Partitions simply help to keep things organized better.Multiple partitions should have no bearing on performance at all.


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June 28, 2007 4:23:47 AM

First partition will run faster than second, then third, etc. as the first will be closest to the edge of the disk. The actual speed difference will be negligible unless you can measure in fractions of a millisecond...

Fragmentation will affect performance far more than disk location IMO.
June 28, 2007 4:46:01 AM

The act of partitioning itself won't slow the drive down. However a drive doesn't read or write to the whole drive at the same speed. Therefore, depending on where the partition resides it could be slower than a partition on a different part of the drive. Sisoft Sandra will give you information on how your drive performs. Usually, as you get to the end of the drive it slows down. This is due to the physical properties of the platters. Here are two examples. You would have to be pretty particular to Partition based on this, but you asked. I would just buy the Raptor.

Raptor 74GB
Benchmark Breakdown
Speed at position 0% : 68MB/s (88%)
Speed at position 3% : 76MB/s (98%)
Speed at position 7% : 75MB/s (96%)
Speed at position 10% : 78MB/s (100%)
Speed at position 13% : 76MB/s (97%)
Speed at position 17% : 76MB/s (98%)
Speed at position 20% : 74MB/s (95%)
Speed at position 23% : 78MB/s (100%)
Speed at position 27% : 73MB/s (94%)
Speed at position 30% : 73MB/s (94%)
Speed at position 33% : 74MB/s (95%)
Speed at position 37% : 72MB/s (92%)
Speed at position 40% : 71MB/s (91%)
Speed at position 43% : 70MB/s (89%)
Speed at position 47% : 71MB/s (91%)
Speed at position 50% : 69MB/s (88%)
Speed at position 53% : 70MB/s (90%)
Speed at position 57% : 67MB/s (86%)
Speed at position 60% : 65MB/s (83%)
Speed at position 63% : 64MB/s (82%)
Speed at position 67% : 64MB/s (82%)
Speed at position 70% : 65MB/s (83%)
Speed at position 73% : 60MB/s (77%)
Speed at position 77% : 59MB/s (76%)
Speed at position 80% : 57MB/s (73%)
Speed at position 83% : 56MB/s (72%)
Speed at position 87% : 56MB/s (72%)
Speed at position 90% : 53MB/s (68%)
Speed at position 93% : 52MB/s (66%)
Speed at position 97% : 49MB/s (63%)
Speed at position 100% : 48MB/s (62%)

Benchmark Breakdown
Speed at position 0% : 15MB/s (98%)
Speed at position 3% : 15MB/s (96%)
Speed at position 6% : 15MB/s (100%)
Speed at position 10% : 15MB/s (98%)
Speed at position 13% : 15MB/s (96%)
Speed at position 16% : 15MB/s (96%)
Speed at position 20% : 15MB/s (97%)
Speed at position 23% : 15MB/s (96%)
Speed at position 26% : 14MB/s (93%)
Speed at position 30% : 14MB/s (91%)
Speed at position 33% : 14MB/s (92%)
Speed at position 36% : 13MB/s (84%)
Speed at position 40% : 14MB/s (90%)
Speed at position 43% : 13MB/s (85%)
Speed at position 46% : 13MB/s (88%)
Speed at position 50% : 12MB/s (81%)
Speed at position 53% : 13MB/s (84%)
Speed at position 56% : 12MB/s (78%)
Speed at position 60% : 12MB/s (78%)
Speed at position 63% : 12MB/s (77%)
Speed at position 66% : 12MB/s (77%)
Speed at position 70% : 11MB/s (74%)
Speed at position 73% : 11MB/s (73%)
Speed at position 76% : 11MB/s (72%)
Speed at position 80% : 11MB/s (69%)
Speed at position 83% : 11MB/s (70%)
Speed at position 86% : 10MB/s (67%)
Speed at position 90% : 10MB/s (64%)
Speed at position 93% : 10MB/s (65%)
Speed at position 96% : 9MB/s (60%)
Speed at position 100% : 9MB/s (57%)
June 28, 2007 6:06:28 AM

First partition will run faster than second, then third, etc. as the first will be closest to the edge of the disk. The actual speed difference will be negligible unless you can measure in fractions of a millisecond...

Fragmentation will affect performance far more than disk location IMO.

There isn't an actual guarantee which would run faster. Performance would really depend on how the disk was partitioned, fragmentation and a bit of luck (as every test would have at least a +/- 0.01 difference).

Though moving files between partitions really shows the performance hit as one hard drive does the reading and writing.
June 28, 2007 6:46:49 AM

Sort of what I said....

But just for the sake of an esoteric discussion, If I had a 320 GB drive that formated out to 300 GB (raw), then partioned it into 3 100 GB segments, put a fresh copy of XP SP2 Pro on the first partition and another fresh copy of XP SP2 Pro on the third partition, which partition do you think would be faster? I'm not sure that I have the tools to actually measure this, but then again this is just an esoteric discussion.
June 28, 2007 7:38:01 AM

If you're that worried about the small difference in performance don't partition your drive just buy another one. They are soooooo cheap nowdays.
June 28, 2007 9:08:21 AM

here are two examples... the relative decline in performance is nearly identical between them as you move farther inward on the hdds platters:

as such, the overall fastest portion of either hdd, is going to be in the first 70%, with a sharper decline after that... and anything before 70% is going to gradually be that much faster

my current partition layout for the 74GB ADFD, is running ubuntu 7.04 on the first 12% as a partition (so it stays at a consistant throughput from beginning to end, very responsive due to its seek times too), and vista64 running on the remaining slower capacity, since vista is currently too bloated and slow for it to matter much either way

heres an older 36GB GD raptor for comparison... its sharp dropoff is just before 65% though, but still close enough... and its peak performance plateau is nearly 25% into the platter... but, again, still fairly close to the other hdds
June 28, 2007 9:47:07 AM

If Vista is as slow and as bloated as you say (I don't have it myself) surely it would be better on the faster partition to get the speed benefits.

I take it unbuntu (don't have that either) makes less frequent disk access so receives no benefits from being on the faster partition.

Just my 2p worth.
June 28, 2007 10:10:33 AM

it does run somewhat faster (but the bloated code more counterbalances that too)... and would take (much) more capacity than ubuntus 9-10GB partition, and 'pour over' into slower territory as you installed more and more programs and updates (plus you need an antivirus app to monitor your system, which slows things down too)... i would need to run ubuntu on the slower portions of the hdd then (i have before, and thats what prompted me to want to switch them because i was originally only running vista)... it is, instead of having vista attain 85MB/s peak, its attaining from 83MB/s on down... its only 2MB/s difference, but its the difference between hosting a whole OS and all its programs on the fastest part, and only a fraction of another OS on that same part

ubuntu is very minimal in demands overall (it isnt doing much of anything in the background), so you can see the speed improvement a lot easier... vista however spends more time indexing and slowing system responsiveness down as a result (even with 2GB ram, 7800GT, X2 3800+ @ 2.4, drive indexing disabled, and most of the desktop visuals disabled too), so the slight partitioning improvement doesnt matter nearly as much... the OS is simply just bloated, i only go to use it really when i decide i want to game, where hdd speed doesnt matter nearly as much overall, (a raptor is ~8ms from beginning to end, so that doesnt change with partitioning, and is what matters most a lot of times, more than throughput)
June 28, 2007 11:12:43 AM

i only go to use it really when i decide i want to game

I can think of another OS that isn't quite so bloated and has most of the bugs sorted and has drivers that have been tweaked which would be better to game with. Unless you have all those DX10 games already.

Well if ubuntu is lean enough to fit in the 1st 9-10gb partition I suppose most of Vista would be on the speedier part of the drive in the 2nd partition. If they were the other way around it would push the ubuntu partition out into the slower 'territory'.

I would still buy another drive if performance was really a concern. I could mess about with it to my hearts content then and know I am not gonna mess up my primary OS partition with a slip of the key.
June 28, 2007 11:34:06 AM

yeah, i agree about purchasing a second hdd if you can

my main reason for ubuntu as my main OS though, is because i was simply just tired of windows, wanted something new and different to learn (which is why i was even running vista instead of XP to begin with), freedom to customize however i wanted, visually and whatever else, and the feeling that anything and everything about it is completely free (and free of viruses and registry problems and other random baggage, and more secure and all that for that matter too, which XP definetly wasnt, so you need 3rd party programs to help maintain and secure your OS)... but im still tied to windows for many commercial games. i know vista isnt ideal for that purpose, especially without a DX10 capable gpu, but im not complaining about framerates really either, theyre decent enough at 1280x1024, most details on med to high

edit: this video is fairly pointless overall, but just goes to show some of what you can do visually compared to vista, and with much lesser hardware needed too (an FX5500, socket A athlon XP, and 512MB ram is more than enough even)
June 28, 2007 2:47:07 PM

Also, I have experienced that when you get to fill more than half of the hard drive (regardless of partition or not) there is 'some' performance hit. Could anyone actually confirm this?

I would agree with the idea of just purchasing another hard drive. Cost per GB is very low now and it would take a bit less time to set-up and maintain.
June 28, 2007 2:59:21 PM

Also, I have experienced that when you get to fill more than half of the hard drive (regardless of partition or not) there is 'some' performance hit. Could anyone actually confirm this?
Read my post above and look at the Benchmarks, or look at the graphs in Choirbass's post.