Leftover drives in a new build

I'm putting together a new budget gaming computer and want to utilize the drives from my old PC. I have a 20G IDE and a 320G SATA drive, and am wondering whether it would be more beneficial to use both or just the SATA.

I assume that I could use the 20G drive for just the OS. I really don't know a lot about doing that, but have heard it recommended often.

Or should I just drop the IDE and partition the SATA for the OS? In either case, how many partitions should I set up? I've heard people say to have a partition for OS, games, and data; how much should I allot to each, and how do I specify what goes where? For instance, does a game install in one partition while the save files go into another? Do I keep a media player in one and songs in the other?

Clearly I'm a little fuzzy on the logistics of partitions, but I definitely want to do this right. Thanks for any input!
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  1. Without knowing the specs (etc.)...
    Using a (probably) slow old 20 Gig HD for your OS isn't a good idea when a (probably) far higher spec modern drive would only cost a few bucks.

    As to the other questions about partitioning, your best answer would be to search through this forum (and others), there are a number of threads on the subject, following the thread will tell you a lot more than just being given one persons opinion.
  2. WEll. Common sense usually tell people to give an OS about 30 gigs (that's with other software installed.

    But, If you just partition one drive - there won't be any performance gains. Quite the contrary. Imagine: You have the OS on C:, your downloads and games on D:, which is still on the same physical drive. Add running applications that frequently access the harddrive (emule, utorrent, dc++ etc.) and you can see where it goes - great loss of speed.
  3. So should I put everything on C:? Or OS on C: and all else on D:?
  4. Partitioning just one drive is fine. More than fine.

    If you put all your stuff on one hdd, it will be distributed accross the whole thing no matter if you partition or not (if you use the space at all).

    Partitioning has the benefit of clearly defined areas. You do C: for Windows, D: for your "program files" directory, and "E:" for your data (or whatever order you like). Maybe even "F:" for scratch/temporary stuff.

    Then, you know that:

    - You can always reformat C: if things go pear-shaped, or say if you want to install Vista over XP or whatever. No data lost (it's on E:), but settings are gone probably (still better than losing anything). Note, I'm no fan of reformatting, to fix config errors, I don't rember doing it anytime except for installing new disks. :)
    - You can regularly defragment just D:. Defragmenting all of it is just waste. But D: should only get modified when you install new software (no data on it), so defragmenting it is fine. Running programs should be a tiny bit faster for it.
    - You can easily backup E: often, you know that you will get all critical data: files that you don't have on some installation medium or can simply download again.

    Which sizes? Hard to tell. I use these:

    - C: 9.7 GB (Windows XP, running since 02/2006, 2.33 GB free)
    - D: programs and data (I contradict myself here, at least there are only these two top level directories). 195 GB with 46.5 free.
    - E: temporary stuff, 9.7 GB, 5 GB free. Takes downloads, browser temp dir etc.

    You get the picture. At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter anyway.
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