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HDD config for multi-boot new build

  • Hard Drives
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  • Linux
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Last response: in Storage
April 22, 2008 12:03:49 PM

What's the best HDD configuration for a new system I'm building, for which I'll be using multiple OS's? I'll probably be using XP, Vista and a couple of Linux distros.
Would it be advisable to get two 250GB drives rather than one 500GB drive?
Is it better to have the pagefile on a different partition to the OS, or a different drive?
I'll want to access the media/data from both the Windows OS's and Linux.
How should I partition the drives?

For example:

HDD1 (250GB)
Partition 1: XP OS (NTFS)
Partition 2: Vista OS (NTFS)
Partition 3: Linux pagefiles
Partition 4: Media/Data (FAT32)

HDD2 (250GB)
Partition 1: XP pagefile, Vista pagefile (NTFS)
Partition 2: Linux OS1
Partition 2: Linux OS2
Partition 3: Media/Data (FAT32)

Would this be the way to do it, or is there a better way?

Thanks for any advice :) 

More about : hdd config multi boot build

April 23, 2008 5:02:44 PM

No one knows?
a b G Storage
April 23, 2008 5:22:02 PM

In terms of performance, you would get the same performance if you put your pagefile on the same drive as the OS, no matter the partition. The only gain from putting the pagefile on a dedicated partition on the same disk is to limit the fragmentation. Better to put them on different disks.

To me, your partition scheme seems ok, but, out of curiosity, why don't you put all OS on the same disk like that:
HDD1 (250GB)
Partition 1: XP OS (NTFS)
Partition 2: Vista OS (NTFS)
Partition 3: Linux OS1
Partition 4: Linux OS2

HDD2 (250GB)
Partition 1: XP pagefile, Vista pagefile (NTFS)
Partition 2: Linux pagefiles
Partition 3: Media/Data (FAT32) (split as much as you want)
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April 24, 2008 11:50:37 AM

Thanks for the info Zenthar, much appreciated :)  .

Would there also be an increase in performance if I installed programs and games on a different disk to the OS or would it have to be different to the pagefile, or both? In which case, is it advisable to get three hard disks? OS's, games/programs and for pagefiles?

You're right, I should probably put the OS's on the same disk.

Thanks :) 
a b G Storage
April 24, 2008 1:15:55 PM

The basic rule is: minimize the number of applications that will try to access a physical disk at any given time. Recent HDs can transfer lots of data in a short time, what slows them down is having to position the reading heads so more read requests means more "wasted time".

Basically every application will use part of the OS, so having it on a separate disk is good. For the pagefile, it will depend on how much it's being used. Same thing for applications. In most cases, the performance gain will mostly be noticeable in loading time, not runtime performance since once a software is started, most of it stays in RAM. You need to have a basic idea of what you intend to do and how the software you want to use work to really tweak the config. I think there is a noticable difference between 1 and 2 HD, but I'm sure there won't be surch a difference when going to 3.
April 24, 2008 6:08:43 PM

Thanks for the clarification.

So if I had enough RAM (4GB?) and the pagefile wasn't used much, would I be better off having the OS and games/programs on seperate disks, rather than the pagefile?

Which would be best?

HDD1: OS & games
HDD2: pagefile

HDD1: OS & pagefile
HDD2: games

HDD2: games & pagefile
a b G Storage
April 24, 2008 6:18:58 PM

I would either go with option 2 or 3:
HDD1: OS & pagefile
HDD2: games

HDD2: games & pagefile

I personally keep my pagefile on the same disk as my OS. I don't even bother to put the pagefile on another partition, I just set it to a fixed size to limit fragmentation. For linux I know you need a dedicated partition, just put it next to your OSes.
April 24, 2008 6:58:29 PM

Thanks again, you've been a big help :) 
a b G Storage
April 24, 2008 7:39:00 PM

Before I forget: enough RAM depends on what you do. For multimedia, CAD and memory hungry applications, 8GB might be best, for gaming 4GB is enough for now, for office-like work, I recommend 2GB for XP and 4GB for Vista. Note that you need 64bits OS & hardware to use > 4GB.