Is there any performance advantage to running 2 hard drives in a non-RAID setup; the idea being running the OS from one and games from the other?
If so, how does this compare to running them in RAID0 (performance-wise)?
Here's my scenario: I have a Hitachi 750Gb, 7200 rpm, SATA 3.0Gbps, 32Mb cache. I just purchased a WD Caviar Blue 320Gb drive with similar specs - only with a 16Mb cache - to beta test Windows 7. Well, I've messed around with Windows 7 enough now to realize that for all intents and purposes (at least to me), it is basically "Vista 2010"; as a result I will soon have an empty 320 Gb drive. Since I bought the drive from Best Buy, I do have the option to return the drive. So basically I have 3 options here:
1) Return the drive and continue to use only the one HDD
2) Keep the 320 and use it as a 2nd drive - non-RAID --- OS on the 750 and game program files on the 320
3) Return the drive, order a WD Caviar Black 750Gb ($80 from the Egg) with nearly identical specs as my Hitachi, and setup a RAID0
there is no performance advantage in running two hdds in non-raid setup. however, it's usually better to run a separate hdd as your boot drive, and another (usually larger) hdd for your data because, in a RAID0 setup there is no redundancy. So if one drive craps out, ALL your data will be lost.
So as for your questions:
1) keep the hdd
2) there's no point in separating your OS, program and game files, those are normally kept on the boot drive, and data (files,mp3s, movies, etc) are kept on the data drive. this way, if you need to reformat for some reason, you're data files will remain untouched. i suggest using your 320GB as your boot, and the 750gb as your data.
3) if you were going to run a RAID0 configuration, it's much better to get IDENTICAL drives, not just similar specs, but same manufacturer, capacity, model number, etc. This will help optimize performance and avoid issues with speed differences,etc
I've had a game partition on a separate HD for years (I also photo/video edit = 2nd HD is a must and a 3rd HD makes it even better).
I placed the games on the first partition (outer area of the disc = better speed). I noticed the games loaded a lot faster and the whole PC is much more responsive when clicking out of the game and into FireFox to look up a walkthrough / tips / etc.
On another note, I wouldn't pay over $40-45 for a 320gb nowdays.
Thanks guys, for your help. The idea of using the larger drive as a dedicated data drive makes a lot of sense and I believe will be a perfect fit for me. I think I will return the 320gb and buy a better performing HD for the boot drive. Either way, I'm going to do what I've done with every other pc item I've bought from BestBuy, and that is to return it and buy a replacement for half the price on newegg. Maybe I'll get a VelociRaptor, but I'll at least get a caviar black.