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2 hard drives - what goes on which?

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June 6, 2009 2:45:51 PM

Hello - I'm going to be buying a new PC soon. From what I've read, it seems that 2 drives are generally preferable to one partitioned drive.

I'm looking at 2 x WD Velociraptor 150Gb, 10,000rpm SATA drives

My main uses are Video editing and Photo editing (and the odd game every now and then)

My questions are:

1) Should I install programs like photoshop, itunes, etc on a) the same drive as the OS, or b) the second drive along with my data, music, etc

2) I could save some money by opting for a 7200rpm drive instead of one of the 10,000rpm drives. I don't mind paying up for 2 x 10,000rpm drives if the performance is a lot better, but would there be noticeable difference in performance? If I could get away with one of each, should the OS be on the faster drive?

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a b G Storage
June 7, 2009 11:10:12 AM

Depending on how large your video editing files are (most of mine reach 10GB or over), it's possible you could see sizable performance benefit with 2xVelociRaptor in RAID 0.
If you went with just one SSD instead e.g. Intel X25-M, then performance increase over any HDD(s) setup under typical condition and not just only video editing will increase noticeably. Although $/GB it's still currently relatively expensive, but when compared to VelociRaptor the $/performance is well worth it.
Any data that's meant for storage should be kept at least in RAID redundancy (RAID1, 10, 0+1, 5 or 6) then backed up depending on importance of the data in question

If you're limited by budget, cut some cost from high-end parts, use mild overclocking to fill that gap then re-invest that $ into data storage.


As a hobby I do lots of video editing (HDV material) and DSLR processing myself during spare time as well. I keep my data on a HTPC/NAS built with four 1TB drives in RAID5 on a Dell PERC 5/i card then backed up by an external HDD(only RAW photos). The main PC doing the editing work consists of one 320GB drive for the time being until I can purchase a SSD to replace it and give the 320GB to the HTPC/NAS as an OS+app drive.
June 7, 2009 12:00:33 PM

Thank you very much Wuzy. I hadn't thought of SSD before, but I did have a look at it after I read your reply. It looks a bit too expensive for my needs to be honest. The video editing I'm talking about is really just home moves, and the need for speed comes out of impatience more than anything else.

I think I'll stick to a 2 x HDD set up, but I'd appreciate any advice you could give whether I should have OS + apps together on the C:D rive; with pictures, mp3s, videos from the camcorder, and other data on the d:D rive. Or is it better to have apps and the data used in those apps together on the d:D rive, and give c:D rive all over to the OS?

I was thinking apps on one drive with the OS, and the files on another drive would be fastest, as both drives would be working separately, rather than one drive having to deal with both the app and the data at once.

Again, thank you very much for your reply.
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June 7, 2009 12:09:49 PM

those smiley faces should read c drive and d drive
a b G Storage
June 7, 2009 1:46:57 PM

You could also take a look at Indilinx controller based SSD such as OCZ Vertex which is much cheaper than X25-M in terms of $/GB, performs almost the same and 60GB is all you need for the time being with Vista+3major apps+2games. Add another down the road (for RAID 0 or JBOD) when you need even more capacity which by the time SSD would've been even cheaper. Otherwise 120GB OCZ Vertex is $355 the last time I checked. Reliability wise SSD is also many times better than HDD on average so the chance of data loss in RAID 0 is much less.

For storage I would still recommend 1TB(or bigger) drives and since they're so cheap in $/GB, personal data is so valuable, it makes sense to run some form of RAID redundancy as first line of defense when there's large amount of data. e.g. my RAW files alone are >160GB

You don't need fast and expensive storage like VelociRaptor for storage. For a scratch a disk it would make sense, but that job can be easily handled by SSD as it's not heavily affected by multiple read/writes like HDDs are.

[EDITED]Just to add a bit more detail. The speed difference under timed stopwatch between typical 7200RPM to VelociRaptor isn't as great as between VelociRaptor vs. SSD under typical usage. What makes SSD so potent lies in its random small chunks of read&writes commonly used by Windows and most apps, not the marketed sustained read&write speed which is only useful in something like video editing (which a SSD is still faster than VelociRaptor). No matter how fast the heads of a HDD move when it comes to multiple read/writes e.g. virus scan + opening Photoshop it'll never match the speed of SSD which is why in such circumstances it's actually several times faster.
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