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Your HDD / Partition Setup?

  • NAS / RAID
  • Partition
  • Hard Drives
  • Storage
Last response: in Storage
June 25, 2009 4:20:03 PM

I am very interested in how others have organized there system's storage for there needs.

I am thinking of upgrading to a single =>1TB HDD instead of a RAID setup and wonder if there would be a major performance decrease? Oddly its cheaper then getting 2 500GB HDD and sticking them in a RAID.

My setup is:

2 x 250GB HDDs in RAID 0
Partitions: 30GB for XP Pro x64
30GB for My Documents
50GB for Programs
200GB for Games
155GB for General Storage
(ps i know it does not add up to 500GB)

1 x 80GB HDD
Partition: 80GB for Windows 7

I have not changed the setup for years now, and I know there are a few flaws ie. OS reinstallation on the 30GB and I have to pretty much wipe the 2 partitions for programs and games and reinstall. However it does safe guard saved games and mods so I can extract before reinstall. Also a few games get narky cos the My Documents has been moved to a new partition.

Whats your setup and why, would be interested to hear reasons and opinions on the subject.

More about : hdd partition setup

a b G Storage
June 26, 2009 5:01:28 AM

This is for my primary PC, the set for my HTPC is slightly different.

HDD #1 - 250GB (232GB formated)
- Partition 1 = 25GB - WinXP
- Partition 2 = 35GB - Vista 64-Bit
- Partition 3 = 172GB - For games and other misc. data

HDD #2 - 320GB
- 1 Partition - Storage for music files and temporary storage encoded videos ... to be transferred to HTPC.

HDD #2 - 320GB
- 1 Partition - For Ripping DVD and downloads


I prefer to install games on separate partitions or hard drives than on the same partition that the OS is on. Games are temporary, only programs that I use on a regular basis are installed on the OS partition.

I prefer not to use RAID 0 as the failure of one HDD will result in nearly total data loss.
a b G Storage
June 26, 2009 5:42:47 AM

My seven year old "workhorse" system (old AMD Barton core) has a 100 GB drive divided into two equal partitions. All programs are in the first partition. Backups, data, and downloads are in the second partition.

My media and gaming PC (Q9550 OC'd to 3.6 GHz.) has three drives, a WD 640 Black and two WD 1 TB Greens. The 640 is divided 200/420 GBs - program and data/backups and downloads. The two 1TB drives are separate and unpartitioned for mass storage.

And I am now building a replacement for the old system out of an old 680i motherboard and an E5200. It will have 320 GB and 500 GB drives (trickle down from the big box) in it.

I also have a 750 GB external drive used to backup everything.

It's like a house and closet space. You just can't have too much storage.
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a b G Storage
June 26, 2009 6:33:22 AM

Here's what currently in my HTPC:
HDD #1 320GB (onboard controller)
-80GB = OS+app
-The rest = Installables of apps, drivers and anything that has small files

HDD #2, 3, 4 & 5 1TB each (RAID5 on Dell PERC 5/i)
~2.6TiB (one GPT partition)= multimedia [minimum 4MB files]

HDD #3 1TB (eSATA)
-Does incremental backup of high priority files

The upcoming main rig will just need one 128GB SSD and that's it. Plus a few other laptops. Any data that needs to be stored more permanently gets transferred over GbE to the HTPC.
June 27, 2009 6:45:26 AM

Rig #1
3x Western Digital 320Gb RAID0
Partition C, Win7 and all appz 100Mb or less with the exception of MS appz.
Partition D, Games, appz over 100Mb, music, image backup, pics, software, etc;

Rig #2
2x Barracudas 320Gb RAID0
The rest identical to rig #1

June 27, 2009 12:25:58 PM

Future HTPC:
-1 partition

Server (after upgrade)
4x640GB RAID5 (~1920GB)
-1 partition
4x1TB RAID5 (3TB)
-1 partition

i don't see a huge point of partitioning (except maybe speed) since folders do a decent job anyways
a b G Storage
June 27, 2009 1:05:07 PM

i don't see a huge point of partitioning (except maybe speed) since folders do a decent job anyways

Besides keeping one separate partition for the OS+app (also pagefile so it doesn't fly all over the platter and causing messy seeks) so any OS failures doesn't affect the rest of the data I don't see any point in partitioning for data either.

It used to be that you can selectively defrag different partitions at different times, but now I just don't bother with multi-GB files as they're normally kept frag-free.
June 27, 2009 3:46:14 PM

I don't see why people keep all their files on one partition besides I don't have external drives and it would be kind of hard restoring a back up image from the same partition I'm restoring. Paging file, I have one on both partitions C and D for optimization.

Seek time hasn't been a problem since the data is splitting anyway (RAID0), what it all boils down to is personal preference. In regard to defragging I know what you're saying. After defragging directories I don't use much I exclude them (PerfectDisk).
a c 127 G Storage
June 27, 2009 4:36:29 PM

RAID0 can hardly reduce seek times, it can improve both IOps and throughput by using parallel transfer.

Also, the pagefile wouldn't be fragmented; since its created during setup when the filesystem is virtually empty. Only if you change the page file size later on a fragmented or almost full filesystem, will you get a fragmented pagefile. Even if that happens, its not a big problem since swap activity won't be highly sequential, so the disks will seek alot anyway.

Keeping a partition for the OS+Programs and seperating it from mass storage data (movies/music/data files) is a wise thing to do. If possible the OS+Programs should reside on a small but fast disk such as an SSD, and the mass storage data on 5400rpm HDDs which can store alot of information with minimal power usage and still good throughput (~100MB/s).
June 27, 2009 5:12:32 PM

@ sub mesa
You are right, I stand corrected. Wiki quote:

"While the block size can technically be as small as a byte, it is almost always a multiple of the hard disk sector size of 512 bytes. This lets each drive seek independently when randomly reading or writing data on the disk. How much the drives act independently depends on the access pattern from the file system level. For reads and writes that are larger than the stripe size, such as copying files or video playback, the disks will be seeking to the same position on each disk, so the seek time of the array will be the same as that of a single drive."
July 2, 2009 8:51:39 PM

I always make two small partitions for OSes, and then split the rest up in 3-5 chunks depending on the size of the drive.
The bigger your partition, the more your drive has to seek. I don't recommend making a partition with %90+ of your drive on it.