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Partitioning Single Drive

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August 13, 2009 12:51:29 AM

I'll be using a single WD Caviar Black 640GB hard drive and either Windows Vista 64 or Windows 7. Does partitioning using a single drive offer any advantages for gaming? If I partition should games be placed in same partition as the OS or on the next partition? How much should I allow for Vista 64 or Windows 7 alone? What about the page file?

Finally, if I only intend to partition whenever installing or reinstalling Windows, is a partitioning program necessary?
August 13, 2009 2:25:59 PM

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1.
Quote:
Does partitioning using a single drive offer any advantages for gaming?

No, there won't be any difference at all as long as the game is stored in the system drive.

2.
Quote:
If I partition should games be placed in same partition as the OS or on the next partition?

Games installed in the OS partition will definitely load faster but there shouldn't be a huge difference in the load time for such a fine drive like WD Caviar Black.
Perhaps, a merely 1 or 2 seconds faster.

Most people install games on the next partition(D drive) nowadays due to latest games occupying so much spaces, messing up the OS partition with fragmented files generated during the process of gaming and .... "LONG STORY!"

3.
Quote:
How much should I allow for Vista 64 or Windows 7 alone?

Well, it depends on how many programs you are going to install on the OS partition.

The only information I can give you is that the Windows 7 Ultimate occupies approximately 16GB alone(much lager for Vista Ultimate, but it can be shrunk by disabling the hibernation ...I forgot how big it is as Windows 7 is the one being installed on my PC now. )

4.
Quote:
What about the page file?

I let my OS decide it. However, the size of the page file shouldn't be an issue at all with WD Black, 4GB dual channel Ram and E5200(or better) CPU.

5.
Quote:
Finally, if I only intend to partition whenever installing or reinstalling Windows, is a partitioning program necessary?

No, you can partition you HDD during the installation of the OS. "Acronis True Image" is handy for backing up your partitions though.
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I suggest that you assign 30GB for the OS partition with all LEGAL programs excluding games installed on it. Of course you would want to make it bigger if it's not enough, but bear in mind to make it as small as possible, reserving at least 20% free space. e.g. Reserve 20GB for a 100GB OS partition
a c 209 $ Windows 7
a c 415 G Storage
August 13, 2009 3:06:58 PM

For performance purposes, there's no advantage to partitioning a hard drive. If you create two equal-sized partitions on the drive, then you're forcing the drive to move it's access arm across half the disk every time you access data in one partition vs. the other. That's going to hurt performance, not help it.

You're better off having just one partition and keeping the disk defragged so that all of the files are as close as possible to the outer edge of the disk where the performance is best. That will minimize arm movement and maximize performance.

There may be other reasons why you'd want to partition the drive, but performance is NOT one of them. If you DO partition a disk, you'd want to keep all of the frequently-accessed files in the same partition so as to minimize seek time.
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August 13, 2009 9:16:55 PM

Thanks.

There's a lot of information about partitioning to digest. I know files on the outer edge are read faster, but I wasn't exactly sure of all the methods to achieve that.

The last few times that I reinstalled Windows XP I created partitions not knowing for sure if I was gaining any performance advantage. A lot of conflicting info. I created C: for the OS, D: for Games, and E: for programs/apps. It was OK for organizational purposes, but some programs would not allow me to load to D: or E:. I also wasn't sure if having some of the files from a program located in C: despite being loaded in either D: or E: would adversely affect performance.

So I guess there is no real advantage for me to partition other than keeping things separated and organized?
a c 209 $ Windows 7
a c 415 G Storage
August 13, 2009 10:13:35 PM

VinnyChase said:
So I guess there is no real advantage for me to partition other than keeping things separated and organized?
I would say no. Some folks advocate creating a single partition no larger than you need and leaving the rest of the disk empty based on the idea that this forces all of the files to the outermost sectors of the disk. But in practice if you use a single partition the size of the whole disk and keep the disk defragmented so that all of the files are moved to the start of the partition, you'll get the same performance benefit but without an artificial limitation on your drive capacity.
August 13, 2009 10:29:39 PM

^

Yeah, I've read about short stroking. I probably won't use all 640GB, but figuring out how much I'd actually use would be difficult. I'd hate to run out of room and then have to start over.
August 13, 2009 10:35:40 PM

Don't bother partitioning...

If you want speed go grab another 640 black and raid 0
a b $ Windows 7
a c 167 G Storage
August 14, 2009 1:00:40 AM

I find it much more convenient to have a single large drive for OS and everything else.

I would agree with the previous posters that partitioning has no performance value. I would only use it for dual boot situations.


An OS will load first at the fastest outer part of the drive. That is where programs and data will be loaded also. Over time, as the drive gets filled, later stuff will naturally go to slower parts. No real management is necessary.

It might be good to spend a few extra $ and use a 1tb wd black drive. That will keep more stuff on faster tracks, and delay the need for a second drive.

There is generally no real world(vs. synthetic transfer rate benchmarks) performance advantage to raid of any kind.
Go to www.storagereview.com at this link: http://faq.storagereview.com/tiki-index.php?page=Single...
There are some specific applications that will benefit, but
gaming is not one of them. Even if you have an application which reads one input file sequentially, and writes
it out, you will perform about as well by putting the input on one drive, and the output on the other.
August 14, 2009 9:55:37 AM

sminlal said:
If you create two equal-sized partitions on the drive, then you're forcing the drive to move it's access arm across half the disk every time you access data in one partition vs. the other. That's going to hurt performance, not help it.


That's not true! All disks(2 disks in the WD 640GB) in a HDD will be used equally for each partition, so you will have to access both disk at all time. This is why the single platter HDD is the better.

1. The OS partition (C drive) will be automatically placed at the outermost part of a disk and therefore faster access time for C drive.

2. The smaller the size of C drive, the less time required for accessing files. Hence, the better the OS performance. It's just like finding a person.
It takes much less time for you to find a person given the information that he is in a building than in a country.

3. The larger the platter, the higher the density and performance. For example, you only need to dig a little from the surface to located the 30th GB place for a 500GB platter,
whereas, you have to go through the surface to the very bottom for a 30GB HDD.

4. The largest single platter out there is on Seagate 7200.12 500GB. However, the difference in overall performance between it and the WD 640GB is not noticeable.

Since Seagate had a lot of trouble on their 10 and 11 gen drives, most people tend to get WD Black 640GB as their OS drive recently. In addition, the warranty period for
WD Black is 5 years compared to the 3 years period offered by Seagate. However, the seagae is much quieter and consume much less power.
August 14, 2009 1:23:29 PM

Partitions can also be used to force the page file to the outer edge and files which don't require the spindle's best performance to the inner edge, with the boot volume between the two. Performance of a drive drops very quickly across its cylinders, and the throughput on inner cylinders can be surprisingly low; if you'd like to actually test your drive's performance and see a graph result, you can use H2bench (read its instructions carefully). Partitions can easily moved around and resized using gparted. Set your paging file size explicitly with the same size for minimum and maximum to preallocate the entire paging file, and turn off disk-space notifications to avoid warnings about your pagefile partition being full.
a c 209 $ Windows 7
a c 415 G Storage
August 14, 2009 9:31:08 PM

andy5174 said:
That's not true! All disks(2 disks in the WD 640GB) in a HDD will be used equally for each partition, so you will have to access both disk at all time. This is why the single platter HDD is the better.
I'm not exactly sure what you're trying to say here, but splitting a disk into two partitions WILL hurt performance if the drive has to alternately access files in the different partitions. It doesn't matter whether the drive internally has one, two, or ten platters, because a disk which is split into two equal-sized partitions is going to have one partition on the outermost cylinders (tracks) and the other partition on the innermost cylinders.

The arms which hold the magnetic read/write heads are all mounted on the same voice-coil actuator, and they all move in unison. There's no way to read data off the outer tracks and the inner tracks without moving the actuator. Some people seem to believe that the heads for each surface can move independently, but that's not true in modern drives.

August 15, 2009 11:54:59 AM

sminlal said:
I'm not exactly sure what you're trying to say here, but splitting a disk into two partitions WILL hurt performance if the drive has to alternately access files in the different partitions. It doesn't matter whether the drive internally has one, two, or ten platters, because a disk which is split into two equal-sized partitions is going to have one partition on the outermost cylinders (tracks) and the other partition on the innermost cylinders.

The arms which hold the magnetic read/write heads are all mounted on the same voice-coil actuator, and they all move in unison. There's no way to read data off the outer tracks and the inner tracks without moving the actuator. Some people seem to believe that the heads for each surface can move independently, but that's not true in modern drives.


I get what you mean now. However, I don't think there's anyone would want to to transfer files between the OS and non-OS partitions. Why would you do that?

All the peoples I know save their download files, musics, movies... etc. in non-OS partition and never have to transfer files between them and the OS partition.
August 15, 2009 11:59:54 AM

The best configuration is two partitions with C drive being as small as possible.

I would do 30GB for C drive and the rest for D drive if I were you.

Good luck!
a c 209 $ Windows 7
a c 415 G Storage
August 15, 2009 6:52:03 PM

andy5174 said:
I get what you mean now. However, I don't think there's anyone would want to to transfer files between the OS and non-OS partitions. Why would you do that?
It's not just about copying files between the partitions, it's about anything you do where files have to be accessed on both partitions. For example, let's say you're firing up Photoshop. It reads exe, dll and plug-in files off the C: drive and if you've stored your data files on the D: drive it'll be reading those as well. If you put your profile on the D: drive it will be even worse.
August 16, 2009 4:35:08 AM

sminlal said:
It's not just about copying files between the partitions, it's about anything you do where files have to be accessed on both partitions. For example, let's say you're firing up Photoshop. It reads exe, dll and plug-in files off the C: drive and if you've stored your data files on the D: drive it'll be reading those as well. If you put your profile on the D: drive it will be even worse.

How much worse? 1 or 2 ms delay? That's not noticeable!

Does it harm the drive? Perhaps yes, but most people do that without having trouble for at least 4 years and change drives after 3 years. Thus, it's not a problem at all.

Most people that don't partition their drive use SSD which is too small to make partitions. In addition, those guys with SSD save their non-program files in their second drive which according to you should be even worse, but that's not the case.

Benchmarks are synthetic, consider the real life stuff!
August 16, 2009 5:46:02 AM

i have been using computers since the late 90 's . i use partitioning not for performance but for imaging first and organising second . i install windows and set it up the way i like it and then image the c drive . most all imaging apps will not save the image to the same drive it is imaging . if you do not have your drive partitioned - acronis for example will make a hidden partition for the image to be stored on - but if you have another dive or partition to put the image on you can use it instead . i have win XP on a 10 gig partition - it takes up about 4 gigs . i can make a image of that partition in about 10 minutes and restore that image in about 5-6 minutes . it has all my settings and font sizes and tweaks just like it was when i imaged it . so if it gets corrupted or a virus it only takes 5-6 minutes to fix . that to me is a lot better than the whole reinstall process . and defrag takes about 3-4 minutes on the 10 gig partition .
a c 209 $ Windows 7
a c 415 G Storage
August 16, 2009 9:28:02 AM

andy5174 said:
How much worse? 1 or 2 ms delay? That's not noticeable!
For each I/O that alternates between partitions, you'll have to incur a few milliseconds of delay. Whether it's noticeable or not depends entirely on how many I/Os are alternating between the partitions. For example, if your virus scanner happens to be munching through files on the D: partition when you try to launch a new program off the C: partition, you can bet that there's going to be a pretty significant impact.

But the main point I wanted to make is that there's NO performance gains to be had by putting a 2nd partition on the same disk. There's only degradation - anywhere from unnoticeable (if you're lucky) to significant (if you're not).
andy5174 said:
Does it harm the drive? ...
Drives are designed for seeking - you're not going to cause any physical harm by splitting a disk into multiple partitions.
August 16, 2009 9:41:39 AM

The applications are more CPU dependent and the effect from HDD is minimal. You won't feel significant delay with a multi-core CPU. In addition, although the access speed is no doubt 1 or 2ms faster for single partition, it doesn't take even 0.5 sec for you to open a movie/music/photo even with single core CPU . Furthermore, smaller C partitions give you much faster seek time for most programs which don't contact with other partitions.
a b $ Windows 7
a b G Storage
August 16, 2009 10:13:40 AM

HDD is actually most of the limiting factor in launching most apps, and seek times are significant (it adds ~10ms per seek, and there are hundreds or thousands of seeks involved in starting up a reasonably complex program). Opening a photo wouldn't take long, but opening Photoshop (for example) might have a noticeable delay compared to a well defragged single partition setup.
August 16, 2009 10:32:08 AM

cjl said:
HDD is actually most of the limiting factor in launching most apps, and seek times are significant (it adds ~10ms per seek, and there are hundreds or thousands of seeks involved in starting up a reasonably complex program). Opening a photo wouldn't take long, but opening Photoshop (for example) might have a noticeable delay compared to a well defragged single partition setup.

Yes, the photoshop does take long in loading for my single core P4. However, it loads pretty fast after I upgrade to Pentium E6300.
Hence, IMO I would say it's more CPU dependent and there should be no noticeable different in load time if you have a dual core CPU.
a b $ Windows 7
a b G Storage
August 16, 2009 11:12:03 AM

I've tried it on my system with two different drives - one is a Caviar Black 1TB, and one is a RAID array of velociraptors. The RAID array loads it more than twice as fast, so I would say it is decently hard drive limited. On a system as old as a P4, there might be a CPU limitation as well, but on a decent modern setup, I would bet that it is more hard drive limited than anything else.
August 16, 2009 5:54:15 PM

i partition mine so that if anything goes wrong with the o/s you don't have to reformat the hole drive
plus even installing the operating system you only have to format the c: drive
heres a handy utility you can use in windows EASEUS Partition Master 4.0 Home Edition
http://download.cnet.com/Easeus-Partition-Manager-Home-...
a c 209 $ Windows 7
a c 415 G Storage
August 16, 2009 9:57:00 PM

andy5174 said:
The applications are more CPU dependent and the effect from HDD is minimal.
You can't just lump all programs together like that. Some applications bottleneck at the CPU, others bottleneck at the disk, yet others at the video card or the network. Sometimes it depends not just on a given program, but also on just what you're doing with it or what other programs you're also trying to run at the same time. You have to understand just what limits the performance of your overall system and where best to spend the effort or the money to relieve those bottlenecks.
!