Best IDE hard drive connection for best performance

Hello. First posting.
Question is about getting the best hard drive performance using only a standard (read "old") motherboard having two IDE Ultra ATA100 motherboard connectors.
Will be using two (2) identical IDE Ultra ATA100, with 8mb ram, 7200 rpm. Drive 1 partitioned with small first-partition for OS. Drive 2 partitioned with small first partition only for page file.
Is it better to use (A) a master/slave drive arrangement for these two drives, with one cable and only one of the motherboard IDE connectors, -or- (B) each drive set as master, one drive on one IDE motherboard connector, the other drive also set to master and singly connected to motherboard IDE connector. If (B), would use a separate IDE controller card (PCI) for CD drive used to load s/w. I might use the additional IDE controller card for a 3rd B-I-G hard drive for music and photo storage.

I know that separate drives for OS and pagefile is best, but never heard which connection philosophy is best. Cannot go to RAID card - too expensive in this case.
Thanks in advance -
Jack Woodward
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  1. Option (B) is better, so each HDD has all of its IDE channel available at all times. Putting additional optical or other drive(s) on a PCI card enhances this, although I do NOT know whether that consumes enough mobo and CPU resources to offset the advantage of singly-dedicated IDE channels. I would expect, however, that PCU and PCI resources are much faster than ATA100 data transfer speeds, so your plan should be optimal.

    I always opt to put the pagefile on the non-boot drive. The boot drive gets used frequently for OS functions, and also often is the site for application software and their housekeeping files. So placing the pagefile on a different IDE channel reduces the frequency of incidents of waiting for one application to finish its task before another can proceed.
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