Alright, so im about to start building my new computer and have a few questions about my hard drive setup. I originally planned on buying a 500gig HD, but i heard that having multiple HD's were better. Someone mentioned the idea of using the C: drive only for the OS and applications while using the D: drive for documents ect. I also heard that keeping the C: drive less cluttered with documents will slow the computer down.
So my questions are :
1. Is it faster to run one big HD or 2 smaller ones
2. Does using the C: drive for applications only, prevent the computer from slowing
Having one disk for the OS and one for the data, is nice for two reasons:
1) It simplifies management of your files and system maintenance, because if you have to reinstall the OS and your applications you can do so without affecting any of your data files. And if your data disk dies, you can replace it and restore without having to reinstall the OS.
2) It can improve performance by spreading the I/O load between two disks instead of one. The OS disk is still going to be a bottleneck, but if you move highly active files like the pagefile to the other disk then this will help with performance.
RAID 0 would be an even better performer, but it tends to be a little finnicky to set up and you'll loose ALL your data if either disk fails.
If you're concerned about the best performance, buy a drive that's as large as you can afford and partition it to use only as much room as you need. For example, buy a 1TB drive for the OS and partition it to 100GB. This keeps all the data at the outer edge of the disk where performance is best and it prevents having to move the head very far to access data. Putting your documents on a second disk helps to minimize the space requirements for the OS disk and eke out a little better performance this way.
I like my OS to be on its own "disk" for the simple reason that I can format it, and not lose my data files. If my OS is on C, and my data is on D, then I can format C whenever I want and not have to backup my D drive before I do. If you buy a single drive and partition it as one drive, then if you have to format and reinstall your OS there goes all your data.
Buying one disk and partitioning it will save your data, but won't speed up your system. You should see a SLIGHT performance boost if your OS in on one physical drive and your swap file is on another PHYSICAL drive. Being able to run 4GBs+ of ram renders this a moot point for the most part. Some might need to do this, but they would see bigger gains moving to a SSD drive.
As for which you should do, I'd have to know what your doing. Without knowing what you want to use the computer for I can't say what you should buy. You need different systems depending on whether your gaming, or recording 1080P content.