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New system setup/partition questions

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October 16, 2009 3:48:19 PM

I'm going to start putting my gaming rig together this weekend. I ended up getting (2) 1TB WD Blacks, and I'm installing Windows 7. Here's my questions:
- I used to always worry about fragging the drive installing and removing games all the time. Is that really a concern anymore?
- Mainly, I'm trying to figure out how to partition the drives for the best performance. Should I have a partition for the OS only? On for the swap file? If someone could give me some sizes, and what goes on them I'd really appreciate it.
- I don't know much about Raid setups. With these drives, should I read up and learn, or just hook them up normally
- Also, I'd like to Ghost the clean install when I'm done. Can I do that on DVD's or would it be better to just make a partition to put that image on?


Thanks for any help guys.
October 18, 2009 4:22:09 PM

I also have the exact same question so rather than starting a new thread i will be monitoring this one to find some answers i will see if i can find some reading material but this is something i would like the advise of a real human on. I have 2 1 tb wd blacks and i am going to put them in a raid 0 config and doant know if partioning is even required i whats the benifit of it why partition the os why not just make it all one big 2 tb partition?
a c 329 G Storage
October 19, 2009 3:44:37 PM

Fragmentation can happen on any drive, and installing / removing software is a good way to create it. But it can be solved by running a de-fragmentation utility from time to time. Separate Partitions won't change any of that.

If you don't understand RAID, don't do it! Read up first, then decide. Think carefully about a very popular story among gamers - that RAID0 is the fastest possible way to set up drives. That may still be true, but the magnitude of the effect may not be much. Many of today's drives (like your WD blacks) are so fast that putting them into a RAID0 makes little difference. Look around carefully at just how much real (MEASURED) benefit you get, not what the guessers say based on spec sheets.

On the other hand, the one KNOWN problem of RAID0 is that it doubles our chances of losing everything when one drive fails. So the need for regular backups is at least twice as important. If you don't build that into your plans (and backup / restore to WHAT?), you can expect trouble.

Windows by default places its Swap File on the C: drive with everything else. Relocating it to another drive can reduce waits for drive access when an application competes with a Swap File use, but ONLY if the Swap File is on a DIFFERENT physical drive unit! Putting the Swap File on a different Partition on the same physical units still means the heads have to swing over on a seek mission, use the files, then swing back to your other app's needs, etc. - worse then the C: drive default location! So don't create a special Partition for the Swap File on the same unit that holds your C: drive (Partition). And of course, if you put both your HDD's into one RAID0 array, don't bother trying to give your Swap file its own Partition on that ONE drive (that's what a RAID0 array is!).

Many people advise creating a separate Partition for the C: drive that contains the OS and not too much else. However, the "else" seems to grow over time, so make it at least twice as big as Windows says it will need for the OS, maybe more. If you ever find it too small, you have a BIG problem. Windows has ways to manipulate and expand Partitions, but NOT for the Boot Partition. Windows hates to play with that and you have to buy third-party software which WILL do the job well - it just costs. If you go this route, then you also have to be sure you set it all up so that most user files are NOT on the C: drive (for example, My Documents, My Pictures. etc.), and you have to install all your application software and games elsewhere, too. Most of that is no problem but there are still a few things that insist on stuffing their files into the C: drive. The advantage of a separate OS Partition is supposed to be that, if it gets corrupted by whatever means, you can Format that Partition clean and re-install the OS without affecting all your other stuff. I have no experience there, so I'm not sure how easily this is done so that all your apps (games) are re-recognized.
!