Without knowing your storage needs, if Option 1 makes sense, then you could put the old IDE HDD in an enclosure to use for your backups. Newegg has these available, but you could see what is available at your favorite vendor.
I like the idea of using the old drive for backup, assuming the sizes work out. Backups can be run in the background while you're doing other work, so the lower performance of the older drive won't be as much of a handicap. And if you put it into an external enclosure then you've eliminated the problems of finding a system that has an IDE connector for it.
Yup, converting the old IDE drive to a backup device is a good idea. You just buy an enclosure and install the drive inside - easy job. Just a couple of notes on how to choose.
An enclosure has an interface - a means of connecting - to the computer. The common ones are USB2, eSATA, or Firewire 400 (aka IEEE 1394a). Of these, USB2 is the slowest data transfer rate, but is SO common you are virtually guaranteed you can connect to any machine. If you want eSATA or Firewire, make SURE you have such a port on your new machine before buying the enclosure. By the way, it is very common to find enclosures with two of these three (or all three) connections possible. You just can only use one at a time, so don't try to use two connection systems simultaneously. Check to be sure whether the enclosure comes with the connecting data cable you will need, or whether you should buy one of those, too.
An enclosure has a second DIFFERENT interface inside it - how it connects to the HDD unit itself. In your case you MUST buy an enclosure that will accept an IDE HDD unit inside so you can use your old HDD.
Virtually all enclosures you find for standard desktop 3½" HDD's will have their own power supply - they do NOT try to get all their power from the USB port on the computer because there's not enough available that way. It may be internal in the enclosure with a simple power cord, or it may be an external small box or a "wall wart".
As an example, my enclosure from Azio has a SATA internal interface for the HDD I put into it, both USB2 and eSATA connection systems externally (I use the eSATA), and a little "wall wart" device for its power supply. Installing the 500 GB SATA drive took maybe 10 minutes using a small Philips screwdriver.
Go for enclosure the old 320 Gb Eide drive. I assume the others HDD, 1Tb and 500Gb are SATA, no? And with fast data transfer rates. If you keep your old 320 HD within the CPU, even for backup only, you´ll certainly end with a slower global performance of Win7. With an enclosure HD, Firewired or ESATAed to the CPU, you avoid this and the waste of energy of an extra HD always running. Or, if price of an enclosure is to high, I´ll go for a brand new SATA, reasonably cheap & faster, instead of relying on an old drive, specially for backup purpose.
I disagree with the enclosure, why storing them internally saves space, power, and helps extend the life of the drive due to better cooling than the enclosure. I often build rigs that have 3 or more drives hell I even keep a vintage 50 pin scsi in occasional use. IDE drives do last so long there isn't a power spike on the 5v or 12v rails. Use the sata for OS and programs while the older drives can be used for data and backup. IDE drives are typically limited to 100mbps burst while 40-75mbps is often achieved even on drives that are now 8-10 years old. Place your main drive near to any cooling fan or in an area that has good airflow in the 3.5 bay cage to reduce heat. Modded my 640GB blue for better temps and to reduce lag when multy boxing wow (heavy page file usage for textures).
So I guess I would have space for the 320GB in the case.
I feel like my main OS/Programs/App/Games drive should be less than 500GB - seems like I could potentially underutilize a lot of space. I'm a web applications developer and UI designer so I'm stocked up on Adobe products and the such.
gearoid: Go for enclosure the old 320 Gb Eide drive. I assume the others HDD, 1Tb and 500Gb are SATA, no? And with fast data transfer rates. If you keep your old 320 HD within the CPU, even for backup only, you´ll certainly end with a slower global performance of Win7. With an enclosure HD, Firewired or ESATAed to the CPU, you avoid this and the waste of energy of an extra HD always running. Or, if price of an enclosure is to high, I´ll go for a brand new SATA, reasonably cheap & faster, instead of relying on an old drive, specially for backup purpose.
Yes, the other drives will be SATA. I thought about that too, the EIDE is about 2 1/2 years old now. Was thinking of maybe using the 320GB as the old system's main drive and running Ubuntu or Fedora.
Maybe I'll do the second option;
New, 320-500GB for Win7/Programs/Games
New, 1 TB - Data for main system
New, 1 TB - Backup for the rest of my computers (maybe external)
Old, 320GB EIDE as main drive in old system.
And if need be I can drop in another 1TB in the new system. I hate over-analyzing this stuff. I just want efficiency and organization.
I appreciate all the advice and help - you guys rock!
Don't be afraid to buy a disk larger than you need for the OS. A 1TB drive is not all that much more expensive than a 320GB one, it will have a longer useful lifespan (i.e., before 320GB is considered to be "too small"), and you can get better performance by short-stroking it. For example, if you create a single 320GB partition on a 1TB drive, in the worst case the heads will only have to move less than 1/3 the distance that they'd move on a 320GB drive. Don't expect miracles in terms of performance, but there is a slight benefit.
You are the only one who knows how you will use your system.
-- Larger drives can be partitioned into separate primary drives from the partition holding the OS to prevent data loss if the OS fails.
-- Backup drives are best left unattached from the main system except when backing up or restoring to avoid data loss in a catastrophic system failure.
-- And if you are not happy with the configuration you choose, you can re-configure it later!
So I'm about to pull the trigger on my build, but wanted to run this scenario passed people. If I partition a 1TB HDD for Win7 and the rest being for my programs and data, would I lose data if the OS failed? Is there any protection for my data if I partition?
I might end up getting a WD external 1TB anyway and keep the 320GB as a spare or putting it in my new system.
In my head, I should have a HDD for the OS, a HDD for Programs/Apps, and a HDD for data, but that seems like overkill.
If the physical drive and MFT is intact then the other partition would be unaffected. If there were to be a physical failure then what is ever on the drive will likely be lost depending on the type of failure. Do physical back ups on a second physical drive or on DVD/Blue Ray is often a reliable means of data back up. Typical dvds will last a few decades (burned) before decaying past the point of use.