Question about SSD Boot vs HDD Boot vs HDD Partition for OS

In the process of purchasing the components for my first build and have just the hard drive purchase remaining. I have been intrigued by the SSD hard drives as I have read through the forums and using one as a boot drive with a mechanical HDD as the data drive. That being said with the costs and "youth" of the SSD, I was wondering if I would be better off (for now) either picking up 2 mechanical hard drives and use one as a boot and one as the data drive OR, if I do this, am I better off just partitioning one drive with the OS on the same drive.

I understand the benefit of the speed the SSD provides in the first option mentioned and that I would lose that when using two mechanical drives....I just really like the thought of separating the OS from the apps/data on a completely separate drive.

Any opinions/feedback would be appreciated - thanks!
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  1. Best answer
    If you're going with an SSD, make sure to get one big enough for you to install everything you want to run. If you run all the programs off a mechanical drive you defeat the purpose of having a SSD drive. Yes windows will boot faster, but everything else will run slower.
    So the question you need to answer is: Can I buy a big enough SSD to run everything I want or not?
    If you go with mechanical drives, get 2 and run windows on one and your programs off the other.
  2. Thanks Sturm.

    I have a lot of questions regarding SSD (some that cant be answered until I just try it) so I "might" be holding off for a bit while it matures a little more. That being said, what size hdd would be best for a Windows-only disk?

    I see a 1TB Samsung for $59 but the 80GB WD is $49. So would an 80gb be better for the OS (with the thinking that the smaller size would be more efficient for that task)? Or would I be better off going 2x Samsung 1TB and either running them as full 1TB drives or would partitioning the OS disk in smaller drives be better?
  3. Hi,
    I am considering the jump to an SSD myself, just wondering which one has the least chance of having a major failure :)

    For the OS drive, you want it on your fastest drive or fastest area of the drive (for a partition). Generally the first part of a HDD (the inside, or nearest the spindle) is the quickest, so you will want your OS there. If you only had one drive, you might give it 3 partitions in the order: OS, programs, data (like storing movies or backups).

    If you go with 2 HDDs, you could have the OS on the first partition of one drive and your programs/games on the first partition of the second drive.

    I would personally consider it a waste of a good hard drive (and the space it takes up in your computer) to have one hard drive purely for the OS. Unless maybe it's a raptor or SSD. Instead, get the latest generation hard drive (even the 4th gen 5400rpm samsung F4 runs faster than a first or second gen 7200rpm and it does it more quietly) and put your OS or programs at the start of the drive (first partition).

    My plan is to get a 128gb SSD for the OS and programs and a 2TB F4 for games (first partition) and data for the rest.
  4. Also, for OS partition size (if you do it that way), I have a 150gb partition for the OS (Vista x64). After many years, around 70gb is used. That's around 20gb for the OS and the rest is for everything that forces itself onto the system drive, like programs that don't give you a choice of where to install, save game files that automatically go into My Documents, etc. So, plan your partition size accordingly. The second partition on that drive is for applications, downloads, etc. My games (including Steam) are on a 500gb hard drive and that is nearly full, although I could delete games I no longer play. Both are 7200rpm drives.
  5. Thanks capaill. So are you saying you have 2 drives in this config:

    Drive A - 150gb partition - OS
    Drive A - 600 (assuming a 750GB drive) for apps, downloads, and data/music(?)
    Drive B - all games (500GB)?

    If I go the 2 drive route, I was thinking OS and apps on Drive A (using apps for - Office, Quicken, iTunes, etc.) and Drive B all data - music, photos, video, office documents, etc.

    While I am not a huge game player, I will be doing some gaming on this machine and was under the impression of putting the actual games themselves on Drive A (under the apps category) and saved files on Drive B. Does that work?
  6. Hi,
    yes I have the following:
    C and D are partitions of a 500gb drive, E is another 500gb drive and G is a 1TB 5400rpm drive (F is the DVD as I added G after)
    C - 150gb for OS mainly
    D - 350gb for applications and downloads
    E - games (the main use for my PC)
    G - data/music/backups

    Generally, saved games have to go in the same folder/drive as where the game is installed. An exception is when the game puts them into My Documents which is usually with the OS on the C drive. So you won't have much control over that.
  7. Best answer selected by Tdub4.
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