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HDD partitions

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March 10, 2012 9:27:04 AM

is a partition needed when I add a 1tb internal hdd with windows 7 32bit

More about : hdd partitions

a b $ Windows 7
a b G Storage
March 10, 2012 11:21:38 AM

you will need a partition on your hard drive before you can format and use it.
March 10, 2012 12:50:08 PM

I just plan to use the HDD for storing TV Shows and I would like to have the drive to be as big as possible. How big can a partition be?
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a b G Storage
March 10, 2012 2:43:50 PM


No reason, really, to not add a partition or 2 - - you can make them ridiculously small, and don't even have to bother to enable them.

Be sure to initialize the HDD first so Windows will recognize it.



edit: I fergit . . .

A formatted 1TB HDD has around 930GB of free space.

a b $ Windows 7
a c 348 G Storage
March 10, 2012 3:43:56 PM

ANY HDD MUST have at least one Partition on it so the OS can use it. A Partition is just a defined region of the HDD unit that will be used as a single "drive" with its own letter name. Once it has been Created on the HDD, it must then be Formatted. This last step installs on that Partition the File System used to keep track of disk usage.

In Windows systems, you can have up to four Primary Partitions. (That limit is imposed by the limit of space used for the HDD unit's Partition Table that stores the details of where each valid Partition is.) IF you need more than that, you can create one Extended Partition in place of a Primary, and then within that you can create a large number of Logical Partitions. This is similar to creating Subdirectories on a drive's Root Directory. But it is rare to need more than four Partitions on one HDD.

Your Partitions can be any size you like, with the limit that the total cannot exceed the size of the HDD. What many do is create only ONE Primary Partition that uses up the entire HDD's space, the the unit becomes one large "drive". Some prefer to create more than one Partition and devote each to separate functions. For example, some create a smaller first Primary Partition to hold the OS and make it the bootable Partition, then create one or more other Primary Partitions that will be used solely for application software and data storage. But that is a choice, not a necessity. The advantage of such a system is that, if your OS is corrupted in some drastic way and can't be fixed, you can re-Format that one bootable Partition only and re-install the OS without damaging or losing the stuff in any other Partition.

With the current Windows versions, Creating and Formatting a Partition usually are combined into one operation to make it easier. This is done using Windows' built-in tool, Disk Management. For reference, check out WyomingKnott's sticky at the top of the Storage ... General Discussion forum, especially his Step 5.

In your case, since the HDD unit you are adding is for data storage etc. and NOT to boot the OS from, you would make a Primary Partition and NOT make it bootable. You can make it any size you like, up to the full HDD size. Or, you can make it less if you plan to create a second Partition (or more) in the rest of the space. It's entirely your choice. But you MUST make at least ONE Partition and Format it in order to use your HDD.

Oh, just a heads-up. You have a 1TB HDD, according the the disk maker who defines a "GB" to be 1,000,000,000 bytes. But Windwos will define "GB" to mean 1024 x 1024 x 1024 bytes, or 1,073,741,824 bytes, so it will tell you that the full disk space comes to 931.3 of these larger "GB". You have not lost any space; you've just begun using a new definition of "GB".
March 10, 2012 10:05:10 PM

hello i have a partition question if i where to get lets just say a Seagate Barracuda XT ST32000641AS 2TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive and have 3 partitions would that allow me to use raid options and if you anyone could explain or link something on which raid would be best for a gaming rig that would be great. Im new to all of this and if not sure about forum etiquette so if im posting in the wrong zone pls let me know
March 10, 2012 10:34:35 PM

Thr125 said:
hello i have a partition question if i where to get lets just say a Seagate Barracuda XT ST32000641AS 2TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive and have 3 partitions would that allow me to use raid options and if you anyone could explain or link something on which raid would be best for a gaming rig that would be great. Im new to all of this and if not sure about forum etiquette so if im posting in the wrong zone pls let me know


Putting .'s after a completed sentence helps your etiquette in writing on the forums!!!

But to answer your question, if your talking about a HARDWARE RAID solution, then no you can't use RAID without another disk. With one drive, the best you could do is create two additional volumes using the Windows Disk Management tool, and create SOFTWARE RAID volumes. This is not protection against a hard-drive malfunction, nor is it optimal for gaming as you would have twice the amount of read's and write's happening on the disk (it's reading and writing to itself for redundancy).

For gaming, install your OS on a SSD drive for optimal gaming performance. Or if you want to be an enthusiast about it, buy two of them and build a RAID-0 array for performance reasons (NO REDUNDANCY).
March 10, 2012 11:27:07 PM

I am really excited about building a gaming computer for the first time. The help that everyone has given so far is amazing thank you all. I just watched a newegg tv tutorial on SSD's and saw that there was PCI-e ssd. would it be possible to raid 0 the pci-e ssd. i starting to feel like im in way over my head
March 10, 2012 11:53:49 PM

Please strike that I have decided to RAID-0 two SSD's, and useing one HDD for added space. Can you make any suggestions to what to look for for both the ssd's and the hdd. I plan on doing a lot of gaming on this computer with maxed setting, I will be writing a story in MS word and web surfing as well.
a b $ Windows 7
a c 348 G Storage
March 11, 2012 9:25:55 PM

To echo, no, you should not attempt to create a RAID0 array from two Partitions on the same HDD unit. Doing so would put extra load on the heads and arm, and give you a DISadvantage in access times, just the opposite of what you want from RAID0. Likewise, for RAID1 you should not do it because it also would extra-load the head arm and would give you almost NO advantage from redundant storage, which is the main reason for RAID1. But I see you have decided not to do that, anyway. Good!

I don't use an SSD myself so I can't make recommendations there. On standard mechanical HDD units, a few comments.

7200 rpm units are a bit faster than 5400 rpm units; however, many 5400 rpm units are specifically designed for low power consumption if you can tolerate the access speeds. (And you may be willing to do that on a large-volume unit when you already are using SSD's in RAID0 for fast performance on gaming apps.)

Pay some attention to the Cache size on the HDD. 8 MB is too small and rarely found these days, 16 MB is not bad, 32 MB is certainly a bit faster, and 64 MB only slightly faster yet. You may find larger caches built into the 5400 rpm units as a way of slightly offsetting the slower seek times of those disks, but realize that a 7200 rpm HDD with 32 MB cache will out-perform a 5400 rpm unit with 64 MB cache.

No mechanical (rotating disk) HDD can fill the communications channel of the SATA II (more properly called SATA 3 Gb/s) system, let alone the newer SATA 6Gb/s. So don;t pay extra for the "faster" newer units just for that feature. However, you may well find that almost all new HDD units are now SATA 6Gb/s.

Check out price as $ per TB. for example, I see one place where Seagate 1TB units are $127, 1.5 TB at $130, and 2.0 TB at $140. Be aware that using an HDD over 2 TB requires a slightly different way of Partitioning and Formatting under Windows, but it cerainly can be done. However, also look for reviews and user comments on drives of various sizes, and from different makers. Some feel certain units are more reliable, and others less so.

Finally, check what each HDD manufacturer says about the suitability of their various models for use in RAID arrays IF you plan to do that. I realize right now you indend to make a RAID0 array from two SSD's and use a mechanical HDD as a stand-alone unit (NOT in a RAID array). But if you are considering converting that HDD into a RAID system later, this may be something to think about now.
March 12, 2012 4:07:33 AM

I didn't think to use a 5400 RPM HDD until now, and to be honest I'm not sure how this all works. I try and teach myself but I'm a rock lol. Could you explain if I should put my OS on the SSDs or the HDD and why? Im really confused if anyone could explain this or has a link that would be great. thank you for the info Paperdoc.
a b G Storage
March 12, 2012 1:23:52 PM


I just mounted a 2TB WD Green - - the minimum partition size allowable was 8MB.

I created 2 8MB partitions along side a 1.86TB partition. The two small 8MB partitions were not labeled, meaning they are 'blind' to the OS.

a b $ Windows 7
a c 348 G Storage
March 13, 2012 3:41:02 AM

Thr125, you install on an SSD the stuff you need to get at really fast, because these units are MUCH faster than mechanical hard drives. The downside, of course, is that SSD's are VERY expensive per GB, and cannot be bought with huge GB capacity. The more common things installed on SSD's today are the OS and some game programs. Other application software, and user-generated data files, usually are placed on the mechanical HDD because using these items usually is more limited by the user's speed, and not by the computer hardware. Even things like multimedia files for music and movies don't need anything faster than a standard HDD, because the data transfer rate required to render these files is modest.

A traditional mechanical hard drive contains a platter (usually glass) coated on both sides with magnetic material and mounted on a spinning shaft. Then there are heads (usually two, one for each platter side) mounted on arms and attached to a different rotating shaft that can position the arms and heads over the platter surface at any specified radial position. In many HDD's, there are more than one platter on the central shaft, and hence more than one pair of heads and arms on the head shaft.

The platters rotate all the time when the HDD is powered on. (Well, some systems stop the rotation if the unit has not been used for a while, and then re-start when called for.) The rotation speed is specified in rpm. The data are written in concentric circular tracks on each platter surface. Within one track, the data area is further subdivided logically into Sectors, with one Sector holding 512 bytes of user data plus some administrative data. In systems with more than one magnetic surface (that is, all systems now), the group of tracks on the several surfaces that are all located at the same radial position of the heads is called a "cylinder", because you can view it as a collection of circles stacked above each other.

So what happens when you want to read from a particular position on the drive? That is, from a particular platter surface, track, and sector? The OS, through the Disk controller, specifies which location it wants. The HDD's own on-board microprocessor system translates that into which Cylinder, Head and Sector is required. Then it has to move the head arm rotation shaft to the correct position to get to the right cylinder (radial position) and wait a moment for the heads to stabilize there. Then it can turn on the correct head and read into its own cache RAM probably ALL of the sectors on that track. In the background it will do some checks on the signal quality and the data read out, to be sure the data in the cache are valid. Then it will go to the correct part of the cache and read off the data in the sector required, and pass it back to the OS through the HDD controller.

In all of this, there are two parts that take most of the time. The first is positioning the head arms correctly, and waiting for that to stabilize. You will see HDD specs about track-to-track seek time and some related specs. The second is waiting for the particular sector you want to rotate around to where the stationary head is. On average, this is half the time for one complete revolution of the platter stack, but it could be anything from 1/200th of a rotation to a full rotation. So platter rotation speed is what determines this parameter. Add in a few shorter processes, and you get what is shown in HDD specs as the Average Access Time, the average time it takes to actually get the data the OS requested.

In an SSD, there are no moving parts. The Average Access Time is determined by the speed of switching and settling electronic circuits that drive the RAM cells in the SSD, and that is MUCH faster than any rotating machine can ever be. That is why they are so fast.
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