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Partitioning 1TB Caviar Black for best performance Win 7

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April 7, 2012 12:09:42 AM

Hi there. I am relatively new to partitioning HDDs for anything more than the convenience of being able to wipe out windows without loosing the rest of my files. I am building a new system here for gaming and will be using a WD Caviar Black 1TB HDD. I am curious about partition setup for optimal performance. I will be using the computer for gaming mostly.

So I understand the basic idea that the earlier partitions (outer edge) are the faster on a HDD. But how about optimal set up with regards to sizes and what should be placed in each partition? Should games be installed on the same partition as the OS? With a system running 16GB RAM is there any advantage to having a separate partition for the swap file and if so what size is recommended and should it be before or after the OS? Also when you create partitions are they created across multiple platters and then work their way inward or each platter one at a time?

Thank you in advance for your time and input :) 
a c 265 G Storage
April 7, 2012 12:35:22 AM

Instead of making a gaming system with 16Gb ram I will suggest 8Gb and spending the savings towards an SSD for the OS and couple of apps.
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April 7, 2012 1:25:32 AM

Thanks, I did think about getting an SSD and going with 8GB RAM. I decided that I would go with 16GB since I do some CAD work and got a killer deal on a Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1600 16GB kit but the rig is primarily for gaming. The parts are on their way so still looking for advice on the partitioning of the drive. A SSD maybe in the future but not for now.
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a c 265 G Storage
April 7, 2012 1:32:25 AM

Cad can use it for sure!
I would then go ahead and make around 100GB partition for the OS (including swap file) and allocate the rest for storage!
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a b G Storage
April 7, 2012 6:04:46 PM

Use the beginning of the disk as a a seperate partition as rolli said, since Win7 uses an offset of 1024 your partition should already be aligned to your blocks on disk.
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a c 179 G Storage
April 7, 2012 7:01:36 PM

Keep it simple; don't partition.

The OS is what will be loaded first, and it will naturally go to the fastest part.

Just fill up the rest with games and whatever.

There is not enough benefit to going through hoops with micromanagement.

If you think you might get a SSD for the OS,later, then allocate a large partition for your games first; that is where the fastest level loads will come from.
But, this will be countered by the poorer performance of the os partition while you wait for the SSD.

With 8 or 16gb, you will do very little pageing, so it does not matter where or what size the page file is.

If you set the sleep mode to s3 and disable hibernation, sleep will keep stuff in ram, ready for instant reuse. Wake up will be 1-2 seconds.

Really, though, it is much better to initially load your os on a ssd to begin with. Even a small one will do.
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a b G Storage
April 7, 2012 8:23:23 PM

If you have ever used a PC that is running an SSD for the OS, well, let me say this to you, you want to do this. It makes an amazing difference. Before you do anything else, I strongly suggest, if you can work it into your budget somehow, get an SSD. See my build, I have built many, many personal PC's for myself over the past 17 years or so, and there are 2 builds which stand out heads and tails above everything else I ever built. A Celeron 300A running at 450mhz on an Abit BH6, (which I still have and still runs perfectly with Windows 98 installed!) and this one in my signature. I can honestly say, the SSD has a LOT to do with the my fondness of my current build.
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a c 353 G Storage
April 7, 2012 10:08:43 PM

Partition 1: OS + Progams and games, 200 Gigs
Partition 2: your doc/files/data from spreed sheets, word/office program, basicly put all small files here. (Maybe 200 -> 400 gigs. I stick all my downloads here.
Partition 3 optional: Video files, photos, basically for files that have a typical size of 10 megs or grater. Change the default cluster size fro 4 K to 16K or larger. Not a typical .VOB file is 1 gig and occupies 250 Thousand clusters using the 4 k. A typical blu-ray, multiply that by 10 -> 35 x.

Rational:
Partition 1. Outer (faster area) of disk. But also using windows 7 to create a back up image need only be done occasionally, ie as new programs are added. This can be anywheres from 1 month to 6 month interval.
.. Partition 2. back up should be down more frequently. This data if lost is LOST, unlike programs. Every thing in one place = easy to backup.
.. Partition three is more optional and only if you play around with LARGE file structures. I often copy a dvd move (or blu-ray) then shrink it so that they will play on an iPad, or as I did a while back - stuck some 24 movies on a 64 gig thumbdrive and keep it with my laptop.

ALSO this method makes "wiping" the OS from the disk when converting to an SSD, Just wipe the OS partition and NOT lose all your data.
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