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Hard Drive Partitioning Advice


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#16
Digerati

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will my machine run a bit faster with my OS installed on the 1TB drive?

You need to remember that unless the 160Gb drive is incredibly slow (old), or crowded, or your typical computing tasks are VERY disk intensive (not likely), overall computer performance is not likely to be affected (improved) by using the 1Tb drive.

Ideally, your computer is populated with lots of RAM - at least 4Gb, though 8Gb (with 64-bit Win7) is the new "sweetspot". With lots of RAM, especially after a few days of use (and prefetch and superfetch have learned your computing habits), all the files you need will be pulled into RAM before you need them and the sssllloooowwww hard drive will be used less and less, and rarely urgently.

If this were a file server used by many users, drive performance becomes a big issue. But for normal Windows users on a home machine, not so much. At worst, your boot times may be a bit slower, but not your running times.

By chance, do you know the buffer size of the two drives? Hopefully, the 160Gb drive has at least 8Mb buffer, preferably 16Mb or more.
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#17
WishBone

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I installed XP on both drives. The 1TB drive booted up about 10 seconds faster than my old 160GB drive. I am now using my 1TB Caviar Black HDD. I'll be turning my old 160GB HDD into an external drive.
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#18
Digerati

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The 1TB drive booted up about 10 seconds faster than my old 160GB drive

A couple things to that comment. (1) The installation on the 1Tb drive was new and did not likely have all the programs loaded at boot that your long-standing 160Gb drive had, and that will greatly affect boot times. (2) 10 seconds is not really significant as that can vary from boot to boot. For example, every time you run a disk cleanup program, several files cannot be deleted during the clean up process, but are marked for deletion during the next boot. Index.dat files are a good example of those. How prefetch and superfetch are configured affects boot times too. And finally, (3), boot times are not really an indicator of performance once the computer is fully booted. I have seen many computers that take 3, 4 or even 5 minutes to fully boot, load up and set security and other programs, etc. then run great after that.

So while 10 seconds faster is good, the main thing here is you have a new, HUGE drive that should last you for many years to come.
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#19
WishBone

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I did a clean install of XP on both of them so no other software slows them down. However the 1TB drive had a partition of 10/90. It still booted up faster than my 160GB drive though.
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#20
Digerati

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That's good. I am sure the 1Tb drive is a bit faster and likely has a bigger buffer too. But again, Windows will attempt to put all it needs (or all it thinks you need - based on prefetch and superfetch information) in much faster RAM. So again, once a program (including Windows itself) loads into RAM, disk performance becomes less and less important. Sure, stuff like malware scans will be faster, but then that is typically done in the background anyway.

The main thing here is now you have lots of disk space, or more importantly, lots of free space. And that alone can result in a significant performance advantage. :)

Have you seen if your Performance Index Score improved?
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#21
iammykyl

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However the 1TB drive had a partition of 10/90.

It still booted up faster than my 160GB drive though.


Yes it would boot faster because, You have restricted the movement of the drive heads to the outermost tracks on the platters where the density of sectors is aprox 3 times greater than the 160GB drive.
http://www.symantec....g-hang-iops#a02

What are you going to do with the 900GB partition?
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#22
Digerati

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However the 1TB drive had a partition of 10/90.

What are you going to do with the 900GB partition?

My "guess" - assumption? - is this is 100/900. And if so, that makes sense to me with the 100Gb as C, the boot drive, and the remainder for data, installed programs, backups, downloads, temp files, and more. I would not move the page file. Keep on C with the OS.


You have restricted the movement of the drive heads to the outermost tracks on the platters where the density of sectors is aprox 3 times greater than the 160GB drive.

I don't believe density is the issue here. Neither is the fact these are "outermost tracks". Though those may be factors, the issue - key benefit is the fact the drive head is restricted to a small zone on the drive - and that's a good thing! Good because it means if the next file segment is way over on the other side of the partition, it does not have far to go to "seek" it out.

That's a good article over at Symantec but it is huge - talks about a lot of things, primarily hard drives in server/enterprise environments - so not sure the point you are trying to make with it.

I note for "normal users" - not server admins - partitions can help us keep our computers organized the way we like, and if setup properly, do not impact performance, but in fact may allow us, the human component, to work faster. Separate drives would be better than partitions, but you go with what you have.

But again, drive performance is but a small, though important component in over all computer performance. The only real way you are going to improve drive performance significantly is by going SSD. Devices that rely on motors and mechanical actuators (even the latest 15,000RPM drives) will always be a limiting "memory" factor in our systems. And unless you use multiple drives in a serious RAID0 striped array through a dedicated (and expensive) hardware RAID controller, "overall" computer performance gains will be minimal - unless you consider a few seconds shorter boot times a priority.

Again, ideally, you should ensure you have enough RAM to load the entire program into RAM. Then who cares about drive performance? This is another area where 64-bit shines.
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#23
WishBone

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I limited myself to 3GB RAM. I used to hate 64bit but I am now considering it. If ever I get more cash, I'm gonna upgrade my RAM to somewhere between 6GB to 16GB. Then maybe an SSD for my OS.

I asked a friend who is almost a graduate in Information Technology. He recommends doing a 60/40 partition but then I explained that I usually do a 10/90 because of reasons. I settled for a bigger partition for C since its pretty much 1TB and that's more than what I need. I did a 30/70 partition and this is what I'm using now.

I also increased Windows Virtual Memory in C only due to a tip on another forum I posted on. I forgot what the original value was but it was around 2000. I changed it to the recommended initial value of 4605MB according to the Virtual Memory window and maximum size of 8605MB.
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#24
iammykyl

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so not sure the point you are trying to make with it


Not so much trying to make a point but linked the article as it does help explain why and how the structure of a mechanical drive effects it performance. After wading through the article Posted Image , did come to same conclusion as your "i note"
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#25
Digerati

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I used to hate 64bit but I am now considering it.

There never really was a problem with 64-bit Windows - the problem was 3rd party software developers (in particular driver software developers, and security program developers) failed [miserably] to support 64-bit operating systems. This meant it was often impossible to find drivers for our hardware, or to properly secure our systems with 64-bit security programs.

But there was a big shift when Windows 7 came out and now 64-bit Windows 7 outsells 32-bit and in the last 2 years it has become almost impossible to NOT find the necessary drivers - at least for any relatively current hardware. And of course, virtually all 32-bit software runs on 64-bit operating systems but fortunately, most of the better software makers now directly support 64-bit with 64-bit versions of their products.

I'm gonna upgrade my RAM to somewhere between 6GB to 16GB

Well, you need to determine the type memory architecture your motherboard supports first. If dual channel (the most common), you need to install RAM in pairs - so typically you would see 8Gb - the "sweetspot" for Window 7 64-bit. Less and you take a performance hit, more than 8Gb yields little to no "noticeable" performance gain.

For triple channel motherboards, you need to install RAM in sets of 3 sticks. So you would normally be looking at 6Gb or 12Gb - 24 in extreme cases.

As far as dinking with virtual memory settings, Microsoft has been working with Windows for many years and has memory management figured out - especially with Windows 7. I generally recommend leaving these settings at the default. Changing these settings may help with one or two specific programs, but generally the default settings are best for over all computing performance. Microsoft has teams of PhDs and other professional programmers that probably know better than me, you, or your friend.

The only time I dink with the page file size in Windows 7 is when the hard drive is critically low on disk space. And even then, dinking with the settings is only a temporary fix. The real solution is to free up space, or buy more space.
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