Best hard disk setup for dual hard drives

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jamjar
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2008/06/21 06:21:46 (permalink)

Best hard disk setup for dual hard drives

What do people recommend as the best hard drive configuration in a PC with dual hard-drives?

Currently I have 2 hard drives with 2 partitions each - the 1st drive is C and D, the 2nd hard drive is E and F.

I have Windows on C, Sonar on E and the virtual memory file on F - I was always told to put the virtual memory file on a physically separate partition from Windows. However, I wondered if having the virtual mem file on the same hard drive as Sonar could be problematic from a crackles / pops point of view.

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    mwd
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    RE: Best hard disk setup for dual hard drives 2008/06/21 10:13:21 (permalink)
    In most cases partitions kill the performance of hard drives. One of the prime reasons people use them is for organization and that can be done with folders. The page file should be on a separate 'drive' not partition. As you access Sonar (e) then need to page (f) the heads on your drive are bouncing back and forth.

    I'm a 3/drive fan and actually use 4 myself but 2 is do-able.

    First... if you can via a partition manager software (after good backup) kill the partitions. Then instead of a (example) 2000MB pagefile on one drive put a 1000MB page file on each drive. Windows will page to the least active drive.

    Lastly there is a way to utilize partitions to actually increase the performance but thats a different story and requires that you strategize a 'busy' and 'not busy' partition for each drive.
    #2
    Nathan D
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    RE: Best hard disk setup for dual hard drives 2008/06/22 15:15:52 (permalink)
    ORIGINAL: mwd
    In most cases partitions kill the performance

    info from? HDD hardware not know about partitions created on HDD and read/write as single drive.
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    DonaldDuck
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    RE: Best hard disk setup for dual hard drives 2008/06/22 15:20:34 (permalink)

    ORIGINAL: mwd

    In most cases partitions kill the performance of hard drives. One of the prime reasons people use them is for organization and that can be done with folders. The page file should be on a separate 'drive' not partition. As you access Sonar (e) then need to page (f) the heads on your drive are bouncing back and forth.




    Absolutely... Partitions are outdated. You'll get the best performance having one large drive instead of two smaller partitions on the same physical drive. With hard drives are cheap as they are, the more the better. I have one for archived audio, one for programs, one for recording audio, and one for all my synths/samplers data.
    #4
    eratu
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    RE: Best hard disk setup for dual hard drives 2008/06/22 20:36:20 (permalink)
    I respectfully disagree. I still use partitions for several reasons on all my DAWs.

    1) Multiple boot partitions. I use a program called BootIt NG to boot all my DAWs, and keep a virgin boot partition available for testing/sandboxing plugins and apps, and in some cases a Vista x64 boot partition or even Linux boot partition, that remain totally hidden during normal use, but I can boot into those as needed, and it works perfectly, and transparently, as if I had another computer. BootIt NG allows me to sandbox an OS and all the other hard drives into profiles of exactly the configurations I want to be visible to the booted OS. This incredible flexibility and control within a boot manager like BootIt NG make it worth it alone. Hands down for me.

    2) To physically separate data on the hard drives for ease of drive imaging and backup. I keep many of my large hard drives ( 500GB and up) partitioned into two sections based on content. This helps me speed up complete drive imaging and backup procedures so I can deal with one partition at a time, instead of the entire drive. Saves me time and hassle I can measure when I do backups. Also, makes it worth it alone for me.

    3) The above 2 reasons are enough for me, by far, but there are also minor security gains in terms of hard drive failure problems. In the past I have had major hard drive failures, and this is nothing I wish on anyone. Depending on the hard drive failure type, you can gain a little additional safety in the case when a hard drive head crashes within one physical partition, I am often able to recover more easily the content from the other partition. Again, this is a very minor benefit, and not usually worth mentioning, except it has paid off for me before. Obviously, you should be backing up regularly, so see #2 above for slight advantage there.

    4) Helps keep fragmentation under control a bit more, and thus saves time and increases performance just for maintenance purposes. Since the partitions are separate, if you have a lot of activity in one partition, but not another, then defragmenting a hard drive will go much faster, since you can do this a partition at a time, not the whole drive.

    5) Finally, there is a slight, but measurable performance benefit in some cases. If you INTELLIGENTLY organize which data goes on which partition, then you can reap lower access times and slightly higher data rates from one of the partitions. I don't need to explain the way hard drives are designed (which is quite interesting if you care to learn how cylinders/sectors are organized and how the drive head(s) work) making the early cylinders much faster. It also reduces average seek time in both partitions IF you stick to using one partition at a time. You don't have to understand the basic engineering behind it, you can just run a hard drive benchmark and you'll see.

    I also believe it's just fine to leave it as one big partition if you want to -- I'm not dissing anyone who chooses to do that -- but all the reasons above make it worth it to me to continue to do it, and it has never been a negative... only a positive. You just have to understand how to best take advantage of it.
    post edited by eratu - 2008/06/22 21:00:21
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    Mully
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    RE: Best hard disk setup for dual hard drives 2008/06/23 07:50:45 (permalink)
    Yep.. I too prefer partitions... much easier to manage and if your apps are on one and data on another anyway, how does it get slower if either is partitioned? Just ensure your data is in the right place (partition Vs drive) so the seek times don't go up more than is sensible and all is good.... for me at least.

    Cheers!
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    FastBikerBoy
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    RE: Best hard disk setup for dual hard drives 2008/06/23 15:43:47 (permalink)
    eratu +1

    You'll find that using a completely separate drive for Sonar's audio files (not projects - the wave files) will give better performance. If that's not possible, try to keep your system disk separate from the Sonar audio disk.

    .......how does it get slower if either is partitioned?


    It doesn't in fact you'll find that a drive partitioned (esp a large drive) will be quicker because of the way partitioning software structures the partitions. You'll find that you'll get lower effective access times and things will seem a little more 'snappy' - as long as you plan the partitioning well. Make your system partiton the first one you create and it will be on the outside edge(s) of the platters. This means during normal usage the drive heads don't have to seek to the end of the drive making access times as fast as possible. Partitioning is a way of having a little more control on where the data gets put. A good analogy I've seen elsewhere is if you think of a drive as a house and partitions as rooms in the house. If you wanted to search for something in the house wouldn't it be quicker to find it if you knew which room it's in? SUre you might find it first time if you didn't have that info but you'd find things consistently quicker if you did.

    It doesn't mean you have to partition your drives if you don't want to, it's a personal thing but to paraphrase eratu I can think of several advantages to partitioning a drive and no disadvantages at all.
    #7
    daveny5
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    RE: Best hard disk setup for dual hard drives 2008/06/23 16:46:13 (permalink)
    Unless you need a dual boot configuration, I recommend 1 partition per drive.

    Dave
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