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Thread: Partitioning hard drive

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    Partitioning hard drive

    I'm buying a new pc with a 1TB hard drive. Are there any advantages in speed to be had by partitioning it for say 250Gb (O/s & program files) & 750Gb (data). There seems to be a lot of different opinions if you Google it. I'm not buying a separate hard drive at this stage as they're a bit pricey through Dell.
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    It's always an interesting discussion.
    I do partition large drives and keep my images etc on the 2nd partition. It means if I need to re-install the OS it is quicker etc.
    Maybe only 150Gb for the OS area.
    It is worth noting that I'm RAID-1 mirrored as well an backup (incremental) nightly and off site fortnightly.
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    We have all our hard drives partitioned, os and programs have there own as when formating its easier to format the one partion instead of having to find somewhere to put the stuff you dont want to format...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kym View Post
    It's always an interesting discussion.
    I do partition large drives and keep my images etc on the 2nd partition. It means if I need to re-install the OS it is quicker etc.
    Maybe only 150Gb for the OS area.
    It is worth noting that I'm RAID-1 mirrored as well an backup (incremental) nightly and off site fortnightly.
    Yeah, I'd go along with Kym's thoughts here. Definitely a good idea to partition of a small-ish partition for the OS and applications. Keep all your data on the larger partition, as Kym's said, makes reinstalling a whole lot quicker if you need to!

    A good backup routine (and one which is tested!!!!) is also paramount. Nightly incremental backups here too, with off-site backups performed weekly.
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    If your hard drive goes belly up and it is one partition it is a lot harder to retrieve data. Many people "have a go" at retrieving data from an OS partition and with each effort it makes it harder and increases the cost of restoring data.
    It is a lot easier to access a partition that is not the OS. I have a number of USB SATA Docks that I can just slot in the Hard Drive connect to USB and retrieve the data. Then you can play with the OS partition. There may be lots of opinions on Google but there is only one in the industry "PARTITION"
    Cheers

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    The OP asked about performance gains.

    In the bad old days, there were hard limits on partition sizes and file counts due to O/S limits (I remember working with 32MB max. partition sizes ). In recent years most of these limits have been increased to the point where they are irrelevant for most users. Recent advances in solid state drives (SSD's) make it reasonably affordable to host the O/S on the smaller SSD for performance and you would then leave your data on a slower traditional rotating media drive and then you get the best of performance and the safety and convenience benefits mentioned by the earlier responders.

    However, with just one disk, you're kind of hamstrung from a performance perspective. By all means, create a smallish partition for O/S. Unless you have VERY large applications, I'd suggest something in the 40-60 GB range. As for the rest, you may as well just create one big data partition unless you have specific reasons to further sub-partition the data areas. The O/S is going to have the drive seeking all over the O/S partition pretty much all the time anyway so you'll not really see any performance gains with any variation of partitioning schemes.

    If you really want to gain a tiny and probably irrelevant boost, you might consider making a small partiton just for your swap file then manually configure your O/S (Assuming windows) to use this drive partition exclusively for swap (pagefile) use. Generally a lot more of a pain to set up than the potential performance boost. Also depends on how much RAM you have etc.

    Big drives are nice and cheap these days but they do not lend themselves to high performance results in a single drive configuration.

    Also, consider how to back that sucker up once you fill it...
    Last edited by GlennSan; 10-09-2009 at 5:20pm. Reason: crap spelling
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darksome View Post
    A good backup routine (and one which is tested!!!!) is also paramount. Nightly incremental backups here too, with off-site backups performed weekly.
    Wow - top marks for this

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    In the "old days" the only reason techs partitioned drives was to reduce the cluster size.
    With todays huge hard drives one doesn't really care if that 4 byte file takes up 4096 bytes of HDD space or 512 bytes.

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    Thanks for the advice guys. One more question - what type of connection should I be looking for when I buy an external HDD?

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    Quote Originally Posted by chiller10 View Post
    Thanks for the advice guys. One more question - what type of connection should I be looking for when I buy an external HDD?
    You can buy an external enclosure that includes multiple types of connections. eg:
    USB
    USB + eSata
    USB + Firewire
    USB + Firewire + USB Hub
    USB + Ethernet
    etc

    Pick one that suits your needs plus possible future needs the best.
    Don't forget to make sure the internal connection is correct for the drive you are going to use ( IDE or SATA ) if you're buying the drive and enclosure seperately.

    Cheers,
    Matt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oldfart View Post
    In the "old days" the only reason techs partitioned drives was to reduce the cluster size.
    With todays huge hard drives one doesn't really care if that 4 byte file takes up 4096 bytes of HDD space or 512 bytes.
    Yes, those were the days, weren't they. Brings a little tear to my eyes. Then again, I wouldn't want to go back there to all those limits.

    And before those days, in my early IT work I used to replace crashed disk heads and platters with new parts then have to align the heads using an oscilloscope and thermally stabilised alignment pack, then adjust head seek timing. etc etc. etc. What a pain it was. But you learned a thing or two along the way. Now they are all just black boxes. Ahh, the memories come flooding back...
    Last edited by GlennSan; 11-09-2009 at 9:31am.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Invictus View Post
    You can buy an external enclosure that includes multiple types of connections. eg:
    USB
    USB + eSata
    USB + Firewire
    USB + Firewire + USB Hub
    USB + Ethernet
    etc

    Pick one that suits your needs plus possible future needs the best.
    Don't forget to make sure the internal connection is correct for the drive you are going to use ( IDE or SATA ) if you're buying the drive and enclosure seperately.

    Cheers,
    Thanks Matt. I'm told that eSata is as fast as any. Is this type of connection usually included on new pc's?

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    Quote Originally Posted by chiller10 View Post
    Thanks Matt. I'm told that eSata is as fast as any. Is this type of connection usually included on new pc's?
    It really depends on the PC ...

    An eSata connection is basically an extension that brings a Sata connection on the motherboard, out to the exterior of the pc case (front/rear/top).

    Not all PC cases have a dedicated front panel eSata connection built in, but it is easy enough to order a back panel connection. example here
    Some also have a power connector, unlike the one in that link.

    You can also use an expansion card that has an eSata connection for the back panel. LINK

    You will also need an eSata cable with enough length, to go from the back panel connection to your enclosure/dock or other eSata device. The cable supplied with the enclosure you chose may not be long enough.
    If you built your PC yourself, you may have had a eSata back panel included with your motherboard.

    Cheers,

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    chiller10, If the system that you will be using it on is the dell studio that you are talking about in the other thread (8GB or 9GB RAM), check the specifications on the Dell website and it should say whether an eSata port is included.

    Having a quick look - If it's the XPS models, then you should have an eSata port. A quick look at the standard studio models don't mention eSata.

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    Thanks for your detailed reply Matt. It is a Studio XPS I'm looking at and I did find eSata under Tech Specs.

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