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Partitioning for Performance?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I have 2 500GB WD Black drives in a RAID 0 array on a new PC build and I want these to perform as best as they can until I replace them with some SSDs.

I have a question about how to partition them and how that will effect performance. I was planning to go with 2 60-80GB partitions each for Windows 7 and Ubuntu, and then the rest as a data drive. However, I'm new to partitioning and I've been reading up on how some people like to separate programs from the OS and I was also just reading up on short stroking which looks like something I should try.

Will separating programs from the OS help with performance? My theory is that this might be better since Windows constantly needs updates that can fragment the drive, but I don't know if the drive head would need to scan back and forth from the OS partition to the Programs partition very often during typical use.


Next question is about short stroking and how to set it up. I know what it is, but I just want to make sure I have the right idea on how to set it up. This will be a clean install so I assume all I need to do is create the partitions in the order in which I want them on the outer tracks, such as:
1st: 80GB - Windows 7
2nd: 60GB - Ubuntu
3rd: The rest - Data

or (if I create a partition for Windows programs):
1st: 60GB - Windows 7
2nd: 20GB - Windows 7 Programs
3rd: 50GB - Ubuntu
4th The rest - Data

Is that all I really need to do, just create them in the order of which ones I want to have the fastest access times? Also please comment on the amount of space I should dedicate to each partition. Because I've never partitioned a drive I'm just blindly guessing how much I should use.

Any help is greatly welcomed!


(By the way, I have an external drive to back up my data so I'm not worried about a drive failure)
post #2 of 7
Based on my own experience, I haven't found short stroking to be very helpful, in terms of both bootup times and access times, and I think it's because programs are always written to the outer-most areas anyway (which is the idea behind short stroking), so there's really no point.

I've also tried creating a separate partition for my programs and files, and I don't find it to be any faster than just having one large partition for everything.

I can't speak for partitioning different OSs though, since I've never done it.
 
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post #3 of 7
Short stroking is really only effective if you leave the rest of the drive unused.

Of the two methods you mentioned the first would be better. Putting the apps on a second partition on the same drive will SLOW the system down, not speed it up as the heads would have to travel further to open the apps. This is because some of the files for the apps will be in the Windows folder. The only way that putting apps on a separate partition helps is when that partition is on a different drive, and even then the difference will be negligible.
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post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by PapaSmurf View Post
Short stroking is really only effective if you leave the rest of the drive unused.
Or not.
Simply by partitioning as you have stated, you would be 'short stroking' the array, by limiting the OS to the outside edges of the platter.
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post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by PapaSmurf View Post
Short stroking is really only effective if you leave the rest of the drive unused.

Of the two methods you mentioned the first would be better. Putting the apps on a second partition on the same drive will SLOW the system down, not speed it up as the heads would have to travel further to open the apps. This is because some of the files for the apps will be in the Windows folder. The only way that putting apps on a separate partition helps is when that partition is on a different drive, and even then the difference will be negligible.
Quote:
Originally Posted by beers View Post
Or not.
Simply by partitioning as you have stated, you would be 'short stroking' the array, by limiting the OS to the outside edges of the platter.
I never said it wasn't short stroking, only that it isn't nearly as effective if you use the rest of the drive. The reason it improves performance is that the heads never have to travel far to access any and all of the data on the drive. As soon as you start using the rest of the drive you negate most, if not all of the performance gain if you access the rest of the drive quite often, such as in the OP's case. If you only stored some seldom accessed information there (as in only accessed once a week or so) it wouldn't matter, but doing it the way the OP outlined would provide no noticeable performance increase, especially the second method with a separate OS and App partitions. Having the data on a third partition at the opposite end of the drive from the OS forces the heads to move further than they would if everything was on the same partition and closer together. I've tested this for years (dating back to the early days using MFM and RLL hard drives in 8086 and 8088 systems) and the results have always been the same. Separate drives improve performance. Separate partitions hinder performance.
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post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys, some good info here. Honestly I think I just need an SSD because so far I can't tell much difference with RAID 0 setup right now...and neither does Windows 7which gives it the same experience rating as on my old PC with a single drive.

However I think maybe I should segment the programs from the OS because when I do get an SSD I'd like to mirror these 2 partitions onto the SSD and I'd think the SSD would benefit from having these two segmented to prevent fragmentation. Does that seem to make sense? I know TRIM can prevent fragmentation, but I'd still imagine it would be optimal to have the OS segmented from the programs to keep everything in as much order as possible.
post #7 of 7
SSD's do NOT suffer from fragmentation like mechanical drives do so that isn't even a factor. Do yourself a favor and put the OS and the Apps in the same partition.
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