There are a number of "best partitioning strategies" depending on who you ask. Some of it depends on how (or if) you plan on doing system backups. Some people prefer a small boot partition so they can back it up quickly. Others like a single partition to simplify the backup process, though it may take more time. Others like to keep all their different file types (boot, program, system, archive) on separate partitions just for organization's sake. One final scenario is separating file types on different physical drives to minimize catestrophic failure. If one drive fails, the data on the other drives is not lost.
If you do decide to make a separate boot partition, be sure you account for enough space so you don't wish you made it 1 or 2 GB larger down the road. If you have 2 physical drives, it isn't always ideal to put the page file at the front of the 2nd drive. If the 2nd drive is significantly slower at seeks than the 1st, it may still make sense to keep it on drive 1.
In theory, it is best to have hard drives by themselves on IDE channels, but in my experience, I have never (in the past 5 years or so) noticed any degradation in performance by filling all IDE channels or even master/slaving two hdds. Sure, you can create scenarios where someone can say "I told you so" but only you can decide if you'll ever genuinely encounter that scenario in everyday use.
Currently I have an IDE hdd slaved to an optical drive because that's the only way I can cable it in my case. It's never been an issue performance-wise for me. The drive performs as it should in low-level tests and I never noticed a situation where it and the optical drive were working at the same time and things slowed down noticeably. In fact, awhile back I remember running some tests where I tried to cause a failed CD-R write by running the Winbench Disk Winmark test at the same time I was burning data from that hdd to my burner (with burner slaved to hdd) and I couldn't do it. That to me was the ultimate test. I believe I documented that at the time in a post here. I have no idea if it still exists in SR's forums, though.
In the old days, motherboards were more finicky about how you configured IDE devices. These days, things are much better. But because those finicky old days tend to stick in our minds, many of us still live by them. That's not to say there's anything wrong with that, but just keep in mind that IDE channels are much more flexible at being configured without sacrificing performance than they used to be.