MortySnerd

Partitioning For Speed?

126 posts in this topic

That's the first correct statement you've made this post. :D

LOL. I try, Alanx, I truly try.

You just have no idea how many times the regulars see this. There's a reason KCComp was curt. And somehow, it always gets blown into something like this, somehow.... when there is absolutely no reason to partition except if you have specific reasons for it like multiple OSes.

I'm having a beer. Actually make that 200 beers.

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I'm curious as to where exactly the disagreement lies.

Does everyone agree that the beginning/outer tracks of a drive/disk are the fastest? That they offer the fastest transfer rates and lowest access times?

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There is a concensus among people who know what they're talking about.

And they are...?

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one of the more interesting forms of data corruption to which Windows users are prone

Gilbo, thank you very much for having shed light on what had actually happen to my drive :D Shame on me, I'm lame :D I asked about my problem in this thread:

http://forums.storagereview.net/index.php?showtopic=16597

What I desperately need now is to somehow re-register my partition E: to the MBR. Could anyone recommend a utility or a procedure for this? This must be not a hard task I guess :unsure:

As for multiple partitions, I had:

1) 2GB disk C: with FAT and Windows 98 - for the only reason to play some old games that don't work under XP. Well, maybe this is not a good idea to utilize the best sectors of the disk for things that I almost never run, but there is no other way to install a Win98 together with WinXP, right? Maybe I should try some DOS emulator instead of using real Win98.

2) 4GB disk D: for Windows XP and some other system things. The only reason for the separate partition is - what if I need to reinstall WinXP without updating. There is no other way to do so but to reformat the partition, right?

3) The rest - disk E: for programs and data. If I didn't consider reasons 1) and 2) I would gladly use the single partition, as I did with my previous drive.

Sorry for offtopic...

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Does everyone agree that the beginning/outer tracks of a drive/disk are the fastest? That they offer the fastest transfer rates and lowest access times?
They definitely have the fastest transfer rates. What we're disagreeing about is the relevancy. You could have a near infinite transfer rate and in most desktop applications it wouldn't affect your computer experience. Sort of like obsessing on getting a larger diameter steering wheel for your car for "improved performance." I mean, everyone would have to agree that a larger diameter steering wheel reduces turning torque, right?

As to your second point, about access times, partitioning a disk ensures that the heads will spend time going back and forth from the outer tracks to the inner tracks to get to the other partition. That's why we recommend not partitioning the disk. That way the heads can spend more time in the disk sweet spot.

-- Rick

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Now we're gettting somewhere.

We seem to agree that transfer rates are less important than seek/access times.

How about this: what if you partition a drive in half, but only use the first half, and leave the last half unused? Do you agree this config will perfrom better (be faster) than a disk with a single partition of the whole thing?

Now, what if I partition and format that second half and use it only for files I rarely use/access?

You say: "partitioning a disk ensures that the heads will spend time going back and forth from the outer tracks to the inner tracks to get to the other partition."

We say, "Not unless I tell my system to read those (rarely-used) files or write to that (low-use) partition. So the vast majority of time, my heads (I contend) atre NOT (as you say) "going to those (inner/slower) tracks.

For example, my last partition is dedicated for back-up Ghost images., which, I create on a monthly basis. The other 29 days each month, my heads have no reason to go there. Rather they are confined to the fastest sectors of the disk.

But with a single large partition, you have no way to prevent your O/S & program files from windoing up down at the slowest end of the drive. So your heads WILL be seeking there.

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How about this: what if you partition a drive in half, but only use the first half, and leave the last half unused? Do you agree this config will perfrom better (be faster) than a disk with a single partition of the whole thing?
Of course -- that's called "short-stroking," and many ... well ... some "ultra fast" hard drives are sold that way.
Now, what if I partition and format that second half and use it only for files I rarely use/access?
See, here's where you've gone off the tracks. At the very best, that configuration would only be slightly slower than unpartitioned. It would never be faster. So why do it?
But with a single large partition, you have no way to prevent your O/S & program files from windoing up down at the slowest end of the drive. So your heads WILL be seeking there.
Maybe you don't, but I certainly do. Clue me in -- are you claiming that while you're sleeping, your OS files are creeping around on your hard drive?

-- Rick

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Thanks for responding.

Re:

that configuration would only be slightly slower than unpartitioned

You mean, slightly slower for the times I instruct my drive to read files from or write them to that slower part of the disk, right? I mean, if the heads never seek to the slower part of the drive, then the system is not slower, right?

Take downloaded files for example. When I'm downloading files, such as the latest drivers for my video card, my network is the limiting performance factor. I'm waiting on it, not my hard drive. So I don't care how long it takes to write files there, at the slow end of the disk. I will access these ONCE during installation. After that they become part of my back-up files, which I (hopefully) will never have to use/access again.

In other words, my heads have no reason (ever again) to seek to these files. Rather the haeds are confined to the fastest sectors of the disk for the vast major of system operation.

Re:

are you claiming that while you're sleeping, your OS files are creeping around on your hard drive?

I use Diskeeper defragger. Like most defraggers, this utility offers a color-coded map which identifies different types of files. For example, system files are GREEN. After I performa a Windows update, I notice that system files now appear at the end of the partition. Newer, updated files are being written further and further down the disk (to the slower sections). Maybe you never update Windows or your programs, but if you did, you would find them being written to slower areas of your disk. It depends on how much data (how many files) are contained on your disk.

My system files cannot wind up down at the slow end of the disk because I confine them in a system partition at the fast end of the disk.

Make sense?

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...just to throw another wrench into this discussion, why not bring up the practical use of partitioning (esp if its your only drive) so that you can do an easy (and secure) "share" of your data drive (i.e. d: partition) on your home/office network??

Spinme

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hmm... I always use a ~ 10 gb partition for windows + apps (no games for me), not because it feels faster, but because it makes re-installing windows SO much easier, if need be.

ELiTe

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Hush you two, or the

"people who know what they're talking about"
(aka "da konsensus")

might scold your multi-partition-advocating arses. :)

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To answer the thread topic, if you want ultimate performance use FAT16 on the first partition of the disk. The 2GB partition is not only really, really short-stroked, but the entire FAT will also be small enough to fit entirely in the cache of just one of my Xeons.

The opposite is really slow: a big NTFS or FAT32 disk on a machine with too little RAM, where the MFT or FAT is paged out to the pagefile. Any disk read will then require accessing the disk twice: once to find out where the file is on the disk, and then to get the file!

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Gilbo

your worries about NTFS MFT seems incorrecct. I always reinstall my drive c(1st partition ntfs) by reformat it when reinstalling o/s and it seems it clean out old entries-if my memory serves me right.. anyhow you can do "delete/recreate" the 1st primary partition I am SURE it will clear out the old entries.

never create 2nd partition as EXTENDED+logical drive partition . always create as primary.

everytime you update your windows or install/update programs, your Program files and winnt\system32 areas will always grow ....

even some program decides to grow and keep purging old and adding new data every time u use it. for one... my Xnews folders get very fragmented with saving and discarding headers. so if i keep Xnews folders in a relatively small partition. I can degragment it easily and faster than placing it on a big full of data partion.

long time ago, it was said NTFS is designed to miminize fragmentation. we all know about the truth is far away from the telling.

i use 14G/180G combination on my system. and I do alot of bt/s and newsgroup stuff. lots of stuff get create and deleted/moved frequently. so I do need a temporay partition /drive for assmble multiple parts. edit/cut/encode video/audio. my partition method save my disk from horrible defragment problem. well at least it delatys my next win2k re-installation date.

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one thing i want to add.

folder can be used to organise the look. it never question when to put the data. if u partition a large >200G disk as one. you are relying folder for you organised crime..er.. task. :)

Partition can be used to LOCALIZE the actual access accoding tothe nature of file. In linux, there is a suggested practice to create a SWAP partition so u can place your swapfile to localise swapfile activities to this part of the disk or better yet, another physical disk ;iinsteadof mixing o/s files and swapfiles. MSWindows never has such practise.

just place the most dynamic/disk extensive stuff on 1st partition/beginning of the disk and localize it there. place the less active stuff on the last partition / end of the disk.

if u have 2 disk. always use the fastest access disk as the 1st disk and the o/s should lie here.

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1 more thing.

using partition practice you can localize your disk access to certain disk area. If you disk really has manufacturing defects, the failure will show up eariler within the warranty period. :lol:

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You just have no idea how many times the regulars see this.  There's a reason KCComp was curt.  And somehow, it always gets blown into something like this, somehow.... when there is absolutely no reason to partition except if you have specific reasons for it like multiple OSes.

The other reason to partition is in the case of corporate machines. Many corporations insist upon having an OS/corporate apps partition that they can just delete and then re-install onto your harddrive without messing with your personal data and docs (which are stored in the other partition).

It's not always about performance, sometime manageabilty plays a role...

I'm having a tequila and Cointreau...make that several...

Future Shock

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How about this: what if you partition a drive in half, but only use the first half, and leave the last half unused? Do you agree this config will perfrom better (be faster) than a disk with a single partition of the whole thing?

This is irrelevant. If you have x Mo of data, it will use (mostly) the first x Mo of your hard drive, no matter how big or little your partition is. It will write on the inner tracks once your outer tracks are used. Of course, this won't happen if you excluded your inner tracks from your partition, but your data won't just be written anymore at all, bacause your more little partition is just 100% full.

Two separate partitions seems the way to go to me (one for OS/Applications, one for Data), simply for backup convenience.

Some may find better to separate OS and apps on two different partitions, but when backing up the system (with ghost-like utilities), it is far easier to have both on the same partition.

If you use two different partitions for OS/Apps and Data, the system may slow down when using only one disk, but reliability is a better alternative than performance, to me (and having data on another partition than OS is more reliable). The performance issue doesn't exist any longer if your two partitions are set on two different disks.

To deal with dozens of partition because of some arguably speed enhancement sounds like raid-0 : you may mesure some improvement on benchmarks, but i doubt it is worthing the hassle of handling them in a daily usage.

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This is irrelevant.

I think you missed the CONTEXT of that post. (Although now it IS irrelevant.)

I was trying to understand how different people could come to such different conclusions about very basic and well-known disk drive performance factors, especially when it was asserted that they were the only ones who knew what they were talking about. (See previous posts.)

I planned to start at the beginning, at a place where we all AGREE and proceed logically from there, taking one small step at a time, until I discovered exactly where the disagreement lies. I agree that, taken out of context, the statement you reference IS irrelevant.

but reliability is a better alternative than performance

Now here is a key point and I couldn't agree more. We have been laboring the *performance* aspect because the initial poster asked about "Partitioning For Speed". But (as you say) RELIABILITY is really what it's all about. The fastest disk configuration in the world is meaningless if your data is lost. But that's another thread.

http://forums.storagereview.net/index.php?showtopic=16689

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hmm... I always use a ~ 10 gb partition for windows + apps (no games for me), not because it feels faster, but because it makes re-installing windows SO much easier, if need be.

ELiTe

It is also faster to defrag a small partition than the whole drive, especially if one has large files.

Cheers,

Jan

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Only my Favorites are on C:  I guess I have to find where Firefox stores them so I can put them on my D: as well.

Probably somewhere under C:\Documents and Settings\

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You mean, slightly slower for the times I instruct my drive to read files from or write them to that slower part of the disk, right?
No, I mean a lot slower for times when you instruct your drive to read files from, or write to that part of the disk. But since that doesn't happen very often, only slightly slower overall.

And most importantly I mean There is never a time when your disk will be any faster because of having multiple partitions, so why do it?

I use Diskeeper defragger. Like most defraggers, this utility offers a color-coded map which identifies different types of files. For example, system files are GREEN. After I performa a Windows update, I notice that system files now appear at the end of the partition.
Well, that's Executive's theory of disk defragging, and it's not all that bad of one. It goes like this: The best way to minimize average seek time is to place the most commonly accessed items in the middle of the disk, so that the heads, on average, spend most of their time hovering over the center and don't have very far to go if they have to go to the inside or outside of the disk - minimizing the number of full-stroke seeks. I'm not saying that I subscribe to that theory -- there are many good ones. I'm just saying that's Executive Software's theory.

Here's a couple of things to think about: First, when you buy a defragger, one of the things you're paying for is the expertise and accumulated knowledge of the company that makes it. By dicking around with partitions you're throwing away everything they know about optimum file layout -- I'm not surprised you get sub-optimal file positioning.

Second, and more importantly, really, Windows keeps system files that are used often in its cache.

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