Discussion in 'Storage Drives' started by frogboy, 25 Jan 2006.
Just something I've been wondering about..
Shouldn't be a difference really. Running in their own partition is good for reinstallation of windows etc and it means they can fragment all over the drive as they will be in a combined space but then again, if the partition is right at the end of the drive, there is a long stroke to reach the data whilst still accessing windows files. You have to make sure, if you do this, that the partition goes early on in the drive. Running in windows partition is bad for reinstallation but the files are likely to be close to the start of the drive and intermingled with windows files that need accessing but can fragment over the whole drive.
Basically, there are some benefits from the partition so long as you put it in the right place .
The way I've always done it is to have a fairly small partition at the start of the drive for Windows, then a partition for games, then apps, then data, and one more for general rubbish. It's important for the games partition to be near the front, as smids said it'll run faster the closer to the front it is. That's why I have my data partition near the end, as it's data it doesn't need that extra speed (minimal as it is).
Surely you'll have to reinstall virtually all games upon a new windows installation anyway, cos of all the registry settings, etc?
I'd stick 'em all in the same partition...
how can you tell if the partition is at the start or end of the drive?
Not necessarily, you can export the relevant parts of the registry and re-import them after the re-install has been completed (also, if you're doing a re-install over the top of itself I'm pretty sure Windows keeps any new reg info, merely overwriting what's there without deleting anything).
If you use a disk management tool (like Partition Magic, or Windows inbuilt tool), the start of the drive will be at the left of the screen, with the end at the right. Basically, the C: drive will be at the start, and go out from there.
Sorry to change the question slightly but still on the same topic.
What would happen if you put the games on a seperate drive?
for example two sata drives on seperate channels, onw with windows one with games.
would there be any benifit from that?
If they're on seperate channels you'll get a small benefit from it, probably nothing noticeable though. You get the benefit when you have games on a disk on one channel, and your VM on a disk on a seperate channel, so it can access the game data while writing information to the VM on the other drive. Again, nothing noticeable, but there should be some speed increase there.
Usually I have also found that games don't often need any big registry settings as they are pretty much self sufficient in their folders. I know I can just copy my whole Steam installation without reinstalling (just deleting clientregistry.blob) and it will run perfect again. I did the same for my Rome: Total War too, as well as UT2004. All worked fine for me without reinstalling however I tend to reinstall all the same when I get the time (sometimes I just don't have time so I don't bother).
I myself have gone for the one drive per type of App in all my PCs.
The one sole exception is that my MSI NEO2 has a Raptor 36 for C: and T: ( C: being 6GB and T: the rest ) and in T:, I have my setup files for games and apps.
D: is my Apps drive, that I install all my games and apps etc, it has a Program Files directory, for the Apps, but System tools etc usually go into C:\ProgFiles as normal.
E: is for Media, this too is a seperate Drive, and so is F: and thats used purely for junk, and backups for if I do need to reinstall.
I find that having seperate Drives makes things much, much quicker in the long run.
My C & T: ) and D: Drives are SATA, while E: and F: are on an IDE Card, and this allows me to have 3 DVDRW Drives and one CDRW Drives connected straight to the Motherboards IDE connectors.
The main advantage here, is that I am able to burn 3 DVDs and one CD, as well as defragment 2 HDS and play any game I want withotu any issues.
Plus as I do a lot of Video encoding, copying from one partition to another, as they are different drives, is much much quicker than if I had to copy from one partition to another on the same drive. ( Try that one... Its shocking how much slower it is to have one HD ).
As for the games etc, I too find that with UT, you can get away with it.
I have my games in D:
And so on... Fairly logically I recon... Anyway, what I found out a while back is that if you export the registry keys, and just import them back later on, this will be a good thing... I have added the REG file and the Desktop Short cuts for a whoel load of apps and games that I have on D: and its surprising at just how much stuff really does survive an F&R, and they would not be had I installed them on C:.
Was searching through the forums looking for something else, but since I'm about to install an additional SATA drive in my PC I thought I'd do some voodoo and resurrect this thread.
My current drive is set up as 1 partition for the swap file, 1 for Windows and apps, and 2 more for data and media, and I was planning to partition my new drive in a similar way and keep the older one just for media and random junk storage, but now I'm thinking perhaps I should take advantage of the fact that they're on different channels to get a bit of a speed boost...
What if I left my games and apps on the existing drive, and use the new one for Windows and the swap file? Or, alternatively, put Windows and the apps on the new one and keep the swap file on the old one? Or even have a swap file on each drive - would Windows be smart enough to utilise the two swap files efficiently so they take advantage of whichever drive is idle at that point?
The old drive is as fast as the new one, except that the new SATA drive has 16MB cache and the old one only 8MB, but I'm given to understand that the extra cache doesn't make that much of a difference - don't know to what extent that's true...
Because you have as you say one HD, I think you will find the benefits of having them seperate partitions will not be anywhere near as good as if you have seperate HDs, because the Data still comes from one source, along one cable.
Having seperate HDs will make it far, far quicker.
I dont give a stuffed monkeys what anybody says about that, I have several PCs and they all have at least 2 HDs, and in all the tests I have done,having more than one HD has proved time and time again, that the PCs run quicker, or at the very least, they feel quicker, and this can make all the difference.
As an example, and I have said this many times over in this, and other forums, if I have 2 HDs, Then they each have 2 partitions each.
Drive 1 =
C: = Windows
E: = Media
Drive 2 =
D: = Apps
F: = Junk
This is how I always have it
Having a seperate partition for a Swapfile is also proved to be a non-usefull idea especially if its on the same drive as the system ( C: ), and having it on a seperate HD altogether does help, but this is a small ammount really because Windows is designed very much to use one, so it will use one if it needs to regardless of whether you use one, how big it is, where it is, or whatever, if Windows wants one, it makes one... I myself split them up... One swapfile per Drive, not per partition, and I make the one on C: fairly small... Usually about 256MB is ample with the rest in the above example, being on D:
To be honest, the Swapfile has been the basis of long arguements over the years, but in truth, there are just as many people who can point you to sites that say one thing, as there are those who can point you in other directions that say another, so really thats up to you where you put it.
Now, with your Apps on one partition, and the system on another, in terms of speed, this wont help much at all, it will help with fragmentation however, and this will make that difference, but to be honest, a seperate HD wil make it all the more.
In my main Machine, I currently have a Raptor as C: ( 8GB ) and the rest ( T: ) is for my Setup files... Such things as ISOs of game CDs and DVDs and other stuff ready to install... I did this because I will rarely use both C: and T: together at the same time, unless I am installing something, and I mostly install to D: anyway, so the time I spend accessign C: and T: are minimal.
D: is my Apps and Games.
I install games to D:\Games\Gamename and pretty much everythign else to D:\Program Files\ and this I do simply by changing the C: to a D: when prompted, and I have other stuff on there of course, like a BenchMark folder, and inside this is things like Prime, SuperPI, as well as 3DMark etc, and also a Drivers and a SysTools folder for drivers and system tools for all my systems. Very logical and it rarely needs defragging, unlike C:
I also make a point to NEVER install anythign to the root of any partition... There is nothign wrong with that, but I like my root directories to be as clean as possible.
My E: is always Media.
I have severla thousand MP3s, same with MidiFiles, and SoundTracker Mods, as well as hundreds of Movies etc and E: was last defragged in February and on checking it, I have .... 7 fragmented files - Enough said.
F: however, I use for everythign else ,such as downloads, Backups of My Documents, and well, you name it... This does get fragmented every 5 minutes, but guess what? - Using O&O DeFrag 8, I defrag it, and its defragged in a few minutes and it does not affect the PC speed in one tiny little bit...
I am downloading torrents 24/7, as well as defragging the same drive F: ( 40GB Maxtor ), I am burning 3 DVDs at a time, as well as playing BF2 or HL2 or Doom3 etc and converting a DivX / AVI file to DVD/MPG, and I get absolutely no problems or slowdowns at all.
If I had one HD with more than one partition, I could not do what I need it to do, and its not all down to CPU speed either, because my Barton does this just fine too... It just slows the background stuff a lot more thats all, but otherwise, games etc still play just fine.
Anyway, I have gone way off track here.
The Swapfile will benefit from being split over the two yes, btu dont expect the difference to be massive.
Try to have Windows and Apps on a different Drive, and perhaps shrink C: and make the extra partition made up on that drive to hold your lesser used data, such as Media... Because when you are playign the Media files ( Music / Movies ) you are not really needing the full potential of your HD are you, so you should not see any slow downs at all, plus only having Windows on C: will as I said earlier speed up thigns like defragging ( I defrag C: in way less than 1 minute )
And yes, the cache does not really make that much difference, of my latest HDs I have a WD thats got 16MB and a Hitchi thats got 8 and the hitachi is way quicker than the WD. The 2MB caches are even a little weird because the Maxtor 40GB drives are only 2MB and yet, I find them very quick as an F: for dowloading etc, but not as good for C:
I hope that will do for now, cos I am wafflign far too much, so I will drop it there for now.
Hehe, I'm tempted to revive the Big Hairy Swapfile Discussion - you're so vehemently dismissive of the benefits of having it on a separate partition that I can only barely resist!*
Sounds like your general usage is similar to mine, and I'm tempted to just copy your setup. I think you're right about keeping Windows and apps on separate physical drives, and the only thing holding me back is the fact that my existing drive is currently full, and adding the new SATA one would've been a good excuse to start fresh, reinstalling all my apps on it and relegating the old drive to storage. If I were to keep my apps in their current home I'd have faff about joining partitions together to make more space, which would be a massive problem as I have a 32GB FAT32 partition smack in the middle of my drive (I installed Win98 as a second OS to play old DOS games on before discovering DOSbox, so I set aside a FAT32 partition for those old games to call home when I originally formatted... ). I'm highly tempted to shift everything over to the new drive (will probably take around 30 hours of copying) and completely nuke the old one, starting completely afresh, but it's far too much effort. And I can't help feeling it would be a bit of a waste using the brand new HDD with the 16MB cache to mostly store junk on!
* Allright, I CAN'T resist - so sue me! I know that having the swap file on a separate partition on the same drive won't make diddly-squat difference to the speed in which the swap file is accessed. What it DOES make a huge difference in is in the matter of housekeeping and maintenance: having the swap file on your system partition means that every time you go to defrag it there'll be a 2GB chuck of it which will be unmovable, making your favourite defragmenter's job harder as it has to work around that area, and, in some cases, leave things fragmented because of it. The problem is exasperated when, for whatever reason, the swap file itself has become fragmented (which can easily happen, as the default setting for Windows is to have a variable length swapfile, meaning if it needs to expand it'll write wherever it finds space, even if it means fragmenting itself). Even programs like O&O which support boot time defragmentation and can therefore move the swapfile itself around have trouble defragmenting it completely if your partition is on the full side. The only thing I can't decide is whether having two swapfiles (one per physical drive) would boost performance or not - whether Windows would be smart enough to maximise disk throughput and use the swapfile on the drive being least accessed at any given time. I suspect it probably wouldn't: it would probably use the swapfile on the partition with the lowest drive letter exclusively until it filled up and only then start with the other one.
This is, incidentally, the same reason why I keep my HDD partitioned even though I only have one physical drive: like you, I've got tonnes of music, downloads, game ISOs and other media, all of which I keep in partitions separate to the one I keep Windows and apps in (as well as a FAT32 partition to keep Win98 programs on). It doesn't make accessing them faster, as it's just one physical drive, but it does make defragmenting my system/apps partition A LOT faster, as my defrag program doesn't need to waste time moving those big media files and ISOs out of the way. Plus, I can continue downloading while I'm defragmenting, as all the writing's being done on a different partition. My downloads partition is at about 68% fragmentation atm, but who cares, right? /OT
Bah you dont need to defrag a pagefile at all.
Listen and Learn padowan:
Go into your VRAM settings and set your pagefile to none
Go into your VRAM settings and set your pagefile to whatever size you want/need
Ahh, nice shiny fragment-free pagefile
Or, you can use PageDefrag and it, as well as a few other system files that cannot normally be defragged, will be defragged all the time anyway.
Well, ok, you can go through elaborate processes and countless reboots or use strange third-party tools I've never even heard of, or you can just keep it in a separate partition! Not to mention the sheer joy of ignoring Windows's warnings against turning off the swap file on the system partition!
Nobody even tried to answer my question about whether Windows would be smart enough to efficiently take advantage of me having one swapfile on each physical drive... Should I assume there's probably not much in it?
I wouldn't expect a chimp to know how to operate an airliner. So I certainly wouldn't expect Windows to do anything clever either
PageDefrag does not give elaborate anything... It just makes sure that the pagefile is defragged when Windows starts up, thats all.
the first time it does it, it may take a short while depending on the size of the PF and the speed of the HD etc, but after that, job done, it takes less than half a second to do about 10 different files ( Not counted them though )
As for the advantage of having it on diferent drives, I have read that it does indeed have a quick peek at whether one drive or another is currently being accessed, and it does try to use the drive thats under least use, but to be honest, unless your PC is a heavily stressed celeron, the way windows uses the page file, is very efficient so you wont see a major boost... Not really.
I do it purely to spread the load over all my drives... I am not really sure if there is any real benefit from just chucking the lot onto a single drive, its more for me than the PC, and I think having it one one partition is also more beneficial to the user than the PC itself.
Theres one alternate solution that i haven't heard anybody put forward with regards to what to do with the swap file, and that is, disable it.
32-bit Windows can only address up to 4GB of virtual memory, virtual memory of course being your physical memory + whatever you have for pagefile. The virtual memory manager swaps things out of the page file and physical memory as and when requried by applications. This split is invisible to any applications running on the machine.
Now what if you run your system with 4GB or RAM and disable the page file. Theoretically there will be no more page swapping and therefore increased performance. Thats what i'm aiming to do with my next build, 4GB of RAM (which is shockingly expensive) and no page file. Of course this theory breaks down with 64-bit Windows which can address a number of terabytes of memory.
Regardless, turning off the page file if you have enough memory should lead to faster system performance.
Now i have no experience of doing this as yet as i haven't got my new system built, nor have i heard this theory from anywhere else but i do know that the underlying logic is correct.
What do you think
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