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Thread: Extra hard drive or partitions?

  1. #1

    Default Extra hard drive or partitions?

    HI guys.

    Perhaps you can help.

    I've read throughout these forums that having your os and applications on a separate hard drive from your media and editing stuff can significantly speed up rendering times.

    My question is:
    Would a partitioned 1TB hard drive say, 100gig for os and apps, and 900 gig for media do the same job as two separate 500GB hard drives?

    I have to justify the extra hard drive to my boss, as he is buying us a new machine (finally)!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Bellmawr NJ



    yeah if you can get the hard drive, do that. Any extra space is always welcomed. Your right thought, splitting the hard drive into those 2 partitions as you explained, will do the trick ( like having two drives) .The rule of thumb is to never go below 20% on your boot partition where you keep you operating system. If you do all operating system at this point will slow down or may start causing problems in general. I have been below 20% but I always free up the drive for a lot of reasons. Some say it helps with the life of the drive and over all functionality.

    Screen shot 2010-10-28 at 1.28.51 AM.png
    the picture is of my current devices.

    The "install,snow leopard 2 and wd mini" is the same 500gb drive in 3 partitions. I do have my render folder on WD mini but never really seen an increase in render time, its about the same. This drive it connected via firewire 800. An increase my happen if you get a drive with eSata which is just "stupid" fast, and yes I'm lacking of a better word. The only thing is you need a computer that can harness this speed. eSata is 3gb/sec I believe, but i don't think any computer could handle that type of transfer yet.

    hope this help, i just joined and hope it helps.


  3. #3


    The point of having two hard drives is to speed up the activity of the disks so if you partition one disk that disk is still having to work at reading and writing just as hard as it would if it wasn't partitioned. So I would say having two physically different drives would be faster than one partitioned drive.

    Apart from the fans, the disks are the only moving part inside a computer the heads have to physically move to different areas of the disk to read it. So if you have two disks this would be faster than one disk split into two. I'm sure there are other considerations such as how the computer communicates with the disk and how it sorts out the information it's getting but that's far to complicated for me try and understand.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Surrey, UK
    Blog Entries


    Midnight is absolutely correct. Partitioning a drive will have no effect on performance becuse of both the reasons he suggests: head movement and the potential data transfer limiations.
    I an ideal world youll have you OS on one disk, your source media on another (or others), your rendered output on another and your page file on yet another.

    However whilst kmarchese is totally wrong about two partitions having the same effect as two hard drives, he/she is correct that given the speed of current hard drives and the data bus you may not see any difference.

  5. #5


    Thanks Tim and Midnight, and to Kevin as well for taking the time to reply, it is much appreciated.

    Tim, if you get a minute can you explain about "page file"? That's not something i've come across before in my (admittedly limited) experience.

    Thanks again.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Bellmawr NJ


    No problem salfordonline. Yes I agree, obviously 2 drives is better always, and I said that ( get the drive if you can) every editor works with two drives ( int and ext). since you only had one 1tb drive I would probably partition it. It's "like having two drives" no increase in speed from it,but in the fact that you can install two operating systems if you'd like, or subdividing it anyway you'd like later and keeping your render files away from boot. Keeping your media away from your boot partition is always advised.

    hope this clears things up,

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    North Wales


    Computers have been a hobby of mine since 1980 – building and assisting family, friends, business associates and members in computer clubs etc. – I have been familiar with the old dos systems – Windows 3, 3.1, 3.11, 95, 98, Millenium, some NT versions and XP Pro – didn’t like Vista and don’t feel the need to fork out on Windows 7 at the moment.
    I have been formatting drives, probably since Windows 95 seriously, so have some experience but not too technical.
    I have always recommended that all drives containing the boot system should be partitioned into at least 3 partitions – whether a basic system or Raid.
    1. The operating system in C: (first partition)
    2. All programs in D: (second Partition) – care is needed when loading programs for the first time to ensure you choose the options early on so that you can load the programs into D:
    3. Other stuff in E: (third partition)
    C: should contain the operating system only – probably at least three times the recommended size required by the operating system in use. This will allow the operating system to operate at it’s optimum - working in a small area giving and giving you a standard speed of the system throughout the life of the drive. If and when the drive goes down, and it will, 99 times out of a 100 the other stuff on E: will be retrievable by putting the drive into a working system. The only difference with raid system, if that goes down, is that you will have to put the two raid drives into a similar system which is using the same drivers i.e. if your system uses a Silicon Raid driver it has to be put into a Silicon Raid system – similarly a system using Nvidia Raid drivers has to be put into an Nvidia Raid system. To date I have never failed to retrieve data for others, either in basic systems or Raid and believe you me I have done more than a few over the years, probably over the 50 mark.
    You can use discarded smaller (working) drives for the page file depending on the size of page file required but I would never use any with less than 7200rpm otherwise or you will be compromising your overall speed somehow.
    D: should be used only for the programs you use – ensure you set the size of the partition to say about a third to double the size of the total programs you are likely to sue – this gives you a safe margin to play with.
    E: can then be used for anything else.
    But for video editing systems, Raid 0 and separate drives will obviously speed things up.
    You will also notice that defragging your C: and D: drives will be a pleasant experience as it will be competed quite quickly keeping your working system in pristine condition.
    My latest development was the purchase of a 60gb Corsair Solid State Drive for my C: and D: drives instead of Raid 0. I partitioned this as a 40gb C: drive for Windows XP and the remaining 20gb as D: for programs. Once the motherboard has posted the screen bounces and there is Windows XP loaded. Then I have 5 separate drives for capturing, previews, sound, data, Outlook personal.pst etc. Looking forward to trying eSata in the future.
    I swear by partitioning and if you are not sure what to do, take the cables out of your existing hard drives, find an old hard drive and have a play. You will enjoy your success.
    I hope this has helped some of the members who are not too sure and any experienced member I would be happy to receive feedback if you think I have got anything wrong. John. Ps. How do I remove Junior Member from my profile?

  8. #8


    Thanks for the info John. Whilst I agree with every thing you said, I think more emphasis should be put on the fact that two separate drives will operate faster than one, for video editing.

    The junior status will automatically change when you make more posts. I've forgotten how many.

    It's always good to have a computer "expert" on the forum.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    North Wales


    two separate drives will operate faster than one, for video editing.

    Most definitely, perhaps I should have put in more emphasis on the "But for video editing systems, Raid 0 and separate drives will obviously speed things up"

    No expert, by the way, just experienced - I don't think I have come across an expert yet. Computing is too vast.
    thanks for the feedback, I don;t have a lot of time to post stuff - I thought it might be after
    a certain number os posts but also wondered whether I had put the wrong age in or something. Cheers, John

  10. #10


    format A:
    CD C:\Pictures
    copy pic1.gif /a:

    All that to copy a picture onto a floppy.

    I remember DOS days but not very well. I'm glad windows came along though.

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