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Opinions on this hard disk/partition layout?


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8 replies to this topic

#1 of 9 OFFLINE   Brett_H

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Posted January 04 2002 - 06:59 AM

I'm getting ready to put together my "new" system this weekend, and I'd like some input on my device layout. I'm going to have at my disposal the following components:
Two ATA33 IDE channels on the motherboard
Two ATA100 IDE channels on a Promise controller card
Compaq CD drive
Yamaha CD-RW drive
Western Digital 40 GB 7200 RPM ATA100 drives (2)
Seagate 5400 RPM 8 GB ATA33 drive

I'm going for the best overall speed that I can get, along with the best performance when extracting large compressed files to .wav and when burning said .wav files to CDR. Here's what I was thinking:

IDE Channel 1MasterYamaha
IDE Channel 1Slave-
IDE Channel 2MasterSeagate 8 GB
IDE Channel 2SlaveCompaq CD
Promise Channel 1MasterWD 40 GB #1
Promise Channel 1Slave-
Promise Channel 2MasterWD 40 GB #2
Promise Channel 2Slave-

Here's my reasoning:
Keep OS (Win2K Pro) and Data separate.
Keep devices on different IDE channels when possible
Fast drives on fast IDE channels
Keep OS and Pagefile on different physical drives
Keep compressed data and expansion directory on different high speed drives (for .shn/.mp3 -> wav decompression)
Keep expanded .wav files on a different physical drive than the OS
Allow for drive imaging of OS drive (Powerquest Drive Image or Norton Ghost?)

With that in mind, I was going to partition things this way:

WD 30 GB #1:
C:4 GBWindows 2000
D:36 GBData (.mp3's, .shn's, etc.)


WD 30 GB #2:
E:38.8 GBApplications (including source .wav direcory for CD burning.)
X:1.2 GBWindows pagefile (allow for 2x potential RAM = ~1.2 GB)


Seagate 8 GB:
F:8 GBArchives (drive images, etc)


Thoughts? I'm not planning a dual-boot setup anytime soon. Seems to me that's about as optimized as I can get.

Thanks!
-Brett.

#2 of 9 OFFLINE   Nick L

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Posted January 04 2002 - 08:14 AM

Does your promise card do RAID? If so its the best way to hook up your two WD HD's. RAID 0 will give you twice the performance of a single drive. Though you will have to have both HD's as one partition, but that won't matter. You can read up on RAID here . For converting say mp3's to wav's it is so incredibly fast, I can convert 20 songs via winamp, in about 2 minutes. I have an IDE RAID controller built into my mobo(Abit KT7-RAID) and 2 20gig 7200rpm ata 100 drives and win2k pro. Your existing setup for connections looks good, you'll just have the two WD HD's RAIDed together.
On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.

#3 of 9 OFFLINE   Brett_H

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Posted January 04 2002 - 08:36 AM

Nick,

Nope, no RAID for me yet, although it is a tempting idea since I do a LOT of work with large files (50-100 MB .wav files) and I just happen to have a pair of identical drives... wonder if any of the software RAID solutions are worth looking into?

-Brett.

#4 of 9 OFFLINE   Nick L

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Posted January 04 2002 - 09:24 AM

Windows 2000 has its own software RAID support. Would probably work for you.
On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.

#5 of 9 OFFLINE   Ryan Smrha

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Posted January 04 2002 - 01:00 PM

Just wanted to second the comment about software raid 0 in windows. It works great! I also uncompress large .shn files and the increase in speed when using software raid is significant.

#6 of 9 OFFLINE   Brett_H

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Posted January 04 2002 - 01:22 PM

Ryan,

Questions regarding your experiences with .shn decompression:
Can you give me an idea of how much improvement RAID 0 made?
What's the rest of your system (processor, RAM, etc.) like? Mine's an AMD K62-500, so it's not a speed demon, but it gets the job done.
For reference, I did some tests on my current setup with a single 5400 RPM drive: it extracted 347 MB of compressed .shns into 620 MB of .wavs in 5 minutes 50 seconds. What kind of improvement could I expect from RAID? From just the 7200 RPM drive alone?

Off topic: what types of .shn's are we talking about? What groups?

I'm still a bit worried about giving up 40 extra GB to implement this. Can anyone give me before and after numbers for the same system?

Thanks!
-Brett.

#7 of 9 OFFLINE   Hugh M

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Posted January 04 2002 - 03:43 PM

with RAID 0 you don't lose any space. It joins the two drives together and uses them as one. The data isn't on the drives sequentially but sort of alternates between the two physical disks. This is why it can be much faster, because both controllers/disks are being used at the same time to store and access the info.

From what I have heard software raid in windows 2000 works rather well. I use an onboard Raid chip and it is actually software as welll. Some add-on cards use hardware RAID which can perform better. But for the most part the onboard RAID chips on some motherboards and the software RAID feature in windows 2000 don't really differ at all.

only thing I would recommend is making sure you back up your system regularly when using RAID 0. It does present higher odds for data loss, than with regular IDE setups.

and you can have different partitions with RAID. Maybe this is different with the windows raid feature? I don't know but on my system when i join two drives for RAID 0, it appears to the system as I just installed a hard drive of the combined size. everything else from that point on is the same. so it is just as easy to make two partitions or more....as far as whether or not putting the swap file and OS on different partitions on a raid 0 volume makes any difference? I don't know. My guess is that when you join your two drives together with RAID 0 seperate partitions won't have any performance increase but are better for organization, and ghosting. But you will notice the speed increase for sure. Everything is much faster. defragging drives isn't an all day project anymore.

one example is that in Sandra I can remember my hard drive benchmarking scores being at least 50% higher than with standard IDE hookup. who knows what that means in real world improvement.
Thanks

DVD Pile

#8 of 9 OFFLINE   Ryan Smrha

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Posted January 05 2002 - 08:02 AM

Brett,
Here's the best I can do to give you an idea of performance:
System:
1.4 G Athlon-C
ECS K7S5A motherboard
256 MB Crucial PC2100 ram

Using 368 MB of shn files for the test:
Maxtor 20 Gig 7200 rpm IDE ATA66- 2 minute, 35 seconds to decompress.
2x Maxtor 40 Gig 7200 rpm IDE ATA100 in software raid0- 1 minute, 5 seconds.

Hope that helps. I certainly think it's worth doing.

Here's how to do the raid setup

Here's my list of shn's

#9 of 9 OFFLINE   Brett_H

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Posted January 05 2002 - 12:18 PM

Ryan,

Thanks for the link! Unfortunately, this page makes me think this won't work in my setup:
Quote:
So far, everything sounds very promising. However, we found that there is no way to run Windows 2000 itself on a software RAID array.


I want to be able to run Win2K from one of the high speed drives, so I can't do RAID at this point.

-Brett.

PS - Nice list. Here's mine. Let me know if you're interested in anything...




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