troubleshooting Question

Best arrangement of 3 IDE channels

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expert_wannabe asked on
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My desktop is set up as follows:

PIII-800 Gateway
20 GB drive - master, primary IDE channel on the motherboard; contains system files
6 GB drive - slave, primary IDE channel on the motherboard; contains MP3s
CD-ROM drive - master, secondary IDE channel on the motherboard
40 GB drive - master, primary IDE channel on separate PCI IDE card (which in turn is partitioned into two parts, smaller one for swap files and doc backups and the bigger one for other data such as movies)

I actually wanted to connect the 40 GB drive to the secondary IDE channel on the motherboard, but that would have made it *really* difficult to connect the CD-ROM drive to the PCI IDE card because the cable was not long enough that would interfere with my plan to perhaps add an old drive or another CD-ROM drive to the secondary IDE channel.

Basically, I chose this rather weird/complex arrangement because I wanted to optimize the hard drive access time - I read that it is best to place most-frequently accessed drives in separate channels.

The problem is, it takes the computer longer than I anticipated in getting to the file, especially those in the 40 GB hard drive connected through the PCI IDE card.  For example, if I am using Word (files accessible through primary motherboard channel) and all of a sudden decide that I want to listen to some MP3s I created previous day that are saved in that 40 GB hard drive, it takes some time to the point where I actually see the hourglass - which didn't happen when I didn't have this arrangement.

To summarize, I'm looking for the best way to match the hard drives/CD-ROM with the IDE channels.  My instinct tells me that I should switch the 40 GB from the PCI IDE card to the secondary channel on the motherboard.  How wrong am I?  Is there a way to optimize through software, and if so, where could I find them?

Thanks in advanced to everyone who reviewed my weird problem.
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