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Best (optimal) PC configuration with my hardware components?

Posted on 2004-10-29
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Last Modified: 2010-04-03
Hello everyone,

I am in the process of reconfiguring my hardware in my computer.  I have the following:

- 1 160GB 8MB cache 7200RPM
- 1 DVD-ROM / CD-RW combo
- 1 DVD-RW
- 2 80GB 8MB cache 7200RPM (RAID-0) on a separate PCI controller (Adaptec 1200ATA)
- 1 80GB 8MB removable drive via IDE tray
- 1 5GB Tape Drive <--- THIS ONE DOES NOT HAVE TO BE INSTALLED

I want to know the best setup in this circumstance.  I cannot install anymore PCI IDE controllers because there's no more room as all my slots are taken up.

I do a lot of video editing using the Matrox RT.X100 Xtreme system.

The system up I have right now is the following:

IDE1:
- 160GB (master)

C: OS / SOFTWARE (APPS&GAMES) (20GB) <--- SWAPFILE ON THIS DRIVE
D: DOCUMENTS (70GB)
E: PROGRAMMING FILES (70GB)

- 80GB (slave) <--- THIS IS THE REMOVABLE DRIVE

F: SCRATCH DISK / DOWNLOADS / ETC.

IDE2:
- DVD-RW (master)
- DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo (slave)

RAID CONTROLLER:
- 2 80GB on a RAID=0

G: VIDEO AND AUDIO FILES FOR VIDEO EDITING


My other questions are:

1. Is the partition setup work fine?
2. Should the swap file have its own partition?
3. Is it better to have a partition separate for software installs from the OS?


Please let me know as soon as possible, as I'd like to get my system back up and running soon.

Thanks in advance,
--= m a b a i t =--
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Question by:Mabait
    14 Comments
     
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    Expert Comment

    by:virtuoso1
    Put the swap file on a separate drive with alot of free space, or that is virtually unused--you will get the best performance this way.

    The swap file doesnt nessasrily need its own partition, it just needs to be moved on to the drive that is being used the least/with adequate free space.

    The software will integrate itself into OS through the registry.  It should be on the same partition as the OS.
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    LVL 16

    Expert Comment

    by:samccarthy
    - 1 160GB 8MB cache 7200RPM
    - 1 DVD-ROM / CD-RW combo
    - 1 DVD-RW
    - 2 80GB 8MB cache 7200RPM (RAID-0) on a separate PCI controller (Adaptec 1200ATA)
    - 1 80GB 8MB removable drive via IDE tray
    - 1 5GB Tape Drive <--- THIS ONE DOES NOT HAVE TO BE INSTALLED

    I want to know the best setup in this circumstance.  I cannot install anymore PCI IDE controllers because there's no more room as all my slots are taken up.

    I do a lot of video editing using the Matrox RT.X100 Xtreme system.

    The system up I have right now is the following:

    IDE1:
    - 160GB (master)

    C: OS / SOFTWARE (APPS&GAMES) (20GB) <--- SWAPFILE ON THIS DRIVE
    D: DOCUMENTS (70GB)
    E: PROGRAMMING FILES (70GB)

    - 80GB (slave) <--- THIS IS THE REMOVABLE DRIVE

    F: SCRATCH DISK / DOWNLOADS / ETC.

    IDE2:
    - DVD-RW (master)
    - DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo (slave)

    RAID CONTROLLER:
    - 2 80GB on a RAID=0

    G: VIDEO AND AUDIO FILES FOR VIDEO EDITING


    My other questions are:

    1. Is the partition setup work fine?
    2. Should the swap file have its own partition?
    3. Is it better to have a partition separate for software installs from the OS?

    This is a personal preference type of thing.  Your DVD and Combo Drives are fine as are your 80gb drives on the RAID 0 Array.  You have an nice fast Drive for your OS.  

    What I personally would do is leave the 160gb drive as 1 large drive and just make a directory for Documents and Programming.  I believe you would get better use of your space that way.  As for the Swap File.  The general rule of thumb is that if you are doing a lot of swapping to disk, as virtuso1 said, put it on a seperate drive with alot of free space.  That is the best bet if you want the absolute best performance and you would want the fastest drive possible.

    You never mentioned memory.  You can still get great performance out of your swap file on your C drive.   Heres's how.  When you rebuild the machine, set your pagefile to about 3 times the physical memory.  So, if you have 512mb or Ram, your pagefile by default will be 512 - 1536.  Make both the minimum and maximum 1536.  This will statically set the pagefile which reduces system load as it is not dynamically changing and once created, it won't get fragmented like a dynamic file will.

    Memory is always great to have, the more the better.  Other things you can do....  Split the pagefile over drives.  You can put part on the Raid 0 Array and part on the C drive.  Between me, you and the fencepost, I believe that you would not be able to see a difference between putting it on the C drive and somewhere else with what you are doing.
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    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    by:jainyc
    I think your swap file should be on the fastest drive.  
    I also put programs files on a separate partition from the OS to reduce fragemtation associated with installing and uninstallling programs.  
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    LVL 16

    Expert Comment

    by:samccarthy
    Sorry about the copy of your question when I wrote my answer.  I forgot to delete that part when I submitted.  Please skip down to my answer in the response above.
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    Author Comment

    by:Mabait
    Woops, thought I wrote out the specs of my computer:

    AMD Athlon XP 2500+ Barton
    1GB DDR
    EpoX Motherboard

    What else would you need to know?

    I was told from a friend that generally you shouldn't have two hard drives on the same IDE controller.

    So, what he was suggesting is that I do the following:

    IDE1:
    - 160GB (master)
    - DVD-RW (slave)

    IDE2:
    - 80GB (master)
    - DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo (slave)

    and then the RAID-0.

    I wanted to know if that would be better?  No one suggested doing that, so I'm not sure.

    The reason why I want to partition is so that if anything, I can just reinstall the OS and programs without interrupting my data because to back it up and move them to the other drives is a real pain.

    Thanks again.
    0
     

    Expert Comment

    by:zoidbergman
    If i were you, I'd have a partitioned harddrive, with one sector booting into windows and the other booting into linux... That way, if windows pukes on you, you can call up the penguin.
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    Author Comment

    by:Mabait
    zoidbergman: i had that kind of system before, but i never ever went into linux.
    0
     

    Expert Comment

    by:zoidbergman
    *raises hands* I surrender! This is, after all, an advice forum, is it not? If you don't want to do that, set up raid, raid 0.
    0
     

    Author Comment

    by:Mabait
    zoidbergman: i do have a RAID-0 system.  :D  maybe you don't understand what i'm asking exactly.  i have 4 hard drives and two cd burners.  1 of them is a 160GB, and the other 3 are 80GB.  I'm taking 2 of the 80GB to be the RAID-0, and then i have the other two hard drives (160GB  and another 80GB), I'm just asking what is the optimal pc configuration in my case.

    should the two hard drives (160GB and 80GB) be on one IDE controller and the 2 burners on the second IDE controller

    OR

    is it better to have it so that each IDE controller has a hard drive and a burner?


    as well, the other question is where is the best place to put the swapfile?  on the drive with the OS, on the raid drives?

    i hope i made what I'm asking a bit clearer.  i'm not looking into have a dual boot system.

    thanks in advance.
    0
     
    LVL 16

    Accepted Solution

    by:
    If you want to keep the partitions, then that's fine.  You have a good scheme here and as you said, you can just dump the documents, etc., right back where they came from.

    As far as the Hard Drive placement, your friend is mistaken.  Putting faster devices and slower devices on the Same IDE cable will tend to slow down the whole IDE process on that cable.  IDE can only do 1 thing at a time basically and if you are going say, from the CD Rom to the Hard drive, now you have effectively slowed that down to the speed of the CD Rom.  What is recommended is that you have like devices on the same controller.  Many motherboards now come with the 2 IDE Channels.  Usually the Primary is Blue for UDMA 100 or 133 speeds utilizing the 80 wire cable and the Secondary is for UDMA 33 and below utilizing the older 40 pin.

    Keep your drives on the same controller and the slower DVD/CD Roms on the Secondary controller.
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    Expert Comment

    by:samccarthy
    Oh, and for the pagefile size for your ram, 3072, both for minimum and maximum.
    0
     

    Author Comment

    by:Mabait
    Thanks samccarthy.  Your comment is exactly the same thing I was thinking, but I wanted to double check.

    Last question for you, would the placement of the pagefile matter?  

    My extra 80GB drive is one of those that is connect via IDE but is removable, so I don't want to put the swap file there.  Leave on OS or place on the RAID drive?  I've been reading lots of articles since I posted this and they sort of all say to have the pagefile on physically different drive and leaving maybe 30 on the OS drive.  But I just don't know if putting it on my RAID drive (using it for video editting) is better than the OS.
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    Author Comment

    by:Mabait
    I found these two articles and other like this, which all tell me that to put the pagefile on the RAID-0.

    http://www.petri.co.il/pagefile_optimization.htm
    "If you have a RAID-0 (Stripe Set) array, use it to store the pagefile."

    http://www.winnetmag.com/Article/ArticleID/14507/14507.html
    "Remember the more disk heads, the better performance so moving your page file to a RAID 0 disk arrangement would give excellent performance (RAID 0 is a stripe set without parity)"

    Thanks for your help, samccarthy.
    --= m a b a i t =--
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    Expert Comment

    by:samccarthy
    Putting the pagefile on the RAID0 Array would eek the most performance, unless the files on that array was causing the paging.  Soooooo, if loading up the files on the RAID 0 Array caused the paging, I would put say 1.5 -2gb on your C drive and 1.5-2gb on your removable.  If those files were not causing the paging, then I would put the whole 3072 on the Raid Array.
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