Best drive configuration?

My system is XP Pro SP2 running on an old Abit BX6R2 motherboard (bios version QR). I have 785 M RAM and a P3 850 processor. I currently have my drives set up as follows:

2 Seagate 80 G harddrives running on an ATA133 add-on card, both on primary channel of card (not RAIDed). First drive is system, second is storage and backups.

Memorex CDR drive and Maddog DVD/CDR drive running on the motherboard's built in secondary IDE controller (ATA66 I believe). Built in Primary IDE controller is disabled.

What, if any, changes should I make to the way I have my drives set up and why? Looking for best blend of performance and reliability and I need to retain the ability to boot from CD without making internal changes (that's why the ATAPI devices are not on the add-on controller).

Thanks for advice!
capttomAsked:
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dmoxCommented:
Make the drives on differnet controllers.  It will always be faster for the PC to communicate on two seperate buses then one.  Put the slower devices on the Onboad controller (CDROM, DVDROM, whatever).  If you're looking for great performance, but no redundancy then set your Hard drives as Raid 0.  This will allow you computers to use both drives as one hard drive and double the performance.  However, since it's acting as one drive if you lose one you will lose all your data.

There's lots of things you can do on the software side to, like updated drivers for your chipset, video card and network adapter.  Making sure that there's no spyware running and keeping the startup as clean as possible (Disable MSN Messanger for example and load it when you need it).  

Hope that helps!
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capttomAuthor Commented:
So you think I should put each drive on its own controller? Something like this:

First drive on Primary channel of card
Second drive on Secondary channel of card
CDR on onboard primary
DVD on onboard secondary

Makes for a lot of cables. You think that would offer noticable performance increases?

I don't want to RAID the HDs, I need the redundancy above all.
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dmoxCommented:
For best performance, yes.  Putting each device on it's own controller would give the best throughput.  However, it's usually not the BEST option because of the lack of upgradability and the clutter in the case.  It should be fine to cascade the DVD and CDROM drives on the same channel.  If you're doing CD to CD copies you'll get a performance increase if they are on sepearte channels though.
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capttomAuthor Commented:
OK, so your recomendation is to put the harddrives on the card on seperate channels and leave the ATAPI devices as they are?  I don't do much CD copying so that's not an issue.

Is there any difference if they are on the primary or secondary onboard connector?
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dmoxCommented:
Yes, that would work just fine.  Personally, when I setup my own home PC, I put the Hard drives on the primary controller and the CDRom on the secondary.  Usually, I just have the HDD on it's own controller by itself to get the most performance out of it.  You're talking nano seconds, but it's enough to give it an extra kick.  

As for the CD Roms you should put them on the primary of the Onboard.  It doesn't really matter which, but it's cleaner if they are on the primary.
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MadAd1Commented:
Well I cant deny that having the drives on a seperate bus may speed transfer of data between them, when you are simultaniously reading or writing to one or other of the drives using a seperate process.  Moving files while your p2p comes in is not an unusual scenario but the performance increases are so small its hardly worth the time thinking about it, never mind actually re-wiring it all.

My main worry is that poor old 6.2s pci bus and the potential saturation that may occur at full tilt, I had one, they are great boards but only were made with udma33 (which is why you have an add in card of course) but unless you have a specific need that its not being satisfied by your current setup then why change at all? Its perfectly fine as it is, especially when you answer yourself that you are not doing much cd copying.

Your just getting bored with it eh? :)
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capttomAuthor Commented:
Yea, I really need a new mobo but funds just don't allow that right now. Its been a great board though, ran my 850 rock solid at 1 G for 4 years, from Win 98 through XP Pro. Only problem was a RAM stick that went out about a month ago.

I'm going to go ahead and accept DMOZ's answer. I have the drives set up that way now and it seems to be working well.

Thanks for your time guys!
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dmoxCommented:
Why change it at all?  Video games!  In video games nano seconds count!  In a computer that uses Microsoft Word and Email all day, then yes I would say don't bother.  But for video games every nano second of performance you can gain is a life saver.
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