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09-09-2010, 08:17 AM
manthing manthing is offline
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usually i'm doing a number of things on my pc, eg:

downloading files
encoding dvds
authoring dvds
editing pictures in photoshop

the question is, what is the best way to setup my hard drives to handle all those things?

i have 3 hard drives currently.

should all the software and data i'm using be on 1 hard drive or spread over the 3 drives?

the reason i ask this is that some software, eg photoshop, need a "scratch area", which is normally another drive with lots of free space. so if i spread all my software & data over the 3 drives, then all 3 drives will have good areas of free space and hence i could get photoshop to use all 3 drives for its scratch needs.

i also think that if i spread the load on all 3 drives, then i'll get maximum throughput / performance from my system. my thinking is that each drive can do its own thing independently, eg 1 drive for authoring dvd, 1 for encoding and 1 for downloading and photoshop etc.

so, does all that making sense?
does that configuartion actually make my system have a better throughput?

and if so, will it be "much" better than just having 1 drive with everything going on?

or am i deluding myself about hard drive configurations?
does all the above really come down to cpu & ram?

i have a amd 2.7 GHz dual core cpu.
and 3 GHz of ram running at 800 MHz.

i don't have enough money to upgrade the hardware at the moment.
hence, am thinking of ways of maximising my existing system.

so, over to the hardware gurus...
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10-05-2010, 06:00 AM
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Are you using all SATA drives? If so, then drive layout is not as important as it had been in the IDE (PATA, or parallel ATA, or non-serial ATA) days.

Ideally, you want to never have source and target on the same drive, if avoidable. Encode video on a D:\ drive, for example, to a new file on the E:\ drive. It's also best to never have anything large or "media" (photos, videos) on the same drive as the operating system.

This also assume the OS is putting its temp/swap files on the C:\ OS drive. Check for that. It's not much help if, for example, Photoshop is storing its cache on the D:\ drive when all your photos/images are also on D:\ -- that doesn't help speed up Photoshop use as much as putting it on another drive. I suggest C:\ for that.

For IDE, not only should data have been on different drives in the IDE days, but on separate IDE channels. Motherboards generally only had two IDE channels, so more advanced video computers (like mine) often needed PCI expansion cards to add more IDE channels.

It always comes down to bottlenecking of data. Sometimes that happens are CPU or RAM, yes, but sometimes it is most definitely an issue of the drives.

Drive cache, drivers, motherboard hardware/software, drive speeds, and other related issues can also impact drive performance. For example, I have one computer that works perfectly when burning DVDs, any IDE channel, while another will only burn well from the SATA connection.

Hope that helps. If further questions, ask.

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10-06-2010, 02:19 AM
manthing manthing is offline
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looks like i'll just have to live with the bottlenecks for now.

i tell you what'll be great... something like 20 or 30 GB of fastest available RAM.

boot up PC, load the whole OS & pagefile into RAM.
similarly with all software, even memory hungry Photoshop.

then, even if i'm editing a 8 GB video, i can do the whole thing in a virtual, RAM based, hard drive.

of course, this will be expensive and power hungry.
but it'll make PC work so much smoother.

Last edited by manthing; 10-06-2010 at 02:31 AM.
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10-06-2010, 02:32 AM
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Much like DVD-RW, DVD+RW, DVD-RAM and CompactFlash cards, SSD should be considered a temporary storage format only. There is some limited success using SSD as the OS drive, swap file drive, RAM drive or even RAID-arrayed SQL drive, but that's really about it. None of those uses really speak to what you're looking to do right now.

SSD may become more reliable in the future, but it's not likely to be anytime soon.

I find the biggest bottleneck to be USB2 hard drives. I would ditch as many of those as possible, in favor of Firewire 400/800 or eSATA drives. The USB disks tend to lag on the OS really badly, at least on my system that has about a half dozen drives attached. Nothing sucks more than waiting 10-30 seconds while all of the drives spin up, simply because it's time to save my project, and it calls all drives to "come to life" so that I may pick the proper drive. None of the eSATA or Firewire react as sluggish as the USB2 drives. But this is a rather unique scenario. And in defense of USB2, it's also on a rather outdated P4 3Ghz system.

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