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Partitions and Video Editing - A No-No

Jun 1, 2010 7:45 AM

Tags: #hdd #hard_drive #video_editing #partitions

The use of partitioning of HDD’s (Hard Disk Drives) is a hold-over from decades ago, when the OS’s could not see large HDD’s. This is now not a problem, up to 2TB.


Partitioning basically tells the OS that one has more physical HDD’s, than are actually available. The OS will now call for read/writes simultaneously, not realizing that it’s dealing with only one physical HDD. One of the first laws of physics is that an object cannot be in two places at the same time. In this case, it is the heads over different places on the platters at the same time. The OS expects this, and gets very confused, when there is a big hold up.


Partitions slow down the transfer of data and by a very large amount. They also cause much more wear and tear on a HDD, leading to premature failure. Because the data is spread much more with partitions, than if it had been written to a defragmented single HDD, even just the process of moving the heads is amplified - they must now travel over much larger distances, than without the partitions. This also leads to increased heat production, affecting everything in the case.


Especially with video editing, one wants to spread out the HDD workload (the work of the I/O subsystem) as much as is possible, and this spread needs to be over physical HDD’s and not logical HDD’s. That is why having more than one physical (very  important) HDD is highly recommended. Two physical HDD’s is a start, three is better, and four would be excellent. This allows one to spread the workload over multiple HDD’s, increasing usable throughput.


The only reasons in this day and age, to use partitions, would be for system backup, or dual-boot setups. In the first, one would have a tiny partition holding an image of the OS, but this would not be accessed during normal work. The same would be for a dual-boot system, as one would have the programs installed on each partition for their respective OS’s. Both partitions would not be accessed at the same time.


Partitions are best done away with, especially if one wishes to have good I/O performance, longer HDD life, and a cooler case.



  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 1, 2010 8:05 AM   in reply to Bill Hunt

    Well stated Bill. I second this.


    I would like to summarize your statements in two major statements:


    Partitioning does...


    1. NOT increase performance and


    2. DOES increase wear and tear, reducing disk life.

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    Jun 18, 2011 5:20 PM   in reply to Bill Hunt

    Thanks for all that info, most of which I'm familiar with. Though, I've never heard of people trying to split the workload between different drives. While I agree it causes more platter damage when using one HDD, the speed increases would be microseconds if the drives aren't all high RPM or solid state. It sounds like a RAID setup may even be beneficial. The issue I have is when you run 3-4 HDDs your power supply will need to be a 1000 watt to keep up, especially with a dedicated video card. Which means my electricity bill goes up $10/month haha. My mother board won't even support this many SATA connections so I have to rethink a lot before I plan how to upgrade the old puter. A new MB is probably in order. Thanks everyone. More to think about!!

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    Jul 1, 2011 1:21 AM   in reply to Bill Hunt

    hi Bill and all.


    Can anyone help me to reconnect my partitioned laptop without losing my CS5 which is installed on it.


    I am using a a 64 bit Dell Studio 1558 w/an i7 1.8gGhz processor and 8Gigs of ram, Windows 7 Home Premium. It was partitioned by a Dell technitian duding the installment of the OS. CLearly this was a mistake because I am having issues re saving files, so am considering to reconnect the partitions, I do NOT have any documentation to do with partitioning software (re: and I am concerned that reconnecting the partition may erase or damage CS5.




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    Dec 18, 2012 9:44 AM   in reply to Bill Hunt

    Message 3 in says that removing a partition cured a crashing problem

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