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.
Well stated Bill. I second this.
I would like to summarize your statements in two major statements:
1. NOT increase performance and
2. DOES increase wear and tear, reducing disk life.
Another possible issue with partitioned HDD's is that both logical HDD's (the partitions) will have the same drive S/N, and this can confuse many programs. This Adobe KB Article gives a bit more background.
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!!
You are correct about needing an adequately sized PSU. That is often a weak link, when one takes a regurlar home computer and then adapts it to do video editing. The PSU's on those are usually sized to power one HDD, one multi-drive and a low-performing GPU.
What can often happen is that one will start getting BSOD shut downs, as the minimal PSU fails at some level. PSU issues are probably just behind heat build-up and bad RAM, as a cause of a BSOD on the hardware side of things.
As for the bottleneck where one has a single, partitioned HDD, is that the OS and the program can time out, waiting for the heads to move all over the platters. The OS sees the partitions as physical HDD's, so issues commands, expecting a certain latency in response, but when that expected timing is exceeded by 10x to 100x, the OS sees it as "Not Responding." Though relatively short by human timing standards, just a few extra milliseconds can be a big problem in computer timing.
Good luck, and yes, the power bills WILL go up.
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: http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/404/kb404560.html) and I am concerned that reconnecting the partition may erase or damage CS5.
Now, if that partition was done to provide you with a system recovery, then it will be quite small, and will also not be in use, when editing. It is just a small area, containing that recovery volume. If that is the case, I would leave it. Several computer mfgrs. do this, rather than provide a recovery DVD.
As for a safe method of altering partitioning, I once used Partition Magic. Back then, it was a stand-alone program, and worked very well. I never experienced any issue with it. However, since I last used it, it was acquired by Norton/Symantec. I have zero experience with the Norton/Symantec version, and cannot even comment whether it is still being offered. Perhaps others can recommend either it, or an alternative. I have not needed to remove a partition in many years, so just do not know what is currently available.
I would post to the Hardware Forum, as there are many IT folk, who frequent that forum, and will know what is current, and what works well.
Good luck, and wish that I had more to offer here.
Though written for Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro, this article on optimizing HDD's provides a lot of useful info: