How to slice up my boot drive for optimum performance?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by student_trap, Feb 20, 2010.

  1. student_trap macrumors 68000


    Mar 14, 2005
    'Ol Smokey, UK
    Hello All,

    I have just recieved two 1TB WD caviar Black drives and will be using one as a boot drive and one as a drive for my home folder.

    1 TB is clearly very large as a boot drive, and I think that it would be best to partition it, however I am not sure how much would be best for a partition?

    Can anyone offer any advice?

    Also, I have heard that the outer rings of the platters lead to quicker load times and that partitions using just these outer areas of the drives offer the best results. But how do I know if I partition a drive that it will use this outer section and not the inner one?

    Please help me out as I need to reinstall my OS today, and need to know the best way to partition the drives?
  2. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    Any perceived performance increase will likely be a placebo effect
    I don't believe there will truly be any measurable difference in doing what you are suggesting
  3. student_trap thread starter macrumors 68000


    Mar 14, 2005
    'Ol Smokey, UK
    is it still worth separating the boot and files to separate drives?
  4. RaceTripper macrumors 68030

    May 29, 2007
    I can't think of any reason, unless your boot drive doesn't have enough space (e.g. you use a smaller SSD). And in the case of user files I think relocating your home directory away from /Users is probably more trouble than it's worth.
  5. jetjaguar macrumors 68030


    Apr 6, 2009
    i have 1tb drive and have my apps and osx as well as my music on it
  6. student_trap thread starter macrumors 68000


    Mar 14, 2005
    'Ol Smokey, UK
    yeah that is the way that I had it set up before, but I read on MR in a couple of places that it is better to partition the boot drive and limit the area of the platter used to maximise speed

    any ideas?
  7. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    Considering that the outer platter sectors are considerably faster than the inner ones, a boot partition on these sectors might well be worth it.

    However, I'd rather create a stripe array out of the two Blacks, as it gives you 200MB/s read and write.
  8. psychometry macrumors regular

    Oct 5, 2006
    Rather than separating the drives, why not leave your folders intact and setup a RAID 0?
  9. RaceTripper macrumors 68030

    May 29, 2007
    That's not necessarily a great solution for everyone, since the improved performance of a striped array also comes with added risk. Instead of a single point of failure using a normal disk, you have three points of possible failure. You should always have a disaster recovery strategy, but that's especially true with striped disks.
  10. 2simple macrumors newbie

    Feb 20, 2010
    At the very least I'ld put a small [3-10gb] partition at the beginning of the data drive and put a minimal parallel install on it just to be safe.
    Hey, you never know.
    In tiger, I sometimes put swap, os, apps, home, and os 9 or linux in that order on the boot drive. And then put a small rescue partition at the beginning of the data drive.
    Yea, I know - alittle crazy.
  11. student_trap thread starter macrumors 68000


    Mar 14, 2005
    'Ol Smokey, UK
    Ok everyone, so I gave up with the drive for OS and drive for files yesterday as it involved to much faffing around.

    So I have now installed a Raid 0 across the 2 1TB WD Caviar Blacks using 64kb block sizes (this was a bit of a guess as I had no idea what to set it to!), and will but a 2TB Caviar Green to run weekly backups soon.

    However, I really don't seem to be getting much of a speed increase AT ALL with the raid set up, which is very strange.

    The only thing I am noticing is that the machine is booting up 2 Seconds faster (now 20 seconds) than my older OS disk (which I am moving away from as it is breaking!).

    Have I chosen the wrong block size? I am mostly dealing with media files and photoshop RAW files from my 10 megapixel slr

  12. Inconsequential macrumors 68000

    Sep 12, 2007
    Soon is *ALWAYS* too late.

    RAID 0 is pretty useless for what you are doing. RAID 0 is very good for video work, and hardly worth it for photo work. Access time and transfer rates are what we need here. SSDs would blaze along.

    I have a 40D and a 40k Image library and my setup is thus:


    300Gb Velociraptor
    Partition 1 (Macintosh HD 1): OS X + Lightroom Library
    Partition 2: Windows 7 Bootcamp

    1Tb WD Black
    Partition 1 (Macintosh HD 2.1): Photo library (550Gb)
    Partition 2 (Macintosh HD 2.2): Home folder (450Gb) (Music, documents, etc).

    1Tb WD Black
    Partition 1 (Macintosh HD 3): Timemachine (1000Gb)

    1.5Tb Samsung HDxxx
    Partition 1 (Macintosh HD 4): Videos for streaming to PS3 (1500Gb)

    And then, externally:
    1Tb MyBook Studio
    Partition 1 (Macintosh HD 5): Backups of Macintosh HD 1, 2.1 and 2.2

    500Gb WD USB thingy
    Partition 1 (Macintosh HD 6): Offsite backup of HD 2.1 which is updated from HD 5 when im at home.
  13. 300D macrumors 65816


    May 2, 2009
    If they are on the same physical hard drive, no.

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