Partitioning external HDD pros & cons

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spicydog
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Partitioning external HDD pros & cons

#1 Post by spicydog » Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:17 am

I would just like to hear the opinion of my knowledgeable TPFC friends about these topics:

1. What would be the pros and cons of partitioning an external (1 TB or 500 GB) HDD used for data storage under Windows?

2. What would be the pros and cons of using optimize for quick removal vs. optimize for performance?

3. What would be the pros and cons of enabling or disabling write caching on the external disk?

4. Would any of the above somehow impact the (safe) removal/ejection of the USB drive?

There is much to read on the net but I noticed that it is mostly theoretical... I would be more interested in hearing direct/personal experiences.

Thanks :mrgreen:

PS: Not interested in SSD :wink:

Reason for editing: I numbered the items to reflect Midas' reply
Last edited by spicydog on Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Midas
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Re: Partitioning external HDD pros & cons

#2 Post by Midas » Sun Feb 24, 2013 12:26 pm

Quick answers...

1. Depends on your intended use: if you want to use it for data storage only, the easiest route would be to make a single partition and format it with NTFS (or even FAT32, if you plan to read from it on different computers);

2. It's your choice, first one for higher data safety, second one for speed (but only if you're patient enough to ensure that all is well before unplugging);

3. Same as in 2.

4. None whatsoever, as long as you follow procedure ( & there's your reading assignement ;) ).

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SYSTEM
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Re: Partitioning external HDD pros & cons

#3 Post by SYSTEM » Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:22 pm

Partitioning will improve performance. On a smaller partition (as long as it's big enough to not become fragmented) seek times are lower. In addition, the beginning is the fastest area of the disk, so you might want to create a small partition to the beginning of the disk for files that need to be accessed quickly (mainly portable applications, I believe :D).

On my external hard drive, I have tried to make each partition so small/big that 25-75 % of it will be used. As a result, most of my drive is unallocated.
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spicydog
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Re: Partitioning external HDD pros & cons

#4 Post by spicydog » Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:31 pm

Thanks Midas :mrgreen:

Yes, that's basically the same conclusions I reached by reading around but what I am wondering is, does what you wrote reflect your personal experience?

Point 1: You wrote "the easiest route", well partitioning an ext. HDD is only a matter of seconds and it is a very simple task... In your personal experience is there an upside to partitioning or not?

Point 2 & 3: Is the speed improvement considerable/noticeable or are we talking about something that can only be detected/measured by professional benchmarking tools?

Point 4: Do you use the default Windows Safe Removal or a dedicated tool like ProEject?

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Re: Partitioning external HDD pros & cons

#5 Post by guinness » Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:36 pm

Ha, I was just thinking about ProEject today, bout time I issued another beta.
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Re: Partitioning external HDD pros & cons

#6 Post by spicydog » Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:46 pm

guinness wrote:Ha, I was just thinking about ProEject today, bout time I issued another beta.
Hey guinness :mrgreen:

Nice of you to join... Before you put your coding hat on why don't you give us your valuable pov?

Being the father of ProEject your opinion is very important and I am really curious to hear it.

Thanks for sparing a minute here :mrgreen:

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Re: Partitioning external HDD pros & cons

#7 Post by guinness » Sun Feb 24, 2013 2:05 pm

What Midas and SYSTEM said is pretty much what I was going to say. Like everything back up before you do anything.
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Re: Partitioning external HDD pros & cons

#8 Post by Midas » Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:49 am

SYSTEM wrote:Partitioning will improve performance. On a smaller partition (as long as it's big enough to not become fragmented) seek times are lower. In addition, the beginning is the fastest area of the disk, so you might want to create a small partition to the beginning of the disk for files that need to be accessed quickly (mainly portable applications, I believe :D).
This is relevant for executables and system use, as you point out.
spicydog wrote:Yes, that's basically the same conclusions I reached by reading around but what I am wondering is, does what you wrote reflect your personal experience?
Of course. You asked specifically not to be bothered with technicalities... :)
spicydog wrote:Point 1: You wrote "the easiest route", well partitioning an ext. HDD is only a matter of seconds and it is a very simple task... In your personal experience is there an upside to partitioning or not?
It's just a matter of convenience, the more partitions you have the more fiddling you'll have to do to keep everything in order, not to mention more locations to search for anything...
spicydog wrote:Point 2 & 3: Is the speed improvement considerable/noticeable or are we talking about something that can only be detected/measured by professional benchmarking tools?
I think that here the real deciding factor will be the data bus, which will cap your transfer rates without regard for what the other components specs are -- I'm assuming USB2 here...
spicydog wrote:Point 4: Do you use the default Windows Safe Removal or a dedicated tool like ProEject?
As I hop around a few rigs, I use both in fact, depending on what is closer at hand.

Glad to be of help. :mrgreen:

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Re: Partitioning external HDD pros & cons

#9 Post by spicydog » Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:39 am

Thank you all, friends :mrgreen:

I decided to invest some time and tested all available options ("optimize for quick removal" and "optimize for performance" in combination with enabled and disabled write caching) on a freshly NTFS formatted 500 GB USB2 HDD... Curious to know the results?

Well, I remember that quite a few years back I happened to fiddle with an audio system amplifier and there was a button that never quite convinced me... Don't remember what it was called but what I do remember is that one day that amplifier got fried and before trashing it I was so determined to find out what that fancy-named button was really connected to, that I pried the amp case open and (just like "optimize for quick removal" and "optimize for performance" I saw with my own eyes that)... The damn thing was not connected to anything!!!

Did not use any specific benchmark tools but I moved the same amount of (mixed) data and timed all transfers without noticing any considerable difference, at least not to the point that I would say: "Wow, from now on I will only use these settings!"... Also the single partition vs. multipartitions did not seem to produce any noticeable difference as far as data transfer/access speed, what I can say is that if you use any search software that relies on data indexing (or any other database) the fact of keeping your data on multiple (smaller) partitions does definitely represent an advantage!

If anybody discovers anything else that (I might have overlooked and) will contribute to pinpointing the optimal settings, just holler :mrgreen:

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