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Windows 7: About to set-up new PC. HDD partitioning and organizing help needed.


02 Apr 2014   #1
fwd0120

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 
About to set-up new PC. HDD partitioning and organizing help needed.

Hey sevenforums people! Long-time lurker, but now finally need to seek your advice.

I was donated a PC, and am working on making it my PC. It is still a little dated, but I'm not bothered by it.

Specs:

MoBo: XFX680i LT SLI
RAM: Corsair 1024MB 800Mhz X4
HDDs (here are the passmark pages for them)
http://www.harddrivebenchmark.net/hd...000AACS&id=422
http://www.harddrivebenchmark.net/hd...D3200KS&id=963
http://www.harddrivebenchmark.net/hd...62+0AS&id=2115
CPU: Xeon X3220 SLACT (G0 stepping model - Q6600 equivalent)
Graphics - Came with 8500GTs in SLI. I'm not worried about upgrading these

So - my primary focus is making music on my DAW, Reaper (which is like Pro-tools). So plenty of audio processing.
When I game, I play FSX, Medieval II Total War and The Sims 3.

So, I know I should have a 64-bit install, and I have Windows 7.
Compatibly is important to me. I have some old programs that I use in DOSbox, and other old things outside of DOSbox. I have used Vista 64 on a friends PC, and it wouldn't run a lot of things I tried because of it being 64-bit, I believe.
So my first question is, do I need to have a multi-boot setup, with 7 in 32-bit, and maybe even one with XP? I have heard that Windows 7 has an "XP" mode. How does that work? Is it like a multi-boot, or can you run it from inside of 7? If so, does it make 7 as compatible with old stuff as XP is?

My second question is hard drive configuration. I have the 3 listed, and intend on using them simultaneously.
I know to have the OS running as fast as possible, It needs to be the first thing on your fastest HDD. Is it recommended to partition that hard drive, and shrink the C: drive? What would be the optimal size?
Also, what would you use the rest of that hard drive for? If you run other programs on it (like a DAW, or a game or Photoshop)? Would multi-tasking on the OS drive effect the performance?
Sorry, I feel a little noobish about that question, but I'm hoping somebody could give me a good roadmap for setting them up for optimal performance.
Would I use the fastest for OS (then a lot of space left over?), the next best for programs, and the last for storage?

Thanks in advance!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

03 Apr 2014   #2
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

I think the XP mode thing in 7 works from inside 7, so it's not really like a dual boot.

I'd try to identify which of my programs are known not to run on Win 7 before I installed 7, and then see if there are upgrades, substitutes, or workarounds for them. Rather than installing 7 and then identifying the programs only by personal experimentation after 7 has been installed.

Why have you rejected a 32 bit installation, particularly if it will allow you to install and run some programs that can't be run or installed on 64 bit? Is the Xeon 64-bit only?

Those benchmarks show that the Seagate is slightly faster than the other two, but I don't know anything about the capacity of those drives.

If I had 3 internal hard drives, I'd probably do something like this:

Windows and all possible applications in the C partition of the fastest drive. I have no idea how much space you would require for all apps in your case. Windows alone takes no more than 20 GB.

Data: either on second partition of fastest drive or on a separate drive.

Third drive: backup of all data; single partition.

I wouldn't bother to put applications and Windows on separate partitions unless I had no choice do to capacity limitations.

If gaming applications take up most of your program space, maybe you install games on a separate drive. My Windows and all installed programs takes up only 32 GB, but you may need hundreds of GB for your games alone. I don't know.

Unless you have an external drive for backup, I'd definitely use one of the internals for nothing but data backup in a single partition.

I'd definitely get my data and the OS/most applications on separate partitions. Whether that also means separate drives depends on the sizes of your 3 hard drives (unknown) and how big your gaming installs will be.

I wouldn't get into a situation where I had 6 or more partitions across 3 drives. Keep it as simple as possible.

A DAW may have some peculiar requirements I'm not aware of.

Those are just my off-hand thoughts, without much to go on as you haven't said anything about drive capacity or size used by your games and applications.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Apr 2014   #3
fwd0120

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Thanks for the informative reply!!

First of all, here is a little bit about those drives:

This is 500GB
PassMark Software - Hard Drive Benchmark Charts

This is 320GB
PassMark Software - Hard Drive Benchmark Charts

And this one is 500GB
PassMark Software - Hard Drive Benchmark Charts

I was planning on a 64-bit installation to utilize more RAM. Digital Audio Workstations definitely require plenty of memory, as drums and piano each can use 1Gb by themselves, so being able to tap into that potential is important.
I am however, open to doing a multi-boot for a 32-bit version if I have to. My main reason, I suppose, is mostly for I get the odd notion to install an older program. I will still have my old computer, so I am willing to compromise if it will help keep things more organized and simple. My current computer got rather bloated, so that is something I do not want again.

As far as games go, most of them fit on only 1 or 2 DVDs, and I only play 5 or 6 of them. Probably about 75GBs will go towards games. Each song I create uses about 1-2GB per song. Demos of songs are generally 700MB each (the perfect size to slap on a CD-R).

Thanks for the advice!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


03 Apr 2014   #4
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

OK on the RAM/64 bit thing. I saw you had 4 GB of RAM and didn't know you intend to upgrade.

Those drives don't differ much in size or speed; but assuming you want to take advantage of them as best you can, I'd probably do this:

Windows and all probably all apps including gaming on C on the Seagate drive. You'll have to decide how big to make C depending on your DAW and audio stuff. Remainder of Seagate for primary data storage.

320 GB WD: single partition for more data; possibly a particular type of data such as songs or video or whatever. Including periodic images of the entire C partition and your "System Reserved" partition.

500 GB WD: backup of all data from the Seagate and the 320 WD.

An alternative would be to divide the 320 WD into 2 partitions: one for all gaming installations and another for data. But that would likely complicate your backup strategy. It would probably give you more space on the Seagate.

I don't game, so I'm not sure of the disadvantages or advantage of putting gaming installations on a separate drive or partition.

I'd definitely reserve the 500 GB WD for backups.

That's about as far as I can go given how well I understand your situation.

Have you any spot in your budget for a small SSD?

Not sure what kind of DAW performance you can get out of that Q6600 equivalent processor, but I assume you've got that figured out.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Apr 2014   #5
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

If you want to run Windows 7, you need more RAM. 4GB would be good. And check whether the mobo accepts 1333 or 1600MHz RAM because 800 is really slow.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Apr 2014   #6
fwd0120

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Thanks! Do you mean I need to have 4GB of RAM, or have an extra 4GB? I currently have four 1GB sticks.

The 680i is a 1333MHz MoBo, so that means that the RAM can't be faster than that, right? Can it support DDR3? Not sure about the difference and compatibility of DDR(#) sticks.
I don't think I can afford a RAM upgrade just yet, but would this be a good one?
Newegg.com - G.SKILL AEGIS 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop Memory Model F3-1333C9S-4GIS
And also, I can start with only 2 of those, right? And then I would the other 2 when I can afford it. Is that how it works when you have 4 slots for RAM? Not sure what to look for in the timings either, although I know the sticks with heat-spreaders are generally more "higher-end" in nature, right?

Thanks!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Apr 2014   #7
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

I missed your x4 in the first post. So you are OK as far as RAM is concerned - if you want to live with the slow RAM. Else run the Crucail Scanner and see what your options are:

Use the Crucial System Scanner software to find out what type of memory is in your computer
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Apr 2014   #8
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

According to this:

XFX nForce 680i LT SLI Motherboard, NVIDIA, Socket 775, ATX, Audio, PCI Express, SLI Ready, Gigabit LAN, S/PDIF, USB 2.0 & Firewire, Serial ATA, RAID at TigerDirect.com

that board is strictly DDR 2 and a max of 8 GB.

I'd build it as is with the current 4 GB. If I then had reason to believe more RAM would improve performance, I'd go to 8; either in the form of 2 four GB sticks or 4 two GB sticks.

Unfortunately, I think DDR 2 RAM is not particularly cheap these days.

RAM timing and speeds are factors, but not nearly as important as the sheer amount.

Look in Resource Monitor at the memory tab when you are putting a heavy load on the PC to see if you are using all of the current 4 GB. If you aren't, there isn't much reason to add more.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Apr 2014   #9
AddRAM

Windows 7 Professional x64 Linux Mint 16
 
 

I say max it out, get 8 GBs. (As long as you install 64 Bit Windows 7)

I like to fill all the slots, 4-2GB sticks of PC2-6400 DDR2

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820313069

Are you positive that`s the correct board, it says nothing about supporting a Xeon processor.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Apr 2014   #10
fwd0120

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by AddRAM View Post
I say max it out, get 8 GBs. (As long as you install 64 Bit Windows 7)

I like to fill all the slots, 4-2GB sticks of PC2-6400 DDR2

Team 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory Model TEDD2048M800HC5 - Newegg.com

Are you positive that`s the correct board, it says nothing about supporting a Xeon processor.
Ok, that sounds good.

The X3220 is a 775, and I have heard of others using it. This one is basically a higher-binned q6600. If it doesn't work, I guess I'll sell it and get a q6600.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 About to set-up new PC. HDD partitioning and organizing help needed.




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