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I bought two 2TB advanced format drives.

One of them is a 2TB WD Caviar Green WD20EARX, the other is a 2TB Seagate Barracuda ST2000DM001.

I have the following questions:

  1. What is the best partition extension?
  2. What is the best allocation unit size? (don't give a consideration for wasted space)
  3. Should I use any aligning tool for more safety even if I'm using Windows 7?
  4. Which one of the hard disks would be better for the OS? (Windows 7 and 8 only)
  5. If I am going to partition both of them into two partitions C:, D:
    • Should I make both C: and D: primary?
    • Or make C: primary and D: extended logical? ADDED:- 6- is there any performance difference between using MBR or GPT ?
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You don't need to use the align utility for Win7+ (see here for more). I don't know about performance differences, but you do need to use GPT if for some reason you'd like more than 4 primary partitions (that's an MBR limitation). Also, for your WD drive be sure to see this question. – Karan Jan 10 '13 at 22:55
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Incomplete answer, but I hope it's still helpful.

  1. You mean file system, right? If so, NTFS, right? I think FAT-32 is an old, outdated thing.
  2. I think you should just leave this to default
  3. Aligning tool... Assuming you mean something like RAID or a software equivalent, it's entirely up to you. The only way it protects anything / has a safety purpose is if you use a type of RAID that has file redundancy, and then you trade safety for having less available space (half less actually, I think). For the rest, RAID and software equivalents will only make it eventually more convenient for you, making everything appear as a single drive, and/or improve drive performance by having them "work as a team".
  4. I think this would be the Seagate one. Caviar Green is Western Digital's lower-grade, low-consumption hard drive series. It runs at a varying RPM, often below your Seagate's, and its performance is generally a tad lower than that of higher grade discs. But don't freak out. Your Caviar Green is still a quality product.
  5. I'm not entirely sure, but I think the primary drive is the one you boot from. In short, you should make the drive that has the OS on it the primary one, not the other. But I might be wrong.
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For sure it's helpful my friend, but plz allow me to ask another question and illustrate some points: Q-is there any performance difference between using MBR or GPT ? ----------- points illustration: 1-yes, that's what i meant but there is a third partition type which is "exfat". 3-I'm not going to use raid at all (maybe later) , actually the aligning tool is highly recommended to be used after partitioning an "advanced format drive" ,specifically for 'xp' users (but it's ok for 7 or higher) so, i was asking if it's more safety to align my AF hard drive even with using win 7...THANKS – KorkOoO Jan 10 '13 at 10:37
ExFat is purely for removable drives such as USB sticks. Don't use this for a hard drive, use NTFS if you're on XP or windows 7. ReFS is kicking around for windows 8 but I don't know a lot about that and will require further research. – Simkill Jan 10 '13 at 10:43
The alignment tool... Read here."[...] will help you align partitions on physical and virtual disks according to internal device's geometry without affecting the on-disk data." Without affecting the on-disc data, it says. So you can just not worry about that right now, and then, if you think your hard drives becoming less performing after a while, think about such a tool. – Ariane Jan 10 '13 at 13:53
@karan i WISH I COULD GIVE YOU 10 MORE VOTE POINTS 4 UR ANSWERS KARAN .. Now i have a good clear view of what i have to do but please provide me with ur advice for choosing the correct allocation unit size and which disk should be used as the Master drive. I'll be so grateful for ur answer – KorkOoO Jan 11 '13 at 4:42
HI karan, read this article: about the "green WD Load/Unload cycle counter", and that feature "park position of heads" , then tell me your thoughts please. waiting 4 ur reply.. – KorkOoO Jan 11 '13 at 7:54

After a lot of googling and researches , i think i am going to do this:

1-partition extension for both drives will be NTFS

2-allocation unit size for each partition of both drives will be like that:

  • The OS partition : 4K (default size)
  • The data partition which holds big sized files like videos/mp3..etc: 64K
  • The Games & programs partition:4K (default size)

3-Aligning tool isn't needed at all for win 7 users ( that's me).

4-i think Seagate Barracuda could be better for the OS.

5-all of the 4 drives (2 for each) will be Primary.

6-No performance difference at all so, I'm going to use the MBR type.

. Hope I'm going to do the right thing...

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I don't think you can be too wrong. The worst I see you doing is not the very optimal thing, which wouldn't make a huge difference. Out of curiosity, what made you choose those allocation unit sizes? I don't understand them very well, and I've always just gone with default values. – Ariane Jan 11 '13 at 17:00
NO Curiosity at all Ariane, u r helping me 2 do the right thing , and that something I do appreciate... about the allocation unit size: First of all, u should know that any file in your hard drive must be written on it's own cluster. -let's say that u have a file with 2kb size, -IF the allocation unit size is: 4k then the file properties will be like that : size : 2K size on disk : 4K -IF the allocation unit size is: 64k (max.), then: size : 2K size on disk : 62K – KorkOoO Jan 12 '13 at 2:21
@Ariane simply, the smaller allocation unit sizes mean less wasted space , less performance, and vice versa . so u have to choose Either the more space, or more performance specially in the defragment procedure ( it could be faster more than twice times! ) for example:let's say that the unit value is 64K , and u needed to put 10000 files with too small size of 1k for each , then calculate the whole wasted space by : 63 × 10000 = 630.000 KB ((almost 630 mega of wasted space 4 whole files)) finally , u can say that the bigger unit values is for the big sized files, and vice versa. – KorkOoO Jan 12 '13 at 4:11
Thanks for the info, even though that was -your- question to begin with. – Ariane Jan 12 '13 at 8:37

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