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irod Jan 20th, 2006 11:21 AM

To partition or not
I've looked thru the forums and unless I'm missing something, should I partition for the OS and App's as well as the data and media files. I'm a psudo-newbe to the mac platform as I have'nt attempted to partition my iMac's 160 gig HD.

monokitty Jan 20th, 2006 11:44 AM

Partitioning is officially useless. Don't even bother splitting your applications and System apart. If you want to do that, get a second physical hard drive or get an external. The only reason to partition a single hard drive is if you only have the one and want to install two different operating systems on the same unit. (i.e., Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server.)

I don't understand why you would want to keep the applications and System apart, in any case. Some may argue that if one partition goes down, you have the other, but that's useless regardless. If your System one goes down, you can't boot the unit. If your applications one goes down, you can boot the System, but have nothing to do. In the end, it's the same thing as if you just had one partition and it went down. If a partition goes down to software problems, it typically won't damage data, and is repairable. If your hard drive goes bad physically, partitions won't do a thing to save your data.

Advice: Don't partition.

krs Jan 20th, 2006 01:41 PM

I'm planning to partition my external drive, mainly because I think that way I can reformat each partition individually if needed.
Also for back-up, I use two partitions and back up to partition A and B alternately. probably doesn't help if the drive crashes.
Internal no, but I have two internal drives and run a different OS on each one. That seems to work well so far.

MacDoc Jan 20th, 2006 02:03 PM

Well Lars you aren't exactly the "official voice" for anything. :rolleyes: with equal aplomb and more experience I'll state you are wrong.

Partitioning has a number of uses including, speed, safety, ease of backup, scratch disc if you use Photoshop.

For instance if the person has a smaller external backup the splitting the 160 with OS and key stuff on the first partition offers speed and a direct clone to another drive while the second partition is for disposable or temporary storage that you may never backup.

I happened to do the same thing myself yesterday to get backups working faster without having to do the entire 160 gig space each time.

With the Raptor 150s now many clients will be chunking out the first 10 gigs of that rocket for Photoshop play ground.

A partitioned big drive is waaaaaay easier to recover as well. So while it's not as critical as it was with OS9 it still offers numerous benefits depending on the situation.

Pelao Jan 20th, 2006 02:11 PM


Partitioning has a number of uses including, speed, safety, ease of backup, scratch disc if you use Photoshop.
Hi MacDoc
Can you clarify this for me? Every book, forum note etc that I have read regarding scratch for PS makes it clear that using a partition of the same drive on which PS resides as the scratch offers very little help to PS speed. Instead, they all advise the scratch should be on a separate drive.

I use an external FW for PS scratch: the drive is partitioned with about 2/3 being scratch and the remaining portion running OS X with VPC 7.

By the way, the external FW 160Gb you sold me in Sept 03 is hammering away nicely - used for backup on our eMac.

mguertin Jan 20th, 2006 02:46 PM

If you use a lot of _small_ media files then partitioning will help you to avoid fragmentation.

Now before anyone stomps on me and says that OSX self-defrags it does (sort of) but it only does: a) when the file is semi large (I don't remember the specs offhand but at least a couple of megs or bigger), and b) when you access the file, so if you have a lot of small files that are constantly read/reread/rewritten/copied/deleted then it's a good thing.

In the pro audio and video world it's very handy to do all your scratch on a seperate partition as well. I use 3 partitions, one for system + apps, one for scratch, one for media files for said applications.

NewGuy Jan 20th, 2006 05:46 PM

On that note, I'll ask for some advise.
I have an 80 Gig HD in my Powerbook and I've recently bought a 200 Gig External HD. I will be using the external for backup and as extra space for large media files.
With these uses in mind, how do you recommend I partition the external? Please be specific about # of partitions, size, order, and function. Also, I am using the Mac Backup utility for backups.

MacDoc Jan 20th, 2006 06:16 PM

Okay Photoshop disc.

A) Yes another drive is ideal BUT often that is not available as an option so a 2-5 gig scratch partition as the FIRST partition does two things.
Gives PS an empty space on the fastest part of the drive to play in.
It also is the area of the drive most likely to fail ( edge ) so the small empty partition gives a degree of safety and buffering from physical and logical volume problems.

B) External - Ideally if you want redundant backup of a sort split the drive 75/75 and the remainder and do Odd day Even day clones to each partition ( call them odd and even ) .

I use this system - it gives you a "one day back " if something gets dumped or corrupted - you can do it in different patterns but I like double backups so if something untoward happens half way through a backup thre is one fully bootable complete structure untouched.

The rest of the space can be used for spare.

Even if you don't do dual backups it's not a bad idea to partition that way in cae you change you mind in the future.

IF you use PS then make the small remaining Spare partition the first one so it's in the fastest part of the drive tho that will not matter much on FW 400.

So partition in Disc Utility in 3 - then resize #2 and #3 to 75 gigs and #1 will be what's left.

One caution is to make sure you know what partitions are where and name them generics - I accidently erased some stuff today as I had two partitions named Untitled one and I pointed the backup to the wrong one :eek: as I was installing a new Raptor.

Luckily nothing critical.

I'll be a bit more careful as my Raptor 150 arrived today - fastest single drive available ina sata - looking forward to it........and doing it carefully.

Accidents like that erasure is exactly why backup and even duplicate backups are needed.

Another advantage with dual backups - you can installan "uncertain" upgrade on one of them and if it melts down you can nuke the partition and still be in safe mode.

One note - I see far too many Pros using external drives as the sole media volume with no backup.
If a 200 gig is your primary media drive for a portable you need another external to back that up. I've seen far too many long faces and too many people thinking that externals are somehow "bulletproof".

Other partitioning is useful for various projects in audio etc as you can erase them completely - I've seen many audio rigs with up to 8 partitions on the media drive. :eek:

BTW I read about vertical magnetic storage the other day.......coming soon.....2.5 terrabytes......ON A SINGLE DRIVE!!!

Bosco Jan 20th, 2006 07:28 PM


Originally Posted by MacDoc
Another advantage with dual backups - you can installan "uncertain" upgrade on one of them and if it melts down you can nuke the partition and still be in safe mode.

That by itself is a good argument to partition. But there are 2 schools of thought on that. I've always partitioned and I've always found it useful. As always YMMV.

I once tried to partition a drive on a PC.....What a disaster, I'll never do that again.

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