Partitioning and De-fragmenting Hard Disks

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the September, 2008, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]

ImageAs long as we are talking about hard disks, for the last couple of years, I have said at a variety of seminars that I am not a fan of partitioning a hard drive — it tends to slow things down.

In learning more about the slow signal fade from magnetic disks, I also learned that partitioning only helps when you want to force usage to outer regions of the disk surface. Outer tracks have better performance than inner tracks. Partitions can lock out the inner regions, but do so at the expense of lowering total storage capacity. Modern drives are much faster, providing more performance margin across the entire disk surface. With plenty of head room, things are a lot better and partitioning is no longer necessary.

Also, there is no reason, and limited benefit, to de-fragmenting your data drives. Final Cut stores media in an “optimized” (fragmented) state to enable clips to play back more efficiently. While de-fragmenting your boot drive may be a good idea, defragging your media drives will tend to slow things down, as you are removing the optimization that Final Cut is putting in.

Given the size and speed of today’s hard drives, I no longer recommend partitioning a hard drive into more than one partition or de-fragmenting media drives as a general rule.


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