[SOLVED] C or D drive for apps? Or another?

Oct 24, 2020
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Hi everyone!
I'm soon getting a new gaming PC, I've decided on two 1tb m.2 SSD drives for storage.

The questions I have today are about where to store each kind of data:
OS, Apps/Games (Now referred to as Install), and Data (Documents etc).
It's the apps and games ("Install"), that I am considering now.

My old setup was a small SSD with C (OS) and a larger HDD with E (Install) and F (Data) partitions. Now that my drives are of the same quality and size, the choice is less obvious. My main questions are as follows:
  1. Is there an advantage to having all installed software on a C drive with the OS?
  2. Or would it be better to have one of the m.2 solely for my OS as I used to have?
  3. With program data on the first m.2, Would it be better to partition the first m.2 into C (os) and E (install)? Or all C?
  4. If having the OS and the game(s) running on the same drive, or even partition, causes any disadvantage, heat gain, or strain it would be good to know!
  5. What is the best drive/partition configuration for the three data types, and why?
I have looked around online including here but most queries were working with the premise of drives being different type/speed/quality.
I don't know the mechanics of data storage, registry, etc. well... Particularly when it comes to games. Overall I'd rather my PC be "comfortable and happy". I had registry errors on my old PC with the afforementioned setup and I don't know if it's related.

Any pieces of additional information beyond the questions, or ideas outside of what I've written here (getting an EXTRA SATA SSD for example), are of course welcome!

Thanks in advance. :)
 

Math Geek

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There won't be any performance difference since the drives are the same. Windows can handle the programs installed anywhere, that won't effect anything negatively. Personally i like to have my OS and programs on single physical drive and then my data on a second (or third, fourth...) physical drive. this way if anything happens to my os drive my data is still safe. if you are installing a bunch of steam games, then a separate partition is not a bad idea for them. since steam can use the game files even if copied and pasted, keeping them separate means you won't have to download them again if you have to reinstall windows.

you'd simply point steam at those same files once done and not have to wait for them to re-download. good time saver with games getting so freaking big lately.

if you really want to get fancy, you can install windows to c: along with average programs and then make a d: on the same drive for your games. most programs will have to be reinstalled with a fresh windows install so puttng them on the same partition as windows makes sense. the second drive can be for your data and can be whatever letter you want it to be.
 
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Math Geek

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There won't be any performance difference since the drives are the same. Windows can handle the programs installed anywhere, that won't effect anything negatively. Personally i like to have my OS and programs on single physical drive and then my data on a second (or third, fourth...) physical drive. this way if anything happens to my os drive my data is still safe. if you are installing a bunch of steam games, then a separate partition is not a bad idea for them. since steam can use the game files even if copied and pasted, keeping them separate means you won't have to download them again if you have to reinstall windows.

you'd simply point steam at those same files once done and not have to wait for them to re-download. good time saver with games getting so freaking big lately.

if you really want to get fancy, you can install windows to c: along with average programs and then make a d: on the same drive for your games. most programs will have to be reinstalled with a fresh windows install so puttng them on the same partition as windows makes sense. the second drive can be for your data and can be whatever letter you want it to be.
 
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USAFRet

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OS and application on one drive. Other stuff on other drives.
Maybe games also on other drives, if they are via Steam/Origin/etc.

Or, some people prefer everything on one single drive.

Up to you.

But OS on one drive and applications on another...no.
That serves no purpose.
OS reinstall means application reinstall anyway.
 
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Oct 24, 2020
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Thanks for your replies!

How is it different with Steam games to other programs?
Why does an OS reinstall cause issues with most other programs but not Steam?

Also does splitting the OS and games between two different physical drives not lower the individual m.2's workload compared to having one drive running both a game and the OS simultaneously?
 

USAFRet

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Thanks for your replies!

How is it different with Steam games to other programs?
Why does an OS reinstall cause issues with most other programs but not Steam?

Also does splitting the OS and games between two different physical drives not lower the individual m.2's workload compared to having one drive running both a game and the OS simultaneously?
With Steam games, the Steam client holds all the relevant info, as to where the games are.
All other applications, that is held in the Registry.

New OS = New Registry = application reinstall. Including a new Steam client.
 
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Math Geek

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yup, most everything runs from ram once loaded. so the drive is not sitting there with a long line of access requests waiting to be filled.

a nice fast nvme drive is plenty fast enough to hand out the data requested without slowing things down. that's why those benchmarks we all love and pretty much meaningless for the average user. what we use the drive for real world is nowhere near as complex as the benchmarks and does not run into the limitations exposed by those heavily simulated benchmark runs. this is why a good sata ssd is almost as good as an nvme drive. but since prices are almost the same now, it's worth the nvme drive if you have the slot for it. if not, then adding sata ssd's is not really a big deal nor will it make much of a difference in your day to day.

what does benefit from multiple drives and things such as raid set-ups is when doing tasks with a ton of read/write calls. such as video rendering and audio creation, heavy database use and so on. these tasks read a lot of data and write it once processed. so reading from one drive and writing to a second yields tangible speed increases assuming the cpu/gpu can handle all the processing that needs to be done.

but your average home user won't really see these benefits with a normal gaming system since there is not a lot of fast read/write calls. mainly a read call to load up a level into memory and then it sits and waits for the next level to be asked for.
 
Reactions: Floef
Oct 24, 2020
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That's very interesting! Do you know how Steam is the exception to the rule? Why is it not tangled in the registry like other programs?

And does that apply to all steam games?
 

USAFRet

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That's very interesting! Do you know how Steam is the exception to the rule? Why is it not tangled in the registry like other programs?

And does that apply to all steam games?
The Steam client is a normal application. It holds the info of where the game files/folders are.
Origin is similar.

After installation of a new OS, you'll have to install a new Steam client. Just like all the other applications you use.
After that, you can tell the Steam client where those games might live on other drives or partitions.

Steam games location
In the steam client:
Steam
Settings
Downloads
Steam Library Folders
Add library folder


To move an already installed game
Games library
Right click the game
Properties
Local Files
Move Install Folder
 
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