Partitioning has numerous benefits, and a few pitfalls:
1) PageFile ... if you stick it in a separate partition on the same volume as windows it can slow down your system - constant seeking backwards and forwards across the drive introduces delays - especially if the partitions are separated by a large distance. A separate pagefile on a separate partition works much better and increases system throughput. If you have standard drives and a striped array putting your system on the RAID array can make a big difference to.
Yes, you should use a tiny partition next to the OS partition.
If you onlyhvae one physical hard disc this is true, if you have two or more then putting it on a completely separate hard disc is much better as you can access your page file and other system files simultaneously. Same is true for Linux Swap partitions.
2) Separating system and data makes backing up less of a chore - you only need to backup the system occasionally, and you data can easily be backed up regularly. A tool such as Acronis TrueImage is good for this sort of thing as you can schedule regular incremental backups which are really quick. A seperate har disc is good for this - but don't use RAID for backups, they will be more easily damaged in a hardware failure and may be totally unrecoverable. As drives get bigger and bigger it is becoming essential to plan for backups otherwise they become so unwieldly that they are never done!
RAID is PERFECT, be it for backups or not
If you want to be on the safe side you just should use RAID 1, no risk there
Too bad Acronis True Image seems to not recognize RAID controllers for backup purposes
RAID 0 is FAR from perfect for backups. If anything goes wrong at all with your system you stand to lose everything on a RAID 0 system as it is very difficult to retrieve RAID 0. With a backup on a standard IDE or SATA disc you can simply move it to another computer, so long as it isn't your backup disc that is damaged. With RAID 0 you would probably have to have an identical RAID controller - and given lots of systems now have integrated RAID controllers this is unlikely to be possible (unless you can find an old motherboard identical to your own).
RAID 1 is fine, but it costs twice as much and has no speed benefits whatsoever so for consumer level systems it seems a bit like overkill!
Strange Acronis recognises my RAID controller ???
3) I also move Temporary file folders and Temporary Internet files to a separate partition. These are quicker to access (esp. if they are on a separate volume) and easier to clean out when you want to. They also reduce fragmentation on the system drive.
I see no need for doing so, instead I recommend the great CCleaner
The main benefit in my system is I have one PageFile and one Temporary file cache for all my Windows installations - that saves quite a lot of space.
As I said though it is still a good idea because it really reduces fragmentation on your system drive. System files and programs are constantly writing stuff to your Windows drive, and if Temp/Web caching is also stored on that drive everything competes for space and is interleaved on the disc. Files rapidly become fragmented and deleting small files means that new larger files are instantly fragments. Keeping Temp/Cache files away from C: allows Windows to manage its space better on Drive C: so that when I run a defrag program (PerfectDisc) I find that the majority of the disc (labelled infrequently accessed in PerfectDisc) have not fragmented at all, and only directories and recently written files need any defragging at all. This is one of the reasons I moved from DiskKeeper back to PerfectDisc as it consolidates all the rarely modified files in one place on the disc, decreasing access time and reducing defrag time.
4) I run separate multibooting Windows installations (in neighbouring partitions) for some specific applications. For example, video and audio editing can really benefit from having a clean system with a minimal extras installed (not even networking/internet access).
I fully believe you, but personally I prefer to boot my system only every few weeks
I'm afraid I switch my machine off when I go to bed - I already feel a bit guilty leaving it on all day (even when I am not sitting at it - but I believe there are sound hardware reasons for that) because of the growing cost to the environment and global warming (not to mention the UKs ridiculous fuel costs - inc. electricity). I have even started to unplug my TV/DVD/Video etc. unless I am leaving it to record something - did you know these appliances all use 80% power in standby mode!