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Partition Alignment increases performance

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Paragon Software Group:
"Partition Alignment Dramatically Increases System Performance"

I will not imply that I understand much of this, because I understand very little of it.
However, from what I can (not) see, partition alignment has almost never been discussed on DC's forum, so I thought I should at least upload Paragon's pdf eBook on the subject:

Paragon Alignment Tool - White (671.25 kB - downloaded 512 times.)
Introduction............. 3

What is Partition Alignment?............. 3

Why misaligned partitions are the problem for hard disk drives? ............ 4

How Paragon Alignment Tool can help?.......... 6

Why misaligned partitions are a problem for SSD?.............. 7

Why misaligned partitions are the problem for SAN and RAID?......7

Why misaligned partitions are the problem for virtual environments?............ 9

Conclusion............................................. 10
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until July 31, 2010 Paragon is giving away a free 10 page eBook ("Partition Alignment Dramatically Increases System Performance") and their Paragon Alignment Tool ($29.95 value). Here is Paragon's sales pitch to show why you need Paragon Alignment Tool:


The problem of inevitable degradation of the disk subsystem performance caused by misaligned partitions dates back to the nineties. From being a headache for IT administrators who wanted to get the most out of disk arrays, it's become crucial for all of us with appearance of SSD (solid state drive) and ultra high-capacity hard drives. Moreover, the growing popularity of virtualized systems has aggravated the situation even more. Does the problem that bad? Just see it for yourself:...(more)
--- End quote ---

At the same time I would of course like to hear if any one has tried this.
Does it really  - dramatically or less than dramatically - improve performance ?

I tried this and it aligned the first 2 of my partitions only; 3 more are labelled as "unaligned" (presumably meaning they are alignable) despite trying to align them with this tool.

This tool is only interesting when after a fresh installation + servicepacks.

Tried it myself on an existing XP system (with 320GByte hard drive) and after 4 hours 4 of the 6 partitions were aligned. A result quite similar to hpierce, the previous poster.

I also tried it on a fresh installation (XP SP2), used the tool and all partitions were aligned. In my finite wisdom I installed SP3 and all appeared to go well. But after the mandatory reboot, a blue screen of death showed up and one reboot later the complete system was hosed. By that I mean the PC would loop through the POST of the BIOS, nothing more.

Reversing the order (installing XP SPII, updating to SPIII and then aligning partitions) looks to be the proper way of doing things.

It really does help, I always have Process explorer running in the tray and I noted that hard drive I/O improved. My existing XP system acts as an active Oracle XE database server and I note it there as well.

This is not a tool for the faint of heart, though.   

The time to use this tool is either after a fresh OS install - with Service Packs - or when when assembling a disk array for additional storage/backup. This seems to be especially useful when a new build or install includes virtualization and integrating a SSD as the primary drive.

It worked well enough on the Win 7 Pro build I just finished that contained an OCZ Vertex 2 64GB SSD for a primary, and two WD 1TB drives for programs and data. The Paragon blog has more about SSD alignment here:

Btw, they just released a freeware (liteware) version of their virtualization software called Go Virtual.
Haven't tried it, mostly because I already use their shareware virtualization manager for P2V.

Has anyone here actually benchmarked their before and after results? I'd be very interested to know how big a difference this makes. IMO disk access is unacceptably slow these days compared to CPU, memory, and GPU speeds.

- Oshyan


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