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Is there any performance difference on high-disk usage scenarios, between primary and extended disk partitions?


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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Partitions don't really exist for the harddrive. They are just some structure the os uses. The os needs them to have different filesystems on one hd. The information that a partition consists of is basically startpos length. This information is cached by the os and given to its block device layer. When accessing the disk the starting offset of the partition is added to the block the filesystems wants to write to. Thats it. The only difference extended disk partations have to regular ones is that they might take an io request more to be read when initializing the harddrive. This should not be any problem.

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+1 Exactly. It just means that the OS needs to read the MBR for the information to the extended info and then read that. – sybreon Sep 21 '09 at 14:03
Thanks for the detailed explanation! – SyRenity Dec 28 '09 at 21:00

No, you will have zero performance difference between a primary and extended partition if that is the only difference.

However, if the partitions are at different locations on disk, you will notice a difference for that reason.

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Not that I would know of, it depends more on the speed of the disk, disk caching, and your usage of the disk. It depends on what you're doing. Video editing? Database access? Do you have heavily accessed data on different drives from the OS, and on a different channel?

If you're just partitioning things on one drive it's not going to help or matter much if it's a extended or primary disk. You're going to be physically limited by the I/O throughput the disk can manage to push.

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There are no appreciable difference in terms of performances. Primary partitions should be used whenever you have to not worry about old OS's idiosyncrasies.

I usually use forced primary partitions for swap and /boot, just for clearness

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