My system (2011 iMac running Mavericks) has been acting up lately, so it's time for a wipe & reinstall of everything. While I'm at it, I'm going to add a 2TB SSD drive, which I would dedicate to storing my sample libraries, as well as act as my scratch audio drive for Ableton Live etc.

I'm wondering if I should actually partition the drive for the two different purposes, or just use a folder for the scratch disk and leave it as one large partition. Is there any dis/advantage to one approach vs. the other?

Same question for my boot drive, which is currently one (smaller) partition of a 1TB SSD drive, the other (larger) partition is for my documents. Is there any dis/advantage to doing this?

In the past I've found it helpful to have all my documents on a separate partition, as it's made it simpler when I've had to wipe & reinstall like I'm doing now. But I'm curious to know what others might think about pros & cons.

2 Answers 2


Performancewise it doesn't really matter if you create several partitions or stick with one: https://superuser.com/questions/808833/disadvantages-of-partitioning-an-ssd

However the amount of data traffic in general matters, and with two discs you can split up the traffic, e.g. like so:

  • Disk 1 (1 TB): One or two partitions: one for the system and one for active projects (and personal files etc). And that is for the reasons you mention your self: seperation of system and personal files. But if that concern is dropped I'd go with one partition here also to minimize the hazzle when one of them runs out of free space.
  • Disk 2 (2 TB): One partition for sample/plugin libraries and old finished projects. You can of course create as many partitions as you want, but chances are that they just end up being general purpose all of them anyway in the long run.

We use a similar setup in my studio and that works out well.

  • I'm thinking that from a performance standpoint, Thunderbolt should be more than up to the task of running system I/O as well as audio I/O simultaneously, on two separate drives. I have FireWire 800 as an option as well but if I can stay all TB I'd prefer that. Thanks for the input.
    – JVC
    Feb 22, 2017 at 7:31
  • A couple of things, One problem I had was I misjudged the partition size and my system partition got out of control and full. It was then a pain to adjust the partition, so think hard before allocating. My other point is about RAID disks; I still have my 5TB HDD RAID array on my studio PC. Is this done or needed with the high R/W rates of SSD? Because the OP could have got 2x1TB SSDs and RAID 0'd them to get twice the data rate.
    – n00dles
    Feb 22, 2017 at 17:01

Partitioning of SSD's is not particularly relevant as there is no particular difference in head seek time - there are no 'read/write' heads in an SSD. Partitioning was useful with magnetic platters as different portions of the spindle had different seek and performance times depending on the linear velocity of the head over the platter. Don't worry about performance related partitioning with SSD. Only do it if you specifically want to split up volumes for size reasons.

  • Nice logic, but personally, I would still partition. It just feels right to me to separate stuff into definate containers.
    – n00dles
    Feb 23, 2017 at 15:11
  • "Feels right?" Just use folders then. That's what they were designed for.
    – Mark
    Mar 11, 2017 at 0:27
  • It feels right to properly separate system and personal/project files, yes. Folders aren't the same. System files are much more prone to corruption and if for example the index file gets corrupted, your irreplaceable project files are still safe. It's analogous to keeping more important files in a separate room with a fire door. That's just one reason. There are a few reasons though.
    – n00dles
    Mar 11, 2017 at 16:07
  • System Files are no more or less prone to corruption than anything else. Make your technical decisions on a sound technical basis. "feelings" are not a sound technical basis. Obtain solid evidence and then make your decision based on that evidence.
    – Mark
    Mar 12, 2017 at 10:01
  • I'm not going to waste my time listing evidence on why you should partition as stated. It takes a two second google search for you. You don't seem to understand the logic of it, but I can't help you with that. When you feel you should do something, It comes from knowledge, experience and instinct. I'm not here to bicker. I'm out. Good luck.
    – n00dles
    Mar 15, 2017 at 21:02

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