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October 25th, 2006, 09:50
@Moriendor -- Just try it. I guarantee you'll be able to notice the difference e.g. when playing a game with real-time terrain swapping. Again, I've *done* this -- I made this mistake and corrected it on my previous box, and the difference was very noticeable.

As to your LAN parallel, well duh -- there's several orders of magnitude more traffic along the IDE bus than the Ethernet connector, so of course it'd be overkill. But with disks it isn't -- disk I/O is *the* biggest bottleneck in any system, and therefore anything you can do to reduce it will make a noticeable difference.

Again, in order of priority/cost:

(1) Get enough RAM. Less than 2GB nowadays is silly, if you're doing anything memory-intensive.
(2) Get two HDD's, put them on different controllers, and put the system and programs on one and the swap file and data files on another (but make a separate partition for the swap file).

IMO anyone who doesn't do (1) and (2) is being a bit silly, unless all they do is Web, office, and email; it doesn't cost much and makes a major difference to real-life performance. If you want to go the extra mile or two:

(3) Replace the system disk and swap partition with WD Raptors and keep your data on a big, slower volume.
(4) Replace the system disk with a striped RAID pair.
(5) Replace the data disk/swap partition with another striped RAID pair.

The advantages of CPU upgrades are way more "theoretical" than this, and usually cost a lot more. Not to mention overclocking or GPU tweaking, which add instability into the mix.
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