Your issue sounds very much like a problem with the HDD.
I suggest that you perform the following:
1. Replace the IDE cable connecting the HDD to the mother board and make sure that you are connected to IDE channel 1, on newer boards it is the blue plug. Make sure that the jumpers on the HDD are either CSL or Master.
2. If your BIOS has the ability to do SMART checking, please enable it.
3. Go to your drive vendor's website and download the CD bootable tools. Check the drive for errors and zero every secotor of the drive. Avoid any software that claims to do a low level format as you can not low level format an ATA (IDE) drive like you could the MFM (Modified Frequency Modulation) drives. Zero Fill is what you want.
4. If your drive passes the error check and zero fill, then the drive is not your problem.
If your drive is in good repair, make sure that all RAM modules and PCI boards are securely in place, while you are there you might as well blow out the dust too.
YaST does a fair job in partitioning your drive. The default values in the partition set-up are fine and do not cause any noticible difference in performance. SuSE 10.1 sets up 3 partitions (Swap, Root, and Home) as SuSE 10 just set Swap and Root.
Is there any reason why you are using the versions of Linux that you are? You might benefit from newer distros with newer Kernels. If performance is an issue, did you try Gentoo, Slackware or Ubuntu? Just a thought.
Anyway good luck!
EDIT----> I just saw the date! I am four years too late! LOL. I'll leave this post as it might help someone!
Last edited by usaf_sp; 08-23-2006 at 10:08 PM.