[SOLVED] Will many partitions to test linux distributions affect my overal PC performance?
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HDDs are fastest at sector 1 (start of the drive) and slowest at the last sector (end of the drive). Its normal for start to be about twice as fast as the last sector. So an OS installed at the end of the drive will take longer to boot, longer to load programs, etc. than a OS install at the beginning of the drive.
Which in normal operation is undetectable - I'm with @brianL.
The net effects of caching and I/O consolidation - not to mention the delays inserted by the I/O schedulers - mask overall hardware differences.
Distribution: OpenSUSE 13.2 64bit-Gnome on ASUS U52F
If you have a multicore computer, and all you want to do is test different OSs, then probably VirtualBox will be a better choice, In my opinion of course.
If you are partitioning your hard drive and you test and reformat partition often, chances are you will mess up your MBR so you will have to be careful. Some distros use GRUB, some of them GRUB2 and some of them use LiLo and it can be painful.
You will want to get the full testing experience and I am assuming you will test different file system formats like ext4,btrfs,some kind of journaling stuff and you will notice your boot loader is configurated to support one file system but not the other one.
So before you go ahead with this think about how you will be doing the multiboot for these partitions.
Good luck to you and let us know how you did with this fun project.