Multiiple Linux installations
I would just like a little advice on a project I'd like to attempt. This is the scenario I'd like to end up with:
My main desktop PC, with 3 hard drives.
Hard drive #1, 1TB: Grub, Windows 7,Windows backup/restore partition.
Hard drive #2, 500GB: Mint 10, Mint 10 KDE, and a light weight distro of Linux, not yet determined
Hard drive #3, 500GB: File storage that I can access from any OS.
Currently running Windows 7 from HD#1 with backup/restore on HD#2 and Mint 10 on HD#3
Gigabyte cheapy mobo
Intel core duo 3.0mhz
Ati hd4850 Redeon
Seagate hard drives
I have very limited Linux experience but am willing to learn. I played a bit with a redhat distro a few years back and recently with unbuntu 9 a few months ago. I have been slowly working my way towards all open source programs over the past year and am finally ready to make a full time jump to Linux. What I'd like to do is test different Linux versions in "real world" ways, fully loaded and updated with the programs I ill be using and see which one I end up liking the most. I know i could get partial results with live versions but I want more realistic tests. I do a lot of work with Blender and just through my limited testing have seen it perform quite differently across Linux distros. I have had as much as a 10 second difference in render times of a file between Kxstudio and Unbuntu.
I would just like a way to switch between distros and run my own battery of tests as well as get a feel for the different versions available. For example: with Kxstudio, the render times were nice, but everything else seemed really laggy compared to the Mint distro I have played with. Those are the kind of things I'd like to experience now before I decide on one version.
So the advice, I'm looking for is which order to install everything? I have an OEM Windows disk and all my files backed up. If you were doing a "clean" install and wanted to quad boot a system, how would you go about doing it? What would you install first and what would be the easiest way to setup HD#2 to install/uninstall multiple OSs? How can i give Grub its own little partition on HD#1 while making sure Windows has a place to call home? I don't have a ton of experience partitioning hard drives but hey, hows a person to learn if they don't mess things up a bit?
Also any opinions on a light weight distro would be appreciated. After I settle on a main distro, I've got my eye on an old P4 HP that's been sitting around collecting dust that may very well see life again as a home server, but that's another topic for another post.
Thanks in advance for any that took the time to read this and/or offer advice.