About the speed issue…
1.FAT32 is a little faster than NTFS.
2.Maximum hard drive read/write speed is achieved during the FIRST 10% of the hard drive.
You should not encounter any speed issue if you put the C primary active partition with WXP at the beginning of the hard drive. My WXP stuff is under 700 MB. Add about 3 GB of free space to update the Service Pack.
Experienced users keep ALL programs separate from the OS. A 10 GB primary C active partition with WXP would be my choice. Having a large block of unused space at the beginning of the hard drive will rob your system of the fast hard drive speed.
I only use WXP Pro SP1 with a firewall and e-mail antivirus scanner (no full-time AV protection). My WXP C partition is 3 GB. The pagefile is moved to the BEGINNING of the extended logical partition D (for programs). The E MISC partition is used for movies and other data. Finally, I keep my backup image files in the F partition.