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I typically split if I have some interrelated code that I need to cross-reference, e.g. when refactoring. Especially if this code is in the same file, in which case windows into the same buffer have the added benefit of synchronized editing. Another example: when programming C, it is useful sometimes to have the header in one vim window and the definitions in the other. Or you're navigating via ctags, and it's convenient to view a tag in a new window rather than change the buffer for the current window.

If I'm just editing two completely unrelated files I don't see any advantages to this workflow over opening multiple instances. Maybe if you have plugins that are slow to start up?

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