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We present a simulation study of the global count-rate performance of a positron emission tomography (PET) scanner with different levels of partial collimation to maximize the noise equivalent count rate for whole-body PET imaging. We achieve partial collimation by removing different numbers of septal rings from the standard 2-D septa set for the GE Advance PET scanner. System behavior is studied with a photon tracking simulation package, which we modify to enable the production of random coincidences. The simulations are validated with measured data taken in 2-D and fully 3-D acquisition mode on a GE Advance system using the National Electrical Manufacturers Association NU-2 count-rate phantom with two sets of annular sleeves to expand the diameter to 27 and 35 cm. For all diameters and in 2-D and fully 3-D mode, there is good agreement between measurements and simulations. All studies use the three phantom diameters to evaluate the effect of patient thickness for each amount of collimation. Optimized system parameters, such as maximum ring difference for single slice rebinning, are determined for the five partially collimated systems considered. The resulting global count rates for true, scattered, and random coincidences, the noise equivalent count (NEC) rates, and the scatter fractions for different levels of collimation are compared along with the results from the conventional 2-D and fully 3-D modes. Improved statistical data quality relative to both 2-D and fully 3-D data is found with the partially collimated systems, particularly when one-half or two-thirds of the septal rings are removed. An increase in NEC rates of as much as 50% is found for clinically relevant activities between 5-10 mCi (184-370 MBq). Scatter fractions for the partially collimated systems are intermediate between the 2-D and fully 3-D numbers. Many factors that affect image quality have not been considered in this paper. However, the significant increase in statistical data quality war- - rants further investigation of the impact of partial collimation on clinical whole-body PET imaging.