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Cluster Size

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April 27, 2007 1:00:25 PM

500GB drive.... Recommendations?

Will mainly be storing large files.
I've formatted to 16k as a safe bet.

What are peoples opinions on cluster sizes?

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April 27, 2007 1:20:44 PM

You didn't say what file system you're working with, but I'll assume NTFS.

NTFS works best at the default cluster size of 4K, even for large volumes. I have a 6TB SAN array formatted with 4K clusters, storing DV .avi video (average file size ~ 2GB), and it works fine.
April 27, 2007 1:53:02 PM

i think that the larger the cluster size the better the performance but more space is wasted.

for example if you set the cluster size to 16k and you have files that are 4-5kb, each one of them will take 1 cluster. so for every file you are wasting 10-12kb.

but on the other hand if the cluster size is too small one file will have to be split in several clusters on the disk and hence will take more time to retrieve and will cause fragementation on the disk.
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April 27, 2007 5:08:27 PM

Yes NTFS sorry.
Good assumption though ;) 

Quote:
i think that the larger the cluster size the better the performance but more space is wasted.

for example if you set the cluster size to 16k and you have files that are 4-5kb, each one of them will take 1 cluster. so for every file you are wasting 10-12kb.

but on the other hand if the cluster size is too small one file will have to be split in several clusters on the disk and hence will take more time to retrieve and will cause fragementation on the disk.


Yeah. It's mainly going to be large files videos music etc.
I have another drive i'll use for smaller stuff (programming, documents etc)

Oh well i'll see how it goes. Thanks for the replys.
April 27, 2007 6:02:57 PM

If I had extra space on my drives, didn't mind wasting HDD space, but wanted to boost HDD performance, I should increase the cluster size?

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April 27, 2007 8:36:18 PM

if you want to store then hell yes, go 64 if possible. If not, xp is optimized for 4k, including pagefile, and all others, if using a computer a lot to view websites, then 4k is perfect, same goes to games.
April 27, 2007 9:09:59 PM

Performance isn't really helped by larger cluster size under NTFS like it was under FAT/FAT32.

NTFS stores files much more efficiently than FAT/FAT32 ever did, so even though with smaller clusters you have more clusters per file to keep track of, that doesn't slow down NTFS at all.

The exception to this is if the cluster size gets smaller than the NTFS default of 4K. This used to be a problem under Windows NT and 2000 because if you used the command line "convert" utility to convert a FAT/FAT32 volume to NTFS, the resulting NTFS volume ended up with a 512-byte cluster size, which hurt performance. This is also where NTFS got the (incorrect) reputation that it's slower than FAT32.
April 27, 2007 9:46:53 PM

Replying to the last post::
Fat32 is in all respects a faster drive format when it comes to drives 150gb or less. NTFS has a set amount of lets call it "index" for where your files are kept. When you have a small drive fat32 is happy w/the smaller drive because it doesn't need such a large "index", it's variable. The larger the "index" the more it has to read to get to where it needs to be. When it comes to fat32 and cluster size you are absolutely right, same goes w/ntfs.
I crashed my dad's computer because I set the cluster size and PM8 didn't support such a large drive. So instead of thinking about changing it back on another computer, we had a microsoft certfied guy ghost it, and for some idiotic reason he set it to 2k and it is a slow mF'ing drive now, even though it has some serious read performance.
And using more space on a drive ntfs/fat32 has the same performance degradation (that I've heard) when there's less free space. I recommend using perfectdisk 8 for drives that your going to store things on, it's a handy program that can give you very good results.
And to leave this post in all fairness, I didn't get any better performance on my 160gb w/32k clusters vs. 4k, in fact it was worse.
edit:: my 40gig, it's got a pagefile on it b/c windows automatically detects which drive is faster and uses that one, and my random seek on my '133 is way quick so it defaults if using small pieces
April 27, 2007 10:17:34 PM

Quote:
Fat32 is in all respects a faster drive format when it comes to drives 150gb or less.


8) Sorry, not buying that one for a New York minute.

Show me the benchmarks, then we'll talk.
!