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Alocation unit size?is bigger better?

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August 15, 2012 3:46:14 PM

So I understand that if I increase this on the formatting thing for HD's it increases the speed. But, is that all it does? and by how much speed does it increase?

More or less I've got a 250gb usb Drive that was very slow I reformatted it with 64kb allocation unit size I lost about 30gbs. But, gained over 100% speed for the HDD. If this is accurate like this what's the point in it? Why isn't it a feature that's more emphasized. I mean getting to increase or decrease the speed of my HDD.
But, I've also got to ask what's the risk if any?


if I have the space Would it be worth maxing out the allocation unit size for my boot drive for the extra speed?


Edit: also, I must ask. is bigger really better for this? like the 8192 bytes VS 64 KB. or is the speed gain after 8192 and up not enough to be truly noticeable?
a b G Storage
August 15, 2012 4:38:01 PM

This is a tradeoff between speed and efficiency, and to make it even more fun, it kind of depends on what sort of files you have on your computer.

As you probably know, your HDD is divided up into allocation units, inodes, or clusters, whatever you want to call it. Every time you save a file, the computer goes and allocates enough of these clusters to store the entire file. Sometimes however, you wind up with some slack space. If you have a 10-20 byte file, but 64K clusters, then that 10-20 byte file still takes up a full 64K cluster.

So, kind of putting this together with a few obvious logical conclusions... If you have more clusters at a smaller size, it is more efficient storage wise. That 10-20 byte file might only take up 4K on the disk instead of 64K, but any time you need to find a specific file you have to sift through a significantly larger number of clusters.

The total number of files you can have on a drive are also limited by the available pool of clusters. Fewer clusters means that fewer files can be on the drive.

So someone who does things like video editing, and deals with large files, would probably be better off with large cluster sizes. A programmer, who deals with a large number of small files would probably be better off with as small a cluster size as they can get.

You need to decide which is more important to you. Would you rather have speed or storage efficiency?
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August 15, 2012 5:20:14 PM

cl-scott said:
This is a tradeoff between speed and efficiency, and to make it even more fun, it kind of depends on what sort of files you have on your computer.

As you probably know, your HDD is divided up into allocation units, inodes, or clusters, whatever you want to call it. Every time you save a file, the computer goes and allocates enough of these clusters to store the entire file. Sometimes however, you wind up with some slack space. If you have a 10-20 byte file, but 64K clusters, then that 10-20 byte file still takes up a full 64K cluster.

So, kind of putting this together with a few obvious logical conclusions... If you have more clusters at a smaller size, it is more efficient storage wise. That 10-20 byte file might only take up 4K on the disk instead of 64K, but any time you need to find a specific file you have to sift through a significantly larger number of clusters.

The total number of files you can have on a drive are also limited by the available pool of clusters. Fewer clusters means that fewer files can be on the drive.

So someone who does things like video editing, and deals with large files, would probably be better off with large cluster sizes. A programmer, who deals with a large number of small files would probably be better off with as small a cluster size as they can get.

You need to decide which is more important to you. Would you rather have speed or storage efficiency?



I fit under video editor. I make movies. But, I'm more curious for right now as for my Gaming. I added a partition to my boot drive for this very reason. I figure it'll give some of my games more speed. Which looking at my games. I think I'll greatly benefit from the 64kb size. Most of the game files look to be over 1mb. Excluding the config files but there's very few of them and losing 1mb of space for a few files is no big deal if it'll give me more speed.
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