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Formatting a Hard Drive for Audio Recording?

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November 30, 2004 11:51:41 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In this group's opinion, what is the optimum cluster size setting (or
as XP calls it, allocation unit size) when formatting a hard drive. I
have seen 32K, 64K, and some say leave it at the default of 512K.

Please excuse me if this subject has been discussed before, but I've
looked everywhere, and there are many thoughts about this. I'm just
looking for a consensus.
Anonymous
December 1, 2004 12:44:01 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

<Catdaddy> wrote in message
news:45cqq01poa1ns47op5ufsms1tsm45e68q3@4ax.com...
> In this group's opinion, what is the optimum cluster size setting (or
> as XP calls it, allocation unit size) when formatting a hard drive. I
> have seen 32K, 64K, and some say leave it at the default of 512K.
>
> Please excuse me if this subject has been discussed before, but I've
> looked everywhere, and there are many thoughts about this. I'm just
> looking for a consensus.

What I do is format my audio drives with NTFS and use the largest cluster
size available. ( usually 64K. I think you might of misinterpreted the
'512K' number, I've never seen that. I believe that WinXP defaults to 4K )

Here is a forum with some people discussing the options :
http://www.short-media.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-67...

Best of luck!

John L Rice
Drummer@ImJohn.com
Anonymous
December 1, 2004 7:49:05 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

As clusters are (theoretically) physically contiguous, it would seem to make
sense to use the largest cluster size available, as this would minimize the
number of times the system has to locate a free cluster, and the HD's head to
move to it.

Given that the larger, better hard drives have a fairly large buffer, there may
be no practical difference.
Related resources
Anonymous
December 1, 2004 9:33:34 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

John L Rice wrote:

> <Catdaddy> wrote in message
> news:45cqq01poa1ns47op5ufsms1tsm45e68q3@4ax.com...
>
>>In this group's opinion, what is the optimum cluster size setting (or
>>as XP calls it, allocation unit size) when formatting a hard drive. I
>>have seen 32K, 64K, and some say leave it at the default of 512K.
>>
>>Please excuse me if this subject has been discussed before, but I've
>>looked everywhere, and there are many thoughts about this. I'm just
>>looking for a consensus.

> What I do is format my audio drives with NTFS and use the largest cluster
> size available. ( usually 64K. I think you might of misinterpreted the
> '512K' number, I've never seen that. I believe that WinXP defaults to 4K )

I am by no means an expert on Microsoft technology (my attitude is
that when it comes to Microsoft, ignorance is bliss), but the
information I've dug up just now indicates the NTFS is an extent-based
filesystem. Which means that the cluster size is mostly a moot
point, because in most cases the filesystem should be able notice
that you are writing out a big bunch of sequential data to a file,
so it should be able to, in effect, combine several contiguous
clusters together into one big continuous area. Or at least that
is what extent-based filesystem are supposed to be able to do.

This does, however, rely on the OS realizing that you're writing a
big stream of continuous data out to a file and figuring out that
it can make this optimization.

- Logan
Anonymous
December 1, 2004 10:35:23 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Catdaddy <> wrote:

>In this group's opinion, what is the optimum cluster size setting (or
>as XP calls it, allocation unit size) when formatting a hard drive. I
>have seen 32K, 64K, and some say leave it at the default of 512K.

For FAT16 and FAT32 file systems use the largest cluster size
available. On PCs running XP, that means 64 KB clusters. Win98
machines often have problems reading anything larger than 8 KB clusters
so that might be your limit on those machines.

On PDAs running Windows Mobile (Pocket PC 2002/2003), Softwinter's
Storage Tools lets you format flash memory (SD and CF cards),
MicroDrives and hard drives to as large as 64 KB clusters. That's what
we recommend for 24/96 recording.

--
Len Moskowitz PDAudio, Binaural Mics, Cables, DPA, M-Audio
Core Sound http://www.stealthmicrophones.com
Teaneck, New Jersey USA http://www.core-sound.com
moskowit@core-sound.com Tel: 201-801-0812, FAX: 201-801-0912
Anonymous
December 1, 2004 11:08:56 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

<Catdaddy> wrote in message
news:45cqq01poa1ns47op5ufsms1tsm45e68q3@4ax.com
> In this group's opinion, what is the optimum cluster size setting (or
> as XP calls it, allocation unit size) when formatting a hard drive. I
> have seen 32K, 64K, and some say leave it at the default of 512K.

The default is 512 bytes, not 512 K. It's tiny, but frankly it does not
seem to cause many problems on modern machines. It may have been more of an
issue on old machines with small CPUs.
Anonymous
December 1, 2004 7:15:57 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Arny,
Thanks for clearing up that bit of confusion for me!!

"Arny Krueger" <arnyk@hotpop.com> wrote in message
news:p fSdncfyx6nCXzDcRVn-rQ@comcast.com...
> <Catdaddy> wrote in message
> news:45cqq01poa1ns47op5ufsms1tsm45e68q3@4ax.com
> > In this group's opinion, what is the optimum cluster size setting (or
> > as XP calls it, allocation unit size) when formatting a hard drive. I
> > have seen 32K, 64K, and some say leave it at the default of 512K.
>
> The default is 512 bytes, not 512 K. It's tiny, but frankly it does not
> seem to cause many problems on modern machines. It may have been more of
an
> issue on old machines with small CPUs.
>
>
Anonymous
December 1, 2004 8:01:11 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Arny Krueger wrote:
> <Catdaddy> wrote in message
> news:45cqq01poa1ns47op5ufsms1tsm45e68q3@4ax.com
>
>> In this group's opinion, what is the optimum cluster size setting (or
>> as XP calls it, allocation unit size) when formatting a hard drive. I
>> have seen 32K, 64K, and some say leave it at the default of 512K.
>
>
> The default is 512 bytes, not 512 K. It's tiny, but frankly it does not
> seem to cause many problems on modern machines. It may have been more of an
> issue on old machines with small CPUs.


I'm pretty sure the 512 bytes you're thinking of is the sector size on the drive media itself. This is the default for all but a few RAID setups and the only value most OS's will recognize.

The cluster size ranges from 4k to 64k on windows filesystems, with 128k possible on drives using using 1024 byte sectors.
Anonymous
December 1, 2004 11:17:28 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Kurt Albershardt" <kurt@nv.net> wrote in message
news:31783gF37jettU2@individual.net
> Arny Krueger wrote:
>> <Catdaddy> wrote in message
>> news:45cqq01poa1ns47op5ufsms1tsm45e68q3@4ax.com
>>
>>> In this group's opinion, what is the optimum cluster size setting
>>> (or as XP calls it, allocation unit size) when formatting a hard
>>> drive. I have seen 32K, 64K, and some say leave it at the default
>>> of 512K.
>>
>>
>> The default is 512 bytes, not 512 K. It's tiny, but frankly it does
>> not seem to cause many problems on modern machines. It may have been
>> more of an issue on old machines with small CPUs.
>
>
> I'm pretty sure the 512 bytes you're thinking of is the sector size
> on the drive media itself.

This is also true.

> This is the default for all but a few
> RAID setups and the only value most OS's will recognize.

MS says that the default NTFS cluster size for small partitions (512 MB or
less) is one sector - 512 bytes:

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;314878
Anonymous
December 2, 2004 4:10:16 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Arny Krueger <arnyk@hotpop.com> wrote:

>MS says that the default NTFS cluster size for small partitions (512 MB or
>less) is one sector - 512 bytes:
>
>http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;314878

And formatting tools will allow you to format with 512 byte clusters if
you so wish. That's not too efficient if you're trying to read or writing
lots of data continuously.



--
Len Moskowitz PDAudio, Binaural Mics, Cables, DPA, M-Audio
Core Sound http://www.stealthmicrophones.com
Teaneck, New Jersey USA http://www.core-sound.com
moskowit@core-sound.com Tel: 201-801-0812, FAX: 201-801-0912
Anonymous
December 2, 2004 10:28:45 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

> If you had a zillion very small files, 512 bytes might be
> a good idea from the standpoint of space utilization.

The (very obvious) rule is that the larger the cluster size is with respect to
the average file size, the more space you waste.

There's another reason for using large clusters. As the sectors within them are
usually contiguous, your chance of recovering a deleted or corrupt file is
improved.
December 2, 2004 11:41:04 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Thanks, guys for the info. It seems like the larger the cluster for
large audio files, the better.

Thanks again!!
!