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Topic: Windows Vista / Xp file sytem

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  1. #1

    Windows Vista / Xp file sytem

    What is the best file system to use for an Windows Vista/xp audio system NTFS or FAT32?

  2. #2

    Re: Windows Xp file sytem

    As a member of this forum, and a Microsoft Program Manager, I'd like to address this. I should note that this is not my area of expertise, although I do have some insight into this area from an audio perspective.

    Back in the day, people used FAT (or FAT 32) because the overhead involved in NTFS was thought to be a significant performance hit. Over the years there have been MANY discussions on this (newsgroups, etc.). With few exceptions the analysis for showing one to be better than the other (for performance purposes) has been inconclusive in recent years. We believe that some apps may be optimized to perform better on one format, but we don't have any conclusive evidence to state whether that's the case or not.

    NTFS does offer better security and data resilience. With performance imrpovements in processing speed and the drivers themselves, most people agree that it is the better choice today.


    One other note - Sector Size
    There has also been discussion about changing the sector size of a drive and it's impact on performance. The theory is that audio files are rather large, and it's more efficient to write to larger sectors than smaller sectors with this kind of data. The drawback is that larger sector sizes mean MORE unused space. For example, if you format a drive with a 4k sector size, a file with 2 bytes of data will require 4k of space on the drive. With a sector size of 32k (for example), you would write the data to the drive less often (in approximately 300 ms chunks). Any file that wasn't 32k would still take up 32k of space.

    None-the-less, some proponents of this swear that it makes a difference. People should experiment to see what works best for them.

    Regardless of which file system you use... don't forget to back up your data (to a safe place).
    Last edited by Pat Azzarello; 08-31-2006 at 08:48 AM.
    Pat Azzarello
    http://www.patazzarello.com

  3. #3

    Re: Windows Vista / Xp file sytem

    I format my audio and sample drives to 64k clusters. I had read that it enables you to read and write audio faster. In my experience it does make a difference. The only thing is you have to defrag a little more frequently. (Audio drv mainly since samples just sit and stream mostly) No biggie.

    And a southernly welcome to Northernsounds for the Microsoft Audio forum.

    --Bransonkeys

  4. #4

    Re: Windows Vista / Xp file sytem

    Quote Originally Posted by masimon
    What is the best file system to use for an Windows Vista/xp audio system NTFS or FAT32?
    I read an article on Vista a while ago (when it was still named Longhorn) and I think from memory that it was introducing a new file system...?
    ---------------------------
    - SCA - Sound Studios -
    www.sca-soundstudios.com
    ---------------------------

  5. #5

    Re: Windows Vista / Xp file sytem

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Cairns
    I read an article on Vista a while ago (when it was still named Longhorn) and I think from memory that it was introducing a new file system...?
    The base file system is still NTFS, although it's an updated version that should actually help audio performance (I'll get more info on this later). There is work being done to make the file system more managable (metadata, etc.) but not in this release Vista, and I don't know when it will be released (but I'll nose around a little more).
    Pat Azzarello
    http://www.patazzarello.com

  6. #6

    Re: Windows Vista / Xp file sytem

    Quote Originally Posted by Bransonkeys
    I format my audio and sample drives to 64k clusters. I had read that it enables you to read and write audio faster. In my experience it does make a difference. The only thing is you have to defrag a little more frequently. (Audio drv mainly since samples just sit and stream mostly) No biggie.

    And a southernly welcome to Northernsounds for the Microsoft Audio forum.

    --Bransonkeys
    Yes, larger sector sizes can help. The theory here is that audio files are much bigger than 4k, and reading in bigger chunks helps performance.

    The drawback here is that, should you have files smaller than 64k, you will still take up more room on the disk. If you look at the file properties (right-click on the file, and select properties) you will see a difference between the actual file size (the amount of data in the file) and the Size on Disk (which is always rounded up to the next multiple of that disks sector size).

    Even though this is not as much of an issue with large audio files, small files will likely be very inefficient. For example, rounding up a 4 meg file to the next 64k boundry is not horrible, but rounding up a bunch of 65k files to the next 64k boundry (128k) is. So, when putting other files on that drive, make certain they are not small files.

    A couple other helpful hints
    Always make your audio drive a SEPARATE drive from you System drive, not just a separate partition. The physical requirements of moving the hard drive heads back and forth on a multipartitioned drive impacts performance. The same is true of the drive that you put your samples on. Having more drives, and carefully considering what you put on them, will help your performance more than having one or two huge drives with multiple partitions.
    Pat Azzarello
    http://www.patazzarello.com

  7. #7

    Re: Windows Vista / Xp file sytem

    No partitions here, I'm currently at three internals (one for sys, one for audio, and one for samples. A forth is in the shop for swap). My Mobo has 8 SATA ports so I still have room to grow.

    I only 64k format the audio and sample drv. Sys drive formatted at default. Works great. I've toyed with the idea of setting it up in RAID (prob 3), but I can't decide if the RAID controller on my Pentium D 955 XBK is the way to go or if I should invest in a PCI RAID controller. Still researching that one.

    Thanks for the reply

    --Bransonkeys

  8. #8
    Senior Member Richard Berg's Avatar
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    Re: Windows Vista / Xp file sytem

    Don't use large clusters along with NTFS compression. Also, many 3rd party apps (PartitionMagic et al) do not support nonstandard cluster sizes. Overall, it's a good tip for dedicated audio drives but shouldn't be applied in normal use. (Exception: best performance with striped RAID arrays comes from setting cluster size = stripe size.)

  9. #9

    Re: Windows Vista / Xp file sytem

    Just a thought... Linux live cds have partition programs. Will they read larger clusters?? If so, partition magic is not needed.

    Trent Hayes
    MCSA 2003
    A+,Network+
    Cubase SX3, Sibelius

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