exFAT vs NTFS

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digitaltomj Offline
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I have pretty much always stuck with NTFS format when setting up hard drives...but recently (after discovering that windows 8 not only supports but can easily format hard drives into exFAT) I am beginning to like exFAT more and more than NTFS...It is really helpful for my 2.5 in. 500 GB external drive which I use to transfer all types of files between all types of systems...I noticed that that my spare 8 GB SDHC (which, when formatted in FAT32, could only have 4 GBs dedicated to ready boost) could now be fully dedicated to have all 8 GBs dedicated to flash memory...I am liking this new format so much I'm thinking about reformatting my 4 TB raid-0 array that I use to store all of my XBMC media into exFAT...I'm wondering what everyone thinks about the conversion from NTFS to exFAT for all of my precious media files? I have heard that FAT formats weren't as secure as NTFS...but that may have been before the introduction of exFAT compatibility on windows 8.
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Tycho91 Offline
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Post: #2
Does the exFAT format use journaling or just its FAT table?
Thats where the issues with secureness are.

NTFS uses journaling. It edits its journal before it starts to transfer files and when the journal contains all the changes it starts to transfer files and edit the FAT (File Allocation Table, table that keeps record of the physical location of every block on your hard drive). In case something happens (power shortage or whatever), the journal will still know what has happend and will have to happen so it can return the items that have not been completely transfered to its original state.

FAT16 or FAT32 immediatly starts editing your FAT, so in case of a power shortage: your FAT is fucked. And FAT32 has a 32bit max (so 2^32 = 4gig) file size
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aicjofs Offline
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Do you even get an option to format the RAID array as exFAT? I was under the impression you could only format a "removable drive" as exFAT. I'm sure there is a work around, but natively I didn't think it was possible.

exFAT doesnt have 4GB limitation, and since it was designed for removeable devices it has some built in protections, uses a couple of FAT's and compares, not exactly journaled.

I played around with it, biggest problem I had was compatibilty, I use alot of different OS's etc and exFAT doesn't have a strong support base yet. For Windows I would not change my storage drive from NTFS personally. I would use it for some of my removable media.
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digitaltomj Offline
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(2012-03-24 12:39)Tycho91 Wrote:  Does the exFAT format use journaling or just its FAT table?
Thats where the issues with secureness are.

NTFS uses journaling. It edits its journal before it starts to transfer files and when the journal contains all the changes it starts to transfer files and edit the FAT (File Allocation Table, table that keeps record of the physical location of every block on your hard drive). In case something happens (power shortage or whatever), the journal will still know what has happend and will have to happen so it can return the items that have not been completely transfered to its original state.

FAT16 or FAT32 immediatly starts editing your FAT, so in case of a power shortage: your FAT is fucked. And FAT32 has a 32bit max (so 2^32 = 4gig) file size

Not sure about journaling...exFat does use clusters but im not sure as to what exactly that is...I will look into it...altho I have had a power shortage while cut and pasteing files from my NTFS HDD to an old FAT32 flash drive (which is different form a exFAT) and all the files stayed on the HDD...altho maybe that is because it was a NTFS to begin with? I will test it in a bit with redundant test files to see if i loose any information rather than searching Google for old blogs (cause even with only month old search filter on most ppl still use FAT32 as a reference to exFAT

Some exFat Math:
Max disk size...exFAT supports up to 64 ZiB[nb 1] but is recommended to be limited to 512 TiB (512 Tib = 562949.95 GB = 562.95 TB)
Max file size...exFAT is limited to 16 EiB–1 byte.[nb 2] (16 Eibs = 18014398.51 GB = 18014.4 TB)
(2012-03-24 19:47)aicjofs Wrote:  Do you even get an option to format the RAID array as exFAT? I was under the impression you could only format a "removable drive" as exFAT. I'm sure there is a work around, but natively I didn't think it was possible.

exFAT doesnt have 4GB limitation, and since it was designed for removeable devices it has some built in protections, uses a couple of FAT's and compares, not exactly journaled.

I played around with it, biggest problem I had was compatibilty, I use alot of different OS's etc and exFAT doesn't have a strong support base yet. For Windows I would not change my storage drive from NTFS personally. I would use it for some of my removable media.

Yes you can do raid with exFAT but only in windows 8 as far as I know...and Windows 8 also lets you natively format to either FAT32, NTFS, or exFAT.

I did read that exFAT is not very compatible with MAC OS...So i may need to keep a NTFS partition on my portable disk
(This post was last modified: 2012-03-24 21:03 by digitaltomj.)
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digitaltomj Offline
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Post: #5
Ps...exFAT seems to have longer write times than NTFS...I haven't timed it or anything but it seems slower
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Tycho91 Offline
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(2012-03-24 21:59)digitaltomj Wrote:  Ps...exFAT seems to have longer write times than NTFS...I haven't timed it or anything but it seems slower

FAT has less overhead than NTFS since it doesnt use a journal, don't know about exFAT though
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Livin Offline
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exFAT was designed for flash drives, not hard drives. It will not provide better performance over NTFS and might even be worse. For xbmc the file system is pretty much irrelevant, you will see very litter, if any, real world difference

If you want to read up on it there is aton of info on the web... But for hdds it is a wastes of time and effort Imo

I'm not an expert but I play one at work.
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digitaltomj Offline
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Post: #8
Update: while playing around with exFAT a bit I have noticed that partition management is not as easy as NTFS...like you cant shrink or expand an exFAT partition...so if the disk will have more than one partition it is deff better to stick with NTFS...but for a one partition disk, Seems like exFAT has many benefits. Altho, I have not tested the read/write speeds yet
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