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  #1  
Old 01-23-2024, 08:20 AM
BWV846 BWV846 is offline
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Default Disc Formatting Cluster Size Allocation

Formatting a new external SSD 1TB; Pro Tools and most other updated information stipulates NTFS, but nothing on the internet or recent PT documentation written about cluster sizes. No one has posted anything much about cluster sizes since 2009 (Fat32). I know the pros and cons and how and whys of clustering; what is the average size cluster allocation for standard short song file size audio recordings that people are using? I could not find anything so went with the default (4096KB probably) to get moving. What sizes are others optimizing for, and it is also RAM compatible? This is one area I do not compute - cluster size vs RAM usage. Is there a working relationship to consider? Regards.
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Old 01-23-2024, 12:21 PM
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Default Re: Disc Formatting Cluster Size Allocation

Hmmm, I have always done the default settings and never had an issue. I'll be watching this thread to see if anyone has deeper knowledge
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Old 01-23-2024, 02:07 PM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is online now
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Default Re: Disc Formatting Cluster Size Allocation

Quote:
Originally Posted by BWV846 View Post
Formatting a new external SSD 1TB; Pro Tools and most other updated information stipulates NTFS, but nothing on the internet or recent PT documentation written about cluster sizes. No one has posted anything much about cluster sizes since 2009 (Fat32). I know the pros and cons and how and whys of clustering; what is the average size cluster allocation for standard short song file size audio recordings that people are using? I could not find anything so went with the default (4096KB probably) to get moving. What sizes are others optimizing for, and it is also RAM compatible? This is one area I do not compute - cluster size vs RAM usage. Is there a working relationship to consider? Regards.
Of all the things you should be worried about this one is a waste of time. What actual problem are you trying to solve?

Modern systems have and use so much RAM for different things that it is hard to see how file cluster/ file system block fragmentation or overhead is interesting to worry about. And the default 4k will be fine.

Things to worry about: Run only high quality SSDs. Check the SSD firmware version is up to date (https://duc.avid.com/showthread.php?t=425632). Monitor SSD temps/performance/health with SMART. If drive performance is critical run PCIe 4 (or better?) M.2/NVMe drives. If using Pro Tools disk cache set it to a suitable size.

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edit: and the default cluster size is 4096 *bytes* not 4096 KB, aka the filesystem block size for sane operating systems, or at least those with sane naming conventions.

Last edited by Darryl Ramm; 01-23-2024 at 08:18 PM.
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Old 01-23-2024, 02:23 PM
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Default Re: Disc Formatting Cluster Size Allocation

NTSF, default allocation.

I have a client that uses an ext drive to float stuff between Mac & Win computers. For that purpose, we used exFAT. https://www.seagate.com/manuals/expa...%20in%20exFAT.
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Old 01-23-2024, 05:16 PM
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Default Re: Disc Formatting Cluster Size Allocation

Default for me too. If you were trying to minimize wasted space, it may be possible to figure out the perfect cluster size for the majority of your files, but like Darryl said, What actual problem are you trying to solve?

There is good advice above, I would just follow that.
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Old 01-25-2024, 07:27 AM
BWV846 BWV846 is offline
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Default Re: Disc Formatting Cluster Size Allocation

The only problem was determining what cluster size to allocate. A tech friend from many years ago said go for 32K for my SCSI. I imagine that was helping with seek times and space saving.
I only wanted to know if it helps with SSD in terms of having 10 times fewer clusters, but I suppose not, and would I save 20GB in table space.

Yes its just 1 of 500 studio problems.
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Old 01-25-2024, 08:27 PM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is online now
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Default Re: Disc Formatting Cluster Size Allocation

NTFS uses 32-bit (4 Byte) pointers to clusters (aka disk blocks).

So a 4KB clusters/blocks can store 1024 pointers to cluster items. Those clusters point to by a 4K block of pointers can store (4 x 1024) x 1024 bytes of data. You can think of that as a naive overheard of

(4 x 1024) storage for pointers/(4 x 1024 x 1024) data storage * 100 = 0.1% overhead

In practice, there will be additional overhead/data structures involved maybe resulting in a few times this overhead or more but it's still just not going to be worth worrying about.

NTFS is not a particularly sophisticated file system compared to more recent ones and maybe could do with a technology refresh including some SSD related things. Microsoft could have done that update with ReFS but kinda chickened out but maybe cowardice to inflict change there was good. And notably ZFS included variable block size support, as well as a lot of other goodies.

The overhead going the other way to very small files, might be pathologically bad in some rare special cases, but they are typically cases with developer working on exotic stuff and if needed they can deal with it.

Overall here, just leave stuff alone, 4KB is a nice size, internally it matches the memory page size which likely helps a little with performance, and block sizes larger then 4Kb break NTFS file compression should you or others ever want to use that. The only place it's likely needed is if you need volumes/files that are larger than 16TB, then sure increasing cluster size is the way to get that.

And with SSDs the filesystem cluster/block size consideration is maybe less interesting, or what is really going on is certainly more complex. But nothing there really makes cluster size worth worrying about for mere mortals. What is really really worth worrying about is keeping drive firmware up to date and monitoring SSDs for errors/problems.
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Old 02-26-2024, 06:07 PM
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Default Re: Disc Formatting Cluster Size Allocation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl Ramm View Post
... NTFS is not a particularly sophisticated file system compared to more recent ones and maybe could do with a technology refresh including some SSD related things. Microsoft could have done that update with ReFS but kinda chickened out but maybe cowardice to inflict change there was good ...
Microsoft update cowardice = good indeed, plus NTFS works just fine - for bazillions of users. It ain't broke ---> don't fix it.
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