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Gaming Muscle: FAT32 or NTFS ?

Discussão em 'Jogos - Discussão Geral' iniciada por RavenMaster, 9 de Fevereiro de 2005. (Respostas: 10; Visualizações: 1423)

  1. RavenMaster

    RavenMaster Power Member

    "Gamers crave power. Every frame counts. Hardcore gamers are in a constant struggle with their hardware, their software, and Windows itself to pump up the frame rates in their games. It seldom matters to the gaming enthusiast that beyond about 60 frames per second the human eye can't really detect much of a difference. Gaming power is as much about smooth play as it is about bragging rights.

    Windows XP supports two file systems: the file allocation table (FAT) file system and the NTFS file system. (A file system is the method for naming, storing, and organizing files on your computer.) A few months ago, a thread popped up in a newsgroup with the heading "FAT 32 vs. NTFS for games," in which a reader asked which file system was the better choice for gaming. We decided to answer the question by running a series of competitive benchmarks on each file system.

    In this column, I'll describe how we performed our tests and the programs we ran to generate the numbers. One of the programs we used was Halo, shown in Figure 1. Our results might help you decide which file system to run on your Windows XP-based system if you're a gamer.


    What's So Great About NTFS?​

    FAT32 is a 32-bit version of the FAT file system used by MS-DOS and other Windows-based operating systems. FAT32 supports drives up to 2 terabytes in size, with maximum partition sizes up to 128 gigabytes each. The largest file that can exist on a FAT32 drive is 4 GB, which is probably larger than any file will ever be anyway. FAT32 was introduced with Windows 95 OEM Service Release 2 and is also included in Windows 98 and Windows Me. If you upgrade to Windows XP, you'll be asked if you want to convert your file system to NTFS. If you perform a clean install of Windows XP, NTFS is the default file system. For more information, see the Description of the FAT32 File System.

    In non-gaming applications, NTFS is clearly the superior file system for a number of reasons. NTFS is a much more robust file system. Charlie Russel discusses this in his Expert Zone column, NTFS vs. FAT: Which Is Right for You? The latest version of NTFS is supported by Windows 2000, Windows NT 4 with Service Pack 4, and Windows XP. It has all the capabilities of FAT, with advantages that include the following:

    •File size is limited only by the size of the volume of a partition.
    •File compression is native to NTFS. Files on an NTFS drive can be compressed without the need for third-party applications like DriveSpace.
    •Files on an NTFS file system can be encrypted. Better still, the files can be encrypted as they're written and decrypted as they're read, making encryption transparent to the user.
    •NTFS supports enhanced file security. Access rights to files and folders can allow users full, partial or no access.
    •The theoretical hard drive size limitation pertaining to NTFS is a dizzying 16 exabytes.

    Another key advantage of NTFS is that it's recoverable. NTFS keeps track of individual transactions: reads and writes. When a user invokes the disk repair utility CHKDSK under NTFS, it maintains a log of transactions so that if CHKDSK encounters errors, it need only roll back to the last recovery point in order to repair the file system.

    Possibly the most important aspect of NTFS over FAT32 in terms of performance is this: under FAT32, as the number of files on a partition increases, the performance of the system slows. That's not the case in NTFS; its performance remains consistent as the number of files and the drive sizes increase.

    File Systems Based on Cluster Size​

    A key ingredient to the way in which FAT32 and NTFS handle files is cluster size. A cluster, also known as an allocation unit, is the absolute smallest chunk of hard drive space that a file can occupy. Files can be smaller than the cluster size of the file system, but they'll take up a minimum amount of space determined by the cluster size.

    In other words, if the cluster size on drive X is 4 kilobytes and a file is a mere 64 bytes in length, it will occupy 4 KB of the disk even through it's not 4 KB in size. Cluster size has everything to do with the efficiency with which a file system uses the hard disk space available. We'll find out later if it has anything to do with the performance of the drive and with games played on the drive.

    The default cluster size used by a particular file system varies according to the volume size of the drive. A volume is an amount of storage space on a hard drive or drives. Larger volumes tend to use larger cluster sizes. Larger cluster sizes result in decreased efficiency with which the file system uses the disk. NTFS uniformly uses small cluster sizes. The NTFS cluster size stays at 4 KB. This is its maximum cluster size; its cluster size diminishes as the volume size decreases below 2 GB. In terms of cluster size, NTFS is far more efficient than FAT32.

    The Numbers: Head to Head Benchmarks​

    We benchmarked FAT32 against NTFS on a 120 GB hard drive. And to determine if cluster size has any effect on game performance, we benchmarked FAT32 on volumes of various sizes. We took into account the default cluster size by volume for each file system.

    To get a good mix of theoretical and practical results, we used the following programs to generate numbers:

    •PCMark04—a synthetic benchmark that tests the system as a whole. It includes a hard drive benchmark, which is relevant to this article.
    •3DMark03—a synthetic gaming benchmark that rigorously tests the graphics and CPU subsystems.
    •HDTach 3.00 Beta—the latest version of a dedicated hard drive benchmark.
    •Halo—a system-hungry game with a built-in benchmark.
    •Unreal Tournament 2003—a popular, full game with a benchmark system that's become an industry standard.


    If you decide to benchmark your system, be sure to follow the most important rule of benchmarking: everything (other than the parameters you're testing) must be the same. For our tests, we used the exact same system and the exact same procedures and only changed that which we were testing: the cluster size and the file system.

    Our Benchmarking Procedures​

    We installed a fresh copy of Windows XP Professional, using default settings for both our FAT32 and NTFS tests. We then installed the latest drivers for all the hardware and updated Windows with all service packs, critical updates, and DirectX releases up to this writing, April 20, 2004. After that, we installed each benchmark and where applicable, we updated it to its latest version. We removed Windows Messenger but otherwise left the operating system with its default parameters. We rebooted the system between each benchmark and we ran each benchmark five times to arrive at an average score.

    Note that we did not convert the drive from FAT32 to NTFS or change the cluster size in between the tests. We wanted to test each file system in its optimal state, so after we ran the benchmarks for each set of parameters, we completely wiped the hard drive and started with a fresh Windows XP installation. Yes, it took a very long time!

    Since FAT32 cluster size varies based on the size of the partition, we tested FAT32 with partition sizes of 120 GB, 7 GB, 15 GB, and 31 GB.

    The testbed specifications were:

    •SOYO P4X400 Dragon Ultra Platinum Edition motherboard
    •Pentium 4 2.8-GHz processor
    •512-MB PC3200 DDR400 memory
    •Seagate ST 3120023A Barracuda ATA-133 120-GB hard drive
    •Generic floppy drive
    •Toshiba SD-M1612 CD-ROM drive
    •ASUS Radeon 9800 XT graphics card (with ATI Catalyst 4.4 reference drivers)
    •Onboard C-Media CMI8738-MX audio accelerator
    •Generic 104-key keyboard
    •Microsoft IntelliMouse Optical (using the Windows XP native driver)

    Our Test Results​

    The results of our benchmarking are shown in Table 2. The numbers show...not much difference. In fact, the only test that doesn't show near-perfect parity is PCMark04, and the difference between the results on the two file systems is less than two percent. HDTach's read and access tests, which respectively measure how fast data can be read from the drive and how quickly the drive can locate data, were nearly identical. More importantly, the gaming tests showed nary a difference in all-important frame rates between the file systems and the cluster sizes.
    Based on the uniformity we experienced, we highly recommend that users of Windows XP take advantage of the NTFS file system. Its gaming prowess matches that of FAT32 and it boasts a healthy line-up of advantages over its opponent."

  2. VinE

    VinE Power Member

    De vez em quando perguntava-me isso por acaso, sempre tive a ideia que o FAT32 era bastante mais rápido, pelos vistos a diferença é minima..

    Bom Artigo.
  3. Cooling

    Cooling 1st Folding then Sex

    eu usava fat32...passei pa NTFS acho que e muito melhor...alem do sistema ja nao ficar lento quando tenho o disco cheio...e mais seguro...um corte de luz ou assim nao e o suficiente pa a instalaçao ficar corrompida por exemplo...da pa comprimir rapidamente

    acho que so tem vantagens!
  4. _zZz_

    _zZz_ Professional Folder

    e com o nfts ta para trabalhar com files very big :)

    mas que venha o proximo.. winfs ne?
  5. Melga

    Melga Power Member

    hmm ..... nunca usei o NTFS, tb pensava que o FAT32 seria melhor para games :P ..... bem na futura formatação irei pelo NTFS ... um gajo tá sempre aprendendo :001:
  6. RavenMaster

    RavenMaster Power Member

    @ Microsoft
  7. Nemesis11

    Nemesis11 Power Member

    Não precisas de formatar.

    "convert x: /FS:NTFS"

    "convert /?" para mais opções.
    Última edição: 9 de Fevereiro de 2005
  8. Melga

    Melga Power Member

    isso eu sei .... preciso mesmo de formatar lol ..
    fiz uma asneira :D no meu xp .. acontece :lol:
  9. AwakE

    AwakE Banido

    É não é Vine? :joker: :joker: :joker: :joker: :joker: :joker: :joker:
  10. CrazyBomber

    CrazyBomber Power Member

    Acho que só os resultados do teste "HDTach 3.0 Beta, random access" serão mais significativos, já que esse sim mede a velocidade de leitura do FS.
    O Fat32 demorou em média 15s, enquanto q o NTFS demorou 13,4. Já é alguma diferença. A minha pergunta é: e se o disco tiver completamente cheio? O FAT32 provavelmente ficava um bocado a apanhar papéis atrás do NTFS...

    NTFS rula (em comparação com o FAT32, claro) :P
  11. WhiteTiger

    WhiteTiger 1st Folding then Sex

    Se a memória não falha li um artigo que referia que o "WinFS" para já não vem incorporado no Longhorn.
    Parece que já só vai ser incorporado na versão server do Longhorn que irá ser lançada deppois da versão para workstations.

    Edit: Confirma-se

    Última edição: 12 de Fevereiro de 2005

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