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File system for Gaming

By codeseven ยท 13 replies
Apr 17, 2003
  1. Using XP,what file system is best for gaming,FAT32 or NTFS? Does it matter? Thanks
  2. negroplasty

    negroplasty TS Guru Posts: 516   +12

    It really does depend on your hard drive/partition size that you are using, FAT32 is better for smaller partitions and NTFS has better support for larger partitions with a few extra security features. As for gaming, I wouldn't really expect there to be much difference in overall performance, maybe a slight increase here and there. But overall, I would say the best file system is NTFS, as I got a few performance increases when I converted from FAT32, so there is no reason you shouldn't. I also know of others who got a performance increase in gaming when converting to NTFS from a FAT file system, so I doubt it could be coincidence. I would get a second opinion first before converting though :grinthumb . -- That is if you are using a FAT file system of course.
  3. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    NTFS is better in all aspects. It's faster, more reliable, more secure, saves disk space, supports larger partitions etc...

    The only drawback is that you cannot view the drive using a Win9x OS. But if XP is your only OS, then that should be fine.
  4. codeseven

    codeseven TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 32

    Thanks guys.

  5. Justin

    Justin TS Rookie Posts: 942

    NTFS is not faster then FAT32. FAT32 is the faster of the two, HOWEVER the speed differenece between them is extremely little, almost unnoticeable other then in raw benchmarks.

    One thing I like about NTFS is cluster size specification. I play many games that have hundreds of small files (Ala daggerfall, ultima 7, half life, etc). With NTFS, I can specifiy a partition to be formatted with a cluster size as small as 512bytes, opposed to the 8 times as large default cluster size of 4096bytes, which in the end reduces slack space.
  6. Per Hansson

    Per Hansson TS Server Guru Posts: 1,946   +200

    On a side note, yes FAT32 could perhaps be 000,1 percent faster sometimes...

    However using a cluster size as low as 512byte on either filesystem will sureley slow down your HDD...

    Going lower than 4kb is really not recommended... (8k is my preference.. although you loose (the crappy IMHO) encrytion in NTFS if you use anything but 4k...

    The reason that performance will be effetced on smaller cluster sizes is simply because so many clusters will be needed... And somehow the computer has got to keep track of where they are (the FAT or File Allocation Table) will thus become extremley large...

    Disk fragmentation will also have a bigger chanche of affecting performance since it's percentage wise a much bigger chanche that the file will be on different places on the platters...
  7. Deception`

    Deception` TS Rookie

    NTFS is a better filesystem, but it gets fragmented very quickly, especially with a lot of file swapping, downloading, etc. My advise is to use NTFS but defrag on a regular basis (once every week or so).
  8. Justin

    Justin TS Rookie Posts: 942

    I used to think the same, but after testing it in many situations, I found that on average, the performance degradation was minimal at most. It may be noticeable on a file server getting thousands of requests, but in my situation where I have something generating 4,000 - 15,000 files that get changed rarely, it wasn't something that was of any concern to me.
  9. Justin

    Justin TS Rookie Posts: 942

    NTFS does not suffer from filesystem fragmentation anymore then FAT32 does. Under normal circumstances the MFT zone will never be resized so log fragmentation isn't a concern - If you manage your partitions wisely, you will almost never need to defragment. After about 9 months of running, one of my boxes, Dunkle, is still under 1% fragmentation on all partitions.

    You don't need to defrag every week, every month, or whatnot, if you use a little foresight when installing your OS.

    I reccomend the following:

    1-3GB: OS
    3-5GB: Programs
    5-15gb: Games
    1gb: Locked pagefile and temporary internet files / other temporary uses such as unraring/unzipping
    rest: Mass storage, such as thousands of mp3s, video files, my documents, et cetera
  10. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    Fragmentation depends largely upon cluster size. FAT32 and NTFS are both very different in respects default cluster sizes, but both can have the same cluster sizes... It just usually isn't the same.

    There's been several good threads about fragmentation and cluster sizes.
  11. Justin

    Justin TS Rookie Posts: 942

    Good point Rick.

    One thing about NTFS: Never ever ever ever use an OLDER defragmentation program on it!!! A lot of people I have noticed are still using older versions of defrag (such as the DOS version or the 16bit Norton versions) on NTFS partitions - The way these programs defrag will seriously mess with the MFT zone in such a way that you will almost HAVE to defrag on a weekly basis... in which only a format of the partition would be able to help.
  12. codeseven

    codeseven TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 32

    Soul,in regerds to partitioning and gaming. On my 40gig HD I would like to partition my HD in a way that would pute my boot files,swap file and a seperate 'lean/barebones' XP OS/games partition up front on the edge of the disk for speed of access. The following partition would have a second 'normal' XP install and my everyday programs and files on it. Does this sound feasable and how should I set this up? Thanks
  13. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,729   +409


    We already discussed this and with you specifically.

    Maybe I'm not seeing a difference in what you are asking. But I imagine in that link, the link that phantasm66 provided you can read it and learn a good setup for your system. Did you read that ratifited link?

    Here is another thread started by you that I thought we explained ourselves pretty well.

    Here is another good one:
  14. codeseven

    codeseven TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 32

    Thanks SNGX1275,maybe I should have been more specific. Last year I was seeking help on partitioning in general which to me was a totally new concept I was not aware of. Being newer to PC's at the time I did'nt know much. I had Partition Magic but did'nt even know how to use it. Thanx to you guys(and the links provided to me)I became comfortable with using PM.

    Well,I still dont know much but just lately I read that I could install XP more than once on the same hard drive. Using one of those OS partitions('barebones' and tweaked to the max for game performance)for gaming only and another XP install for everything else. It's the multiple XP install subject I'm not sure about and which was not specifically delved into enough in my previous posts and the links provided to me to understand it. So I'm back to try to understand how to partition my HD with a separate swap file and multiple installs of XP.

    So,using one 40gig HD how do I partition it for a single swap file,one XP/Games and one XP/Everything else? Also,when you create a partition for a swap file how does XP recognize it as such?

    Thanks again for your help.
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