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chrisgrant 10-28-2009 07:35 AM

External Hard Drive Questions
Hi Forum,

I am a switcher (and happy) and still encounter loads of windows machines in my day to day work (in the IT field)

I recently purchased a 500GB External hard drive. I plugged the drive in and was excited to see that the HDD was formatted in FAT32. So I was happy because of FAT32 being an open format which would be read/write compatible with no matter what OS I encountered and had to work on.

My question firstly, I thought that FAT32 wasn't implementable on any drive over 40GB ???
Secondly, is there any problem with running FAT32? Isn't is a very old and antiquated format?
Thirdly and lastly, is there any speed decrease with having a 500GB drive in FAT32 format? (shouldn't I rather split the drive 50/50 and have one for Windows Things in NTFS (which I can READ under Mac) and 250GB in a Mac HDD Format?

I am busy transferring data a large amount of data to the drive on a Windows machine and the transfer rate is bobbing between 11megabytes/serc and 13megabytes/sec
Now, given that this is a 2.5" hard drive (USB powered) I can understand that there MIGHT be some type of performance decrease when compared to a 3.5" external powered drive. But to put it into perspective, I am used to seeing speeds of 25 to 35 megabytes/sec on the 3.5" drives (running NTFS)

Now, my OFFICIAL last question ( :D ) - is this speed decrease because it is running FAT32 on such a large partition or because this is just normal with the smaller 2.5" external USB powered drives?

Your expert opinions and answers appreciated and thanks in advance,

Chris Grant

todd51 10-28-2009 09:57 AM

I'm not too sure about having speeds decrease because of it being a FAT32 partition. It could be any of the things that you mentioned. Is the drive 7200 or 5400rpm?

chrisgrant 10-28-2009 11:45 AM

Hey, thanks for the reply!
The thing is, it's a 2.5" drive so it is highly likely that it is 5400rpm and highly likely that it spins even slower than that.

My main concern is the fact that I am now running a drive with FAT32 (which I abandoned using when I moved to Windows XP... so my questions were mainly meant to direct towards the "is FAT32 really a trustworthy and decent Disk Format to use. I have since repartitioned the drive to include a partition of FAT32 and a partition in Mac OSX Journalised Format so that I can use it with Time Machine.

Guess that my worries were a little silly to begin with :P


todd51 10-28-2009 11:53 AM

I probably would have partitioned the drive as well. NTFS is much more stable than FAT32 file system. Plus, now you have a drive for your Time Machine backups!

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