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Win98&FAT32 scores DOUBLE Win2000&NTFS on disk test.

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  • Win98&FAT32 scores DOUBLE Win2000&NTFS on disk test.

    I've tested several systems with PT, and in every case found the disk score to be much, much lower when running Win2000 and NTFS over running Win98. Some of the tests were run on the same machine, after a clean format and installation of each OS.

    Most all were running newer 7200rpm drives with 2mb buffers. Drives were from 20 to 80gb, but most had the OS installed on a partition 16gb or less. DMA was enabled on all tests. Systems were anything from and Athlon 850 to a P4 2.0a ghz Northwood. Sometimes the variation in scores on one machine was greater than comparing the fastest to the slowest machine.

    Typical scores follow, all done on the same machines back to back:

    Win2000, using NTFS: Disk scores=100 to 125, on all machines.

    Win98se, using FAT32: Disk scores=175 to 210, on all machines.

    My question: Is this normal and usual? Or is the score somehow skewed by trying to compare to different OS's? Does this mean realworld performance is much slower running NTFS over FAT32?

    And finally, if it is really slower, is there any way to speed up a system running NTFS?

    Thanks for your help......

    Ps... Forgot to mention, the scores above were all using Performace Test version 3.4. I just became aware of the newer version on this visit.

  • David (PassMark)
    Win98&FAT32 scores DOUBLE Win2000&NTFS on disk test.

    I think there are a number of reasons for the difference.

    NTFS is a more complex file system that has more overhead in the form of disk quota checks, user and file permission security checks, maintaining multiple Master File Tables, multiple data streams, last accessed file stamps, etc...

    The big difference however in your case is probably the cluster size. Between 8 and 16GB the FAT32 cluster size is 8KB and the NTFS cluster size is 4KB. Above 16GB FAT32 goes to 16KB cluster sizes. Disks with larger clusters are in general faster but use the space inefficiently. The speed difference is especially noticeable with large continuous files, like those used in PerformanceTest.

    The other thing you might notice is that FAT starts off being fast then slows down as more files are added to directories. NTFS does a tree search for files, FAT does a slow linear search. But this will not show up so much in PerformanceTest because only a single files is used for the test.


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