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  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    02-17-2006
    Posts
    48

    FAT vs. FAT32 vs. NTFS SD Card formatting

    Hi folks,

    Can someone tell me the difference in formatting the SD card? Mine just "crashed" and I decided to format it to start fresh. First, I tried NTFS - it didn't work. Then I tried both FAT and FAT32. Both worked...

    But is one better than the other? Is one "faster" or less prone to crashing?

    Help!!!

    Thanks!!!

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    10-07-2004
    Posts
    310
    As a related question does anyone know the maximum card size capacity with whihc FAT works? I bought a 4Gb Topram and so far it is working well (3 days) although I have less than 2 GB used. Will I have problems once I go over 2 GB?

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    01-23-2007
    Posts
    339
    Armand,
    The definitive article on the question (IMO) is Menneisyys's blog over at the Smartphone & Pocket PC Magazine Forum: Smartphone & Pocket PC magazine Forum - Optimizing storage card speed
    (If the link doesn't work or your not a member, Google "storage card format smartphone 'Pocket PC'" and look for the pocketpcmag.com link on the first page of results.
    Technical summary: It's really, really complicated and depends to a large extent on the quality of the card. The biggest impact on speed seems to come from leaving off the file allocation table backup, but you need to purchase specific software to do it. Leaving the FAT backup in, I tested my Topram 4GB card using a number of different variations of FAT(16) and FAT32 with different cluster sizes. I couldn't generate any significant differences in speed or storage space using my test method (moving a couple hundred jpegs back and forth.) I ended up sticking with FAT16 at a 64k cluster size, and that seems to work OK. Once my 4GB starts getting crowded, then I might try something a little more space efficient.

    T-Man,
    As noted, my 4GB Topram is FAT formatted and still running at about 3-1/2 months since the last format. I don't do a lot of I/O on it, so YMMV.
    I actually loaded it up with jpegs and mp4 files just to get over 2GB used (under 2GB free space) - after doing that, the camera writes directly to the card (it wouldn't before; no error messages or anything, just ignored the setup of save to card.)

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