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Which Allocation Unit Size?


Starhawk
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I'm formatting an 80GB drive that I usually use for video files. When asked to choose an Allocation Unit Size from 512 / 1025 / 2048 / 4096 / 8192 / 16k / 32k / 64k, I chose the largest one: 64k.

 

I've heard if you are going to be using large files that you will get better performance if you use a larger AUR.

 

Is this a bad idea? Any disadvantage for using smaller files on this drive besides it always taking up at least 64k? Should I go with "Default" or something in the middle like 4096?

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OK, new problem if anyone is reading this...

 

I am formatting this hard drive because it was corrupted. I was able to still open the drive and see the files, but some were inaccessible. I used a recovery program to get the important files back, and then I was ready to format.

 

During the formatting, 'Drive Management' froze. I tried to close it and even tried to access the hard drive Im trying to format, but was unable. I then restarted the computer. Now the computer does not recognize that hard drive, it doesn?t see anything there at all.

 

My first instinct is to open the tower, disconnect and reconnect the hard drive. Will this do any good? Is there anything I can do to get the computer to see that hard drive, or does it sound like it's dead?

 

Thanks for any help. :)

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A smaller Allocation Unit is actually better. For an example, if you have an AU size of say 4096 bytes and you save a file that is 2048 you'll be wasting 2048 bytes on the HDD since each AU (cluster) is set at 4096 bytes. The only time I've used a larger cluster size is when there's a Database that uses extremely large files since it will speed up the access time. IMO, if you're using it for video, just use the default size.

 

Regarding not seeing the drive anymore, try rescanning and if that doesn't work, make sure you can see the drive in the BIOS.

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OK, I finally got around to opening up the computer. I reset the IDE cable on both ends and now the computer recognizes it.

 

When the PC reboots, it always tries to do a disk scan on this drive in question. I always have to tell it to skip the scan because it will always hang around 50%. (then I have to restart the computer and the cycle repeats itself).

 

Im wondering if this had anything to do with the PC not being able to format the drive on the first try. I'm trying to format again as I type this. We'll see what happens.

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Originally posted by Starhawk@Oct 20 2004, 09:18 PM

Im wondering if this had anything to do with the PC not being able to format the drive on the first try. I'm trying to format again as I type this. We'll see what happens.

Yup, that's why. If you can't format it within Windows try it using Fdisk off a 98 boot disk. If you don't have a 98 boot disk let me know and I'll make one available for you :)

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Incidentally, it used to be a common practice to format a drive using larger allocation blocks when the drive was to be used for video editing. This keeps CPU usage down and drive performance is better.

 

I'm not sure it matters much any more though, since CPUs are so fast and drives are also very quick, I doubt you'd run into trouble using a standard block size. Unless you're trying to play several simultaneous streams of video, but even then the standard formatted drive (with 4k blocks, I believe) in my machine can play 7 streams of 720x480 full-motion DV simultaneously...more than I'll ever need in practice!

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I tried rescanning the hard drive before I started using it, and that froze up as well. When I rebooted, my computer wouldnt load, and would hang at a black screen. I disconnected this hard drive and then my computer loaded fine.

 

I haven't had much time to deal with it over the past day or so, so I have just left the IDE unplugged so it would not interfere with anything. I just got home and the hard drive is freaking out. It sounds like it's turning on and off over and over. (Not disc accessing sounds, it's like it's dis-engaging and re-engaing).

 

I have a feeling I'm about to lose this one, and it's not even that old! I barely got any real use out of it.

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Originally posted by Starhawk@Oct 23 2004, 10:16 AM

It's Western Digital. I might be able to find the receipt for it.

You don't need the receipt as the drive itself will have a manufacture date on it. When you call WD, they'll ask you for that date and a few other numbers off of it. Just let them know what it's doing and that you have other HDDs that are working fine and you should be good to go :tu:

 

One more thing to try before you call them. Hook the possible bad drive to the IDE channel that you know is working and see if you have the same problem. This will rule out a bad IDE channel on the motherboard itself.

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As it turns out, the Western Digital Warranty policy is as follows:

 

Prot?g? & WD Caviar? 1-year

WD Caviar? SE 3-year

WD Raptor 5-year

 

Guess what I had!? A WD Caviar (not SE) and I had it longer than a year, so no dice for me. I went ahead and picked up that 200 GB WD from Circuit City for $160 with a $60 mail-in rebate. I'm going to install this one in the next day or so unless I find (or you guys know about) a better deal somewhere else.

 

If I keep this 200 GB one, it's going to be a big improvement as the one that went bad was 80GB. More room for pron is always a good thing. :lol:

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