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Thread: MBR vs GPT?

  1. #1

    MBR vs GPT?

    Today I picked up a new 1tb Drive and was in the process of preparing it as a media drive (non boot) and saw in the vista disk manager the option of using MBR or GPT. I was wondering what the differences are between these two, their advantages and their disadvantages?
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  2. #2
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    thideras's Avatar
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    MBR = Master Boot Record

    GPT = GUID Partition Table

    The MBR record (by design) cannot reference more than 2TiB of drive space. I couldn't find any information on what the limit (if any) GPT has. The main place GPT is used now is on large RAID arrays (like the link in my sig). I had to use a GPT format to use my 8tb RAID array.

    The only issue with GPT now is that some operating systems can't boot to it. I know for sure XP 64bit cannot.
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    You might also want to check out this MS article regarding the GUID Partition Table (GPT)...

    Windows and GPT FAQ
    http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/device...e/GPT_FAQ.mspx

    Edit: I had this site open in another tab, but forgot to link you to it...

    Using GPT Drives
    http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/device...PT-on-x64.mspx

  4. #4
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    There we go, thanks redduc!

    For Windows Server 2003 SP1 Windows XP x64 edition, and later versions, the maximum raw partition of 18 exabytes can be supported. (Windows file systems currently are limited to 256 terabytes each.)
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  5. #5
    Folding/SETI/Rosetta Team Member benbaked's Avatar
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    Is there a speed improvement with GPT compared to MBR? Thideras I'm looking your way I figure you know my answer. Thanks in advance.
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    It appears that GPT requires EFI! Otherwise, it can't boot the OS.

    I'm not aware of any EFI motherboards at this time.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by RJARRRPCGP View Post
    It appears that GPT requires EFI! Otherwise, it can't boot the OS.

    I'm not aware of any EFI motherboards at this time.
    AFAIK, EFI support is the one way in which Apple hardware is better than generic PC boards. Spend 350% so that can boot from a 4TB array
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    Member with Some Fancy Text Under His Name CompuTamer's Avatar
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    My Intel DX58SO supports EFI

    I see it on a lot of boards. It just has to be enabled in the BIOS.

    Is GPT faster than MBR though? That's an interesting question... anyone know?
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  9. #9
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    I don't see why it would be faster. It just has a larger table at the beginning of the drive to support more sectors.
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  10. #10
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    It appears that GPT requires EFI! Otherwise, it can't boot the OS.
    (According to Microsoft)
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  11. #11
    Senior Member jason4207's Avatar
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    Well maybe it's slower since it has more overhead.
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    Here is a good read.

    "Perhaps one of the biggest pitfalls of MBR-based disks is their potential for corruption of the partition table, a region on the disk that maps sectors to logical block numbers. MBR disks only have 1 partition table to keep track of all the blocks in the partition. If the table becomes corrupt, the entire disk must be recovered from backup. Windows GPT-based disks have multiple, redundant partition tables so that if one is detected as being corrupt, it can self-heal itself from a redundant copy of the table.

    Despite the many advantages of GPT-based disks over MBR drives, many vendors still utilize the MBR technology since it is still predominantly used in the real world. GPT disks are gaining popularity with their benefits in terms of partition size, number of partitions, and resilience. Windows Failover Clusters now support GPT-based disks which will broaden their use in enterprise data centers. See related article on Failover Cluster Setup. So while bigger isn’t always better, the many advantages of GPT-based drives make them an attractive alternative."

    http://www.petri.co.il/gpt-vs-mbr-based-disks.htm
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  13. #13
    High Speed Senior deathman20's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dado View Post
    Here is a good read.

    "Perhaps one of the biggest pitfalls of MBR-based disks is their potential for corruption of the partition table, a region on the disk that maps sectors to logical block numbers. MBR disks only have 1 partition table to keep track of all the blocks in the partition. If the table becomes corrupt, the entire disk must be recovered from backup. Windows GPT-based disks have multiple, redundant partition tables so that if one is detected as being corrupt, it can self-heal itself from a redundant copy of the table.

    Despite the many advantages of GPT-based disks over MBR drives, many vendors still utilize the MBR technology since it is still predominantly used in the real world. GPT disks are gaining popularity with their benefits in terms of partition size, number of partitions, and resilience. Windows Failover Clusters now support GPT-based disks which will broaden their use in enterprise data centers. See related article on Failover Cluster Setup. So while bigger isn’t always better, the many advantages of GPT-based drives make them an attractive alternative."

    http://www.petri.co.il/gpt-vs-mbr-based-disks.htm
    Now THAT right there sells using GPT on any drive that you can! I'm going to have to look into using this on more of my drives. Not that the MBR often gets corrupted but its one less issue to deal with if at all possible.
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  14. #14
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    I just bought a 2TB Seagate to go with my existing 2TB Seagate. I'll be putting them in RAID0. I guess I'll have to use GPT when I format the RAIDed drive. Hope it does not mess up my other drives, especially my SSD.
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