Results 1 to 13 of 13
  1. #1
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    1
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Mixing GPT and MBR drives in one PC

    I am contemplating a new PC (Win 8) and am thinking about one with a 4TB drive and a boot SSD. The big drive will obviously be formatted as GPT so I assume vendor (Dell) will also format SSD as GPT as well. I have 2 questions:

    Is there a real-world difference in reliability or other factor that says get 2x2TB drives instead of 1x4TB drive?

    If not, and I get the 4TB GPT-formatted drives, can I add another drive to the system that is MBR formatted. It would only be used for data. Can these two differently formatted HDDs co-exist peacefully or does it have to be all-or-nothing?

    Thanks.

  2. Get our unique weekly Newsletter with tips and techniques, how to's and critical updates on Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows XP, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google, etc. Join our 480,000 subscribers!

    Excel 2013: The Missing Manual

    + Get this BONUS — free!

    Get the most of Excel! Learn about new features, basics of creating a new spreadsheet and using the infamous Ribbon in the first chapter of Excel 2013: The Missing Manual - Subscribe and download Chapter 1 for free!

  3. #2
    Silver Lounger
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    2,106
    Thanks
    12
    Thanked 241 Times in 234 Posts
    It's a per hard drive type so it's no problem co-existing in the same system, the OS just has to understand GPT, which 8 does and yes, a factory installed SSD with 8 will come as GPT.

    4 terabyte drives are fairly new and as yet not tested over the long run so it's difficult to say if the reliability is as good as 2 TB drives. I haven't heard of anything specific, yet. As long as either is backed up go for either. When there gets to be that much data I like to go with NAS devices instead of individual computer storage; they have to be backed up as well, but it is very effective way to share very large data sets over a mixed network (32 bit systems, various OSes, media players, etc.). If you have no such compatibility considerations go for exactly what you want.

  4. #3
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    California & Arizona
    Posts
    5,435
    Thanks
    128
    Thanked 495 Times in 455 Posts
    I've got 7 drives in my setup and the only ones that need to be formatted for GPT are the drives that are 3TB and greater.

    I assume vendor (Dell) will also format SSD as GPT as well
    Don't assume anything, always check specs or ask the vendor.

    Is there a real-world difference in reliability or other factor that says get 2x2TB drives instead of 1x4TB drive?
    Yes, GPT is less prone to corruption and will allow for drives greater than 3TB

    If not, and I get the 4TB GPT-formatted drives, can I add another drive to the system that is MBR formatted. It would only be used for data. Can these two differently formatted HDDs co-exist peacefully or does it have to be all-or-nothing?
    As I have mentioned earlier in my setup, they can co-exist.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
    Motherboard: DX58SO2*Chipset: X58 Express/Intel ICH10*BIOS: SOX5820J.86A.0888.2012.0129.2203*Processor: Intel Core i7 CPU X 990
    GPU: Nvidia GTX 580*Memory: Corsair 12 GB, 4x3@1600*PSU: Corsair HX1000*Hard drives: REVO X2 160GB*OCZ VERT X3 120GB*5 mechanical storage drives (12 TB) total.

  5. #4
    Silver Lounger
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    2,106
    Thanks
    12
    Thanked 241 Times in 234 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by CLiNT View Post

    I assume vendor (Dell) will also format SSD as GPT as well
    Don't assume anything, always check specs or ask the vendor.

    It would be a revelation if Dell can get away with sending out an OEM Windows 8 system without the GPT requirement (for UEFI integration).

  6. #5
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Polk County, Florida
    Posts
    2,376
    Thanks
    14
    Thanked 238 Times in 190 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Gene_Jockey View Post
    The big drive will obviously be formatted as GPT so I assume vendor (Dell) will also format SSD as GPT as well.
    On an OEM system with Windows 8/8.1 preinstalled, the system will be UEFI, all drives will be GPT. No worry about mixing, although Windows has no problem with GPT drives used for DATA storage. Windows can't boot directly from a GPT drive, hence the EFI System partition (~100MB) on GPT boot drive.
    Create a new drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "Let them that don't want it have memories of not gettin' any." "Gratitude is riches and complaint is poverty and the worst I ever had was wonderful." Brother Dave Gardner "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else." Sir Thomas Robert Deware. "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?" Captain Jack Sparrow.
    Unleash Windows

  7. #6
    3 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    278
    Thanks
    2
    Thanked 26 Times in 26 Posts
    There are two possible advantages to using 2TB drives. First, they are usually quieter than a 4TB drive. Second, they are often available on sale for less than half the cost of a 4TB model.

  8. #7
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    6
    Thanks
    5
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    All good points. The odds of a single failure is higher with two drives vs. one drive, assuming (!) the underlying drives are equally reliable. Twice as many moving parts, as it were. Unless the larger drive is doubly unreliable, you're more likely to experience a failure with the two-drive setup (where a failure of either drive will spoil your day).

    OTOH, only half of your data is at risk for unrecoverable failure on a smaller drive.

  9. #8
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Manning, South Carolina
    Posts
    6,176
    Thanks
    200
    Thanked 781 Times in 715 Posts
    Frank,

    Slight problem with your math as an SSD has no moving parts.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

    VBA Rules!

    My Systems: Desktop Specs
    Laptop Specs


  10. #9
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    4,743
    Thanks
    67
    Thanked 544 Times in 492 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank S View Post
    All good points. The odds of a single failure is higher with two drives vs. one drive, assuming (!) the underlying drives are equally reliable. Twice as many moving parts, as it were. Unless the larger drive is doubly unreliable, you're more likely to experience a failure with the two-drive setup (where a failure of either drive will spoil your day).

    OTOH, only half of your data is at risk for unrecoverable failure on a smaller drive.
    If you follow a regular backup plan as advocated by many on this board, no permanent data loss is at risk with either setup.


    Jerry

  11. #10
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Polk County, Florida
    Posts
    2,376
    Thanks
    14
    Thanked 238 Times in 190 Posts
    I have one cardinal rule RE hardware failure. It is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when. Be prepared with a current backup.
    Last edited by bbearren; 2013-10-28 at 16:02. Reason: too many "r's" in current
    Create a new drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "Let them that don't want it have memories of not gettin' any." "Gratitude is riches and complaint is poverty and the worst I ever had was wonderful." Brother Dave Gardner "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else." Sir Thomas Robert Deware. "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?" Captain Jack Sparrow.
    Unleash Windows

  12. #11
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    6
    Thanks
    5
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by RetiredGeek View Post
    Frank,

    Slight problem with your math as an SSD has no moving parts.
    I assumed that it was the 4 TB vs. 2x2 TB being discussed and, to my knowledge, no civilian can afford a 2 TB SSD drive

  13. #12
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    6
    Thanks
    5
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Of course, complete and current backups should be routine practice. Corollary to bbearren's rule: "Only two kinds of people: those who have lost data, and those who will." I would not wish on my worst enemy the experience I had when my laptop, backed up nightly to my desktop, lost its hard drive, and the desktop's drive crashed as I started to restore. One backup is one backup too few.

    My remark was simply intended as a factor for consideration when choosing between one large and two smaller drives. Even given a perfect backup, it's still a PITA that's more likely to occur if more drives are involved. With MTBF up to one million hours, let's hope this discussion remains theoretical.

  14. #13
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Polk County, Florida
    Posts
    2,376
    Thanks
    14
    Thanked 238 Times in 190 Posts
    I use two drives to enhance performance. I use multiple logical drive/partitions to further separate files of similar types, I keep current backups on everything, but there's lots of stuff that doesn't change much over time, in which case an older backup is just as "current" as a new backup.

    I backup only 3 logical drives on a regular basis; OS, Program Files, and Users. These are relatively small logical drives, and so the backups don't take very long. See this thread. My methods work well for me, but they're not necessarily for everyone.

    The one thing I would emphasize to everyone is to develop a drive imaging regimen that works for you, and make regular and frequent images. In addition to my drive images I scatter multiple copies of important files across multiple logical drives, and backup my financial data to DVD everytime I balance my checkbook.
    Create a new drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "Let them that don't want it have memories of not gettin' any." "Gratitude is riches and complaint is poverty and the worst I ever had was wonderful." Brother Dave Gardner "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else." Sir Thomas Robert Deware. "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?" Captain Jack Sparrow.
    Unleash Windows

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •