What's the best cluster size

On Tom’s hardware forum mdk4ever asks what is the best cluster size? He's got a new 2 TB Western Digital hard drive and wants to set the optimal cluster size while formatting the drive.

The rule of thumb is “Always use the default cluster size”. The performance gain from changing the cluster size, if any, is not noticeable. One can speculate that the GUI option to change the cluster size if in itself a legacy from the days of floppy drives.
If you change the cluster size you may encounter unexpected side effects (did you know that NTFS compression off for cluster size greater than 4KB?).
Another consideration is that when you need to recover data it is much convenient to deal with the default cluster size values. Data recovery software can either calculate the default cluster size (for HFS) or look it up in the table of standard sizes (for FAT, NTFS). Non-default cluster size needs to be determined by the complex techniques.

So, we recommend that you always stick to the default cluster size to be able to recover data easily should the need arise.


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