FAT32 500GB USB Drive or 4x 32GB Flash Drives?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by nuggetWRX, Apr 25, 2011.

  1. nuggetWRX macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    #1
    So I'm traveling to the UK in 3 weeks and I want to leave my MacBook Pro at home while I go. However, I use a Canon T2i to shoot photos and videos and will be probably using it extensively while I'm there. I know I need to buy a SD card reader for the PC that the people have who I will be staying with, but now comes the point of storage. I know I will fill up cards with video so I want to have plenty of space and here are my thoughts:

    Option 1: Buy four 32GB flash drives and transfer raw files to each one until they are full, respectively, and just store them in my backpack. Unfortunately this will run me ~$200.

    Option 2: Format my 500GB iOmega USB 2.0 drive to FAT32 using Disk Utility (clicking on the MS-DOS format) in hopes the PC I will be using will see it over there as a really big "flash drive" (since they're FAT32 format anyway) and I will be able to just carry around that drive in my backpack. Upside to this is that it will cost me $0 because I have the drive.

    Is option 2 feasible? That is - will it be simple to move between my MacBook Pro formatting the 500GB drive to FAT32 and having a PC (with either XP, Vista, or Windows 7 I'm actually not sure what they have) read it with ease? I have heard PC's have 32GB limits on FAT32 drives but I think that is if you format it on a PC originally. And if thats the case should I just make a bunch of separate partitions within the drive all 32GB in size and have it show up as a bunch of different drives when I plug the 500GB drive into the PC?

    Hope this is making sense, I would love to hear what you think on this topic. Thanks!
     
  2. Jamie0003 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Location:
    Norfolk, UK
    #2
    Personally I would go with the memory sticks, because the hard drive has moving parts there's always the possibility that it could fail on you, and then you'd be screwed.

    On the other hand, the hard drive would be easier to keep track of as you'd only be carrying round one drive instead of lots of them.

    As for formatting, fat32 should work with any windows computer you use with it, as far as I know. This is also the format most memory sticks use, and they work with your mac right?

    The way it works is like this:

    NTFS is better security than Fat 32, but macs cannot write to this filesystem (so obviously you don't want this), whereas with fat32 it can. Someone correct me if i'm wrong.
     
  3. nuggetWRX thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    #3
    Yeah I've used the 500GB drive for a while and I'm upwards in confidence with using it traveling. So I could format it as a full 500GB FAT32 drive and Windows should read it without an issue? There's no strange 32GB cap on drive size for using with Windows OS's? ...I switched to Mac for a reason lol.

    And yes flash drives work fine with my Mac... both my 27" iMac and my MBP have no problems with them. I just would really hate to get over there and my 500GB FAT32 drive is unreadable on whatever Windows OS they have because of its gargantuan size versus "typical" FAT32 drives (i.e. flash drives).
     
  4. Jamie0003 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Location:
    Norfolk, UK
    #4
    Hmm, that i'm not sure about. I think that it just means you can't copy files across that are that size, for example you can copy over lots of 1gb files but can't copy over 1 file that is 32GB. Again someone correct me if i'm wrong lol
     
  5. nuggetWRX thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    #5
    That makes sense. My Canon T2i only records files up to 4GB in size because its firmware is limited to FAT32 SD cards and it doesn't have file spanning (connecting multiple 4GB files so its like continuous recording) like the Panasonic GH2 I thought of getting so the biggest file I'd be transferring to the 500GB drive would be ~4GB give or take.
     
  6. nuggetWRX thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    #6
    I did a quick google search and found some info on Windows XP using FAT32 format. Basically the largest FAT32 volume it can create is 32GB. It said mounting larger disks is possible but has not been tested and is not recommended. That being said, I am going to try to create a 500GB FAT32 drive since I have all my info backed up with my 2TB RAID 0 drive anyway currently and plug it into my roommates PC. His is pretty old so if it reads on that, awesome. If not, I will reformat it and partition it down to multiple 32GB volumes and just name them like "Drive 1... Drive 2... etc" and see how that works. I hope either way the computers I try it on (as many PC's as I can find before I leave for my month long trip) will accept it and allow me to transfer up to 4GB files... which is the max my T2i camera will record anyway because it is also limited by the FAT32 format.
     
  7. Jamie0003 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Location:
    Norfolk, UK
    #7
    Good idea; I was going to suggest testing it on a windows XP PC, that way you're ensured it's going to work
     
  8. maccompaq macrumors 65816

    maccompaq

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    #8
    I have a 120 GB external HD in Firewire 400 & USB 1.1/2.0. It is formatted as FAT32, with no partitions, and it works fine with Leopard, Snow Leopard, Windows XP Home, Windows XP Pro and Windows 7.
     
  9. nuggetWRX thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    #9
    I just formatted the 500GB to FAT32 using Disk Utility and it registered just fine on my friend's Windows 7 laptop. Now to try some more OS's. Thanks for the help guys I appreciate it.
     
  10. nuggetWRX thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    #10
    I got the 500GB drive formatted to FAT32 to be registered on XP, Vista, and Windows 7 along with working fine on my Mac. I have to try a quick video file transfer back and forth but I think it should be fine. Thanks again for the help I'm glad this is possible - such a money saver. I ordered a protective hard case by Case Mate just to be safe while I travel.
     

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