|In addition to FAT32 having the 4GB file size limit FAT32 also has a folder limit of 65,535 files. This can be further reduced by using long file names, which can use two or three clusters. Exceeding this can cause problems. |
Additionally, FAT32 uses only 2 file allocation tables so it is theoretically easier to corrupt a FAT32 drive. On the plus side it is easier to perform data recovery with FAT32. One other thing is the amount of slack you may get with FAT32.
Below is a chart showing default cluster sizes with both FAT32 & NTFS. A minimum of one cluster is needed to store a file and a maximum of one file per cluster. A typical page of text may be 2KB. With a large drive the clusters will be 32KB. That can add up to alot of wasted space (slack).
FAT32 file system cluster sizes
Partition Size Cluster Size
less than 260MB 512 Bytes
260MB through 8GB 4KB
8GB through 16GB 8KB
16GB through 32GB 16KB
32GB through 2TB 32KB
NTFS 4KB is the default for all sizes.
IMO the reason manufacturers ship the drives formatted FAT32 is for maximum compatibility. I recently reformatted my 320GB to NTFS. I had issues with too many files and couldn't use any Windows tools on the drive (scan & defrag).