Question M1 Macbook Pro External drive... Paragon NTFS or exFAT


Oct 22, 2015
I have a brand new 4GB SSD external drive. My M1 Macbook Pro has Paragon NTFS installed on it. I need to be able to use the drive on PC's and my Macbook.

Paragon NTFS seems to work fine. Are there any advantages to using exFat over NTFS for formatting this new drive?


Oct 22, 2015
Should be more secure but I think I recall something about it being more efficient when it comes to the chunk size as well.
Thanks, I was leaning toward that. I asked Chat-GPT too. Here is what it said:

For compatibility between Mac and Windows systems, both exFAT and NTFS are viable options, but each has its own advantages and disadvantages:

  1. exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table):
    • Advantages:
      • Supported by both macOS and Windows without needing additional software.
      • Allows for file sizes larger than 4GB, which can be useful for large media files.

    • [*]Disadvantages:
      • Limited compatibility with some older versions of Windows and macOS.
      • May not be as robust as NTFS in terms of handling permissions and metadata.

    [*]NTFS (New Technology File System):
    • Advantages:

      • Supports advanced features such as file permissions, encryption, and compression.
      • Generally more robust and reliable compared to exFAT.

      • Requires third-party software (like Paragon NTFS) on macOS to write to NTFS drives, which may incur additional costs.
      • Not as widely supported out of the box on macOS (although Paragon NTFS helps mitigate this).

Considering you already have Paragon NTFS installed on your Mac, NTFS might be the more convenient option for you. It offers better support for advanced features and compatibility with Windows systems, with the added benefit of being able to write to NTFS drives on your Mac. However, if you anticipate using the drive with older versions of macOS or Windows where exFAT support might be more consistent, exFAT could be a more straightforward choice. Ultimately, it depends on your specific needs and the systems you'll be interacting with most frequently.

Followup question...

Are there any difference between them in transfer speed?

Both exFAT and NTFS have similar performance characteristics in terms of transfer speed. The file system itself typically does not significantly impact transfer speeds; instead, factors such as the drive's hardware (e.g., its interface, rotational speed for HDDs, or type for SSDs) and the speed of the connection (e.g., USB 3.0, Thunderbolt) are more influential.
That said, NTFS may have a slight edge in terms of performance due to its more efficient handling of file metadata and larger file sizes, which can lead to marginally faster transfer speeds in some scenarios. However, the difference in transfer speed between exFAT and NTFS is generally negligible and may not be noticeable in everyday usage.
Ultimately, when it comes to transfer speed, the specific hardware components and connection protocols play a more significant role than the file system format.

Tech Junky

Diamond Member
Jan 27, 2022
Now if windows was smarter they would employ using ext and ditch both NTFS/fat and we could all get along.

Windows security is broken easily by using Linux boot drives.
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Jul 27, 2020
I have a brand new 4GB SSD external drive.
I assume you mean 4 TB. Is it Sandisk? Don't trust that brand for anything important.

NTFS will hammer your drive hard, especially if you will be storing a lot of files less than 1 megabyte in size. That could reduce its life due to write magnification (writes sustained over lifetime is an estimated fixed value for SSDs and once exhausted, good SSDs go into read-only mode while bad SSDs will crap out and you lose data). Other than that, NTFS is usually the better option.