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MBR or GPT for SSD, Which Is Better and How to Choose?

Updated by Tracy King on Jun 20, 2022
Written by Roxanne
mins read

When it comes to solid-state drives (SSDs), two different types of partitioning schemes can be used: GUID Partition Table (GPT) and Master Boot Record (MBR). So, which one should you use? Should the second SSD be MBR or GPT? Well, it depends.

  • If you're using an SSD with 2TB or more, you'll need to use GPT.
  • If the SSD capacity is less than 2TB, MBR can be used.

This article will figure out how to choose MBR or GPT for (M.2) SSD with different storage capacities, such as 1TB or 2TB SSD.

In this article, you'll learn:

  • MBR vs. GPT: What Is the Difference?
  • Which Is Better MBR or GPT for SSD? How to Choose?
  • How to Set Up a New SSD, Initialize It to MBR or GPT?
  • How to Convert SSD to MBR or GPT?

MBR vs. GPT: What Is the Difference?

MBR vs. GPT

GPT is a newer standard around since 2006, while MBR has been around since 1983. GPT is more robust and allows for larger drives, but MBR is still a perfectly valid option for small drives. Check to know the differences between GPT and MBR from the following four sections:

MBR VS GPT - Partition Numbers:

MBR (Master Boot Record) is limited to having up to four primary partitions. To have more than four partitions, you'll need to create 3 primary partitions and an extended partition which can be further subdivided into logical partitions. 

GPT (GUID Partition Table) doesn't have these limitations. It supports up to 128 primary partitions and unlimited numbers of logical partitions.

MBR VS GPT - Disk Capacity:

MBR drives are limited to a maximum capacity of 2TB, whereas GPT drives can be much more significant - 18EB. If you have a large hard drive (3TB or larger), it will need to be formatted using GPT rather than MBR. 

MBR VS GPT - Data Security:

MBR puts boot data and partitions together, while GPT separates data and the system into different partitions. If system corruption happens, it is risky to restore data from the corrupted MBR OS disk.

GPT is far beyond MBR. If one partition is corrupted, you can use other partitions. Moreover, GPT drives also offer better data protection, supporting error correction code (ECC). In short, GPT offers more capacity and better data protection.

MBR VS GPT - Operating System Compatibility:

In general, newer versions of Windows are more likely to be compatible with GPT, while older versions are more likely to be compatible with MBR. 

  • MBR is compatible with Windows operating system before Windows 8.
  • GPT is suitable for higher operating systems: 32-bit Windows 8, 8.1, 10, and 64-bit Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10, 11.
  • Older operating systems like Windows XP can only use MBR-formatted drives.

Related articles:

Which Is Better MBR or GPT for SSD? How to Choose?

The answer to the question of which is better, MBR or GPT for SSD, really depends on the capacity of the SSD and the compatibility of the operating system.

  • If the computer supports UEFI boot, and you want to set SSD as OS disk, use GPT.
  • If the computer supports both Legacy and UEFI, set SSD disk type based on the following tips:

1. Set SSD as OS drive: 

  • As far as compatibility goes, if the operating system is Windows 7 or earlier, then MBR is the only option.
  • If the operating system is Windows 8 or later, either MBR or GPT can be used.

Notice: When installing Windows, you will be asked to choose between MBR (Master Boot Record) and GPT (GUID Partition Table). If you're not sure which to choose, check if your computer uses BIOS or UEFI. If it's using BIOS, select MBR. If it's using UEFI, select GPT.

2. Use SSD as 2nd disk or data drive:

  • If the SSD is 2TB or less incapacity, then MBR is probably the best option.
  • If the SSD is greater than 2TB in capacity, GPT is perhaps the better option.

Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide which option is best for their needs.

How to Set Up a New SSD, Initialize It to MBR or GPT?

Both two main types of partition tables - MBR (Master Boot Record) and GPT (GUID Partition Table) can be used on a computer. So how do you set up a new SSD for MBR or GPT?

First, you need to figure out your goal and decide which disk partition style you want to set for your new SSD disk - MBR or GPT.

Then, you can initialize the SSD drive to one of these formats via a free disk partitioning tool, like EaseUS Partition Master.

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Note: If you need to set up SSD for Windows migration, you need to learn the disk type of your current OS disk. Click to see free solutions on how to tell if Windows is GPT or MBR.

Here is a quick guide on how to initialize a drive to MBR or GPT:

Step 1. Open EaseUS Partition Master. Connect the hard drive or SSD to PC.

Right-click the target HDD or SSD and select "Initialize to MBR" or "Initialize to GPT" accordingly.

Step 2. A pending operation of initializing disk to MBR or GPT disk will be added. Execute the operation and click "Apply".

0:00-0:22 Initialize to MBR; 0:23-0:49 Initialize to GPT;

How to Convert SSD to MBR or GPT?

n some cases, you might need to convert your disk from MBR to GPT. Generally, you can convert in Disk Management or use Command Prompt. But here we'd like to recommend an easier tool - EaseUS Partition Master.

With this tool, you don't have to be an expert. You just need to follow the simple instruction below, and your disk can be easily converted from MBR to GPT, and vice versa.

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#1. Convert SSD from MBR to GPT

#2. Convert SSD from GPT to MBR

  • Right-click the GPT disk that you want to convert and select "Convert to MBR". 
  • Click the "Execute Operation" button at the top-left corner.
  • Next, click "Apply" and begin to convert GPT disk to MBR. 

Conclusion

In order to decide whether to use an MBR or GPT format for your SSD, it is essential to understand the differences between the two.

  • MBR, or Master Boot Record, is the traditional way of storing information about disk partitions. It is limited to 2 TB or smaller disks and can only support up to four primary partitions.
  • GPT, or GUID Partition Table, does not have this limit and can support more than four primary partitions. However, it is not compatible with some older operating systems and BIOSes.

Therefore, it is vital to check whether your system supports UEFI - GPT before formatting your SSD with this format. Ultimately, both MBR and GPT have their advantages and disadvantages, so it is up to you to decide which one is best for your needs.

People are Also Concerned about GPT or MBR for SSD

1. Should a Second SSD be MBR or GPT?

Answer: As mentioned above, if you plan to use the SSD as a second drive, use GPT when the disk is bigger than 2TB, and use MBR when the SSD is smaller than 2TB. 

We recommend GPT, the superior format. Its advantages include unlimited partitions, faster speed, and enormous storage capacities.

2. Should I Use MBR or GPT for 1TB SSD?

As we mentioned above, if your SSD is less than 2TB, MBR is enough for your SSD. 

3. Which is better, MBR or GPT for SSD gaming?

Both GPT and MBR are no big difference aside from the partition number and disk capacity. Most geeks suggest that GPT is always better than MBR not only because GPT is newer while the MBR is not much used anymore, but also because GPT is more widely used on most modern operating systems.

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About the Author

Updated by Tracy King

Tracy joined in EaseUS in 2013 and has been working with EaseUS content team for over 7 years. Being enthusiastic in computing and technology, she writes tech how-to articles and share technical solutions about Windows & Mac data recovery, file/system backup and recovery, partition management and iOS/Android data recovery.

Read full bio

Written by Roxanne

Roxanne is one of the main contributors to EaseUS and has created multiple posts on digital devices like PCs, Mobile phones, tablets, Mac, etc. She loves to share ideas with people of the same interest.

Read full bio

Product Reviews

Product Reviews

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  • I love that the changes you make with EaseUS Partition Master Free aren't immediately applied to the disks. It makes it way easier to play out what will happen after you've made all the changes. I also think the overall look and feel of EaseUS Partition Master Free makes whatever you're doing with your computer's partitions easy.

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  • Partition Master Free can Resize, Move, Merge, Migrate, and Copy disks or partitions; convert to local, change label, defragment, check and explore partition; and much more. A premium upgrade adds free tech support and the ability to resize dynamic volumes.

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  • It won't hot image your drives or align them, but since it's coupled with a partition manager, it allows you do perform many tasks at once, instead of just cloning drives. You can move partitions around, resize them, defragment, and more, along with the other tools you'd expect from a cloning tool.

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