Correct me if I am wrong, but after reading this article on 4k sectors:http://seagate.com/docs/pdf/whitepaper/ ... ectors.pdf
I assume that it is possible to align Advanced Format drives (those ones, which are not provided with a special aligning software by HD manufacturer) for Windows XP usage with 3rd party 4k-aware partitioning utility:
"The most critical aspect of a smooth and successful transition to 4K sectors used in Advanced Format is to promote the use of 4K-aware hard drive partitioning tools."
"When using third-party software or utilities to create hard drive partitions, check with your vendor to make sure they are updated and confirmed to be 4K aware."http://seagate.com/docs/pdf/whitepaper/ ... ectors.pdf
So to align properly for Win XP usage for example Samsung 2TB F4EG HD204UI one has to find a 3rd party software tool for partitioning, which is 4k-aware, and use that software to partition such disk instead of Windows XP Disk Manager.
Are there any free 4k-aware partitioning tools for Windows XP?
Also would re-aligning utilities provided by WD and Seagate work with other manufacturers HDs like Samsung?
From that article I learnt also that even the newer OSes like Windows 7 do not use 4k sectors directly, they still have to use 512 B sectors. Those newer systems are only capable of aligning Advanced Format hard drives properly during their partitioning, without the need to use 3rd party 4K-aware partitioning software, and that's all:
"there are many aspects of modern computing systems that continue to assume that sectors are always 512 bytes. To transition the entire industry over to the new 4K standard and expect all of these legacy assumptions to suddenly change is simply not realistic. Over time, the implementation of native 4K sectors, where both host and hard drive exchange data in 4K blocks, will take place. Until then, hard drive manufacturers will implement the 4K sector transition in conjunction with a technique called 512-byte sector emulation." http://seagate.com/docs/pdf/whitepaper/ ... ectors.pdf
"The sector size increase, described by Advanced Format, occurs at the hard drive media level. Host systems will continue to request and receive data from the hard drive in 512-byte sector sizes. However, the translation from 4096-byte sectors in the hard drive to the 512-byte sectors in the host will be managed in the hard drive. This process is called 512-byte emulation. It’s important that every drive partition start with an LBA offset that is aligned to the drive’s physical 4K sector. If partitions are un-aligned, then hard drive performance will be degraded."
"How can partition misalignment conditions be managed?
The first management step is to avoid misaligned conditions in the first place. This can be achieved by creating hard drive partitions with a 4K aware version of your operating system or through a hard drive imaging software product."
"The second method to managing misaligned partitions is to use partition-alignment software to identify and fix misaligned partitions. This technique should be used during the hard drive integration process."http://seagate.com/docs/pdf/whitepaper/ ... on_faq.pdf
"It’s not practical to make host computer systems talk in 4K native language – at least for a while. There are just too many places the 512 byte assumption is embedded. So, while hard drives will transition to 4K sectors physical sectors on the media, they will still “look and talk” like 512 byte formats to host computers. They will actually emulate 512 byte communications to hosts. This works well as long as the logical 512 byte assumptions from the host computer are aligned with the 4K sectors on the hard drive."
"It turns out that when a hard drive partition is created, the starting position can vary. A 4K drive format is set to work under the assumption that the first 512 byte sector (Logical Block Address = 0) will align perfectly with the first physical 4K sector".
"Alignment 0 ... works well for hard drives & 512 byte emulation because they can neatly map eight 512 byte logical blocks into a single sector. Sometimes hard drive partitions get created so the logical to physical alignment is off...".
"This is called Alignment 1 and it’s not so good for 4K drives when it comes to emulating 512 byte legacy sectors, especially when writing data. Essentially, this alignment can often cause a hard drive to manage a write with extra disc rotations, which slows things down. The results can be sort of dramatic as shown by these test results at HOTHARDWARE.com:http://hothardware.com/Articles/WDs-1TB ... on/?page=2
"The Windows XP situation seems fairly well understood in the marketplace. What is much less understood is the situation with cloning and imaging software. System builders, integrators and IT organizations frequently rely on these tools to configure systems for sale or deployment in their organization. Even if you are using Windows Vista or Windows 7, if your hard drive was partitioned with one of these utilities, you’re likely to end up with an un-aligned partition with the potential for poor performance."http://consumer.media.seagate.com/2010/ ... ve-primer/
Video on 4K sectors:http://www.techinsight.tv/seagate-on-4k-technology.htmlhttp://usingwindowshomeserver.com/2010/ ... rd-drives/
Seagate manages aligment problems in the background without any interaction or knowledge of user.
BTW, a warning against 2TB hard drives:http://www.clearfoundation.com/componen ... 489/#15489