6 Replies Latest reply on Apr 27, 2011 1:01 PM by TechSecurityNate

    Advanced Format Drives? (4kb sectors)

      Has anyone run into the latest Advanced Format Drives?  Apparently they're switching sector size from 512byte to 4Kb. Part of this means the boot sector will no longer be 63, since that doesn't align with the 4k sectors.

       

      What's the impact to EEPC?

        • 1. Advanced Format Drives? (4kb sectors)

          the boot sector can be wherever it wants - I think the drives still emulate a 512 byte sector though, even though they don't really have them.

          • 2. Advanced Format Drives? (4kb sectors)

            Documentation we received from HP indicates that only some drives will do the emulation, and users wil have to "align" the partitions with the sector breaks in order for them to work properly. Depends on the OS. (XP is not aware, Win7 is)

            • 3. Advanced Format Drives? (4kb sectors)

              Very true - "native" 4k drives are not supported in the current product set (neither EEPC or EEFF), only drives which do the 512b emulation. The "alignment" issue does not affect supportability, only performance though.

               

              The "awareness" of Vista and 7 is simply that by default they create the first partition at 2048, rather than 63 to give you logical>physical alignment.

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              • 4. Re: Advanced Format Drives? (4kb sectors)
                TechSecurityNate

                SafeBoot, can you please clarify on the following scenarios?

                 

                • Scenario 1.     With a 512byte emulated AF drive, loaded with XP and no alignment precautions taken, you are saying we should have no problems with EEPC boot loader etc.  Although the system might run like crap.

                 

                • Scenario 2.     With the same drive, same XP load, but using diskpart or similar to offset the partition to 2048 prior to OS load, essentially aligning the drive and eliminating the need for an alignment tool.  This would be a manual method to achieve the same results as Vista or 7.  We would have much better performance.  Is this supported in the 5.x family?

                 

                 

                 

                We have some new machines that just arrived from Dell, and I'm still awaiting info from the specific site.  It is unclear which type drive is used, but the Tier 1 support mentioned that on a fresh load with EEPC 5.x installed, the machine fails to complete the transition from EEPC logon to Windows loading.  From what I'm reading here, it shouldn't matter, but Dell states that without alignment, some machines might not even boot, and warns that you should not align them with any tools until they have been decrypted.

                 

                on 4/27/11 1:12:24 PM EDT
                • 5. Re: Advanced Format Drives? (4kb sectors)

                  You should not align with encryption active, but otherwise I cant see any problems. There are bios bugs with dell 68xx etc and seagate drives though, so you might have to use achi mode until Dell resolve.

                  • 6. Re: Advanced Format Drives? (4kb sectors)
                    TechSecurityNate

                    Thanks.  We plan to align them with diskpart commandline prior to OS load, just to make sure no possibility of anyone aligning them post-EEPC install.  Currently we are working on 6420 and 6520, but will make a note about the 68xx series.