Talk:Advanced Format

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Operating system for native 4K[edit]

Would it be a good idea to list / tabulate which operating systems and virtualization environments support 4K native ? Windows 2012, 8, 8.1, Hyper V 3.0, Linux 2.6.31 onwards, FreeBSD 8.x, 9.x etc Pent2013 (talk) 06:48, 26 December 2013 (UTC)

Developed by Western Digital ?[edit]

Is this really *developed* by WD ?
The websites linked to express it differently: "As a result, the industry has decided to transition to a 4KB sector size dubbed Advanced Format."

Is it more accurate to say that the hard drive industry has collectively agreed on this changeover... and WD, as the first to incorporate it into products, is using the phrase "Advanced Format" for their implementation of this industry-agreed changeover ?
Or is this a format that WD did actually *develop* then convinced the rest of the industry to adopt ?
86.25.122.135 (talk) 14:35, 7 March 2010 (UTC)

Doesn't look like it: http://www.idema.org/_smartsite/external/bigsector/ 129.101.174.6 (talk) 22:16, 5 November 2010 (UTC)
That link is only showing a 404; a relevant page on idema.org that is available is: http://www.idema.org/?page_id=98
86.25.122.251 (talk) 12:52, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
I believe that WD invented the marketing term. Because it's just an arbitrary number. Not exactly breathtakingly hard to think of. Optical drives have been 2048 bytes-per-sector for years. 2601:1:9500:6D5:8C25:E9D9:1588:7BC6 (talk) 08:44, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
WD and Seagate are producing "Advanced Format" drives. Samsung's tool for their drives http://www.samsung.com/global/business/hdd/support/downloads/support_in_aft.html and Hitachi http://www.hitachigst.com/internal-drives/advanced-format-drives All provide "Advanced Format" though some require utilities.
This appears to be a drive format option for drives that store large files. The article already addresses that this benefits large files, at this time all drive manufacturers provide this as an OPTION, not a requirement. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.67.130.59 (talk) 18:00, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

OS compatibility[edit]

All access is done via emulated 512b sectors, so this section is irrelevant. All systems ever conceived have same level of compatibility with those transitional AFDrives. Perhaps what author meant was partitioning tool compatibility - which is merely "improved" (partitions properly aligned by default) rather than groundbreaking. Even unaligned partitions still work, just slow as hell. All xp or 2k partitions can be shifted into most efficient position (ie via the WDAlign tool)Agent L (talk) 21:23, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

Linux also provides support, Google "Linux advanced format". I linked a few drive manufactures utilities, I do not know if there is a generic utility to format a drive, but I would not be surprised to see one as this is a industry standard and not a manufacturers standard. Therefor Linux may have a utility. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.67.130.59 (talk) 18:05, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
I am not sure if this format will be supported by older devices (like raid cards). This might be nice too include.
Can someone figure out if OpenBSD supports this. OpenBSD is rather slow to adopt changes.
A few drives provide this option without the use of a utility. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.67.130.59 (talk) 18:22, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

Not 100% scientific/encyclopedic -> advertisement ?![edit]

Although happy about finding information about the topic, I have the feeling that the authors are utilizing wikipedia for advertising their own technology?! It is not a bad thing, if WD-employees write articles about a technology that WD invented, but an encyclopedic article needs a more scientific approach. E.G.: What are the downsides of Advanced Format? What linux kernels are the EXACTLY who support this technology? Which complications can someone encounter using such disks, etc.. Also, it is not very nice that someone just uses advertising footage in here, i.e. the images are just copy/pasted from some self-advertisement. They should be redone for the special purpose of an encyclopedia, being more scientific and less advertisement. --77.49.54.61 (talk) 07:33, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

I agree. Even the title seems NPOV. AFAICT "Advanced Format" is a marketing term for 4KB sectors. It may be worth noting that if you google for "4k sector" or "4096 sector" you get much more technical articles than if you google for "advanced format". It also seems rather silly that this article is bigger than Disk sector. While I think 4k sectors are a good idea, the compatibility mode seems like something that should be discouraged, as well as the marketing slang. Aij (talk) 23:40, 14 March 2011 (UTC)
The standard is an open standard set by a independent industry supported organization. These organizations are usually created by the industry. Such organizations like w3c are similar and are not in dispute. I see no mention of Western Digital within the current revision.
Note: WD and Seagate are using "Advanced Format", while NewEgg does not even provide an "Advanced Format" or "4K Sector" Option yet. The problem with 4K sector alone is that it is too generic. Also this is not simply a change in the Sector Size but also the Error Correction. "Advanced Format" is Defined by http://www.idema.org/?page_id=2 which is an organization like w3c which is an industry run organization that is setting industry wide standards. All drive manufacturers are offering utilities to enable this format. The name of this article is not biased.—Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.67.130.59 (talk) 17:34, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
The content is not an advertisement, as all drive manufactures now support this. See OS Support for Linux Kernel Information (which is supported).
There are details within the current revision that state the disadvantages, though the large sector size will mean that a 1Byte file will take 4Kb of space (I believe this is evident in the article though maybe I am just a techie). This is detrimental to disks that have a large number of small files. This format is better for large file storage such as video, music, etc (which is in the article). This is not simply a new sector size, it also provides a different form of ECC (as mentioned). This is a new standard. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.67.130.59 (talk) 18:12, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

Giday, I think you are wrong and disagree with the statement in the article where it states that a 1k file would necessarily take 4k with 4k hardware sectors. this is all in the logic of the filesystem, reiserfs used tail packing 10years ago and many other modern filesystem use more efficient structures that do not simply use a list of fixed size blocks. the article and your statement above suggest that the issue is universal when it only applies to older filesystems like fat and ntfs.

bonge on! — Preceding unsigned comment added by 123.243.86.168 (talk) 14:19, 21 April 2012 (UTC)


Please remove "The neutrality of this article's title, subject matter, and/or the title's implications, is disputed." as the title is not in dispute. All Manufacturers (Hitachi, Samsung, WD, and Seagate0 are offering tools for their drives. 4K Sector is to generic and Advanced Format 4K Sector. The article is also neutral.—Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.67.130.59 (talk) 17:56, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

redirect[edit]

Could someone please redirect advanced format to this page? Thanks. 69.111.194.167 (talk) 08:28, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

Done. — Becksguy (talk) 01:34, 19 April 2011 (UTC)

smartalign[edit]

There is a "Disk realignment is necessary to avoid a performance" in the article, but seagate claims that their SmartAlign can do the realignment in drive firmware, without partition realignment. `a5b (talk) 14:55, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

A similar claim is made by WD (with the use of jumpers to set the firmware to 512e). As for Seagate, I think this is a firmware setting without the need for jumper settings. If anyone can verify or find sources, it would be helpful.
The statement "Disk realignment is necessary to avoid a performance ..." mentioned above is true. Seagate's SmartAlign solution cannot avoid a performance loss, however, it is not as severe as a misaligned drive with no firmware solution to compensate.
Another thing I do take small issue with is the idea of "realignment". Currently, one cannot realign a drive unless its partitions are removed and the drive brought back to it's factory raw format (or the misaligned partition(s) that is (are) out of alignment is(are) removed). Essentially, this is a reformat and alignment of the hard drive's partitions. In this case, one does not necessarily require software tools provided by the manufacturers to properly partition and align the drive (one can accomplish this with tools such as fdisk, Gparted or Disk Utility through Linux).--Imwithid (talk) 04:10, 10 April 2012 (UTC)


The following paragraphs are in response to the concerns raised above.

WD's "7-8" alignment jumper adds a +1 sector offset to each LBA. This means that when the OS accesses LBA 63, say, the drive transparently remaps it to LBA 64, thereby automatically aligning the partition. Of course this only guarantees alignment for the first partition.

The ATA standard allows a drive to report the logical/physical sector alignment via word 209 of the Identify Device information block.


Working Draft AT Attachment 8 - ATA/ATAPI Command Set (ATA8-ACS):
http://www.t13.org/documents/UploadedDocuments/docs2008/D1699r6a-ATA8-ACS.pdf
------------------------------------------------------------------------
7.16.7.72 Word 209: Alignment of logical blocks within a physical block
Word 209 shall report the location of logical sector zero within the first physical sector of the media. See Annex E for more information. This word is valid if bit 13 of word 106 is set to one.
Bit 15 of word 209 shall be cleared to zero.
Bit 14 of word 209 shall be set to one.
Bits 13:0 of word 209 indicate the Logical sector offset within the first physical sector where the first logical sector is placed.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


The following Seagate patent appears to relate to SmartAlign. It describes a method for accommodating a HDD with a physical sector size of 1KB on a host system that uses 512-byte logical sector format. The same algorithm could be applied to other physical sector sizes, including 4KB. ISTM that SmartAlign relies on write caching and read lookahead caching to avoid the read-modify-write cycle.


US Pat. 12138022 - Filed Jun 12, 2008 - SEAGATE TECHNOLOGY, LLC
Buffer Management for Increased Write Speed in Large Sector Data Storage Device:
http://www.google.com/patents?printsec=abstract&zoom=4&id=GxbLAAAAEBAJ&output=text&pg=PA3


Here is an extract from the patent:

"An intelligent write command routine improves the operational efficiency of a DSD [Data Storage Device] by avoiding media access of the disk when an LBA and the physical sector are unaligned, thus reducing write time. In one implementation, when a write command is received by the DSD from the host, the intelligent write command routine maintains the read data of the read buffer, instead of clearing the read buffer and performing a read of the target sector on the disk per standard protocol. The intelligent write command copies the necessary adjacent sector data from the read buffer as a data patch to the write buffer to splice around the write data received with the write command. Furthermore, following each write command, the data written to the disk in the write buffer is copied to the read buffer. In this manner, the read buffer is maintained with the most current data on the disk and does not need to be flushed unless the LBA of the write command is beyond the data ranges stored in the read buffer. Further, if read lookahead is active during read commands, a large amount of data may be available in the read buffer for use in patching 512 byte write commands to 1K sectors and thus significantly reduces the write time." — Preceding unsigned comment added by 121.44.124.214 (talk) 00:53, 12 August 2012 (UTC)

4K-ready Host[edit]

From the article:

  • 4K-ready Host (Client devices only): A host system which works equally well with legacy 512 as well as 512e hard disk drives.

I would assume that a 4K-ready host would work well with 4K native drives, too?

SyP (talk) 14:54, 13 June 2011 (UTC)


I think there is a problem where someone has carefully avoided stating clearly what the capabilities of each o/s in terms of support for 512e and 4Kn. it is opaquely stated that win7 etc support 512e as does linux and osx, but it is not clearly stated that linux (and osx?) support 4Kn whereas windows does not.

bonge on — Preceding unsigned comment added by 123.243.86.168 (talk) 14:32, 21 April 2012 (UTC)

[edit]

Does the logo relate to all categories of AF (as follows from the positioning of the logo in the article) or only to AF 512e (as mentioned in http://www.idema.org/?page_id=2153 )? 91.195.22.23 (talk) 11:46, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

Could somebody put a smaller image on the page? It's kinda' large. Miller9904 (talk) 07:30, 6 June 2013 (UTC)

512-byte ... since the inception of the hard-disk drive in 1956[edit]

The claim that sectors have been 512 bytes since the inception of the hard drive in 1956 seems bogus.

The byte was an obscure unit invented in 1956 as part of IBM's Project Stretch. Stretch was a hardly noticeable proportion of the industry (very few were sold). It wasn't until the IBM System/360 was introduced that bytes became a common unit. So 512-byte sectors could not have been common before 1964.

The first disk drive was first part of IBM's unrelated 305 "RAMAC". That was a decimal computer and so didn't use bytes (so the disk didn't either). I don't know its sector size -- perhaps 100 decimal digits.

The first disk drives I used were on the IBM 1620. They had sectors of 100 decimal digits (with an extra "flag" bit per digit), and certain metadata. This was not 512 bytes.

IBM System/360 disk drives had tracks, each of which acted a lot like magnetic tape: software could choose a wide range of sector sizes, as long as the data and the block headers/trailers fit in a track. So 512 was neither normal nor optimal. Tracks were not a round number of bytes and were different for each disk drive model.

I used a PDP-8 disk drive (late 1960s). Its sectors held 128 12-bit words. Not 512 bytes.

I have no idea when 512-byte disk sectors became common. The earliest I could imagine is with the minicomputer revolution in the 1970s (yes, minicomputers existed in the 1960s but they were not common and they didn't routinely have disk drives).

BTW, the same dubious claim is made by Disk sector#History and has been disputed by another contributor. DHR (talk) 17:35, 9 April 2013 (UTC)

My experience is that HP mini computers always used 256 byte sectors. This is implicit in the HP3000 MPE OS file system documentation where the minimum size of a file is 256 bytes and default "record" size is 256 bytes. http://bizsupport2.austin.hp.com/bc/docs/support/SupportManual/c01687363/c01687363.pdf documents the MPE LISTF command with format 11 displaying KB rather than displaying 256 byte sector counts -- the LISTF command was present since the early 1970s (though option 11 is newer) The newer HPVOLINFO command (http://bizsupport2.austin.hp.com/bc/docs/support/SupportManual/c01712464/c01712464.pdf) States: "Currently, this logical size is 256 bytes. In the future, however, disks may have different physical sector sizes. MPE will map them to system-wide logical sector sizes." Additionally, http://www.retrocomputing.net/parts/hp/hp7933/docs/7933HTechData-5953-3624-4pages-Mar82.pdf

Clearly documents that 256 byte sector size for this device.

JHawkins HP — Preceding unsigned comment added by 50.156.89.82 (talk) 17:33, 1 July 2013 (UTC)

Nice info. It would be interesting to maybe explore this in more detail - after all, 8 bits per character basically wasn't standardised upon until the rise of microcomputers, that used the cheapest possible, practical, available architecture, that just happened to be based around 8-bit CPUs (which meant 8-bit buses and 8-bit memory, holding and transporting 8-bit chunks of data). IBM had quite a love of 6-bit and its multiples (particularly 18 and 36 bit word lengths), as seen with the use of EBCDIC; those word lengths were also rather convenient for storing records that were previously held on 9-track tape or 9-row (80-column) cards. Other companies as described also seemed to go in more for the multiples-of-3 idea, with 9, 12, sometimes even 24 bit architectures. And all the data on a disc, much like with a helical scan or single-track tape, is simply held as a string of bits. When you're not using data streams whose bit lengths can be cleanly divided by 8, why use disc sectors that are a certain power-of-2 multiple of 8? 512 bytes is 4096 bits. 4096 doesn't divide into 3, so it doesn't divide into 6, 9, 12, 18, 24, 36 either... (and neither, for that matter, does (520x8), in case the strangely mentioned alternative crossed your mind).
512 itself didn't come along as a standard until later, and I think was just a historical accident of being both where the technology was "at", and something that gave a convenient data granularity and file table size at the time of introduction of (5 and 10mb, 5.25 and 8 inch) "Winchester" drives in SoHo systems in the early 80s. Floppies were generally 128 and 256 byte sector, but also quite slow and low capacity, holding small files, and not ever so reliable, so very fine sectors with a relatively large amount of ECC made sense, and the file tables weren't so huge (when your disc holds 160kb, you only have 640 x 256b sectors to look after... the FAT doesn't even need to take up 1kb). Yer 5MB Winchester took things further with about 10000 x 512b sectors (a not unreasonable 20kb file table with 16 bit addressing)... and from there on out, thanks to the general stagnation that happens in the computing world when things don't HAVE to change, so it remained. When FAT16 hit an early limit, some bright spark came up with the idea of partitions using variable-sized "clusters" tuned to their individual sizes... and as an unintended side effect, as they forgot (or couldn't find space) to include anything that defined sector size (or indeed clusters as a set group of bytes rather than sectors), pretty much froze commodity HDDs at 512b because no-one could then release a 1024 (or larger) byte sector drive without breaking everything in the existing filesystem paradigm. Even though, bizarrely, CDROMs, DVDs, and even floppy discs (first 720k's, then 1.2 and 2.8MBs) leapfrogged to 1024 (floppies; first to simplify things in the double density transition from single to double sided, then because FAT12 didn't allow more than 2.0MB with 512b sectors), 2048 (CD) and 4096 (DVD) byte sectors. Even now, similar things are occurring; 4096 has only been chosen this time because it makes things easier, and doesn't "break" things any more than it needs to... IE transactional database atomic processes, Windows file systems (4k default clusters since introduction of FAT32), etc. One expects manufacturers would have gone for at least 32k, maybe 64k, if they could have done it without massive stress. The overhead saving would have been huge, and it still wouldn't have exceeded some previously seen maximum cluster sizes. Thankfully, 4k is but "phase 1", though the details of any later phases still to come haven't been announced.
Point of note: the "decimal digits" were quite likely BCD rather than any kind of multi-level recording, and thus would be 4 bits per digit. With an additional "status" bit (as per the Intel 4004 scheme) and 100 digits per sector, that's 500 bits per sector. Or 62.5 modern "bytes". Also, 128 x 12-bit characters is 192 "bytes"... So even without the IBM/etc three-times-table examples, it STILL need not be a power of two, multiplied by 8... 146.90.69.70 (talk) 01:56, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

4Kn on non-bootdrives[edit]

It should be noted that drives with 4KB logical sectors work on Windows XP (even x86-32) an all later versions of Windows if not used as boot drives. --MrBurns (talk) 01:58, 31 May 2013 (UTC)

I would respectfully ask for a cite on that, as the only reason I've ended up here is because of having trouble doing certain operations with a brand-new 3TB external HDD that's seemingly come formatted as an (XP compatible?) MBR/NTFS drive... Even Windows *7* can't write certain types of files to it (presumably those whose associated programs require sector-level access; disk backup images, VHDs...), and when I assumed this was because the partition size exceeded 2TB and so halved it, I could then neither make a new partition that occupied more than 0.5TB of the remainder, nor re-expand the original partition beyond 2TB again.
I suspect what's happened is that the manufacturer (Toshiba) pulled some trickery to format the thing with a bogus MBR, pre-engineered a primary NTFS partition within that which happens to take up "3TB", and are relying on Windows to believe what it reads from the NTFS partition info rather than what's listed in the MBR (which probably says 2TB, or maybe something completely invalid like 0 sectors...) ... and now that I've altered it to fit the specs, it's also tweaked the MBR, and all bets are off. ((I wonder what would have happened if I'd resized it to 2.5TB?)) ..... Hence, I'm considering converting it to GPT before I put any worthwhile data on there (right now I'm in a forced bit of mental downtime whilst moving the file-based backups I'd made to it temporarily onto whatever space I can find on my older, smaller discs).
It's likely that the drive itself is also running in 512e mode, and presenting its 4k native sectors as bunches of 8x 512 old style ones to prevent the OS shitting its pants. This would, of course, be compatible with XP 32-bit, at least up to the 2TB boundary, because as far as the OS is concerned, it's dealing with a normal, old style drive. But everything I've read so far suggests that both 4k native (or "4k logical") disks, and GPT based ones, simply don't work with XP, as it has no routines for dealing with this otherwise quite alien structure (I suppose you could probably co-opt the optical disc handling routines, but then you'd have to format your drives as UDF and probably deal with all kinds of additional issues surrounding maximum size, addressability, and write-on-demand). I guess we'll soon find out when I experimentally plug the thing into my older XP-based laptop and see what happens... In fact I think I'll do that both before and after the conversion (as it's reversible, after all)...
I mean, if it turns out I can reformat it as GPT, get a full 3TB partition, use the sector-based apps with it under Windows 7, AND connect it natively to WinXP instead of having to use it as a shared network drive (which would mean losing access via the old machine if the new one isn't present), I'd be a very happy camper. But it doesn't seem likely. 146.90.69.70 (talk) 00:40, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

2 TB border?[edit]

Somebody told me, you are able to build a hard disk greater than 2 TB only when using Advanced Format. But now I see WD Black 4 TB (WD4001FAEX) without Advanced Format. Could somebody explain this to me? --193.246.68.27 (talk) 13:41, 8 July 2013 (UTC)

Somebody did not tell you the truth...
While larger sectors have several benefits (as described in the article) there is no technical reason in the design of harddisks why they could not continue to use 512 bytes per sector.
The 2 TB limit is not a limit imposed by the physical drive hardware, but by the 32 bit arithmetics used in the software in conjunction with 512 bytes / sector (2^32 * 512 = 2 TB). With 4096 bytes per sector you could reach up to 16 TB with 32-bit addressing, however, this is not really pushing the envelope. The solution to this problem is not 4 KB sectors, but using more than 32 bit for LBA addressing. This requires 48-bit or 64-bit arithmetics to be used in the software, and switching from MBR partitioning (which maxes out at 32 bit as well) to GPT partitioning.
The next limit will be when LBA-48 maxes out at 2^48 * 512 = 128 PB.
--Matthiaspaul (talk) 14:47, 8 July 2013 (UTC)
I think there's some misunderstandings here. The shift to 4k sectors is an entirely physical thing, in essence; it allows manufacturers to get a "free" boost in capacity and speed by reducing the amount, and particularly frequency of error correction information and head positioning markers to something that's more in tune with the density and reliability of discs being made in 2013, not 1983. They've already been doing it for some time now - even WD's lower capacity, lower performance drives (e.g. the 1TB "Green") shifted over about 18 months ago... the idea that their highest capacity, highest performance one (the 4TB "Black") wouldn't have, in 2013, is pure folly. All you're seeing is the exposed 512-byte Emulation layer (hands up anyone here who remembers logical overlays to allow use of high capacity HDDs with incompatible BIOSes, back in the 504MB limit days? Yep, similar idea.) which the drive presents to the operating system by default, and is the source of various alignment woes if you don't take pains to reformat it properly (the official software is able to pick up on particular "hints" in the reported capacity data to properly repartition/reformat with full alignment of the OS's 4kb clusters to the disk's physical 4k sectors through the emulated 0.5k ones).
It doesn't mean you've got a 4TB disc that's somehow secretly not Advanced Format, because you haven't. Manufacturers typically AREN'T shouting about their devices using it, because it's not worth the serious user confusion and FUD that would result; the people who need to know about it, know about it, and those that don't get to know are yer typical home user whose machinery and operating system tend not to be more than about 5 years out of date and so have quietly and "automatically" integrated the necessary upgrades and updates to ensure full cross compatibility, and to allow the transition to happen absolutely silently. My mother doesn't know nor care what a hard disk sector is, nor its size, and neither does she need to, despite owning a Vista laptop and having access to a Win7 one, and both 2 and 3TB external discs... all that matters is that in those cases, the things work... The "advanced format" thing would be an utter irrelevance in 99.9% of situations, so they don't mention it. And the disc just goes on pretending to have 512-byte sectors.
Matthias does have it correct, though - if you use GPT formatting, it doesn't matter what your logical or physical sector size is... you can address up to 2^64 of them (approx. 18 quadrillion... quintillion? In any case, enough for (Sector Size) x 16 Exabytes of data, where an Exabyte is one binary million terabytes)... or in other words 8192 to 65536 exabytes with 512 and 4096 byte sectors... assuming something's done about the LBA issues (but I have a feeling that by this point we're achieving atomic densities, so there are far more pressing issues to overcome before the 131072 Terabyte LBA-48 limit (or indeed, a 1048576 terabyte one, with 4k sectors, seeing as each "logical block" that LBA addresses is actually one sector?) becomes a serious problem). As I said, AF has nowt to do with the actual filesystem put on top, it's merely a physical thing.
tl;dr, you've been lied to twice. The WD drive DOES have AF. And you don't need it to make a disk bigger than 2TB, it just makes it easier to engineer something of such high capacity, and allows it to have higher transfer speeds (both by a factor of about 10%). The more critical problems are the MBR-type filesystems (and indeed, the MBR used by older versions of Windows that flat out assume 512 byte sectors with no way of indicating anything different) and various other matters of OS and FS compatibility or inbuilt limits. The fact that the MBR limit, with 512b sectors, just happens to be 2TB itself only helps to confuse matters. 146.90.69.70 (talk) 01:21, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

"512 (or 520) byte"...[edit]

OK, I'm going to be bold and just flat out delete that "or 520" addendum from where it currently appears in the article, unless someone can come along and both explain just what the sweet jesus it's referring to, and make a good case for its retention.

I've been in this game more than 20 years now, seeing operating systems, filesystems, disk formats and a great many individual drives and disks come and go, and I've never heard of a 520-byte disk sector. 128, 256, 512, 1024, 2048, 2336, 2352 and 4096, sure, but not 520. And, even if it exists (which I can't discount outright, even though it's be both weird and very rare), what is its relevance to Advanced Format? It's merely 8 bytes longer than 512 after all, it's not going to be some massively revolutionary size-freeing-up alternative to 4k sectors. Plus it would simply not work with the vast majority of higher-level filesystems out there.

C'mon, whoever put that in. Defend yourself and your kooky number. 146.90.69.70 (talk) 02:05, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

Right. Now removed, and some other tweaks done. Out of interest I rolled back through the edit history to see if it was original to the page or added by someone at some point. It looks to have been introduced by a (named) editor sometime back in 2010 who added a suspiciously huge amount of text and images all at once, plus a single link... a link which goes to some industry body webpage with a presentation that includes some very familiar looking images for anyone who's looked down the article page (what's the copyright status on those - is Wikipedia allowed to reproduce them?). Said page, however, doesn't currently make any reference to 520-byte sectors. I wouldn't be entirely surprised if they'd done a huge cut and paste job from a previous version of said page/presentation that had a careless typo in it, since corrected, such that the "old" sector size was reported as 520 bytes throughout, and our editor in question, being smart but maybe not best informed, spotted the discrepancy... not knowing which was correct, they made it an either-or.
That said, if someone can show us some systems, widespread enough to be of note in this situation, that use that slightly bigger number, I'd genuinely be very interested to see it. 146.90.69.70 (talk) 02:36, 28 July 2013 (UTC)
IIRC, 520 bytes / sector were used by some Hewlett Packard machines. I should have some documents about them in my archive. In either case, 520 bytes / sector, as odd as they may seem to normal IBM-compatible PC users today, are no non-sense, therefore I put them back in for now. Matthiaspaul (talk) 08:50, 28 July 2013 (UTC)
A quick web search reveals that drives with sector sizes other than 512 bytes were (and still are) available in the market. Disk vendors and distributors I found having offered them include IBM, Seagate, Hitachi, EMC, NetApp, Dell, with interfaces such as SCSI, SAS, Fibre Channel, and SATA. Common hard disk sector sizes include byte payloads of 256, 512, 514, 516, 518, 520, 522, 524, 528, 1024 and now 4096 bytes per sector, with 512, 1024 and 4096 bytes per sector the most common ones. Here are the specs of some Hitachi harddisks supporting various sector sizes: [1] --Matthiaspaul (talk) 21:28, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

Dougolsen ... naughty boy?[edit]

OK, the "named user" I alluded to above is actually Doug...

Now, I could be getting the wrong end of the stick, maybe he was actually the graphic designer for the IDEMA presentation, and maybe it's a public domain thing that he and we are free to share... particularly as some similar looking images that AREN'T part of it appear here...

But still, there are pictures in the article that are clearly just crops from a presentation on their site concerning AF (they have a downloadable PDF which features identical diagrams in better (vector!) resolution than what wiki does), and in whose copyright fields Doug has listed the ownership info as "own work".

The PDF's listed author is one "Liz Ohlhausen". I don't think "own work" applies to cutting something out and sticking it in an electronic scrapbook.

Unless those diagrams are considered public domain, are actually Doug's to give away, or "fair use" in some other area, we might have to -actually- roll our own brightly coloured, seemingly MS Painted (or maybe Powerpointed?) depictions of how 512-byte sectors expand to 4kbyte and the like...

(It might also be the case that a good amount of the article copy is also lifted from IDEMA textual sources, but I haven't gone so far as to check/verify this. Perhaps he's just rather knowledgeable and a prolific typer.) 146.90.69.70 (talk) 02:49, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

Did you send Liz a link to this discussion? If Doug actually made the logo for her, this would be still an issue of it's work-for-hire or if he's employed/member of the association behind said article's main content. It seems like either conflict-of-interest or plagiarism is likely. You could still make the fair use argument as it's not exactly like Wikipedia is selling hard drives or copying the presentation. At least I hope we didn't just copy their white sheets! XD 2601:1:9500:6D5:8C25:E9D9:1588:7BC6 (talk) 09:16, 19 January 2014 (UTC)

List of typical drives[edit]

It would be good to have a list of typical 512e and native 4K drives

ie

512e

WD EARS Later Seagate 2 and 3TB drives

Native 4K

not many

soem Toshiba 1.8" drives in in devices — Preceding unsigned comment added by 95.147.129.196 (talk) 14:34, 19 October 2013 (UTC)

  • AFAIK, there are no 4K Native drives released yet. Please correct me if I'm wrong there. -- Dsimic (talk) 16:54, 19 October 2013 (UTC)
Due to technical and marketing reasons, it's likely that the first non-512B-sector drives will be in something alongs the lines of NAS or DVR boxes and corporate-aimed servers. With Linux, the kernel isn't the limitation anymore, so mainly it's a matter of Grub or Lilo supporting it. http://www.acronis.com/support/documentation/ABR11.5/index.html#21004.html and a (tech support) forum discussion I read seems to imply that they're already being used in external USB drives. Performance advantage of '4Kn' drives is going to be questionable at best since partitioning tools now try to use multiples of 8 sectors or even a megabyte (for SSD's), and if ever they go to 100TB+ drives, we'll have the same issue with larger sector sizes. It's quite possible that a standard will be that all drives include the logic to convert to 512e unless the OS specifically askes it not to or a boot CD utility disc from the manufacturer will be able to set it to native/emulated. 2601:1:9500:6D5:8C25:E9D9:1588:7BC6 (talk) 09:48, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
Hello there! Some sources say that the April 2014 end-of-life for Windows XP (which doesn't support them) is going to be the mark for AF disks to become commercially available. Any references, please, for the optional/configurable 512e emulation you're describing? I'm also wondering what's going to happen with the supply of 512-byte (or 512e) HDDs as spare parts for older computers not supporting 4Kn for any reason? — Dsimic (talk) 21:12, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
Are you sure about the USB 4Kn thing? I've read before about many >3TB USB external drives presenting 4k sectors to the host and I even have one myself (haven't cracked it open though in case I need the warranty) but AFAIK most of there aren't really 4Kn. If you open up the external drive and connect the drive directly via SATA, you actually find it's a 512e drive. The USB controller is simply taking the 512e SATA and presenting the drive as a 4k sector drive to the USB host (which should be aligned, unless the manufacturer really screwed up). While some would still call this a 4Kn drive I find it a little confusing and I don't think these are ever sold as 4Kn drives per se.
Personally I would be surprised if 4Kn drives are really used in external drives. Most of these, or at least the mass market cheap ones are simply bog standard 3.5" drives put in a casing with a SATA to USB controller and getting power from a 12V external power supply. I think even the more expensive ones are the same, simply with better casing, fancier controllers with more options such as ethernet, firewire or eSATA (well you don't really need much for this but probaly for market differentation reasons most don't present this). Producing special drives, even if all you need is special firmware or worst case a different logic board (but if you're going to that might as well make them USB native) defeats the advantage to the manufacturer of simply being able to use any drive for it.
Things are a little different in the portable drive field (i.e. 2.5" or smaller). Since manufacturers are aiming for small size, there is a minor advantage to only having one logic board. There's also the fact some portables use 12.5mm thick hard drives which I expect are probably most commonly used in portable hard drives anyway since they are too thick for most laptops [2]. (I think even 9.5mm is getting less popular.) 15mm enterprise drives are of course a different kettle of fish. So there do seem to be a number of native USB portable hard disks. For these disks, if they present 4K to the host then I guess you can say they are 4Kn unless the manufacturer is doing something really weird with an internal SATA to USB. But since these haven't topped 2TB I don't know if it's an issue yet anyway.
Nil Einne (talk) 14:26, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: not moved. Xoloz (talk) 01:32, 20 March 2014 (UTC)



Advanced FormatAdvanced format – Case normalization per MOS:CAPS. As the article says, it's a generic term. Sources confirm. Dicklyon (talk) 02:10, 12 March 2014 (UTC)

  • Comment it has a logo and everything, so seems like a proper noun for a nebulous concept. (not sure it's "advanced", considering non-standard sector sizing has been a "feature" of drives for a long time, including as ways around hard drive limits. Or the advance created by sector sliding, and decoupling physical sector layouts from logical ones) Also, it seems to be more likely to be referred to as 4k sector drive format instead, or atleast that's how it seems when I read components price listings -- 70.50.151.11 (talk) 05:28, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
    • Oppose it represents a particular kind of advanced format, therefore should be capitalized, since it has a logo and is just about the advance from 512->4k -- 70.50.151.11 (talk) 05:31, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Dubious, probably oppose - for 2 reasons; Firstly along the lines of what 70.50 says, "advanced format is" shows there is no WP:PRIMARYTOPIC. This would require advanced format (hard drives) to pass WP:CRITERIA. Secondly since many sources related to hard drives do capitalize. In ictu oculi (talk) 07:16, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose: As we know, "Advanced Format" is some kind of an umbrella marketing term, and as such it's usually capitalized; writing it as "advanced format", while (doubtfully) more correct, would only introduce confusion. — Dsimic (talk | contribs) 07:37, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
I don't think we have anything in MOS:CAPS about capitalizing "umbrella marketing terms" and things that have logos. It's neither a proper name nor a trademark. It's generic. That's why books like this one and magazines like this one use lower case (and this one partly). Dicklyon (talk) 03:38, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
... while, for example, these books use the upper-case form: book #1, book #2, and book #3. To me, writing it as "advanced format" is simply more confusing than "Advanced Format". — Dsimic (talk | contribs) 23:11, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.