Preparing for the pending industry transition to Advanced Format, 4K sector hard drives, Seagate has developed new technology to greatly ease and simplify this transition for Seagate customers. First featured in the new Momentus 750GB notebook drive introduced last week, SmartAlign is the industry’s first utility-free solution for customers moving to Advanced Format hard drives.
Advanced Format is a new standard defining the 4K sector hard drive format which all hard drive manufacturers will adopt over the coming months. Through participation with IDEMA (The International Disk Drive Equipment and Materials Association), all major hard drive manufacturers have agreed to migrate to the Advanced Format standard for new desktop and notebook platforms introduced after January 1, 2011.
Advanced Format hard drives offer sector sizes that are eight times larger than the legacy 512 byte standard. This provides format efficiencies that will help push storage densities higher, reaching new capacity milestones. It also enables higher levels of drive robustness due to increased error correction capabilities.
Until now, the migration to Advanced Format hard drives has not been pain free. This is because Advanced Format hard drives still communicate to host systems using the 512 byte sector standard and therefore must manage the translation between 4K byte physical sectors and 512 byte logical sectors. This process, called 512 byte emulation, can result in poor performance if hard drive partitions are not well aligned with computer operating systems. Until SmartAlign, the method to manage these misaligned conditions and avoid slowed performance has been to utilized software utilities which analyze and realign hard drive partitions. This approach requires extra steps to integrate the hard drive, extra time to complete the process, and causes confusion for some users.
Seagate Advanced Format hard drives with SmartAlign solve this problem by intelligently and automatically managing misaligned partition conditions in real-time, inside of the hard drive. There is no need for alignment utilities, extra installation steps and consistent hard drive performance is maintained.
“The hard drive industry needs to make this transition to larger sector sizes.” said David Mosely, SVP of Sales and Marketing at Seagate. “Customers and manufacturers will all benefit in the long run. But we did not want to make this transition a headache for our customers. SmartAlign solves this issue - essentially making this transition hassle-free for Seagate customers”
Since all desktop and notebook hard drive customers will eventually need to transition to Advanced Format, 4K sector hard drives, SmartAlign technology from Seagate greatly simplifies their transition, eliminating their need to manage this transition at all.