Seagate Debuts SmartAlign To Ease Advanced Format Transition

A lot has been written and discussed regarding Advanced Format. It's the wave of the future for hard drives, but there's still a lot of mystery surrounding it. Many people have brushed it aside since it's not really causing major changes right away, but the hope of seeing HDDs expand in capacity relies heavily on the understanding and implementation of it.

Seagate was one of the first to jump onboard, and now ll major hard drive manufacturers have agreed to migrate to the Advanced Format standard for new desktop and notebook platforms introduced after January 1, 2011. But the change will not be easy...unless Seagate has something to say about it. Currently, 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. The process is called 512 byte emulation, and it can typically result in poor performance if hard drive partitions are not well aligned with computer operating systems.

Seagate's method of going around these difficulties is called SmartAlign, which is being introduced formally today. The new solution is said to solve this problem by intelligently and automatically managing misaligned partition conditions in real-time, inside of the hard drive, with no need for alignment utilities or extra installation steps. The idea here is to move customers forward into Advanced Format, more quickly. And if that gets larger hard drives onto the market more quickly, well, we're all for it.

Seagate SmartAlignT Technology Simplifies the Transition to Advanced Format Hard Drives

SCOTTS VALLEY, Calif. - June 10, 2010 -  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.

For more information about the Advanced Format standard, the transition to 4K sectors and SmartAlign Technology from Seagate, visit: www.seagate.com/hard-drive-innovations
Via:  Seagate
Comments
realneil 4 years ago

Did you hear what the Snail riding on the back of a Turtle said?

"Wheee!! What A Ride!!" Sleep

I feel like the Snail on the back of Seagate's Turtle.

(I don't fully understand it, but I like it if it makes things work better/faster) Smile

leorick 4 years ago

If you're running an OS that supports 4k sectors, then probably, yes. But this change is necessary for increasing size. From what I remember, It was Western Digital who gave me a concrete definition of 4k sectors (i read an article back then). I think it was also them who has a 4k alignment software that would be required for un-supported OS like Windows XP.

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