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Advanced Format Sector Alignment

October 22nd, 2017, 13:21

For both ATA (PATA and SATA), and SCSI (SAS) advanced format drives with emulated 512 byte logical sectors, is the alignment of the first logical sector within the physical sector usually zero? There are provisions for both to allow an offset alignment, I just want to know if any drives actually use an offset alignment.

Re: Advanced Format Sector Alignment

October 22nd, 2017, 14:37

I believe this feature explains the use of a jumper over pins 7 and 8 of some WD models. This jumper causes the drive to shift each LBA by 1 sector. This was done to automatically align an NTFS/Windows XP system (by moving LBA 63 to LBA 64).

Re: Advanced Format Sector Alignment

October 22nd, 2017, 19:16

Do you know what models have this, or what search terms can be used to find these models? If I can find an affordable used one I might get it for testing.

Re: Advanced Format Sector Alignment

October 22nd, 2017, 19:49

WD10EARS-00MVWB0 is one candidate. There will be a notice regarding alignment under Windows XP on the label.

Re: Advanced Format Sector Alignment

October 25th, 2017, 20:50

Thanks for the info, I just ordered a used one on eBay that had that on the sticker. I needed a 4Ke drive for testing, and one that allows the alignment shifting is even better. Now I can only hope that it supports the write uncorrectable command for simulated bad sector testing, that would make it perfect.

Re: Advanced Format Sector Alignment

October 26th, 2017, 0:51

Does this Identify Device info help?

http://www.users.on.net/~fzabkar/HDD/WD20EARS/00MVWB0.TXT
http://www.users.on.net/~fzabkar/HDD/WD20EARS/60MVWB0.TXT
http://www.users.on.net/~fzabkar/HDD/WD20EARS/00MVWB0.BIN
http://www.users.on.net/~fzabkar/HDD/WD20EARS/60MVWB0.BIN

Re: Advanced Format Sector Alignment

October 26th, 2017, 18:32

If I am reading your bin files correctly (they seem to already have the words flipped), then both of those support write uncorrectable, and one even supports error recovery control (a bonus to me). I can only hope the same for the one I am getting, it is model WD10EARS-00Z5D1 according to the picture. Will find out for sure when I get it.

Re: Advanced Format Sector Alignment

October 26th, 2017, 19:08

Not that it matters, but I looked again and noticed that the 00MVWB0 is not a 4Ke drive (word 106 is 0000), but the 60MVWB0 is a 4Ke drive. So not all WDxxEARS models are 4Ke.

Re: Advanced Format Sector Alignment

October 26th, 2017, 19:18

If you ever get around to 4Kn drives, be aware that Toshiba has several native SATA models.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=27981

Re: Advanced Format Sector Alignment

October 26th, 2017, 19:21

maximus wrote:Not that it matters, but I looked again and noticed that the 00MVWB0 is not a 4Ke drive (word 106 is 0000), but the 60MVWB0 is a 4Ke drive. So not all WDxxEARS models are 4Ke.

According to the ATA standard, word 106 is optional, so a 0 in this position would be inconclusive.

Re: Advanced Format Sector Alignment

October 26th, 2017, 19:41

Word 106 may be optional, but if a drive has anything other than simple old standard 512 byte sectors, it should set data in that word indicating such. If bit 15 is 0 and bit 14 is 1, then the data is valid, otherwise it is not valid. So a value of 0000 should mean the drive does not have anything other than the standard old sector format.

Quick edit: The drive must set this data so any BIOS or OS knows the format layout of the drive, otherwise there would be major compatibility issues.
Last edited by maximus on October 26th, 2017, 19:51, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Advanced Format Sector Alignment

October 26th, 2017, 19:50

fzabkar wrote:If you ever get around to 4Kn drives, be aware that Toshiba has several native SATA models.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=27981

I would love to have a 4Kn drive for testing, if it was affordable.

Re: Advanced Format Sector Alignment

October 26th, 2017, 20:20

fzabkar wrote:
maximus wrote:Not that it matters, but I looked again and noticed that the 00MVWB0 is not a 4Ke drive (word 106 is 0000), but the 60MVWB0 is a 4Ke drive. So not all WDxxEARS models are 4Ke.

According to the ATA standard, word 106 is optional, so a 0 in this position would be inconclusive.

So I just looked online and all the drives of this model seem to have the information on the sticker indicating a 4Ke drive. So if word 106 is optional, then a drive could be 4Ke and could identify itself as a normal drive. I guess that would not be an issue to any BIOS or OS since the drive is just acting like a normal 512b drive. But I would think they would follow the standard and provide the information in the identify results, especially with a drive that can have an offset.

Re: Advanced Format Sector Alignment

October 27th, 2017, 2:03

Notice that word 217 (Nominal media rotation rate) is 0, yet the ATA standard states that support for this word is mandatory. WD get around this by specifying the RPM as "IntelliPower". Yet if you look at their original docs, somewhere at the bottom of the "datasheets" is a notice in tiny print which states that "for each drive model, WD may use a different, invariable RPM."

Re: Advanced Format Sector Alignment

October 27th, 2017, 18:59

I am really hoping that the one I ordered will have the data in word 106. If it doesn't I will be a bit disappointed. I need that data to test the software.

Re: Advanced Format Sector Alignment

October 30th, 2017, 18:55

The drive arrived, and no data in word 106 :( And it does not support write uncorrectable or long sector access so no way to simulate bad sectors :( But........

I went to check SMART only to find it was disabled. After I enabled it, the drive only shows 4 power cycles and 4 power on hours, and most other data is all zeros. So either SMART was disabled extremely early in this drives life, or it was cleared. The seller notes on eBay are “This is a used item in good cosmetic condition that was pulled from a working unit and wiped.” Yeah, something was almost certainly wiped.

I am currently scanning the drive, and it looks like there are possibly a couple bad sectors so far. I can't trust it for a data drive considering I believe it to likely have been altered, so the best I can hope for is for it to have some bad spots.

Re: Advanced Format Sector Alignment

October 30th, 2017, 19:11

Maybe a dumb question, and probably one that I could find the answer myself . Pardon my laziness, (it is 9:00pm here ) , but the Identify data block can be read and saved with mhdd ? or victoria ?

Re: Advanced Format Sector Alignment

November 2nd, 2017, 21:15

I am going a bit off topic in my own thread, but this drive is acting wonky. I am reading the drive with hddsupertool as a way to scan it, and the first run returned very weird results. It was in ata-passthrough mode and listed errors but the ata return was normal. The only way that could happen is if the scsi sense data reported an error without the ata data showing it, and I have never seen that before with my software.

So after the first scan it acquired one pending sector. After the second scan pending sectors is up to six, but at least the ata data showed uncorrectable errors. The third scan has been started, this time I am going all out and using my direct ahci mode so I can rule out any stupid things the OS might be doing. Early in the scan there are a couple uncorrectable errors already. But damn, any errors reported are no where near in the same place between any of the scans. And when I go back to read what was reported as a bad spot, it reads normally and fast with not even the slightest hint of the previous error.

So this drive seems to be sort of randomly having a few bad sectors, but they read fine later, and between scans the bad sectors are not in the same places. Is this what happens when someone "repairs" a failing drive and sells it as just "pulled from a working unit and wiped"?

Re: Advanced Format Sector Alignment

November 2nd, 2017, 21:51

maximus wrote:but they read fine later, and between scans the bad sectors are not in the same places. Is this what happens when someone "repairs" a failing drive and sells it as just "pulled from a working unit and wiped"?

do you think that whoever does it is gonna reply ? :evil: :twisted:

Re: Advanced Format Sector Alignment

November 3rd, 2017, 16:42

rogfanther wrote:Maybe a dumb question, and probably one that I could find the answer myself . Pardon my laziness, (it is 9:00pm here ) , but the Identify data block can be read and saved with mhdd ? or victoria ?


Just issue the ec command with *any* decent ATA terminal.
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