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Old 02-27-2010, 08:05 PM   #1
telemeister
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Advice on Western Digital 'Advanced Format' hard drives


Recently I've set up a couple of Slackware-13 machines using Western Digital 'Green' drives, with software raiding based on the Slackware How-to. No real problems.

I'm setting up another, and just purchased 2 x 1-TB WD Green Drives, without realising that these newer drives are so-called 'Advanced Format', using 4K sector size.

There is a fair amount of comment regarding issues with this technology under linux, e.g:

http://community.wdc.com/t5/Desktop/...C04CB82C45B70E

AND

http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.linux....-linux-ng/2926

Apparently Western Digital have not expressed any desire to sort out problems with linux - they don't support it.

I haven't yet opened the packaging and am considering exchanging for another brand using more conventional technology.

My Questions:

1. Is anyone aware of a definitive solution enabling these 'advanced format' drives to be used efficiently under linux.

2. As an alternative, can anyone suggest an alternative large-capacity drive (e.g. hitachi, seagate...) which is well behaved (and perhaps even supported!) under linux.

Any advice would be much appreciated
Steve
 
Old 02-27-2010, 09:07 PM   #2
disturbed1
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I read some information about this
<--- searching for link ---->
I think this is where I read about those drives
http://www.osnews.com/story/22872/Li...or_Hard_Drives

BTW, I use Samsung 1TB Raid Class drives, and have been replacing my Seagates with Samsungs as they die. Not that Seagate is bad - these drives are all at least 2 years + old. Seagate's RMA department wasn't that professional to me, so I've decided not to buy anymore of their products
 
Old 02-28-2010, 03:51 AM   #3
bonaire
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You need to enable the sector based hard disk and not the cylinder based hdd use, when starting fdisk (append -u) or inside fdisk (press u). That is currently all you have to do.

Newer fdisk versions (which are currently not in slackware-13 or slackware-current) use that mode per default or the user is allowed to diable the old dos-compat mode with -c which includes the sector based use too.

I hope i forgot nothing here
 
Old 02-28-2010, 05:10 AM   #4
telemeister
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Thanks very much Bonaire

That seems almost too easy to be true, considering how much online discussion this has attracted!

On the WD community thread quoted above one suggestion for forcing partitions to be
correctly aligned is to run fdisk using -H and -S options. They say:


"fdisk using these parameters creates all partitions aligned to 4 KByte blockboundaries:
fdisk -H 224 -S 56 /dev/sdb"

Are you saying that with the -u option I don't need to worry about the -H, -S options.

Steve
 
Old 02-28-2010, 12:30 PM   #5
dugan
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Aaarrhh!!! I just bought a Caviar Black! Haven't installed it yet though.

I'll report back later.

EDIT: Oh, so it's only some Caviar Greens that are using this technology. Nvm.

Last edited by dugan; 02-28-2010 at 12:49 PM.
 
Old 03-01-2010, 02:53 PM   #6
telemeister
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Thanks for those comments guys.

I might throw this out onto the general linux hardware forum
to see if anyone has more to add.

Thanks

Steve
 
Old 03-01-2010, 05:56 PM   #7
salasi
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All I know about these drives is from non-Linux sites (eg here), but my impression was that there is a jumper on the back of the drive that you can set to put the drive back into a compatibility mode.

Now, it would seem that a consequence of doing this would be that you lose the extra capacity and performance benefits, if any, by doing this, but it sounds as if it should work, even if it would not be ideal.

BTW, I got the impression that it was only a matter of time before other drive manufacturers start to use these formats...any idea whether that is true?
 
Old 05-19-2010, 02:43 PM   #8
take2hikes
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I just upgraded my desktop with 2 1.5TB WD "Green" drives and noticed a similar performance hit. Everything in X seemed to freeze sporadically for about 10 seconds. It did this when I was copying things to the HD as well as when the system was idle.

After reading this thread, I re-installed Slackware partitioning the drives with the fdisk -u command. It seemed like the easiest solution, so I felt I'd try it out.

I don't understand how it displaying the size of the drive in sectors instead of cylinders would make any difference. It does, however, seem to have made the system more responsive. It does slow down every once in a while but nothing like it was doing (almost completely unresponsive). I'm not sure if this is due to the hard drives, or that I'm using a Dell Dimension 8400 P4 system. It only has 1GB of RAM currently, I'm thinking of upgrading to 2 or 4GB, perhaps that would help.

I am turning my desktop into a seedbox and am copying over 385GB of data to the new drive. I have read in another forum someone saying their Green drive had severely slow write speeds. I don't notice anything currently, but can anyone give me the process of doing a speed test once this transfer is through?
 
Old 05-19-2010, 03:23 PM   #9
take2hikes
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Gave it some more time and the same behavior is still happening. I am returning them to Newegg.

Does anyone know of some 1.5TB drives that will NOT give me this same issue?

Thanks!
 
Old 05-19-2010, 05:23 PM   #10
volkerdi
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I have a WD green 1TB on the way.
 
Old 05-20-2010, 01:11 AM   #11
flank'er
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Hello!
I am using HDD WDC WD15EARS 'green' and had no problems.

thread.gmane.org/gmane.linux.utilities.util-linux-ng/2926
Quote:
install kernel >= 2.6.31, util-linux-ng 2.17, and use fdisk.
I upgraded kernel and util-linux-ng from '-current' and used fdisk

test
Quote:
hdparm -i /dev/sdb|grep Model
Model=WDC WD15EARS-00Z5B1 , FwRev=80.00A80, SerialNo= WD-WMAVU2972787

hdparm -t /dev/sdb

/dev/sdb:
Timing buffered disk reads: 284 MB in 3.01 seconds = 94.37 MB/sec

dd if=/dev/zero of=/mnt/hd/000.dd bs=128K count=100000
100000+0 records in
100000+0 records out
13107200000 bytes (13 GB) copied, 174.124 s, 75.3 MB/s
 
Old 05-20-2010, 10:24 AM   #12
H_TeXMeX_H
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I think these "green" drives probably have some nasty firmware that tries to save energy in a stupid way ... just a theory, but why else would they call it "green". You won't find be buying anything "green".
 
Old 05-20-2010, 10:50 AM   #13
LuckyCyborg
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Well, the future is to 4K sector size, because the available size grown quickly. Imagine that in the next years can be usual to have hardrives with size of 1000TB.

The software should adapt.

Anyways, a suggestion for guys with harddisk serial killer tendencies:

Seagate have a application called SeaTools Enterprise Edition for Linux, that have a option to change the hardisks sector size:

Code:
-B ### sector size change followed by a format
    ex: -B 1024 change to 1024 bytes/sector

Last edited by LuckyCyborg; 05-20-2010 at 11:06 AM.
 
Old 05-20-2010, 11:05 AM   #14
dugan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H_TeXMeX_H View Post
just a theory, but why else would they call it "green". You won't find be buying anything "green".
Nothing sinister here. "Green" is just a code for "under-powered" in this case.
 
Old 05-20-2010, 11:47 AM   #15
H_TeXMeX_H
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dugan View Post
Nothing sinister here. "Green" is just a code for "under-powered" in this case.
Yeah, it could be that too. Either way choose black. Don't worry about green, you'll pay for your sins whether you like it or not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LuckyCyborg View Post
Well, the future is to 4K sector size, because the available size grown quickly. Imagine that in the next years can be usual to have hardrives with size of 1000TB.
Let's hope the pr0n industry won't crash (unlikely), otherwise that dream will not come true.

Anyway, back to the topic, maybe Pat V will get to the bottom of this issue when he gets his.

Last edited by H_TeXMeX_H; 05-20-2010 at 11:49 AM.
 
  


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