Author Topic: Axis 2TB - Is partition alignment important??  (Read 1123 times)

cardocpdx

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Axis 2TB - Is partition alignment important??
« on: November 20, 2012, 03:06:52 pm »

I purchased 2 of the 2TB Axis drives for use with a Windows Home Server platform.  My units contain Western Digital WD20EARX series drives which are advanced format drives.  I have had issues with advanced format drives and WHSv1 (based on x86 Server2003).  

 

The issue is that when you add a drive to WHSv1's "drive pool" is reformats it, and doesn't properly align the partitions.   As the drive fills performance goes to hell and eventually will result in data errors.

 

There is a work around but it is lots of work.  Google "WHS advanced format drives" and you'll see lots of good info.

 

Now back to the Buffalo axis drives.  Due to the above I was curious and fired up WDalign and checked these drives right out of the box.  Both show as not aligned.  I aligned one of them and ran some quick performance tests.  Empty both drives perform about the same and close to what would be expected for a "green" drive.  Next I filled both drives about 1/3 full and re-ran the tests.  No significant change.

 

Next I formatted the one I had aligned using Win8x64 and unchecking the "quick format" box.  10+ hours later WDalign reports the drive is aligned and performance is unchanged for the empty drive (no 1/3 full test at this point).  For the final test I used the Buffalo format tool and the drive shows un-aligned with the same performance as before.

 

Does the internal controller enforce a proper alignment and somehow hide that from the operating system?

Why does Buffalo's tool give different results than Windows8?

Will operating the drive as formatted by Buffalo result in poor performance and data corruption as time goes by?

Will operating the drive as formatted by Windows result in poor performance and data corruption as time goes by?

 

NOW - I've decided to bite the bullet and upgrade my WHS box to WHS2011 which is based on Server2008x64 and no longer enforces a reformat on new media. WHS2011 is Advanced Drive Format aware and would align the partitions if it did (unless Buffalo's tool is actually the superior tool).

 

SO... Do I format With (modern) Windows or with the Buffalo tool?  Why is there a difference?  Did Buffalo develop their controller and software with 512K sector drives and the WD20EARX are new to the platform and are going to be an issue down the road?


cardocpdx

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Re: Axis 2TB - Is partition alignment important??
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2013, 03:09:13 pm »

Follow-up

 

These drives are going strong 7 months later, formated using WHS2011.

 

I still wonder why Buffalo issues a tool that results in a misalighed disk?