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Thread: Does 11.4 install detect 4kb sector drives? (WD EARS, SSD, etc)

  1. #1

    Default Does 11.4 install detect 4kb sector drives? (WD EARS, SSD, etc)

    I'm finding conflicting info..
    Some posts say 11.3 and newer automatically detect drives that have 4kb sectors, and partition things accordingly. But other recent posts specifically about 11.4 say, no, you still have to prepare the drive manually before installing, to be sure things are optimized.

    Does anyone know for sure?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Does 11.4 install detect 4kb sector drives? (WD EARS, SSD, etc)

    I can't say that I know for sure, but I can tell you that I did partition my laptop hard drive (I have 2 SSD's, no platters) manually as I wanted to make sure that everything was aligned properly, and to make sure that TRIM support would work efficiently.

    There were some really good write-ups on the internet on how to do this, and how TRIM was implemented in the kernel, etc.

    Check this link for more info of how it's implemented in 11.4: SDB:SSD discard (trim) support - openSUSE

    HTH...
    Main Machine: Dell G7 running Ubuntu 18.04
    Server: Dell PowerEdge SC1430 running CentOS 7.x

  3. #3

    Default Re: Does 11.4 install detect 4kb sector drives? (WD EARS, SSD, etc)

    wicked1 wrote:
    > I'm finding conflicting info..
    > Some posts say 11.3 and newer automatically detect drives that have 4kb
    > sectors, and partition things accordingly. But other recent posts
    > specifically about 11.4 say, no, you still have to prepare the drive
    > manually before installing, to be sure things are optimized.
    >
    > Does anyone know for sure?


    No, nobody knows for sure. I don't know what 11.4 does but I do know
    that there are 4k sector drives that tell lies. So there's no way for
    the kernel or anything else to tell for sure in any particular case.

    Try here <https://ata.wiki.kernel.org/index.php/ATA_4_KiB_sector_issues>

  4. #4

    Default Re: Does 11.4 install detect 4kb sector drives? (WD EARS, SSD, etc)

    Except other distros list it clearly in the release notes.
    I haven't tried these other distros, and I'm sure someone will come back w/ a technical reason why it's not listed in suse's release notes (like the above post)
    BUT.. This is getting to be daily standard stuff these days.. Other distros clearly state "added support for 4kb "advanced format drives", etc.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Does 11.4 install detect 4kb sector drives? (WD EARS, SSD, etc)

    Although I haven't checked specifically for 11.4, I've been doing some research on 4kb sectors over the past few months and reviewed numerous conflicting advice so I can understand your concern.

    IMO bottom line the general advice is that unless you have a specific reason to implement WD 4kb "advanced format" sectors, you shouldn't. Because most of the world is based on 256byte sectors (eg memory, file transfers, default settings for most file systems), YMMV implementing 4kb disk sectors. In particular, you will need to be especially wary whenever you apply a "file system on another file system" like loop devices with internal file systems typical of virtualization technologies and external attached storage, you can run into partition alignment issues.

    If you haven't researched 4kb sector technology, I'd recommend the following IBM article <for starters> to get some foundation knowledge, then start exploring issues people run into in various public forums.

    Linux on 4KB-sector disks: Practical advice

    In other words, it's not a simple matter whether openSUSE automatically recognizes and supports 4kb sectors (almost certain that's not an issue), probably more to the point is whether you should.

    IMO,
    Tony

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    Default Re: Does 11.4 install detect 4kb sector drives? (WD EARS, SSD, etc)

    Small edit to my previous post...
    As noted in the referenced article, 512byte sectors are most commonly used in contemporary file systems.
    But, based on what I've personally researched 256byte blocks are still often used in the other technologies I mentioned.

    Depending on the situation, it complicates the effects and might be relevant to disk sector size, eg size of buffers and methods to re-construct blocks of data.

    Tony

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Does 11.4 install detect 4kb sector drives? (WD EARS, SSD, etc)

    On 03/17/2011 01:36 PM, tsu2 wrote:
    >
    > Although I haven't checked specifically for 11.4, I've been doing some
    > research on 4kb sectors over the past few months and reviewed numerous
    > conflicting advice so I can understand your concern.


    If your drive contains 4KB sectors but emulates and reports 512 B models, as
    most do, then you need to set fdisk or whatever tool you are using to report the
    data in sectors, not cylinders. If you manually make every partition start at a
    multiple of 8 sectors, then you avoid the problem of the excessive writes needed
    to update a single 512 byte sector. That penalty is very severe.

    As long as you do that, you can work with any system that supports the hardware.
    My only 4KB disk is running on an 11.1 system with kernel 2.6.29. A later
    version of fdisk would have done the calculations, but they were not difficult
    to do manually.

    I know that system is out of support, but it runs MythTV 0.21 and I have no
    inclination to upgrade to later versions. This is a case of "it isn't broken".


  8. #8

    Default Re: Does 11.4 install detect 4kb sector drives? (WD EARS, SSD, etc)

    It's completely insane that no one here knows if it works or not!!! seriously! This kind of thing shows up in the release notes of every other major OS commercial and opensource... It's the kind of thing IT people are dealing with every day now!!

    But, it doesn't. It tired starting the first part. at sector 0 with 63 sectors per track. I stayed in the setup partitioner and set the first partition to start on sector 1 instead of zero, and it appears to have worked. fdisk shows the part starting at 2048 which aligns. But, I had to manually move the partition up one sector when partitioning the HDD.

    And to anyone else, the advice someone else gave to not use 4kb sectors if you don't have a reason to is crazy! The HDD manufacturers recommend it! Other OS's DO IT automatically. The drive manufacturers all have tools to be sure you're aligned properly, but they're only for Windoze. You're doing things wrong if your drive expects them and you aren't using them. All drives will soon be using 4k sectors soon.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Does 11.4 install detect 4kb sector drives? (WD EARS, SSD, etc)

    4 K sectors waste space if you have a lot of small files , so sure the makers recommend it lol. Remember that the sector is the smallest storage unit. Also remember that most here are simple users not administrators or system designers.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Does 11.4 install detect 4kb sector drives? (WD EARS, SSD, etc)

    Well that's kind of my point.. That people are just simple users. TSU2 made good points about so much other stuff being able to cause trouble w/ the odd drive geometry, but that's all advanced stuff. Anyone doing anything like that should know what they're doing and know to manually align things.
    But for just a simple install for a workstation, the installer should take care of it.
    The performance difference is huge.. It's measurable.. It's consistent. These new drives are meant to be run differently than old ones.. that's all there is to it.
    Sure, they work either way.. but you pay for having it partitioned the old way.

    (Oh, I get your point now about people here not being system designers/etc.. That's why no one knows the answer.. Yeah, that's fine.. which is why I posted my results.. hopefully it helps someone else.. Moving the partition forward one sector appears to be all that was needed. Drive benchmarks show my drives reading and writing to the manufacturer specs! More advanced alignment might help more, but this was just a test to see if it can simply be done while installing.. w/out pre-partitioning the drive.)

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