Whenever you buy a new hard drive, a certain amount is lost to the fashion in which the drive is formatted. WD’s new Advanced Format drives change the way the drive stores data, giving up an additional seven to eleven percent in free drive space.
The new system does away with individual sector headers and ECCs and instead groups data storage into larger, 4K physical units. While that does result in a larger ECC, it isn’t a geometric progression, and the additional loss of redundant Sync/DAM headers more than make up for it. On a 2TB drive, that means you could see an additional gain of up to 200GB (before formatting). That’s certainly nothing to sneeze at. While you can’t apply the new guidelines to your current hard drive, WD will be putting its Caviar Green series on the new system in a few weeks, with other product lines to follow suit. If you’re looking to pick up a new hard drive anytime soon, it just be worth it to cool your heels for a spell.
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