Alignment (PAT) and Toshiba AF drive

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Alignment (PAT) and Toshiba AF drive

Postby ohaya » Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:23 pm

Hi,

I was wondering if anyone here was knowledgeable about something called "Paragon Alignment" (PAT) and "Advanced Format" (AF)?

I have a 2.5" 1.5TB 5400RPM drive that I removed from a Toshiba Canvio USB 3.0 external drive, and when googling the drive, I ran across info about PAT and AF. Apparently the drive is an AF drive, and Toshiba provides a PAT tool:

http://storage.toshiba.eu/cms/en/suppor ... ormat.html

I removed the drive from the original enclosure because I was having problems with it, with dropping connections, etc., and I put it into another USB 3.0 enclosure that I just got (a Kingwin), and when I ran HDTach on it, there were tons of dropouts, where the speed went to "0", so I started looking for info about the drive, and found the above info.

The SATA-to-USB 3.0 adapter that was in the Canvio drive has an ARM processor chip on it, rather than an OEM-type chipset, so I'm wondering if Toshiba did something in both the SATA-to-USB 3.0 adapter and possibly in the 1.5TB drive itself to optimize the performance of the overall Canvio drive.

I'm going to backup the stuff I have on the 1.5TB drive, then try to run that PAT tool and see what happens, but what I'm concerned about is that if they did that, then maybe the drive won't work well in any 3rd party external enclosures, like the Kingwin one.

Anybody?

Thanks,
Jim
ohaya
 
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Re: Alignment (PAT) and Toshiba AF drive

Postby TeraByte Support » Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:54 pm

http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/kb/article.php?id=546
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Re: Alignment (PAT) and Toshiba AF drive

Postby ohaya » Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:11 pm

Hi,

Thanks for the link.

About performance of an aligned partition, vs. an unaligned partition, where the partition takes up the entire drive, as in my case, would the drive being unaligned cause the kinds of dropouts that I'm seeing when I run HDTach? What I mean by "dropouts" is where the speed/rate drops to "0" (when I run HDTach, I see several of these, and also the progress bar on HDTach kind of pauses).

Thanks again,
Jim
ohaya
 
Posts: 174
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Re: Alignment (PAT) and Toshiba AF drive

Postby ohaya » Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:18 pm

Hi,

Answering my own question: WOW!!!

The PAT tool took about 40 minutes to align the 1.5TB drive, and then I ran HDTach again, and the difference is rather significant!!

First of all, there are no more dropouts!!

Second of all, while the burst rate didn't change much, the average read rate went from 60MB/s before the alignment to ~92MB/s after the alignment!!

Very cool :)!!

Jim
ohaya
 
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Re: Alignment (PAT) and Toshiba AF drive

Postby ohaya » Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:42 pm

Hi,

Happy to report that I've now tested the drive with multiple USB 3.0 enclosures, and multiple cables, and still seeing the good results after the alignment.

I still have a hard time believing that just doing the alignment made such a HUGE difference!

Jim
ohaya
 
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Re: Alignment (PAT) and Toshiba AF drive

Postby TeraByte Support » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:48 am

Perhaps - if the drives firmware was lame or has a bug in its design.

ohaya wrote:
> Hi,
>
> Thanks for the link.
>
> About performance of an aligned partition, vs. an unaligned partition,
> where the partition takes up the entire drive, as in my case, would the
> drive being unaligned cause the kinds of dropouts that I'm seeing when I
> run HDTach? What I mean by "dropouts" is where the speed/rate
> drops to "0" (when I run HDTach, I see several of these, and also
> the progress bar on HDTach kind of pauses).
>
> Thanks again,
> Jim
TeraByte Support
 
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Re: Alignment (PAT) and Toshiba AF drive

Postby ohaya » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:38 am

Hi,

I don't know if it's "lame" firmware, but more that, with a packaged external drive, they don't warn you about alignment.

What I mean is in this case, both the drive and the SATA-to-USB3.0 adapter board are Toshiba, and the board has an ARM chip on it, so presumably Toshiba wrote their own adapter firmware. Then, from what I've seen, that adapter firmware seems to ASSUME that the partitions are aligned (obviously, the drive is after all packaged together and a Toshiba drive, so Toshiba must know that the drive that the adapter has to work with is going to be AF), but doesn't perform very well if the partitions are not aligned.

They may have had some warning, but I don't remember seeing that, plus there are a number of posts on Toshiba's forum with people complaining about problems (I've posted about this alignment thing there also).

I'm just glad I found this now, as I was ready to either replace the enclosure (that's why I pulled the drive out) or trash it/give it away :). Now that I've got it aligned, it performs pretty darn well.

Jim
ohaya
 
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