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    Latest Hard Disk Technology Runs In Windows 7 Perfectly, But Slows Down XP

    Hard drive manufacturers are set to improve the speed, capacity, and power consumption of their drives by 2011. While this technology will benefit users of Windows 7 and other modern operating systems, Windows XP users may actually be facing a performance hit by using the new drives.

    This technology improvement, called Advanced Format Architecture (at least by Western Digital), is mandated by an agreement of the International Disk Drive Equipment and Materials Association, which says that by 2011 all hard drive makers must sell drives using 4 kilobyte sectors instead of 512 byte sectors, the current default.

    Let’s break that overly technical explanation into something simpler: Most hard drives on the market now, from the lowly 80GB drives to the hulking 2 TB monsters, store their data in small blocks called sectors. Those sectors can store 512 bytes of data, but each sector also has a small gap between it – the space in each gap is used to correct errors and to store additional information that the drive needs to function properly.

    Basically, the 4 kilobyte sector would require fewer gaps, total, across an entire hard drive, thus saving space on a hard drive platter and increasing the drive’s overall efficiency. The technology is best demonstrated by the image below:
    The extra space can be used to give the user more storage, or to allow the manufacturer to provide the same amount of storage on a smaller hard drive platter.

    Most current operating systems, including Mac OS X versions 10.4 and above, most Linux distributions, Windwos Vista and Windwos 7, can take advantage of the benefits of the new technology, but the aging Windows XP will actually see visible slowdown in many cases.

    This is due to an emulation technique used by the new drives that allows legacy operating systems, such as Windows XP, to treat them like older 512 byte sector drives. The performance hit is expected to be about ten percent.

    One reason why some users cling to Windows XP is because of its speed, but along with reports that multi-core and hyperthreaded processors offer better performance in Windows 7, this new hard drive format serves as another bullet point in the list of reasons to abandon the aging operating system.

    The upside is that by 2011, Windows XP should be on its way out, and many of its remaining users will be running it on older computers instead of brand-new machines using the new hard drive technology. It’s possible that, despite the potential for lesser performance, many casual computer users won’t even notice the change.

    1 comment:

    1. It is more informative if availability of these drives in the market and how to identify them are included in the article.



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