512Kb or 4KB in RST

I just got a new Phoenix Pro 120GB and did a fresh windows 7 install on it. I was under the impression that windows 7 would automatically install with 4KB sectors. But once the install was done I loaded the Intel RST driver and control panel and it is telling me that my drive is formatted with both 512 Byte physical and logical sector size. I have the current 3.1 firmware for this drive. I haven't seen anything saying that I needed to do something special on a windows install to use 4KB sectors. Should I be concerned and did I miss something or is the RST control panel just showing the wrong thing?

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  1. All current drives use 512-byte sectors, even the "Advanced Format" drives. From the point of view of the OS the advanced format drives "look" like they record 512-byte sectors, but the drive actually records eight 512-byte "logical" sectors into a single 4096-byte "physical" sector. The internal format of the drive with it's larger sectors is completely hidden to everything except the firmware in the drive itself.

    Perhaps you're talking about the NTFS cluster size? That's an OS file system construct, not a characteristic of the drive hardware. You don't use software that looks at the drive hardware to check the cluster size, you use Windows. Open a command prompt with administrative privileges and type:

    fsutil fsinfo ntfsinfo c:

    Look for the line that says "Bytes Per Cluster:"
  2. When I enter the command you gave me it says "Bytes Per Sector: 512" "Bytes Per Cluster: 4096"

    I confess I'm no expert when it comes to Hard drive formatting or logical vs physical layout. But if I understand you and this article http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/advanced-format-4k-sector-size-hard-drive,2759.html correctly. I want my SSD formatted in 4096 byte "physical" sectors.

    As I understand it, the physical part of the 4KB sectors is handled by the firmware so that (for legacy reasons) the OS can talk to the drive as if it were physically formatted in 512 byte sectors.

    However the Intel RST control panel when I go into and look at the advanced information for my SSD it shows "Logical sector size: 512 bytes" and "Physical sector size: 512 bytes"

    Shouldn't it say "Logical sector size: 512 Bytes" and "Physical sector size: 4096 Bytes"?

    I hear you telling me that between Windows 7 and the firmware there's no way for me to tell if my drive is writing 4KB sectors or not, is that correct?

    If I'm understanding correctly then how is Windows 7 aware that it has to do whatever it does to counter the offset page alignment problem?

    I'd hate to have spent all the money on an SSD not to get full performance out of it because of a stupid formatting problem.

    I've seen several posts about installing Windows 7 on an SSD saying that with a Sandforce SSD one should load the Intel RST 9.6 driver before installing Windows 7. I'm not having any problems but could that account for why I'm not seeing 4KB physical sectors?


    I should probably add that I'm using a P43 chipset with ICH10
  3. You keep mentioning SSD - I'm not aware of an SSD that uses 4Kbyte sectors. All of the "advanced format" drives I've heard about that use the larger sector sizes internally are hard drives. What drive are you talking about?

    Are you by any chance talking about a RAID configuration and you're trying to configure the RAID set with a 4KByte stripe size? That's yet another concept entirely.
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