4Kn Drive Compatabilty

I’d like to buy two HE10 10TB 4Kn drives, Model #HUH721010ALN600. This model is a native 4K HDD where both the logical and physical sector size are 4,096b. One will be for data, the other for backup. I’m building a new system using a Z270 UEFI motherboard which will boot off of a Samsung 850 Pro with a fresh install of Windows 10. There will be no RAID implementation. According to Samsung, the Pro has a logical sector size of 512b and a physical sector size of 4,096b (aka AF 512e). Before I buy I’d like to know the following:

  • Will the differing 512e and 4Kn formats on the drives potentially cause any compatibility or performance issues?
  • I understand that 4Kn requires UEFI, which this motherboard has. But will I be able to format the Samsung boot disk as MBR in CSM mode, or will it need to be formatted as GPT?
  • Will the 4Kn drives need to be formatted GPT?
  • Do I need to be concerned about the 4Kn compatibility of the onboard SATA controller?
  • In this setup, are there any advantages of going 4Kn (rather than 512e) on the HSGT drives?
  • In this setup, are there any disadvantages of going 4Kn (rather than 512e) on the HSGT drives?
  • Are there any other potential issues I need to be aware of to avoid a nasty surprise?

Many thanks for your guidance.

  1. Maybe. >Windows 8.x,10 supported with updated native Windows SATA drivers. Intel > 9.6RST drivers NOT supported. Do not use Intel drivers. Not all Intel/AMD mobos support 4Kn drives. Current Linux OSs natively support 4Kn. Need “modern” UEFI Bios in either Intel/AMD mobos.
  2. Yes, you can format the 850 with MBR
  3. Yes
  4. Yes. Need “modern” UEFI Bios in either Intel/AMD mobos. Need SATA III (6G).
  5. Yes. In 512e the “reads” are not a problem, the “writes” are. For example, when writing to a 512e drive where data spans two 4K sectors, the drive has to read and transfer both sectors to ram, find the information, change it and rewrite both blocks back to the drive instead of just writing to the drive directly. Writes are penalized in a 512e drive.
  6. See 5 above
  7. Compatibility issues exist with different OSs, USB docks, SATA controllers, drivers, old OSs (Win 9.x, XP, Vista, 7 etc.), VMs etc.

Side note: If you buy a 4Kn drive and you’re “sure” that it “should” work in your mobo but doesn’t, check to see if it has the “Power Disable Pin” on P3 (pin3) feature on the drive (check part number). Older mobos provide 3.3v to p3 and cause the drive to get stuck in “reset” mode and it will NOT show up on the system bios or Os. If you absolutely have to use this drive then you need to get a molex/SATA adapter to “fix” the problem. To check if your mobo is compatible for use without the adapter make sure it meets the >SATA 3.3 standard.