Formatting ? for WD15EARS in Win7 HTPC

I have 2 of the new Advanced Format Green Drives.  (WD15EARS-00Z5B1)

I’m running 64bit Windows 7 on a P35 motherboard with ICH9R.

I wanted to use the drives as a mirror for data, mostly video.  I setup a RAID1 configuration in the Intel BIOS.  Everything seems to be working fine, but the transfer speeds have been less than I had hoped for.  It is possible that 20MB/s is all I should expect in a RAID1 configuration, but I’d like to be sure.  Ultimately, I have an eSATA enclosure that I can just fire up from time to time to backup from one disk to another, but RAID1 is an easier solution.  Ultimately, write speeds are not that large of an issue, but I wanted to be sure there wasn’t something else I could check first.

My understanding is that Windows 7 should work with the advanced format sectors without issue.  However, I also have found very little literature which discuss “tweaking” that might provide optimal results for a given configuration.

With mostly large files (200-700MB), I would have thought that formatting the drive to the maximum allocation unit size (64k) would have been beneficial.  However now I’m not so certain.  I also thought that GPT might have some benefits as well, but I only read a little bit about the technology.

Could formatting and partition style have an affect on my disk performance in Win7?  Should I try RAID1 with Windows instead of the on-board Intel?


Those drives are not raid drives, and could drop out repeatedly.  The advanced format isn’t an issue with 7, but it could be an issue with raiding the drives.  I’ve yet to see any raid support coming out of WD for advanced format.  I’m of the opinion that if you want raid, use raid drives.  But, what do I know.

While I’m willing to accept marginally slower performance on green drives in RAID, I do not think its acceptable for WD and others to cripple the firmware and disable the ability to RAID.

For HTPC and others, green actually makes better sense in RAID…cooler temps and strong sequential read/write are important for folks who want to store lots of data and don’t want to have a dozen drives to get the job done.

RAID isn’t a “feature” of a drive we should have to pay extra for, and we have to keep pushing back on the HDD manufactureres to stop crippling the firmware and breaking the RAIDability of drives.  The energy saved by TLER and idle tweaks is pathetic relative to the actual power usage in a machine.  By keeping RPM low and increasing cache and controller procs, they decrease the amount of time drives need to keep spinning to move data from one location to the next…and that a much better energy saving feature.

However, it appears that the EARS line has several issues with it…1/2 or worse fault rate, diagnostics software incompatability, etc…

I think at least one of my drives is bad, but with no way to tell for certain, and no useful input from the WD folks, I guess the only option is to send them back.

Its ironic that the HDD manufacturers are having problems producing successful drives running at the slower speeds which used to be the industry standard.  I remember when 5400rpm was the “fastest” speed available for desktop and cost a premium for high performance.  Now we’re having to pay extra for drives that go slower and still perform all the “normal” functions of HDDs.