I have several questions for Western Digital, but these are at the end:
(mostly related to huge disks sizes)
Hard disk types defined by me (valid only for this post):
Type I: Disk has 512 hardware sectors, and reports to the OS the correct hardware sector size.
* the real hardware sector (512) is the same sector size that the OS sees (512).
* partition alignment is not a problem with these disks.
Type II: Disk has 4096 hardware sectors, but does not report to the OS the correct hardware sector.
* the real hadware sector (4096) is not the same sector size that the OS sees (still 512)
* these are the 'Advanced format" drives. The firmware does the 'magic'
* for these disks (these are ones being manufactured at this moment and probably for a couple of years) the
partition aligment is important. The parittions (both MBR or GPT) must be aligned for the disk
to perform optimally. partitions can be not-aligned, but the disk will be slower.
Type III: Disk has 4096 hardware sectors, and reports to the OS the correct harware sector.
* these are "FUTURE" disks, they either: do not exists, prototypes may exists or they are not relevant to
the current discusion/issue. (or simply i don't kwnow these)
* partition alignment should not be a problem with these disks (really?)
The Type II is the important one, they are the 4k sector disk of today.
The disk "HARDWARE SECTOR" must NOT be confused with the filesystem "CLUSTER" or sometimes
also called "filesystem sector" or "allocation unit" size.
Example: A 512 byte reported hardware sector disk, with 1 MBR partition, formated with NTFS at 4K cluster/sector size
WDTV Firmware --> * Defined by WD
* Can read both MBR and GPT partitions (in my tests).
BIOS --> * can boot disks partitioned with the MBR Partition scheme.
* can boot / recognize normally only 512 byte sector disks.
EFI --> * can boot disks partitioned with both MBR and GPT Partition scheme.
* can boot / recongnize both 512 or 4096 byte sector disks.
MBR Partition scheme:
* uses lba sector 0
* has a limitation of 2TB(for 512 byte sector drives) of usable lba sectors.
* 4 "primary" partitions, more extended partitons can be created inside one of
the primary ones. But the max total size of every partition cannot exeed 2TB.
* created/managed with: in linux: fdisk
* keep in mind that the limit is 2TB with 512 byte sector, that is what the BIOS can
boot from!!! (with 4k sector, the limit could be surpassed but such disks do not exist/or
are NOT sold today, AND most BIOS lacks support for 4k disks, use EFI for that)
GPT Partition scheme:
* uses lba 1,2-33 and also uses the last lba sectors of the disk with a backup of those.
* keeps a protective mbr at lba 0 for compatibility / protection purposes.
* can have (normally) 128 primary partitions
* created/managed with: in linux: gdisk
Operating Systems (terms of partitions (MBR/GPT) and filesystem support):
* Windows 9X/NT/2K/XP/Vista/7
* MacOS X
* Linux 2.6.x
* "Asus Disk Unlocker" >> no comments, only consider what happens if a poor user puts one
of those in the WDTVx. (basiacally 2048TB + some weirdo 'virtual disks')
I only have 1TB 512-byte and 2TB 4k-byte AdvFor disks, so i cannot test it with a 3TB disk.
I performed a test with a 80GB Passport:
* using linux's gdisk: created a single GPT partition of 80GB (all disk) type "linux/windows data".
* formated it with ext3 (i know is "unsupported", but that is what i use for my 2TB diks and the
WDTV-Live, since day one and just rocks)
* the wdtv live detects the gpt partition correclty and plays it contents.
So we have these layers (and each layer has it own limits!):
>> Volume (only meagnifull in case of multi-disks usb-enclosures using some form of raid)
>> HDD "Hardware sector" size (real or reported)
>> MBR/GPT "Partitions"
>> Partition's "Filesystem" (NTFS/xFATx/EXT3) Filesystem "cluster/sector" size
(!) When we consider a "size" "limit", in which layer is the "limit"?
(!!) There are ways to "negate" the "limit" existence.
These questions are importat because:
* 3TB will be common next year (i myself will probably buy one)
* when people ask me about the WDTVs, what they do support what they do not, there
must be no gray areas. Go buy a 3TB disk or don't, but i cannot say "well, buy one and try..."
I do own a WDTV Live unit.
Questions for Western Digital (for WDTV/WDTV Live/+/HUB) :
1A - does the wdtv works a 3TB drive partitioned with 2 MBR partitions of 1.5TB each (NTFS)?
1B - does the wdtv works a 3TB drive partitioned with 2 MBR partitions of 1.5TB each (EXT3)?
2A - does the wdtv works a 3TB drive partitioned with 1 GPT partition of 3TB (NTFS)?
2A - does the wdtv works a 3TB drive partitioned with 1 GPT partition of 3TB (EXT3)?
3A - how does the wdtv handle the fact that up to 128 GPT partitions can be defined?
3B - does the UI contemplate such large number of GPT parititions?
3C - and the device remove feature too?
4 - There is an advertised "disabled functionality" in newer WDTVx firmware versions for Advanced
format drivers grater than 2TB.
4A what is exacly disabled, taking into acout all explained above?
Unless using some weird hybrid-like MBR/GPT combo, how does one reach a 'disk corruption' scenario
so severe that it is necesary to disable any kind of "huge disks with 4k AdvFormat".
After reading Knowledge Base Answer ID 5875 ... i have MUCH more questions and no answer, just the minimal
warning for non-techies.
I am very satisfied with the player, great stuff!, i hope the issue can be solved.