I cringe at the thought of them shutting off their EADS and other factory lines and taking the Advanced Format to 100% of stock. Truly a dark day…
Look, MGHolley, the HDD manufacturers (associated in the IDEMA organization) were putting the migration to 4kb sectors for too long already (first plans were for around 2001/2002 IIRC - see IDEMA/DELL publication from 2001 and the “IDEMA Announces a New Sector Length Standard” press release from 2006).
Moving to larger sectors allows for consolidation of error correcting data and better durability and reliability of your drives, and better safety of your data.
At the same time, there are some disk space savings and small performance gains (provided that the operating system aligns input/output requests properly to disk’s physical sectors, which is the exact problem here).
All the problems described here are simply because the OS vendors, having more than enough advance warning time since 2001, failed to adjust their products for the coming technology change (and I’m pointing the finger both at Microsoft and at Linux community since both Windows XP and Linux’s fdisk and parted failed to prepare for this until the drives got onto the market several years later).
So I actually admire Western Digital for finally stepping up and doing this transition - they knew there will be dissatisfied customers, and that the first one to break out of this circle will get most of the flame; they knew they will be blamed for the problems which are actually caused by stagnant OS vendors. Others, like Seagate, Maxtor etc - are simply waiting for someone else to come and do the hard step.
I’m pretty confident that now - when the cat is out of the bag, and when the dust settles, OS’es and partitioning tools are updated for new sector sizes and the hardest part of 4kb sector transition is over, all these other vendors will happily introduce their own 4kb sector drives, while conveniently avoiding customer dissatisfaction which Western Digital has willfully taken upon themselves in the name of progress of the whole industry.
You just have to realize that someone had to make this step - the old format makes it extremely hard to make larger and larger hard drives and the industry got into stagnation because of that.