Advanced Format describes a new standard in the hard drive industry that changes the way information is stored and organized on a the disk.
Advanced Format drives incorporate several changes to optimize the actual data structure on the hard drive, including increasing the physical sector size from 512 bytes to a more efficient 4096 byte (4K) sector size. In order to ease the transition, current Advanced Format drives will continue to provide 512-byte emulation (512e) at the drive interface to provide backwards compatibility with legacy applications.
Most modern operating systems have been designed to work efficiently with Advanced Format drives. For optimum performance, it is important to ensure that the drive is partitioned correctly and that data is written in 4K blocks by both the operating system, and the application. Modern operating systems handle this automatically. When using Advanced Format drives in legacy environments, special tools may be required to optimize read/write performance and keep the data sectors aligned. HGST recommends using a disk partitioning utility to correct this condition by re-aligning the partition.
For more information on Advanced Format Drives, consult the HGST Advanced Format Technology Brief: