Release non 512-byte sector emulated firmware for WD??EARS

Status: Acknowledged
by on ‎04-28-2010 07:46 PM

WD Dev Department,


As stated in this thread:



we would like to have these drives models with a non-emulated firmware

that exposes the 4K sectors directly to the OS.



The thing is that many Linux distros and Unix flavors already have support for that kind of disks and the 512-byte emulation is only presenting complications when trying to use the disk as is, thus forcing us to align the partitions to the correct underlying layout.


If the first goal of the emulation would be compatibility to actual or legacy OS's, then there should be no need of it if the OS is already prepared to manage the 4K sectors.

In fact, you could have the a jumper setting to activate the 512-byte emulation starting at LBA sector 64 and another setting to have the disk exposed with non-emulation at all and showing the real thing.


Just a thought that could make our lives a little easier in the *nix world.




Leandro Vanden Bosch.


Status: Acknowledged
by on ‎06-18-2010 02:17 PM

I want to support this idea. Its really a shame that these drives can only be used with emulation and the performance makes them unusable with Raidz/ZFS.


Please be innovative and dont try to rip $$$ out of people pockets by offering "special RAID drives".

by on ‎07-02-2010 02:57 AM

Yes please. A firmware update that makes these drives report 4096-byte sectors would be excellent and make setting them up for Linux users a lot easier.

by ‎07-09-2010 11:10 PM - edited ‎07-09-2010 11:19 PM

It would be nice if there was at least the option for the drive to report it's true geometry to the OS, rather than only a compatibility layer for old operating systems.  I would understand if there was a jumper only to turn the compatability layer on or off.  But the drive should report 4096 when off.


I'm guessing this will result in replacements once properly reporting drives hit the market.  Across the forums I frequent It's already resulting in people returning EARS drives and going with another manufacturer entirely with a bad taste for their WD experience, or people advising against buying them altogether.

by on ‎07-15-2010 01:27 AM

I agree with this idea. I think a firmware upgrade is necessary for making these "EARS" HDDs really competitive in operating systems like Linux, FreeBSD, OpenSolaris, etc..


In my opinion, the current firmware uses a "dirty solution" that generally penalizes newer operating systems.

by on ‎07-18-2010 03:33 PM

Please. I think that in the WD Development Department they should take this idea in high regard.

Personally I bought 5 of these HDDs. I use only UNIX-like operating systems and at the moment I am disappointed by the performance of this model of disk.

Thanks for your consideration.

by on ‎07-25-2010 08:32 AM

I am in the same boat.  I got the first dozen of these drives thinking they'd work fine with ZFS (which supports the larger sector size).   However, the drives report a 512 sector size to the OS so it works pretty terribly.  (Poor performance).  The drives are all going back -- or at the least we'll be getting Seagate drives instead for the next boxes.

by on ‎07-26-2010 08:04 PM

I'm with the other ZFSers.  I was thinking I would build a low power NAS with those drives and OpenSolaris (or maybe use in my ReadyNAS NV+).  Lucky I did some research before I went out and got four to eight drives.


I say some WD20EARS on sale and so I went WD to see if the issues have been resolved.  I guess not.  I would guess other drive makers are going to make 4K drives that are green so I guess it is time to look around.  I'm kind of a WD man, but if they don't have it, I can't buy it.


It's hard to find any information about the firmware on the drive.  For example, ReadyNAS says drive of a specific model or firmware will work.  However, WD doesn't have anything saying (that I found yet) when the new firmware rolled out so if you buy a drive from an online store you can guess if you get a new firmware drive or not.  I couldn't even find how to flash the drive.  I thought the green drives were having problems, if that is true, why is it so hard to find the information.  If I knew it was easy to update the firmware, I would buy the drive knowing if it came with bad firmware I could fix it easy.


Well, I guess it's time to look around for drive to use with OpenSolaris.  Thanks to everyone for sharing your pain, you are saving others from the same heartache.

by on ‎08-07-2010 06:24 AM

I also have a WD10EARS (actually I have a WD15EARS as well, but that is currently in a Windows machine) and would like the ability for OpenSolaris/Linux/FreeBSD to be able to see the sectors as they really are so that the OS can properly handle optimizations.


I replaced one drive with a standard 512byte drive (Seagate I believe) and my resilver finished in 9 hours on my array.

I replaced another drive with a WD10EARS and after 9 hours of resilvering, the estimated time to completion was at 300+ hours.

These WD10EARS are useless to me (even though I like the idea of 4K sectors), because they don't properly report their sector size.

I will be buying standard sector sized drives from other manufacturers for my arrays for now, and I hope that I can flash my two current EARS devices so that I can buy WD drives again.

by on ‎08-08-2010 08:36 AM

I support this idea. Have delayed the purchase of new drives waiting for this problem to be fixed

by on ‎08-09-2010 03:15 PM

I like the idea of a solution worked out by WD because otherwise these WEARS-drives are useless to me in combination with ZFS.

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