I recently purchased and installed a Seagate Constellation ES.3 4 TB drive, model ST4000NM0033. Right now it's suffering under a write stress test (overwrite pass of the entire drive with Write-Read-Verify turned on to allow the drive firmware to identify any bad sectors before I put anything important on the drive), but I was really surprised when I checked the SMART data and it reported that the drive uses a 512 byte logical and physical sector size. I thought that with such large drives, 4096 byte sectors was the name of the game. Running smartctl --all /dev/XXX on Debian Wheezy, I get:

smartctl 5.41 2011-06-09 r3365 [x86_64-linux-3.2.0-4-amd64] (local build)
Copyright (C) 2002-11 by Bruce Allen, http://smartmontools.sourceforge.net

Device Model:     ST4000NM0033-9ZM170
Serial Number:    XXXXXXXX
Firmware Version: SN03
User Capacity:    4 000 787 030 016 bytes [4.00 TB]
Sector Size:      512 bytes logical/physical
  • Does this model drive really use a 512 bytes physical sector size?

  • Do I even need to concern myself with such details?

I'm planning to align everything as if the drive was a 4 KiB physical sector size drive, if nothing else for consistency, but the smartctl output has me somewhat puzzled.


According to Seagate the ST4000NM0033 drive does indeed use a 512 byte sector size. It seems that smartctl is reporting correctly. I don't know if you need to concern yourself with these details however.

  • It would appear that you are correct; section 2.1 table 1 specifically says "sector size: 512". In which case my second question becomes moot. – a CVn Sep 13 '13 at 7:25

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.