StorageReview reports Seagate will be introducing its SmartAlign technology to ease the transition to HDDs with "Advanced Format" 4KB sectors. All major HDD makers have agreed to transition to this format by January 2011.
Although Advanced Format drives have a 4k sector, they still need to emulate 512k sectors in some instances. The host controller handles the translation between 4k physical sectors and 512k logical sectors. This can result in partition misalignment and cause poor performance.
Seagate's SmartAlign technology automatically manages misaligned partitions in real-time inside the hard drive without the need for any software utilities.