I’m writing this as a general question, because I recently purchased a USB3-SATA-U3 hoping it would solve the problem I am having, but it didn’t. Maybe a little backstory would help to explain.
I have a few dozen bare hard drives that I use to exchange large video files with other people. Most of them are 1TB and 2TB but now we’re starting to see more 3TB drives, and this is where I’m starting to see problems. I use a mix of USB 3.0 docks made by Thermaltake (model ST0019U) and Vantec (model NST-D300SU3) to access the drives. Since I started getting 3TB drives, I’ve had issues where drives formatted in one dock were not readable in the other. This never happened with any drive before the 3TB drives (and I would assume 4TB drives would present the same problem).
Thinking the problem was the docks, I went out and got a U3 dock, but soon discovered I was wrong. Being technical, I started doing some research and came across this page on your site which talks about how Windows XP deals with large SATA drives:
So at this point I realize the problem is that the new 3TB drives are all 4K Advanced Format, and although I’m running Windows 8.1 64-bit, I still found the article helpful. I started pulling out each of my drives and recording which dock it worked with, and what each drive reported for bytes per sector, and bytes per physical sector. (I found no compatibility problems with the 1 and 2TB drives.) Then I started doing experiments where I’d format a blank 3TB drive in one dock and copy data to it, then try to read it in the others. Then after that, I would take the same drive, hook it directly up to a SATA port in a spare computer, and test it on all 3 docks. So now I’ve got a spreadsheet with all of this information, but I’m still no closer to what I’m really after here, which is this: is there a way to ensure that all of my Advanced Format drives are readable in any dock I might happen to use? Does it matter where I format and initialize the drive? Would using SATA or eSATA be more beneficial?