I recently received a pair of 3 TB drives to replace a pair of 1.5 TB drives in my music server. I was relieved to discover that both the bios and Ubuntu’s utilities had no trouble in seeing those new larger drives.
The first hiccup I encountered was in formatting the first drive. Apparently MBR (Master Boot Record) formatting is only valid up to 2 TB drives. I did some poking around on those crazy Interwebz and found that using GUID Partition Table ought to treat me fine.
No big thing there.
However, when I tried to create the EXT3 partition using Disk Utility (Palimpsest) in Ubuntu 10.04 I was receiving an error which made me scratch my chin.
WARNING: The partition is misaligned by 3072 bytes. This may result in very poor performance. Repartitioning is suggested.
Ok, back to them Interwebz.
I found this interesting article on sector alignment and large drive capacities. This gave me a basic philosophical understanding of the principles with which I was faced. Now to find a solution which would allow me to partition the drive in proper alignment.
I found several posts and articles which purported creating the partition using GParted instead of Disk Utility would solve the problem. I tested this out to no avail.
Let’s cut to the chase though; you don’t need to hear of all my failures.
Ubuntu 10.04 runs GParted 0.5.1 and sometime around version perhaps 0.7 GParted solved this alignment problem. Ubuntu 12.04 is running GParted 0.11.1 which now includes an Align drop-down menu. You’ll want to select (the default) MiB.
By this method I was able to format a nearly 3 TB EXT3 partition on my new drive and dispense with that annoying warning in Disk Utility.
I hope this saves you a little time.