> Now the new multi-TB hard drives have 4096-byte physical sectors,
> at least some of them try to act as if sector size were 512 bytes.

virtually ALL disks act as having 512 byte sectors, even if they have
internally 4096 byte ('advanced format').

search for '4K native' drives, and you will see that they are rare.

there's a good reason for this: only Windows 8 can boot from 4K
sectors, not Win7. and making hardware incompatible to 80% of all
existing computers is usually not such a smart idea.
see also 

only recently 4kn drives became available
 Seagate Enterprise Capacity 3.5 HDD 4Kn 6TB, SATA 6Gb/s (ST6000NM0004)
 Toshiba MG04ACA500A

> So any modern OS needs to support at least 4096-byte sectors.
it certainly doesn't hurt, but this is not urgent

> There really needs to be GPT support with hard drives that would have 
> 4096-byte sectors.
wrong. GPT is needed for drives with more then 4G sectors, which is
disk size 2TB for 512 sector size, and 16 TB for 4K sectorsize.

as a side note: a good portion of modern USB enclosures *simulates*
sectorsize 4K, so big disks ( >2 TB) can be handled without GPT
(read 'Windows XP')

> Next step up from 4096 bytes could be 8k, 16k ...
this will most likely never happen. the gain from moving 512 byte -> 4K is
roughly 10% in disksize, and may be worth the trouble. the gain for going from 
to 16K would be much less, and almost certainly not worth the trouble.


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