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What's the limit for HDD's capacity

Posted on 2002-03-04
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
"Maxtor" has just come out with a IDE 160GB HDD. Can this large capacity HDD fit into my PC which is a P3,800Mhz,MSI 694 MB,AMI BIOS. I'm not planning to buy such HDD but just wondering what's the HDD limit that my PC can accept.

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Question by:hhheng
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by:Old_Dog
ID: 6840364
Not a problem.

Just don't format it with FAT...
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by:oldgreyguy
ID: 6840453
or lard
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by:adowns
ID: 6840568
There should be no limit. Some computers with certain bios versions (really old computers) like pentium 1's and older have a 8gb hard disk limit. The sky is the limit man for the newer pc's. Even If they develope some new technology as long as its IDE it should come with somekind of software or firmware to make it work.
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by:kiranghag
ID: 6840833
not FAT, with FAT32
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by:pjknibbs
ID: 6840986
The above are not technically correct--some PC BIOSes also had a mysterious 32Gb limit on their hard drive size. However, if your machine has this problem, chances are the manufacturer will have a BIOS update which fixes it.
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by:joe_aqs
ID: 6841328
Most 1 year and older BIOS don't support anything over 32G or 60G.

You'll probably need a BIOS update, as pjk said.. before you buy one make sure your manufacturer has a BIOS update.

Joe
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Expert Comment

by:zaphod49
ID: 6841430
a hdd i recently got has a setting to make it appear to the bios as a 32GB and you need to run a program as the computer starts to read the full capacity.  I have no idea if this can be done with drives as big as you mentioned but it is a fairly common feature.
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by:Kyle Schroeder
ID: 6842178
The deciding factor is if your BIOS supports 42bit LBA mode to address a drive over 137 Gigs.  This may be addressable with a BIOS update.  Otherwise you'll need to use a "drive overlay" as mentioned above.  I can check it, but you need to specify the exact model...MSI has several "694" boards, 694 Pro, 694Pro2, 694D, etc.

-dogztar
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by:hhheng
ID: 6843043
Thanks doqztar for offering to check out the MoBo model.
It's a 694 Master.
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by:Kyle Schroeder
ID: 6844381
http://www.msi.com.tw/support/bios/bios.php?model=MS-6362

There is no indication here that there is a BIOS update to support larger IDE drives, and I doubt there will be unless MSI gets enough requests to update the BIOS for this board to support such a large drive.  This board has a VIA *686B chipset for the IDE controller which I do not believe natively supports such large drives, but there is probably no limitation with it to prevent the use of such a large drive....this is a BIOS issue.

One other thing...do you ever offer more than 10 points for your questions?  Every question I've seen you ask, you offer 10 points, no matter how difficult it is. Looking at your profile, ~90% are shown as costing 1 point to look at the PAQ, the most was 60 or something...

-dogztar
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by:WiZaRd
ID: 6844526
agree with dogztar on points issue
have a look in this topic. next nearest to you is 50 points so you may be missing out on other experts comments due to small points value. looks like you got some good advice anyway but you might want to up the points to increase response to your question.
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by:magarity
ID: 6845533
Unless this machine supports UDMA133, I bet it's hitting the limit at 128GB.  You can always get a UDMA133 card from Promise.

These limits aren't "mysterious", they're just how the Int13 handler is programmed.  To show my age, I remember the first at 512MB.  Since then, 2GB, 8GB, 32GB, 64GB and now 128GB have been cutoff points.  The BIOS people never expected hard drive sizes to increase so dramatically.  A given number of bits used to describe how many sectors are on the drive limits the maximum.  If you want a larger drive supported, you have to rewrite the handler with more bits in the size description field.  Sounds quick and easy, but it isn't, I assure you.  Some manufacturers go back and rewrite older BIOSes, some don't.  Furthermore, there may be a hardware limit, depending on how the chipset is designed.

I know a guy down the street at the Maxtor design facility.  Last month he told me about the prototype 3.5 inch 380GB drive he's been working on.  Plan to see that kind of capacity hitting the streets in 18 months.  They're just having a little difficulty right now with reliable head tracking at densities that high.  Beats me what you'll store on that monster in a home PC...  at cable modem speeds, it would take me over 100 days to fill the thing with MP3s I'd never have time to hear...
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by:hhheng
ID: 6845853
Dogztar / WiZaRd
..sorry for the stingy points I offered. If the points is big , I am afraid all questions will be quickly answer by the top 15 guys leaving out newly registered experts. In the past I've come across experts who offer help without any regards to point.

Thanks.
Heng
 
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by:hhheng
ID: 6845890
Hi dogztar,
You mentioned that this is a BIOS issue and "Magarity" is a guru on BIOS says it depends on how the chipset was designed. Also, if he is right about UDMA 133 can support up to 128GB then this means that my Mobo which support up to ATA 66 cannot support the 160GB HDD.

Heng

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by:magarity
ID: 6846051
No, you've misread my statement.  UDMA133 supports any size hard drive on the forseeable future, not just up to 128GB.  UDMA100 or 66 may or may not, not "definitely won't".  To be certain, email the manufacturer of your system pretending you are wanting to buy a 160 and ask if it will work in the system with the latest BIOS update.  It may very well support that size.
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Accepted Solution

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Kyle Schroeder earned 50 total points
ID: 6847972
hhheng:
Well, everyone has the same opportunity to post a comment in a question; a new person who knows their stuff could certainly post a solution before one of the Top 15ers...its not that we're really picky about the points, but its kind of like someone getting "something for nothing".  The EE points system is the only recognition we get for providing answers for people's questions and investing a lot of effort potentially, so for me at least there is a slight feeling of being cheated when someone offers a low number of points for what could be a possibly difficult/complicated question.

Back to your regularly scheduled question....

So it appears (at least from magarity's and my own input) that this is a BIOS issue, and the limit can be fixed by your vendor updating their BIOS.  Specifically I have seen Abit updating BIOSes for some of their boards indicating that it uses a 48bit LBA system to address these large drives.  I think what magarity meant about the ATA133 (which isn't technically a standard by IEEE in my understanding) is that boards which have this support have BIOS support for 48bit or higher LBA mode which *can* address huge drives.  She would know better than I if there is a chipset issue in this also, as she indicated in her comments above.

-dog*
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Author Comment

by:hhheng
ID: 6849536
dogztar,
Taken note of how you felt 'cheated'. Better look at the points before you leap in answering question. Otherwise, it becomes a habit of leaping into bed and finding out she is a gay guy and feel cheated again.

Didn't know "magarity" is a she. No wonder, she tries very hard to ran over guys. She is number 4 top expert and well on top of you. Bet she is a girlfriend of "jhance" the guru of Mobo, always speaking up on his behalf.

I tried to get support from the manufacturer but as usual its like dealing with a government office. You just have to show that one finger salute.

I'm confuse about names being listed here. You sign yourself off as "dog", a favourite dinner meal for some countries.

I accept your comment as answer due to your extra effort and that you mention large drive must use a 48bit LBA system, which is correct.

Lastly thanks to everybody for their comments.

cheers..

Heng
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by:Kyle Schroeder
ID: 6850422
Well no one is forcing me to answer the question, and I do at least glance at the points offered.  My point is that I would put forth a similar amount of effort (quite a bit in this example) for a 50 point question, or a 300 point question, or even a 10 point question.  You might want to review the following:

http://www.experts-exchange.com/jsp/cmtyHelpDesk.jsp#17

I'm not even going to touch your "jumping into bed" comment...whoa.  I would suggest that you not make personal attacks on other EE members; some of these people may be the ones who have the answer you need sometime in the future, besides it is rude and unprofessional (and most likely a EE Member Agreement violation).  And there is a sense of camaraderie among Experts here if you hadn't noticed.

My username has nothing to do with dinner...I've switched to dog* from dogztar, note the * (star) see its a shortcut and a mnemonic device, as some people aren't quite sure of the pronunciation of my username.

As for the question you asked initially...the 48bit LBA mode is necessary to address a large drive directly, but I am fairly sure that the "drive overlay" software such as EZ-Drive software included with most retail drives (or downloaded from manufacturer's website) can be used to allow an older system to use a huge drive.  It is preferable to have direct access though and not access the drive via a software based overlay.

OK, that should be enough.

-dog*
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Expert Comment

by:magarity
ID: 6851053
"No wonder, she tries very hard to ran over guys. She is number 4 top expert and well on top of you. Bet she is a girlfriend of "jhance" the guru of Mobo, always speaking up on his behalf."

Where the heck did this come from?  And I just answered a different question for this jerk!
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by:Kyle Schroeder
ID: 6851190
I think that loose screw just hit the floor...maybe a bunch of them... he hheh
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by:WiZaRd
ID: 6852769
Looks like this was almost a pointless exercise.
I must say Heng you have a strange way of showing gratitude. I have been involved in a number of questions with comments from magarity and I can tell you that a position in the top 15 is well earned and well deserved by magarity. I would urge you to keep your sexist remarks to yourself and try to be a little more professional, especially if you expect to receive help in this forum.
you would do well to take an example from dogztar here, who, despite your inflammatory remarks, still summarised your issue.
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by:WiZaRd
ID: 6852789
Just for the hell of it I'd like to point out that this is a 2 way forum. 187 questions asked (186 graded to your credit) versus 0 answered would suggest to me you are not really in a position to question the credentials of any experts (new or otherwise) at this site.
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by:Kyle Schroeder
ID: 6854244
Thanks WiZaRd...some people never learn...

-dog*
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Author Comment

by:hhheng
ID: 6855296
dogztar,
I am sorry for the "jumping into bed.." comment.
I hope you accept my apologies.
Cheers..
Heng
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