hard drive limits

Posted on 2004-10-06
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-05-18
ok so for over 128 gb hard drives you have to enable 48-bit lba. so whats the upper limit for 48-bit lba? just wondering if someone could get a terabyte yet on a regular desktop with just a few 400gb hard drives.
Question by:Zargonog
LVL 97

Accepted Solution

Lee W, MVP earned 200 total points
ID: 12245360
Windows XP supports 16 TB using 4K clusters.  Using larger clusters, you can hit the exabyte figure.  

You might want to read over the contents of this link - They discuss size limitations past and present in depth

LVL 32

Assisted Solution

LucF earned 200 total points
ID: 12249574
Hi Zargonog,

At this moment, the effective limit of disksize with 48-bits lba is about 2.2 terabytes, this is because most OS'ses are 32-bit. With the newer 64-bits OSses the theory of the 48-bits addressing can be reached, which is 144 petabytes on a single disk.
The workaround used at this time by XP is by using dynamic disks in a software RAID array, it won't handle a hardware RAID array of 16 TB.


LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 12265085
the hardware limits dont apply if you're using multiple drives that are already supported... the bios limitations only apply to the total capacity of each individual drive, not the total sum of all connected drives.  

even w/o 48bit extensions, you can still reach a terabyte or more easily. you just might need an extra controller card to hook up the extra "tiny" drives to reach that amount (and a larger case to put them all).  i have more than a tb of storage, and my largest drives are "only" 120gb. i chose to keep drives to 120gb or smaller so that any drive i have could go into any system i have, if needed, regardless of operating system and version.

you can get a desktop board that handles 12 hd's (and 2 opticals), so that's almost 1.5tb using 120gb drives (6xsata/6xide), all internally w/o any extra controller card needed. an abit p5gd2 premium is one example that can handle that many on-board.

instead of having c: d: e: f: g: h: i: j: k: etc: you can simply mount additional partitions to empty folders on another partition. in xp, just right click on a (non system) partition in the disk management snap-in and choose change drive letter and paths. just create empty folders on an ntfs partition that will 'remain' a drive letter, and then select them as 'mount points' instead of choosing drive letters for the partitions. that way your several 400gb drives can all appear, and work, as if it's all on c: if that's what you want.

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