How to get around 128 Gb hard drive size limit in OS X?

Posted on 2007-04-04
Last Modified: 2011-09-20
I installed a 500Gb Maxtor drive into a Mac G4 and it only shows up as 128Gb drive.

I have read both of the articles listed below, but I'm still unsure what I need to do. I need help determining if I can get the drive to show up as 500Gb by just upgrading the Boot ROM or would it take a hardware update of the controller?
**this article states "Hard drives that are larger than 128GB require an IDE controller with 48-bit LBA support." --how do i determine what type of IDE controller is in this computer? this info is NOT in System Profiler.
**this is the apple kb article--but it's unclear what I need to do to update boot ROM, if it would help in my situation, etc.

Specs below:

Dual 450Mhz Power PC G4
OSX 10.3.4 (7H63)
896 Mb SDRAM
Kernal: Darwin 7.4.0
Hard Drive Controller: ATA-4 Bus (this is all that's shown for the HD controller in System Profiler)
L2 Cache 1Mb
Bus 100Mhz
Question by:goldylamont
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LVL 14

Accepted Solution

cracky earned 400 total points
ID: 18856358
Do you know what model you have? The 2002 Quicksilver models and later adopted 48-bit addressing.

It looks to me like this thread at MacNN will answer your question:

The easiest solution seemingly being to buy a PCI IDE controller.

There also seem to be software solutions available.

Hope that helps.
LVL 39

Expert Comment

ID: 18859015
Check see if there is any jumper set limit capacity for the drive? OSX 10.3.4 (7H63) is support up to 200 G, so you might need partition the drive to use.

Assisted Solution

mcmarks earned 50 total points
ID: 18862868
The only solution is to buy a new IDE card.  Based on your processor configuration, I would guess that you have a later model Sawtooth (code name of the motherboard) which has an IDE controller that will not read these large drives.  Sonnet makes Mac IDE controllers (aka Host Adapters) 
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LVL 24

Assisted Solution

slyong earned 50 total points
ID: 18870599
It is not true that the G4s hardware are limited.  The drivers are the problem.  Of course you could get a new IDE card to eliminate the problem.  It is also possible to resolve it via a software solution using Intech speedtools: 

Expert Comment

ID: 18870734
I was not aware of the software that slyong mentioned.  But it may be important to note that it does have limitations.  Specifically, you need to partition your large drive such that no part of a partition can cross the 128 GB mark on the drive.  Personnally, I would buy a new IDE adapter since the new card will probably be faster than your current one and won't have any partitioning limitations.
LVL 24

Expert Comment

ID: 18871744
Hi Cracky,

My apologies, please remove my comment since it is a duplicate solution.

Author Comment

ID: 18874763
thanks guys, the info is very helpful. but, take a look and this and tell me what you think:

why is Intech Speed Utilities listed as $15.00 here:

but listed for $89.99 on their website??????

what's going on. are these two peices of software the same?


Author Comment

ID: 18874779
i gave the majority of the points to the first comment but i found the links provided in comments below useful so i showed a little love for the links (although the comments were either somewhat innaccurate or redundant). i think this is a fair way to divvy things up. thanks again!


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