Suitability to add high capacity IDE drive >= 500GB

I have a functional old PC operating under XP home, handles basic tasks and internet well. It is networked and I use it as a temporary back up device also.  I have a 40GB IDE drive (NTFS) as the primary and a 8 GB (NTFS) as the secondary. Apart from the details listed, the controller is Intel 82371AB/EB PCI Bus Master IDE.  I would like to increased the capacity of the IDE slave to the largest capacity that the system will handle.  I realise that some would advise it is not worth the electrons or time in maintaining the unit but it is still functioning well, within the limits of the technology of its day.
I would appreciate advice in regard to what currently available new IDE drives would function in this sytem, max capacity, possible limitations and potential problems.
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You would be better off buying a PCI-SATA card for about £15/$30 and using SATA drives to connect. You can get them in ranges from 40GB right up to nearly a terabyte now. It also means you can take your nice big backup drive and put it in a new PC when you do upgrade.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
I also have several older computers that work very well for focused tasks like you've suggested.   The only limitation with that controller is that it only supports 28 bit logical block addressing.   So buy a 120GB IDE drive and you'll be just fine.   If you buy a larger drive, it will be "seen" as 137GB (in "disk drive-ese")/128GB (in "computer-ese" as Windows shows it);  but it's best to simply avoid that threshold ... so I'd just buy a 120GB drive.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
... by the way, there are two simple ways to use a larger drive should that be desirable:

(1)  As noted above, just buy an add-in controller (IDE or SATA -- doesn't really matter) that's 48-bit compliant and then you can buy any size drive;


(2)  Buy a USB external drive => in this case the logical block addressing is done by the USB -> IDE/SATA bridge device, so the size doesn't matter ... XP will work fine no matter what the size.   However, your PC most likely has a USB v1.1 controller; so you'd still want to buy an add-in card ... but in this case you'd just need a USB v2.0 card [VERY inexpensive].   This would also let any other USB devices you have run at the higher speed (as I'm sure you know, v2.0 is 40 times as fast as v1.1).

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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
My answer was based on your comment, "... I would like to increased the capacity of the IDE slave to the largest capacity that the system will handle. " ==> but in reviewing it I noticed the  ">= 500GB" in the question title ==> so clearly an add-in card would be useful here.   If you have other USB devices, I'd lean towards USB v2.0 and an external drive;  if not, then an internal IDE/SATA card is probably better --> be sure, however, that the card you get is 48-bit LBA compliant [most are, but there are a few IDE cards that are not].
Rikki27Author Commented:
It appears to me that the first two questions about the solution are based on the premise that the person asking the question has enough background knowledge to assess the answers given for completeness and accuracy. In which case why would they ask in the first place.  Wouldn't the answers be best rated by peer review amongst experts of suitable rank.  Leave the last question for the person asking and include one that follows up with the person (asking) some time later to see if the solution was put into practice and what eventually worked.  Just my thoughts.   Thanks very much for your input.
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