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Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?


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Old 04-29-2004, 08:30 PM   #1
Registered: Jul 2003
Location: London, UK
Distribution: Ubuntu, Slackware
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Quick hard rive question

I'm a few clicks away from buying a new hard drive. It's either going to be a 120 or 160gig one.

I I keep hearing about them not being recognised on old hard / software over 136gig. My my mobo is pretty old so I don't want to pay for extra gigs if I can't use them. Is this a hardware issue or is it software - ie something the masses (Windows users) have to worry about but not me?
Old 04-29-2004, 09:37 PM   #2
Registered: May 2002
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I'm pretty sure there isn't a limitation on hd size on Linux anywhere in the GB's anymore. The only issue would be if you had a Linux partition somewhere on the end of the disk where lilo couldn't boot from it. But boot partitions should ideally be the first one anyway.
Old 04-29-2004, 10:22 PM   #3
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How old is the motherboard?

If you have an older motherboard then its BIOS probably can not handle the a 200GB drive. AFIK the kernel and the IDE controller all need to support LBA48. You might need to acquire a PCI IDE controller to take advantage of a 200GB hard drive.

48-bit Logical Block Addressing (LBA) extends the capacity of IDE ATA/ATAPI devices beyond the limit of 137.4 GB. This limit applies to IDE ATA/ATAPI devices only and not to SCSI interface devices. The original design specification for the ATA interface only provided 28-bits with which to address the devices. This meant that a hard disk could only have a maximum of 268,435,456 sectors of 512 bytes of data thus limiting the ATA interface to a maximum of 137.4 gigabytes. With 48-bit addressing the limit is 144 petabytes (144,000,000 gigabytes).

AFIK the kernel and the IDE controller all need to support LBA48.
Old 04-29-2004, 10:50 PM   #4
Registered: Jul 2003
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The mobo is at least 4 years old (that's when I bought the machine).

I was too impatient to wait for answers - I bought the 160gig drive - it was only 20 pounds more than a 120gig one so I couldn't resist.

I think I'm going to be out of luck on the motherboard. If I partition the drive could I use the full 160? (yeah I know - clutching straws here).
Old 04-30-2004, 06:40 AM   #5
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LINUX does not depend on the BIOS to get information about the hard drive. LINUX does the hard work it self by asking the hard drive about its geometry. If your kernel supports 48-bit addressing then you should be able to format the whole hard drive with out any problems.

I have a controller that only sees 50 GB but LINUX saw the full 120 GB of my hard drive. I do not have any problems with the drive.
Old 04-30-2004, 11:11 AM   #6
Registered: Jun 2003
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Well still, I have seen gigabyte's, asus's, and msi's from the 800 mhz PIII days not boot past bios with a 120 gig hd installed because the bio's where limited between 60 - 100 gig maximun. The only work around was a pci ide card.


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