Max HD size for GA MA785GMT motherboard

Discussion in 'Gigabyte' started by Mike Skuczas, Mar 5, 2012.

  1. Mike Skuczas

    Mike Skuczas Guest

    As the title says, I would like to know what is the max size hard drive
    I can install. Otherwise is the size determined by the OS? My OS is Win
    &, 32 bit.

    Mike Skuczas
    Mike Skuczas, Mar 5, 2012
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  2. Mike Skuczas

    Paul Guest

    One source of info, is the disk drive companies selling these monster
    hard drives. In some cases, they have software you can install, to be
    able to use more of the hard drive. Pretend to be in the market
    for a 3TB drive, then look for an FAQ entries or support entries,
    off the web page for the product. That's better than reading what
    I provide below.


    Your GA MA785GMT is pretty modern, and a simplifying assumption is
    a computer after about 2004, should be able to boot via MBR, with
    up to a 2.2TB drive. That makes 2TB hard drives a very practical
    purchase, with few limitations.

    The fun begins once you go over 2.2TB. Booting the disk is the problem.
    If the disk is used only for data, as a second drive, while a "tiny"
    other hard drive does the booting, then that also allows more creative
    solutions. For example, a small SSD used for booting, and a large
    slow hard drive for data, might be a good combo.

    You *can* actually boot from a 3TB drive, but some special conditions
    would be needed. A combination of an EFI BIOS plus GPT partitioning
    plus a pretty modern version of Windows, would do it. See
    "Windows 32-bit versions" and additional sections, for some "yes/no"
    tables for example.

    The software the disk drive company provides, solves the "I want to use
    my new hard drive only for data purposes, not booting". The software
    takes a 4TB drive, and breaks it into two or three pieces, each of which
    is smaller than 2.2TB. The software is a driver, that converts a single
    hard drive, into two or three "fake" hard drives. The OS thinks it has
    multiple hard drives, and installs drivers for each fake. This is generally
    a bad idea, because then, if you boot your Linux LiveCD, you may not be
    able to see the data on there. Every OS needs the same solution, to
    prevent damage.

    I'm not aware of an actual DDO to solve this kind of problem. A
    DDO would maintain the appearance of a single disk drive. But in this
    case, I don't know if the concept would be valid. There'd probably
    already be a DDO for this, if it was physically possible. The
    "data drive only multiple hard drive" idea, is a poorer
    solution, but it does allow the hard drive manufacturer to pretend
    you got all the value from your new >2.2TB drive purchase. This idea worked,
    for some of the smaller capacity barriers.

    There is one other trick that can be used. You can also run into
    problems, if you build large RAID arrays. For example, if your
    motherboard has Southbridge RAID software, you might be able to install a
    RAID 0 across three 2TB hard drives. That would create a logical
    volume of 6TB, with an MBR booting problem.

    One Areca hardware RAID card ( cost $1000), solves the problem by re-declaring
    the sector size of the hard drive, to be 4KB per sector, instead of the
    traditional 512 bytes. You can boot from a 16TB RAID array, by using
    a "fake" sector size, provided by the RAID controller hardware. The
    emulation is done using the processor inside the RAID card.

    The disk drive manufacturers have also done something similar. The drives
    now, at least internally, use a 4KB sector size, as part of reducing the
    overhead in the track layout on the platter.

    "Advanced Format: The 4K Sector Transition Begins 12/18/2009"

    Many of the modern drives now (even the 500GB in my computer presently),
    have 4KB sectors. If you used 32 bit MBR addressing, plus a 4KB sector
    size, that too would break the 2.2TB capacity barrier, and give the same
    16TB limit as the Areca hardware card has got. But at least one of the
    manufacturers, uses "512e" emulation on top of that. For compatibility
    with older OSes, the drive config info says "I'm a 512 byte sector drive",
    and then internally, the drive handles the details of writing fractions
    of a 4KB sector. I expect this makes mincemeat out of the cache RAM
    inside the disk controller board. It also extracts a performance penalty.
    If the drive seems slow, looking for a "4KB alignment" solution can help.

    So then we'd also want to see a table, of what OSes have native
    4KB sector support. And what OSes continue to only support 512 byte
    drives. I think my WinXP is still limited to 512 byte sectors (and
    a 512e type drive, that emulates 512 byte sectors, continues to work
    fine - that's why my 500GB drive works OK).

    Windows 7 received a patch, to allow 4KB native disks to be used.
    Just to give you some idea, how "late to the party" this idea is.
    But if the drive is 512e, instead of 4K, then I don't know if the
    patch actually helps in that case. The thing is, there were a few
    models of 4KB "pure" drives initially released, and I think
    the situation has changed a bit since 2009. I don't know if a
    jumper, could force a 512e drive into pure 4KB mode, for use
    with this patch. I'm guessing if it worked, you could MBR boot
    (no GPT partitioning), a large drive from Windows 7. GPT
    booting from Windows 7, might only be feasible with an EFI
    (or perhaps UEFI) BIOS.


    Summary ?

    Stick with 2TB, and you should be fine.

    If it seems slow, "align it".

    If you insist on making larger physical or logical volumes,
    then... start reading web articles :)

    I have no first hand experience with any of this. My largest
    drive is 500GB. I've just read a bit of this stuff, and
    pass it on...

    Paul, Mar 5, 2012
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  3. Mike Skuczas

    Mike Skuczas Guest

    Thanks for the info Paul.
    Mike Skuczas, Mar 5, 2012
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