OptiPlex GX400 BIOS A05 supports 48-bit LBA

Discussion in 'Dell' started by William R. Walsh, Mar 17, 2009.

  1. Perhaps somewhat amazingly, the OptiPlex GX400 BIOS supports 48-bit
    LBA. Not that anyone asked--now you know anyway.

    I just plugged in a 250GB Western Digital hard disk, cloned Windows XP
    from one drive to another using the Effitek PING* program (http://
    ping.windowsdream.com/cgi-bin/download.pl).

    The drive shows as the proper capacity in the A05 BIOS.

    Makes the omission of 48-bit LBA from the Latitude D800 all that much
    more curious...

    William the Bored

    * this actually seems to work quite well once you figure out just how
    it is intended to work. I saw it mentioned on
    http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2009/03/16/netbook_backup_tools/) which
    is a good start but doesn't tell you that your target drive needs to
    be formatted and partitioned. PING can't seem to do that, so I
    formatted the external 1TB USB hard drive as NTFS and it worked fine
    to hold the image file that I later restored.
     
    William R. Walsh, Mar 17, 2009
    #1
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  2. Some of the previous text doesn't read like I intended it to, so
    here's the revision:
    William
     
    William R. Walsh, Mar 17, 2009
    #2
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  3. William R. Walsh

    Ben Myers Guest

    That PING software looks mighty interesting and useful. Thanks for the tip.

    Omission of 48-bit LBA from the Latitude D800 might not be that
    surprising if one assumes that Dell (or its ODMs) has different project
    teams to "write" BIOSes for laptops, desktops, and servers. "Writing" a
    BIOS is somewhat of a misnomer. Dell usually gets a generic BIOS to go
    with a motherboard design, then customizes it with a Dell look-and-feel.
    The look-and-feel part is/was pretty standard among all product lines,
    but all the BIOS stuff deep down inside such as hard disk access,
    keyboard management, hibernate, CPU speedup (e.g. SpeedStep) etc. can
    all be different, and often must be to support specific hardware. Then,
    too, you have the differences in support for CPU and motherboard chipset
    between Intel and AMD.

    You would think by now that there would be a little more standardization
    of BIOS support than there is, but it really is a lot more standardized
    than it was in the last century when there were several BIOS companies,
    and some name brand companies (e.g. Compaq) went a little nuts with
    custom hardware that required BIOS mods... Ben Myers
     
    Ben Myers, Mar 17, 2009
    #3
  4. Hi!
    Thank The Register. :)

    I'm typing this on the OptiPlex GX400 whose 10GB disk I cloned to a
    40GB replacement. It definitely worked, but I just noticed that the
    partition was not resized to fit the new drive.

    Oh well, that's a small chore for Easeus Partition Manager or
    PartitionMagic.
    The way the BIOS presents itself at startup still makes me think that
    Dell has a significant hand in this, and that they aren't just
    layering their look and feel over a modern Award or PhoenixBIOS. In
    particular, the Dell BIOS of all but the most recent machines appears
    to be based on a very old PhoenixBIOS code base that Dell has updated.
    It always shows a PhoenixBIOS copyright from the late 80s and a much
    newer Dell copyright.

    Modern Dell machines (with the exception of the OptiPlex and servers)
    do appear to be nothing more than modern, generic BIOS software with a
    Dell logo set to show up at POST time.

    What I haven't done is tried to disassemble any Dell BIOS to find out
    what's underneath. I could be wrong in my suspicions...maybe they do
    just put their look and feel on a modern, generic BIOS.

    William
     
    William R. Walsh, Mar 18, 2009
    #4
  5. William R. Walsh

    Ben Myers Guest

    That PING software looks mighty interesting and useful. Thanks for the tip.

    Omission of 48-bit LBA from the Latitude D800 might not be that
    surprising if one assumes that Dell (or its ODMs) has different project
    teams to "write" BIOSes for laptops, desktops, and servers. "Writing" a
    BIOS is somewhat of a misnomer. Dell usually gets a working generic
    BIOS to go with a motherboard/chipset design, then customizes it with a
    Dell look-and-feel. The look-and-feel part is/was pretty standard among
    all product lines, but all the BIOS stuff deep down inside such as hard
    disk access, keyboard management, hibernate, CPU speedup (e.g.
    SpeedStep) etc. can all be different, and often must be to support
    specific hardware. Then, too, you have the differences in support for
    CPU and motherboard chipset between Intel and AMD.

    You would think by now that there would be a little more standardization
    of BIOS support than there is. However it really is a lot more
    standardized than it was in the last century when there were several
    BIOS companies, and some name brand companies (e.g. Compaq) went a
    little nuts with custom hardware that required BIOS mods... Ben Myers
     
    Ben Myers, Mar 20, 2009
    #5
  6. William R. Walsh

    Tom Lake Guest

    You would think by now that there would be a little more standardization
    The future is Intel's Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) to replace BIOS
    anyway so no great incentive to do a lot of work standardizing BIOS....

    Tom Lake
     
    Tom Lake, Mar 20, 2009
    #6
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