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Hard drive compatibility with BIOS and XP Home

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by artzelda, Jun 29, 2004.

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  1. artzelda

    artzelda Thread Starter

    Jul 22, 1999
    I am interested in getting a second hard dirve for my Gateway 1.7GHz machine (about 3 years old). I currently have a 120Gig drive. How can I determine if my bios will handle a hard drive larger than the 120Gig either as a primary or secondary drive? Based on the MS KB article (Microsoft Knowledge Base Article - 303013, http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;303013) there could also be problem with XP home ed. Also are there any websites devoted to hard drives and the differences between them

    Also any suggestions as to a hard drive to buy. I am looking at Maxtor and Western Digital 200-260Gig drives. Should I get a ATA, Ultra-ATA or SATA drive and what are the differences between them and compatibility issues.

    I know I have asked a lot of questions but hopefully they are easy to answer because I am really confused.
  2. storage_man


    Nov 6, 2003
    First off, if you want to be safe, buy a 120gb drive, make it a slave and you should be happy for a long time. If you want a larger drive, the you should check your bios Mfg and see if it supports larger drives. Next if your system doesn't support Ultra-ATA or SATA, you will need to purchase a PCI card to support these environments. The best solution will still be a 120gb drive as a slave.

  3. saikee


    Jun 11, 2004
    A SATA HDD, with maximum transfer rate of 150Mb/s, has a different connection and needs a controller unless you got it on the mobo.

    Don't know the age of your mobo but a 120 Gb HDD should be at least ATA 100 and has a 80-wire cable. You can certainly buy the modern HDD because they are downward compatiable and able to run at Ultra DMA Mode 5 (100Mb/s) instead of Mode 6 (133Mb/s). The new HDD will of course be able to run at mode 6 on any mobo that supports it.

    The 137Gb barrier that XP could not break initially is a history now because the Service Pack 1 has cured the problem already.

    I would buy the biggest and the cheapest you can lay your hand on. HDD is the last component you would throw away because you can now buy an external enclosure and use any old HDD as external drive via a USB.
  4. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

    Oct 19, 2002
    In real terms, you won't be able to tell the difference between ATA-100 and SATA-150 drives, since the mechanical access is still the limiting factor. SATA's real advantage is in less wiring and hot-plug capability, not raw transfer rate.

    If the BIOS is also three years old, it's very unlikely that the system will handle a drive larger than 137gigs. You should check and see if an updated BIOS is available. The BIOS date should be at least the middle of 2002 to support LBA-48, which is necessary for the larger drives.
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