BIOS HD size restrictions

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Bablos

Guest
How do I go about finding the max size of hard drive my BIOS will currently support?

I've just been to the BIOS site and seen that I can download a file to flash my BIOS so that it will support drives up to 137GB - I don't particularly fancy flashing my BIOS right now (too scared to - I've had a bad experience in the past with a £550 card!), so I'd like to know what it's current limit is.

Anyone know how I'd find out? I could do with a new HD, and I don't want to invest in one and only end up being able to use half of it due to my BIOS.
 

Lonman

Bleh!
Joined
2 Dec 2001
Messages
2,642
Go back to your motherboard's site and look in the manual. It should tell you what it will support.
 
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bmxjt

Guest
how old is your computer? if its fairly new, your bios should be up to a high version and you should be able to install like an 80 gig HD. Unless of course you really need a 137 gig HD right now
 

melon

MS-DOS 2.0
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Joined
13 Feb 2002
Messages
854
Your best bet is probably flashing the BIOS. If you are uncomfortable with it, perhaps you can have it done by a tech support person? BIOS updates are there for a reason, which is usually to support new technology (i.e., larger hard drives).

Your other option is, if you bought your hard drive from a reputable company, they often have a utility that will install on your hard drive to run it from incompatible BIOS versions. I would only do this as a last resort, because, often it can conflict with your computer and won't be removable unless you reformat your hard drive. "Uninstalling" just turns it off, but the utility is still there to cause incompatibility.

Melon
 
B

Bablos

Guest
My machine is relatively new - I bought it April 2001, so it's certainly not out of date yet. Will be soon though!

There's no mention of it in the motherboard manual, so I wondered where else I could find out the information - I was concerned when I read about a BIOS update for my board which supported drives up to 137GB, which therefore means that there must be some BIOS-imposed restriction at the moment.

If I get a new drive, it's likely to be in the 80-120GB range, so I don't want to end up with something my machine can't utilise 100%.

BIOS flashing scares me as I said! Besides, it seems I now have to pay for BIOS upgrades for my motherboard. Award BIOS.
 
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bmxjt

Guest
well i agree, flashing the bios scares me too. i have like 4 newer versons of bios that i havent touched, but i may soon so that I can upgrade my processor to a higher speed. im still running 333mhz. I plan to just take it to this independent computer shop here where i feel confident enough that they can flash it for me and maybe have them do the processor upgrade
 

Lonman

Bleh!
Joined
2 Dec 2001
Messages
2,642
BIOS flashing scares me as I said! Besides, it seems I now have to pay for BIOS upgrades for my motherboard. Award BIOS.
What!? Paying for bios updates? What board do you have?

I've never had a problem with flashing my bios (upwards of 2 dozen times on current and past boards). The 'trick' is to closely follow the instructions... print them out and follow them 1, 2, 3... you should be fine. The most difficulty I ever had was not reading the last sentence once and I couldn't get my board to post for me (thought I cooked it). Turns out that I missed the part about clearing the cmos via m/b jumper and unplugging the box for a few seconds... after much sweat and 'oh nos' I ended up doing that by accident, lol -- beep! (and an immediate PHEW!)

There are times that flashing a bios can make such sweeping changes that you'll need to reinstall your OS to get it to pick up all the changes. But, if you're anything like me, installing is nearly second nature. :p

Here's some reading about bios hard drive restrictions:

http://www.oberon.ethz.ch/bios.html

http://www.zdnet.co.uk/pcdir/content/1999/02/hard_drives/barriers.html

http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/bios/size.htm
 
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Bablos

Guest
Board is a Biostar M7VKB, but it's the BIOS from the BIOS manufacturer, Award, that costs!

Looking at the various size limitations that have been around in the past, can I safely assume that if I use a 40GB drive without problems, then I'll only run into problems if I try using a drive larger than 137GB?

Shame, because I've seen a nice bundle of an ATA133 card and a 160GB drive :D
 

Lonman

Bleh!
Joined
2 Dec 2001
Messages
2,642
No no, you get your bios updates from biostar. That's one of the 'tricks' I should have mentioned... making sure you have the right bios when you go to flash. Everything you need to do the job will be at Biostar, no charge.

As far as the bundle goes... the card will support the drive - independant of your motherboard. Go for it.
 

melon

MS-DOS 2.0
Political Access
Joined
13 Feb 2002
Messages
854
Well, I have an ASUS board, and they have a Windows-based flashing utility that will detect your board and download the latest BIOS for you. Then, it will flash it, which took a grand total of 10 seconds. Far more comforting to me than that cryptic looking DOS screen! If you go to your motherboard web site, it is possible that they may have developed a Windows-based flashing utility as well.

Melon
 

XeoNoX

OSNN Senior Addict
Joined
3 Dec 2001
Messages
271
You have the following options: (1)Upgrade the bios on your motherbaord (2) Use the disk that came with the hard drive and it mill make its own bootup so that it can recognise the harddrive, get a new motherbaord, or buy a new seperate hard drive controller.
 
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OS-Wiz

Guest
maxtor d540x 160gb

"The 160 GB version of the D540X is the first to exceed the limitations of the venerable 28-bit LBA standard that limits ATA drives to 137 GB of capacity. Over the summer, Maxtor announced its "Big Drive" initiative; a move to extend addressable space to 48 bits… that's 144 petabytes or 144 million gigabytes. Maxtor also stands alone among major drive manufacturers in pushing ATA-133, a last-gasp extension to a standard that looks to be phased out in favor of Serial ATA. Perhaps to make ATA-133 more attractive, Maxtor has bundled the "Big Drive" benefits of 48-bit addressing with ATA-133 in both marketing and in the physical controller bundled with the 160 GB units. To overcome the inherent capacity limitations present in most of today's ATA controllers, a Maxtor-branded Promise Ultra133TX2 controller comes bundled in each box. Promise's card not only offers ATA-133 operation but also includes the aforementioned 48-bit addressing..."



-http://www.storagereview.com/
 
B

Bablos

Guest
Originally posted by Lonman
What!? Paying for bios updates? What board do you have?

I know this is an old posting, but as I finally got a reply back from the BIOS manufacturers I thought I'd share the bare faced cheek with you guys.

They want just £39 off me for a BIOS upgrade - £39! For everyone outside of the UK, that's about 64 Euros or 56 US Dollars!

Robbers!
 

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