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Hard drive question

Discussion in 'Computer's Discussion' started by mtxblau, May 10, 2002.

  1. mtxblau

    mtxblau Mid Boss

    I have a lousy 8GB HD, and after dual booting win98/win2K, I have no space for uploading/sharing games. I tried for some time on DirectConnect, but I had to continually delete games just so I could *use* the drive (ie, programs).

    With that in mind, I want to upgrade to a new hard drive. Something roomier, in the 30+GB range.

    Problem is, I'm not sure how backwards technology and all that nonsense works - my motherboard supports UDMA33 and that's it.

    Does that mean I *need* to get one of those PCI controller cards? Or can the hard drive operate at UDMA33? I'm referring to UDMA/ATA/66/100 drives.

    Secondly, assuming I need to get that PCI card - how does booting and what not work? Can I put the HD on the card, and have my CDROM drives/misc drives go through the board? And have the HD bootable? Can I actually hook up 8 IDE Units?

    Finally, anyone know where to get these drives inexpensively? :)
  2. Curtis

    Curtis Member

    Fortunately (and unusually) all the IDE hard drive standards are backwards compatible. Currently I have an ATA100 and a mode 4 (that's pre-UDMA) CD-Rom sharing a single IDE channel - both are working fine.

    The same motherboard also has a 3gig ATA33 and 100meg internal zip drive running off the second IDE interface - again, both are fine.

    Also the ATA100 drive was previously sitting in a machine that only had support for the older ATA33 standard.

    So no, a new PCI controller card should not be necessary, the newer drive will simply operate at a slower speed (although it'll be barely noticeable, unless you work with uncompressed video often).

    *Insert "UDMA" (or is it Ultra ATA?) where you think it is appropriate, I get confused... ???
  3. ExCyber

    ExCyber Staff Member

    T13 does an excellent job of taking backward compatibility into account when developing new ATA standards. However, they only define the final protocol layer.

    That being said, there are some things to look out for:

    1) If your board is really old (e.g. a 486), it probably won't support drives bigger than about 528MB.

    2) If your board is less old but still not particularly recent (e.g. some Super7 and P2/P3 boards), there might be a similar barrier at 8.4GB.

    If your BIOS has one of these limitations and there's no BIOS update available for your board, there are ways to get around it. One is to install special BIOS overlay software that usually comes with new hard drives. There can be compatibility issues with this software, so make sure that it supports whatever OS you want to use. The other main way is to get one of the PCI cards.

    Normally, an add-on card will be seen as channels 3 and 4, but most modern BIOSes (even those that don't support large drives) have a "boot from SCSI card" function (it wouldn't really be SCSI of course, but the BIOS doesn't care; this just tells it to pass control to the secondary BIOS on the card). On an Award BIOS, this is in the boot order settings; if you set "SCSI" as the first boot device, it swaps the on-board channels and the add-on channels so that you can boot normally from a drive attached to the PCI add-on card.

    Yes, assuming that you can tell your BIOS to boot from a "SCSI" card.

    Yes, but keep in mind that having two devices on a channel can cause performance problems if you need to access both devices at the same time. For instance, it would be a bad idea to put your CD burner on the same channel as your main hard drive...

    Hope this helps.
  4. Xavier

    Xavier Mid Boss

    I have this 8.4 limit on one of my computers and about a year ago used the disk that comes with the hard drive (like excybers talking about now) it works great but takes an extra second to load . Also takes a bit of playing around to get ti to work correctly .

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