[mythtv-users] Hard drive size limitations

Ray Olszewski ray at comarre.com
Mon Feb 9 19:44:28 EST 2004

At 07:13 PM 2/9/2004 -0500, Nathan Berg wrote:

>Newbie question here:
>I have a P-III 600 MHz on a Tyan S1854 Trinity 400 motherboard. It uses
>UltraDMA/66. I am trying to buy the biggest hard drive possible for this
>machine. How large can I go?

It depends.

If you need for this drive to be the boot drive, you'll need to take into 
consideration the BIOS limitation on drive sizes. That's around 140 GB for 
modern motherboards; offhand, I don't know what it is for yours (but the 
docs that came with it probably say).

If this is a second drive intended for data storage, then in practice, the 
sky's the limit. Linux does not rely on the BIOS for hard disk access, and 
it has no corresponding limit. I've used drives up to 250 GB with mobos 
subject to the 140 GB BIOS limit and has no problems, as long as I was not 
booting from them. There is probably some limit in the kernel, but 250 GB 
is the largest (IDE) drive I know of that's sold widely.

For booting from these oversize drives, I imagine there is a workaround 
similar to the olden days 1024-cylinder limit fudge, which involved making 
a small boot partition as the first partition, then putting the kernel 
image on it. I haven't actually tried doing this, though, so it's only a 
guess. (Does anyone here actually know?)

For other reasons, I tend to set up systems with a comparatively small 
drive as hda (anywhere from 20 GB to 80 GB, occasionally as even small as 8 
GB), using it as the boot drive and possibly as the home directories for 
normal users. I've never run into a modern mobo that can't handle that size 
range. Then I use one or more larger hard drives for data storage, possibly 
including some home directories, such as the one for a video-capture userid 
like mythtv.

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