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External Hard Drives and Old Motherboards

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External Hard Drives and Old Motherboards

I am thinking about getting an external hard drive as I know for certain my motherboard tops out at supporting 80Gb on the IDE interface. I already had to upgrade my BIOS to get it to support that size. I have the 440BX chipset

My question is can I buy a Firewire external drive (eg a 250Gb one) and run it through my Soundblaster card (Audigy 2 ZS with a firewire port). If I do will I be able to use the full capacity? I have XP Pro SP1 so i know the OS can support sizes over the 137Gb limit.

I would consider buying a PCI based IDE expansion card but I have run out of slots (I still have ISA slots on the board, that is how old it is lol)

Any thoughts?

Ben
8 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,111
Thanks: 1
Registered: 05-04-2007

External Hard Drives and Old Motherboards

As far as I can see, that won't cause you any problems at all. Smiley

Thomas
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External Hard Drives and Old Motherboards

You can use a "disk overlay" to run large hard drives from a BIOS that don't support the size. It is part of the format utility frm various manufacturers and translates the drive paramters into ones the BIOS can understand.
Maxblast from Maxtor
Diskmanager from IBM
ez-disk frm IBM
and others.
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,111
Thanks: 1
Registered: 05-04-2007

External Hard Drives and Old Motherboards

Ah yes, didn't think of that. Have used Maxtor's MaxBlast software myself, and I must say it was pretty good... though I did use the original verion (I think it's up to 3 now, though I may be wrong).

Thomas
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External Hard Drives and Old Motherboards

You have to be careful you get a hard disk for which the manufacturer has an overlay programme. Some of the "non" branded drives do not have overlay support software from the supplier. The overlays are manufacturer specific - IBM Diskmanager will only work with IBM drives and so on.
Maxtor drives, with maxblast, is the easist at http://www.maxtor.com/en/support/downloads/maxblast3.htm
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External Hard Drives and Old Motherboards

Question is tho, does the BIOS limitation apply when using external drives, or is it down to the OS and Firewire/USB drivers?
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External Hard Drives and Old Motherboards

External drives use their own translation, so I do not think the BIOS limitaion comes into it. I cannot be sure though.
External drives are liable to be slower than internal drives and cost a lot more.
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,111
Thanks: 1
Registered: 05-04-2007

External Hard Drives and Old Motherboards

That's not strictly true... you could always buy a normal, internal drive and just stick it in an external enclosure.

Thomas
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External Hard Drives and Old Motherboards

I was commenting on the speed of USB and Firewire external drives such as the Freecom range, which have a max transfer of 480Mbit/s.
ATA 133 drives can deliver just under 800Mbits/sec.
However, it appears to be an old board (440BX chipset = ATA66), so a firewire or USB2 external drives may be quicker providing the other system resources are up to it.