Computers & Electronics

How to determine what internal HD size a computer will support?

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  • May 9th, 2020 12:55 pm
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How to determine what internal HD size a computer will support?

Just wondering if there is an easy method to determine the maximum internal (SATA) HD size a computer (or rather, the MB) will support?

Have this old Asus/AMD chipset computer I am using for a HTPC and would like to get a bigger media storage drive.

The manual says nothing about maximum size supported. I did have issues with computers from around the era (this one dates from 2008) that would support a drive up to a certain size (running Win 7 x64).

FWIW, ASUS M3A78-EM MB (AMD 780G chipset) with a Athlon II CPU.
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I think it's the OS/file system and BIOS that'll determine partition limit? May not necessarily coincide with actual size of drive
Last edited by coilz on May 7th, 2020 5:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Get some external HD enclosures and plug in via USB
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Doesn't the PC's chipset determine how big a drive it will support? Maybe that's somewhere to start.
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Use GPT for formatting opposed to MBR if you're using drives >2TB (and ensure UEFI is selected in the BIOS if you want to boot from one). Since you're using W7 x64, for more storage I don't think there would be a limitation to the size of drive you want to add. The only problem I would see is trying to make a boot drive on that old of a chipset if the drive was >2TB.
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BernardRyder wrote: Doesn't the PC's chipset determine how big a drive it will support? Maybe that's somewhere to start.
Old people call this PC chipset as MOTHERboard Face With Medical Mask
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Boot drive max would be 2TB. This is due to the BIOS not supporting GPT drives.

For non-boot, you can use any (current) capacity, as Windows 7 doesn't care if the HDD is properly recognized by the BIOS.

(same as what heyyahblah said above, but with less words :) )
[OP]
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So looks like no quick easy way. Just trial and error.
AV-Fishing wrote: Get some external HD enclosures and plug in via USB
Don't work that way. Externals seem to be supported better than internals. I have some external housings that also appear to limit how big a drive they'll support.
BernardRyder wrote: Doesn't the PC's chipset determine how big a drive it will support? Maybe that's somewhere to start.
That's what i thought. Had (still have) 2 C2D computers. One was limited by how big an internal data drive (non-booting) it would support and the other was limited (by chip set) how much RAM it would support. The AMD literature doesn't seem to indicate the limit (or I don't know how to read it).
heyyahblah wrote: Use GPT for formatting opposed to MBR if you're using drives >2TB (and ensure UEFI is selected in the BIOS if you want to boot from one). Since you're using W7 x64, for more storage I don't think there would be a limitation to the size of drive you want to add. The only problem I would see is trying to make a boot drive on that old of a chipset if the drive was >2TB.
This thing is old enough not to have UEFI (only two or maybe 3 computers I have even have UEFI). I'll start, when I get a drive, and see what's recoqnized. Maybe shuck one of the out-of-warranty externals.
rabbit wrote: Boot drive max would be 2TB. This is due to the BIOS not supporting GPT drives.

For non-boot, you can use any (current) capacity, as Windows 7 doesn't care if the HDD is properly recognized by the BIOS.
Yeah, i guess it may be a BIOS problem. They've all got updated BIOS as far as I could get them (will never buy a HP again due to limited/non-existent support - they pulled all the old stuff off the 'net).
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The 780G is the northbridge chipset. The SATA controller lies on the southbridge, which from a quick google is the SB700. Whatever the SB700 supports (with proper drivers) is what you'll be stuck with.

I ran into the issue with my older Core 2 machines using either intel ICH7 or ICH8 chipsets, but my recently deceased Core 2 Quad mobo had ICH10 and supported 4TB drives no problem. I also ran into issues with an external enclosure from around the same period (2009?) where it appeared fine, but when I ran CHKDSK the drive returned a ton of bad sectors, but tested fine when connected to the motherboard.

Your conundrum reminds me of the fun times with my last AMD-based build and what a hassle it was finding documentation, drivers, and bios updates (non-existent!). I recall those were VIA chipsets back then, the ATI radeon drivers were another shitshow. That turned me off AMD for me TBH.
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Oct 28, 2011
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BIOS in 2008 computer motherboard supports all modern HD, such as 16 TB HD. The only limit is the Windows 7 NTFS boot partition limited to 2TB, but not data drive.

It won't benefit from the SATA3 (SATA600) speed, but all SATA3 drive is backward compatible with older SATA.

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