[nSLUG] Hard Disk Compatibility

George N. White III gnwiii at gmail.com
Tue Mar 11 15:47:58 ADT 2008

On Mon, Mar 10, 2008 at 7:24 PM, <sbo at eastlink.ca> wrote:

>  Hi Everyone,
> I have a simple question that I am trying to figure out.  I had gone to a
> local computer store to purchase a HD for my 1.0 GHZ computer and was told
> that only one model was compatible to my old PC.  It was an 80 GB HD which
> was fine for my Linux distro needs.
Linux can often use drives that are larger than the BIOS was designed to
handle, but there are some restrictions and
installer glitches.  I just replaced a 40G disk with a 500G model in an
early Dell P-4 system.  The disk "works" but the
grub install failed, claiming there wasn't enough space on the boot
partition, which the default layout in RH Fedora 8 put
at the start of an extended partition (sda5).  I had to sacrifice the Dell
utility partition (sda1), but after updating, RH
switched back to sda5 and failed to boot, so back to the rescue disk to fix
the configuration a 2nd time.

Early Apple G3 systems were limited to 6GB ide disks, at least using the
Apple OS -- maybe linux would work with
a larger disk.

> I have now received an Acer  PIII 600 without a HD and am looking at
> getting one for another Linux install.  What makes a HD compatible? Where
> can I find a good priced, low capacity drive (less than 60 GB)
It is very likely you can use an 80G model if you are careful about the disk
layout.  I wouldn't waste time on a used disk --
they aren't likely to last and new disks are so cheap these days.

You can also add IDE or SATA controllers that support larger drives, but you
may have to boot from floppy or CD or net.
There used to be little boards that make IDE drives look like SCSI, so I
expect you could even add a SCSI controller
and boot from a big IDE disk.

George N. White III <aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca>
Head of St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia
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