Gaming Science and Technology

Perpendicular Recording of Your Mind

Well, I’m helping out a friend of mine by setting up a new hard drive in his computer (a Seagate Barracuda 250-GB), and I just got it in today. I do jobs like this for friends and family, free of charge — it’s kind of a hobby. I also help fix cars and provide free legal advice. :P

Well, my friend’s motherboard is an oldie but a goodie — the venerable ASUS A7V8X-X for the AMD Socket A chipset. The chip I helped him pick out (nearly five years ago now!) was an Athlon XP 2600 — it’s still fast as hell today, and plays just about any game you can think of.

That knowledge in hand, I know it’s a good motherboard. So, I hook up the new drive (and a new power supply — his old ones keep burning out), and the board recognizes it immediately. Even sees that it’s a 250GB drive; that’s pretty neat, because I’m pretty sure even the technology involved for this didn’t exist five years ago.

However, when I put in his Windows XP install CD (and old one without SP2), the damn thing only recognizes it as being about 137GB or so.

Well, at first I’m like, “Oh Shit — the hardware’s not compatible.” (I usually think of the worst things first — a small character flaw.) I go to the Seagate site on this drive, thinking that this must be a pretty common problem (incorrect initial hard drive sizes usually are). Of course, it is, and I find a handy dandy little help topic page about it.

It says that your motherboard needs to support “48 bit LBA addressing,” and of course I’m thinking, OH NOES, we’re not even going to be able to use this new drive to its full potentional.

But then I remember that the motherboard’s BIOS was able to see the 250GB limit, and the answer was clear — it wasn’t the board, it was just a limitation in this version of Windows XP (the first of many, as you know). I downloaded Seagate’s DiskWizard’s starter ISO, burned a CD of it, and formatted the drive.

The good point of using the special burning software from the company like this — it actually lets you format your partitions in FAT32, instead of just NTSF!

(By the way, as I’m writing this, it’s just completed a full installation of Windows XP in only 7 minutes — damn, this drive is fast as well as big!)

Unfortunately, the added case fans I got for my friend can’t go in his case (he’s been having a bit of heat problem in his case) — there’s only one extra fan connector on the ASUS A7V8X-X, and I’ve already got an additional exhaust fan at the back of the case taking it up. Luckily, the CPU fan upgrade I got did fit, however the old screws aren’t big enough and it didn’t come with any new ones! Arghh!

Either way, it’s now got a super big drive, and it’s running cooler. Plus, the new parts are able to be carried over to his new system whenever he upgrades. I say it’s been a success.

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