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Limit On Size Up Hard Drive I Can Install In Laptop?


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16 replies to this topic

#1 rmleider2

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 03:20 PM

have a gateway m675 from about 4 years ago. the hard drive died recently.

i want to buy a new/bigger one than the original 40 gb it came with. gateway tech support says the motherboard wont be able to handle a hard drive that is bigger. is there any truth to that? i've heard from a couple people saying that is a lie.

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#2 nigglesnush85

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 03:34 PM

Hello rmleider2 and welcome.

The three main factors to consider are...
  • Does the new drive use the same connectors?(IDE,SATA etc)
  • Is the new drive the same size?(Dimensions)
  • Has the BIOS been updated to the latest version?
If the answer to the above is 'yes' then it is most likely that you can replace the drive.
Regards,

Alan.

#3 rmleider2

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 03:42 PM

Hello rmleider2 and welcome.

The three main factors to consider are...

  • Does the new drive use the same connectors?(IDE,SATA etc)
  • Is the new drive the same size?(Dimensions)
  • Has the BIOS been updated to the latest version?
If the answer to the above is 'yes' then it is most likely that you can replace the drive.


thanks niggles....yes they are both IDE...didn't check on size, but that should be obvious when i try to install it... i'm not sure when i last updated the bios though. is it possible to update it now that my current HD is dead and windows won't load?

#4 nigglesnush85

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 03:48 PM

To update the BIOS, you will have to go to the manufacturers website and look at the instructions for the specific model.
Regards,

Alan.

#5 rmleider2

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 04:16 PM

i saw this in a guide to installing a hard drive...does this mean some systems can't handle higher capacity hard drives?


Limit Capacity Option - This option may be required if the system the drive is being installing into does not support the full capacity of the drive. If the limit capacity jumper is installed you will need to use a drive overlay program such as the one installed by Disc Wizard Starter Edition.

#6 nigglesnush85

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 04:30 PM

That is correct, basically it means that if the system(BIOS) does not support large disks then only a portion will be used. For example you can insert a 500GB hard drive, but if the system is not up to date then it will only recognise a fraction of that space, (32GB I think)
Regards,

Alan.

#7 rmleider2

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Posted 09 September 2008 - 01:16 AM

so is that what gateway meant when they said 40 gb is my limit? wouldn't i just be able to load windows with the new 320 gb hd...and then once im up again, update my bios?

#8 dc3

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Posted 09 September 2008 - 04:48 AM

If you download SIW you can scroll down to the Hardware section and go to BIOS, this will show you the manufacturer of the BIOS and the version. If you post that here we will be able to find out what the limitations are for that BIOS chip.

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#9 rmleider2

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Posted 09 September 2008 - 05:46 AM

that is not possible since my harddrive died and therefore cannot get windows to load. i am using someone elses computer.

#10 rmleider2

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Posted 09 September 2008 - 05:47 AM

gateways website says m675 has
* Phoenix BIOS
* 512 KB Flash ROM
* SMBIOS 2.3 support
* Advanced Configuration and Power Interface 1.0b (ACPI 2.0) support
* Wired for Management 2.0 (WfM 2.0)


however can't i just upgrade my bios once i get the new hard drive and get windows on?

#11 dpunisher

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Posted 09 September 2008 - 06:46 AM

You can update the BIOS all you want, but that is no guarantee the MOBO will recognize your hard drive's full capacity.

Now looking at other variations of your model, they came with up to 80gig drives, so you know that is safe. Also look up the chipset specs to find any inherent hardware limitations. Just FYI, I have upgraded/replaced HDs in older notebooks and had no problems going to 100-120gig.

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#12 Platypus

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Posted 09 September 2008 - 07:44 AM

A site here:

http://www.laptops-we-r.com/New%20Folder/G...675%20PARTS.htm

claims to have 100GB drives pulled from Gateway 657 or 680.

And one advertised here is specified to have 180GB HDD:

http://www.alibaba.com/product-free/115553...z_2Gig_Ram.html

If this info is correct, it suggests if a limit exists at any BIOS revision, it may be the 28bit LBA limit (commonly defined as 128GB), and also indicates at least some (if not all) BIOS revisions support 48bit LBA and can therefore utilise larger sizes than this.

What happens if you fit drive larger than the BIOS can handle depends on the way the BIOS is written. The most benign is for the system to see the drive as the maximum it can handle - ie if it is 128GB limited, a 160GB drive would appear to be 128GB. Occasionally a system will freeze at boot-up, or a nasy rarity is the Phoenix Bitshift bug, in which case a BIOS reports the drive size correctly and appears to work OK, but when data is written beyond the 128GB point, it overwrites the beginning of the drive and totally corrupts it.

To update the BIOS, if you have the floppy drive bay populated with a floppy drive, the BIOS can be flashed with the update from a floppy disk. No hard drive need be present.

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#13 rmleider2

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Posted 09 September 2008 - 06:17 PM

A site here:

http://www.laptops-we-r.com/New%20Folder/G...675%20PARTS.htm

claims to have 100GB drives pulled from Gateway 657 or 680.

And one advertised here is specified to have 180GB HDD:

http://www.alibaba.com/product-free/115553...z_2Gig_Ram.html

If this info is correct, it suggests if a limit exists at any BIOS revision, it may be the 28bit LBA limit (commonly defined as 128GB), and also indicates at least some (if not all) BIOS revisions support 48bit LBA and can therefore utilise larger sizes than this.

What happens if you fit drive larger than the BIOS can handle depends on the way the BIOS is written. The most benign is for the system to see the drive as the maximum it can handle - ie if it is 128GB limited, a 160GB drive would appear to be 128GB. Occasionally a system will freeze at boot-up, or a nasy rarity is the Phoenix Bitshift bug, in which case a BIOS reports the drive size correctly and appears to work OK, but when data is written beyond the 128GB point, it overwrites the beginning of the drive and totally corrupts it.

To update the BIOS, if you have the floppy drive bay populated with a floppy drive, the BIOS can be flashed with the update from a floppy disk. No hard drive need be present.



thanks for the info...I suppose gateway should have a bios update i can download and transfer to a floppy...I bought a 320 gb HD...hope it works

#14 hamluis

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 06:33 PM

For what it's worth: I guess that I thought all size limitations which were formerly managed by the BIOS...were overcome by SP1 in XP.

If the user is running something other/earlier than XP SP1, the limits would apply, IMO.

If user is using XP, XP takes care of LBA. Windows will see the drive in entirety, even if the BIOS does not, IMO.

Hard Drive Size Barriers, In Depth - http://www.dewassoc.com/kbase/hard_drives/...ze_barriers.htm

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#15 Platypus

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 09:30 PM

I thought all size limitations which were formerly managed by the BIOS...were overcome by SP1 in XP. If user is using XP, XP takes care of LBA. Windows will see the drive in entirety, even if the BIOS does not, IMO.

Yes, that's true. If a BIOS limitation is benign and will allow the Windows installation to proceed (ie doesn't lock up at POST etc), the full drive capacity can be accessed by Windows.

The caveat with this is similar to using a DDO (Dynamic Drive Overlay) - correct drive access is dependent on Windows being operational. Anything that tries to access the drive using the BIOS Interrupt 13h routines (eg DOS boot disk, older versions of imaging or recovery utilities, possibly some primitive viruses) could fail to function properly and may corrupt the drive contents.

If possible, it's best to get the BIOS updated as well so the full drive is recognised in all circumstances.

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