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Maximum Storage Capacity Allowed By The System


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#1 UM Wolverine

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 11:52 AM

Hello everyone. I have a question that is probably simple for you folks to answer.

 

It is my understanding that each system has a limit to the total amount of internal storage capacity it can accommodate. As an example, let's say that the system can accommodate total HDD storage of 4 TB.

 

In this example the total capacity of the system cannot exceed 4 TB. So, if you already have a 2TB HDD installed and you have an open bay, you can add another HDD of only maximum of 2 TB so as not to exceed the 4 TB cap.

 

Do I have this correct in that each system has a maximum amount of internal storage that it can handle? If so, what determines what that maximum is. Is it the OS, the motherboard or something else?

 

Lastly, how do I determine what my system maximum is?

 

I apologize for being naïve on this point, but I need a little education on this topic. Please let me know. Thank you.



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#2 hamluis

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 12:21 PM

There is no limit on the amount of storage space that a computer system can utilize effectively.  But there are limits concerning Windows versions which are able to properly recognize and use the total space on the drive.

 

There may be restrictions/limits on how large a partition/drive can be used to install Windows...but this is a totally different situation relating to the Windows version and file system used.

 

Example:  I have XP installed on a 3TB hard drive...but XP will only see it as a 2TB drive.  If I install Win 7 64-bit or anything more recent, it will see the same drive as a 3TB drive.

 

OTOH...if I connect 3 1TB drives and my O/S is either XP, Win 7, or more recent version...each O/S will see a total of 3TB storage space. 

 

There is no limitation of total storage space available to a computer system...but there are considerations that need to be taken with a given Windows version or a given file system.

 

Optional Reading, MBR versus GPT

 

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#3 UM Wolverine

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 02:37 PM

Thanks for the quick response.

 

So, I guess I am a bit confused.

 

Here is my situation. I am currently running Windows 10 on a new Dell XPS 8920. It has an installed HDD (D:\ drive) for data only. The D Drive is 2 TB. The OS and applications reside on the C:\ drive which is an SSD. The machine has two open bays for additional storage. A representative from Dell told me that the machine can only accommodate and recognize a total 6TB of HDD storage and that each of the two additional bays can only handle drives with 2TB as the maximum. If I understand you correctly, that is not the case.

 

So, let's say that I add a 4TB drive to one of the expansion bays and a 3 TB drive to the other expansion bay, that would give me a total of 9 TB (2 + 4 +3) and this will exceed the total of 6 TB that the Dell representative referred to. These drives that I want to add are for data only like the current D drive. If I do that will all 9 TB be recognized by the computer?


Edited by hamluis, 23 June 2017 - 04:29 PM.


#4 MadmanRB

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 03:02 PM

Well there you are looking at hardware limits, while windows probably can read that I am unsure if there any hidden caps within your motherboard.


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#5 Kilroy

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 03:16 PM

Either the Dell person misinformed you or there was a communication issue.  If you have open drive bays and available drive connections you can fill those bays with any drive your heart desires that will attached to the drive connections and fit in the bay.  All assuming that you have sufficient power connections.  You should be able to add a couple of 8TB or larger drives without issue if you want.

 

If you add the 3TB and 4TB drives you would have a D: drive of 2TB, another drive letter with 3TB and a third with 4TB, for a total of nine.  If you are looking to combine them all to get a D: drive that is 9TB, while it could be done I HIGHLY recommend against it as losing one drive would lose ALL of your data.

 

I guess the bottom line is: What are you looking to accomplish?


Edited by Kilroy, 23 June 2017 - 03:20 PM.


#6 MadmanRB

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 03:18 PM

Either the Dell person misinformed you or there was a communication issue.  If you have open drive bays and available drive connections you can fill those bays with any drive your heart desires that will attached to the drive connections and fit in the bay.  All assuming that you have sufficient power connections.  You should be able to add a couple of 8TB or larger drives without issue if you want.

 

 

True but some motherboards do have hidden cut offs.


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#7 UM Wolverine

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 03:26 PM

Either the Dell person misinformed you or there was a communication issue.  If you have open drive bays and available drive connections you can fill those bays with any drive your heart desires that will attached to the drive connections and fit in the bay.  All assuming that you have sufficient power connections.  You should be able to add a couple of 8TB or larger drives without issue if you want.

 

If you add the 3TB and 4TB drives you would have a D: drive of 2TB, another drive letter with 3TB and a third with 4TB, for a total of nine.  If you are looking to combine them all to get a D: drive that is 9TB, while it could be done I HIGHLY recommend against it as losing one drive would lose ALL of your data.

 

I guess the bottom line is: What are you looking to accomplish?

 

I just need more than 2 TB of data storage as I have a lot of video and music files and I want to avoid using external drives.



#8 MadmanRB

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 03:27 PM

Well you can still get the storage, i mean if it all goes wrong you can use a docking station or NAS


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#9 Kilroy

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 03:28 PM

MadmanRB can you give me an example?  I've never seen one in the two decades I've been doing this.  Issues with drive size have been due to a failure to plan for larger drive sizes in the standards.  This article, very long read, explains the different drive limitations over time.

 

If the machine can see any TB or larger drive it should have no issues with any drive.  Especially the user's machine, which can handle 64GB of RAM.



#10 MadmanRB

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 03:30 PM

MadmanRB can you give me an example?  I've never seen one in the two decades I've been doing this.  Issues with drive size have been due to a failure to plan for larger drive sizes in the standards.  This article, very long read, explains the different drive limitations over time.

 

If the machine can see any TB or larger drive it should have no issues with any drive.  Especially the user's machine, which can handle 64GB of RAM.

 

Well I know some vendors used to place limits via the motherboard, I believe Gateway once did that for some machines as did dell.

But then again that was during the IDE days, not Sata


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#11 Kilroy

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 03:34 PM

Personally I've picked up three Drobo 5Ns.  I have one loaded with 8TB drives, one with a mix of drives from 3TB to 8TB, and as soon as the UPS I ordered this morning arrives I'll set up the third with 3TB to 5TB drives.  Most of what is stored on them is rips of my DVD Collection, backups of my desktop, and my MP3 collection (similar in size to the DVDs)  The best thing is that I can use VLC to play from the Drobos on computers and tablets any where in the house.



#12 britechguy

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 03:46 PM

I haven't known of a 64-bit Windows system of recent vintage that cannot deal with far more external memory (and all disc drives are external memory, as opposed to RAM) than any home user could ever connect.

 

See this article:  https://www.neowin.net/news/microsoft-details-how-windows-8-will-handle-large-hard-disk-drives

 

That architecture carries over to Win10 and backwards a few Windows versions, too.  Some of this depends on having UEFI but if your machine came with Windows 8 or later you almost certainly have UEFI, not standard BIOS.


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#13 UM Wolverine

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 04:31 PM

Either the Dell person misinformed you or there was a communication issue.  If you have open drive bays and available drive connections you can fill those bays with any drive your heart desires that will attached to the drive connections and fit in the bay.  All assuming that you have sufficient power connections.  You should be able to add a couple of 8TB or larger drives without issue if you want.

 

If you add the 3TB and 4TB drives you would have a D: drive of 2TB, another drive letter with 3TB and a third with 4TB, for a total of nine.  If you are looking to combine them all to get a D: drive that is 9TB, while it could be done I HIGHLY recommend against it as losing one drive would lose ALL of your data.

 

I guess the bottom line is: What are you looking to accomplish?

 

Thanks for your help.



#14 UM Wolverine

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 04:34 PM

I haven't known of a 64-bit Windows system of recent vintage that cannot deal with far more external memory (and all disc drives are external memory, as opposed to RAM) than any home user could ever connect.

 

See this article:  https://www.neowin.net/news/microsoft-details-how-windows-8-will-handle-large-hard-disk-drives

 

That architecture carries over to Win10 and backwards a few Windows versions, too.  Some of this depends on having UEFI but if your machine came with Windows 8 or later you almost certainly have UEFI, not standard BIOS.

 

Thank you sir. Appreciate the help once again.



#15 MDD1963

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Posted 25 June 2017 - 07:38 PM

Many of the thinnest Dells are possibly using relatively thin drives, and possibly only one or two thin variants are approved...

 

Likely a size (7 mm thick vs. 9 mm, etc...) and/or power constraint, vice any sort of WIndows issue...


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