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I am considering adding a 2TB SATA II hard drive to my machine. My motherboard is ECS KN1 SLI Extreme. It supports SATA II and the BIOS is Phoenix AwardBIOS v6.00PG. I am running Windows XP SP3.

Will the 2TB drive be supported in my machine? If not, what is the maximum?

Is there anything else I need to check?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

You can put any hard drive in, look out for only SATA II 3GB/s drives though as getting a 6GB/s drive will be worthless on your motherboard as you need SATA III for 6GB/s.

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Why worthless, it will be backward compatible, you mean a waste? – Moab Jul 3 '11 at 20:33
Yeah I guess a waste then, it won't be worth the money as you can just buy a normal SATA2 drive that will give equal performance. – Sandeep Bansal Jul 3 '11 at 20:44
Thanks, this gives me confidence that it is going to work! – Alan Spark Jul 4 '11 at 7:16
It is working perfectly, so thanks again for your advice. – Alan Spark Jul 16 '11 at 7:45
Glad to hear that, enjoy using your new drive! – Sandeep Bansal Jul 16 '11 at 18:39

Windows XP supports a hard drive with a maximum size of 2TB. This limitation is due to the MBR partition layout, assuming the disk uses 512b sectors. The limit is increased to 16TB (approx. 16,000 GB) if it has a 4K sector size. Upgrading to Windows Vista / Windows 7 will alleviate this issue due to their use and support of a GPT over MBR.

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For the curious, this is because MBR uses unsigned 32-bit numbers to store partition offsets and sizes (in sector counts). Thus, the largest number it can store is about 4 billion. 4 billion times half a kilobyte (normal sector size) is 2 TB (about 2 trillion). – CBHacking Sep 8 at 23:57

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