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I've bought myself a new machine and want to use my old machine as a File Server. I've also bought a new external Terabyte drive which I would like to take out of its casing and use in the older machine to do backups to as well as serve as a home media drive for all my music and movies.

Is there a test I can do to check that the older machine will be able to handle this newer drive? I know it works as a USB drive (although I am not sure how optimally), but what I want to do is take it out of its casing and put it physically into the older machine and then plug it into one of the SATA inputs.

Many thanks!

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2 Answers 2

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It depends entirely on how old you are talking about. Excessively old systems/BIOSes had various limits (8GB, 32GB, 137GB, etc.) on the size of drives they supported for a variety of reasons, however most of these were back in the IDE days. Most systems with built-in SATA controllers should support large drives without issue, but it’s possible for an old system to have an added SATA card and not work.

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Thanks Sunetech. I bring this up, because I had a much much older machine I was using as a File Server and plugged the USB Drive into it over the network and it was so slow. So I am trying to avoid all of the work I am about to do if it means it wont work. I am then assuming that SATA is the most recent standard and what that means is that it should be able to manage hi speed drives coming out even later? –  SixfootJames Sep 19 '12 at 7:29
    
> I had a much much older machine I was using as a File Server and plugged the USB Drive into it over the network and it was so slow. That’s probably because it had USB 1.0/1.1 instead of 2.0 which limited it to 1.5/12Mbps (192KBps/1.5MBps). Plus, it may have had an older NIC limiting it as well. –  Synetech Sep 19 '12 at 14:07
    
>I am assuming SATA is the most recent standard and it should be able to manage hi speed drives coming out later? SATA is newer than IDE, but there are different versions with different speeds. A SATA 1.0 card will limit a SATA 2.0 drive to SATA 1.0 speeds and so on. Your drive will almost certainly be limited by the network more than the drive/interface (even SATA 1.0 is 1.5GBps and any system with SATA will likely have USB 2.0). You already have the drive, so at worst, it won’t work right/at all. Now if you were thinking about buying it… –  Synetech Sep 19 '12 at 14:30

There is no harm in trying. If the drive works, then great. However some as Synetech stated, the drive might not be recognized, or it might not see the entire size.

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Thanks Keltari! I will look into Syntech's solution. –  SixfootJames Sep 19 '12 at 7:30

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