Is my system 48-bit LBA compatible? Part two

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Continuing the thread from here:

In a nutshell though, my mainboard is an MS-6390 by MSI with firmware
version 2.4.

I bought an IDE HDD (WD Caviar SE 320 GB, 3200AAJB) a few weeks ago
and I tried installing it, and when I powered on, it didn't even get
to POST (the point where I would be able to get into the BIOS menu).
It would show the full-screen logo and then just cut to black with a
blinking cursor in the corner. Once again, I'm considering flashing
the firmware (I have 2.4, latest is 2.6), but checking the manual it
says under IDE (and I quote):

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Ultra DMA100 is part of the ATA-6 standard, which also calls for 48-
bit LBA, so this would suggest that it is compatible. Still, why am I
getting the blank screen?

(Oh yeah, and I've also previously successfully installed a newer LG
DVD burner drive in the same system, so I'm guessing it's not a case
of the IDE being unable to read the new drive...)

Re: Is my system 48-bit LBA compatible? Part two wrote:
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Quoted text here. Click to load it

Sorry for breaking in
I don't see anywhere very large disks are supported in the list of Bios'ses
That apart from "Support Maxtor 160GB HDD (4G160J8)" since firmware 1.1

Re: Is my system 48-bit LBA compatible? Part two wrote:
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Well, you're right about the ATA/ATAPI spec. ATA/ATAPI-6 is
UDMA100/48bitlba, according to this Wikipedia article. Someone
mentioned a while back, that if a motherboard supported UDMA133,
there was a good chance it was 48 bit ready. If the motherboard
was UDMA100, then the question would be whether chip designers
bring chips up to full compliance with any given industry standard
(i.e. they're forced to implement UDMA100/48bitlba at the same time).
I cannot answer that. Seeing UDMA133 just raises the odds it is

There is one tool available for checking the situation. But it
is payware, so I cannot recommend it. This site will also try to
convince you to "buy a new BIOS" from Esupport, which is usually
silly since the manufacturer is the source of official BIOS. The
Esupport BIOS may be a vanilla version, without much in the way
of BIOS settings.

The HDTune program ( has a status page, but as near as
I can tell, it reflects the characteristics of the disk
drive itself, and is not a check of the BIOS. (You couldn't use
it anyway, because you're hanging with the new drive connected.)

That is about it for status checks. I'm not aware of anything
else, right off hand, to shed light on the situation.

There are tools for changing the capacity ("clipping") a drive.
I found mention on a Seagate page, of an old Seatools for DOS
tool, which can set the capacity. Hitachi has their Feature Tool,
which does stuff like that. If you want to take a chance, you could
connect the drive to another computer, one that doesn't hang with
that drive present, and then "Set Capacity" to a safe number.
Then plug the drive into the suspect motherboard and see
if the motherboard works or not.

IDE drives also may have a position for a "clip jumper" on
the 2x4 jumper area of the drive. I've used that for testing
here, and that allows making temporary changes to drive
capacity. Apparently, if the "clip jumper" is installed,
the BIOS will either report the drive as being 2GB or 32GB -
it depends on the era of BIOS doing the check. (As I understand
it, the capacity is not changed, but a CHS geometry is reported
to the BIOS, that makes the BIOS think the drive is that size.
The BIOS interprets the CHS info, as either 2GB or 32GB or there

Jumper documentation is pretty poor. The number of jumper positions
documented, depends on the information source. The label on the
drive, is not usually a complete spec. It addresses Master/Slave/CS
for example. The web site for the disk, may tell you about the
clip jumper. The best documents are the "OEM Spec" PDF document,
which is available for some disks. One I downloaded for an IBM
drive, included a bewildering list of jumpering options. So the
info printed on the label of the drive itself, is a disservice
to customers, due to it being dumbed down.

You can still use a Promise Ultra133 TX2 card :-)


Re: Is my system 48-bit LBA compatible? Part two


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There is no guarantee an ATA100 board supports 48bit LBA
(until a bios adds that if it wasn't present initially).

All ATA133 boards support 48bit LBA.

The thing is, even if the board doesn't support the drive
capacity, that should not prevent the board/system from
POSTing.  It seems more likely there is another problem like
an added driver overwhelms the PSU, or power off made the
failing battery bad enough to prevent post, or a connector
or card was dislodged while installing the drive.

The system has to POST before it can detect the drive in
order to determine whether it can make sense of the
capacity.  Excessive capacity won't stop it before that

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