[clug] Dumb user question: 2+TB disks, MBR & BIOS
rodneyp at pcug.org.au
rodneyp at pcug.org.au
Wed Jan 2 14:42:47 MST 2013
On Wed, 2 Jan 2013 12:00:03 Brendan Jurd <direvus at gmail.com> wrote:
> Message: 1
> Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2013 18:24:32 +1100
> From: Brendan Jurd <direvus at gmail.com>
> To: steve jenkin <sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au>
> Cc: Canberra Linux User Group <linux at lists.samba.org>
> Subject: Re: [clug] Dumb user question: 2+TB disks, MBR & BIOS...
> <CADxJZo2s40n=bC8h+sD=1teHPymDhnj9iCaUTdQHnHo9zqaZdQ at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
> On 2 January 2013 16:48, steve jenkin <sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au> wrote:
> > I read a piece by Seagate that MBR (Master Boot Record) partitioned
> > disks only have 32-bits for sector size, so for 512by sectors, maxx out
> > at "2.1TB" (2TiB or 2^41by).
> As others have already confirmed, that is true. MBR has outlived its
early this Century
I've been running my 2003 vintage Dell laptop with GPT on its 160 GB HDD for a
couple of years now. No problem at all, as long as you don't need Wind.
> > - If you want to partition the disk you need to use GPT
> > (GUID Partition Table)
> True, and this isn't a problem unless you like to use fdisk. fdisk
> doesn't know GPT. gdisk or gparted will get you there.
> My understanding is you also need to use grub-2, if you are a grub
> user. Grub 1 doesn't know GPT.
Most Grub 0/97 have been patched to work with & boot from GPT. A "BIOS boot
partition" is required and several sites describe HOWTO. eg
> > Questions:
> > - anyone built any desktop systems with a 3/4TB drive?
> > - booted from a large drive? Tips & Tricks?
> Not a desktop system, but I recently upgraded my little file server to
> 2x 3TB Western Digital "Green" drives. It does boot off one of those.
> > I guess I'm wondering if modern Desktops and white-box servers support
> > UEFI, rather than BIOS.
Desktop system yes - I'm sending this from Linux running on a system using
J&W e350 GT mainboard, that is booting via UEFI and a GPT partitioned 1.5 TB.
+1 for Roderick Smith
If you do get a UEFI mainboard then his rEFInd boot manager is a good way to
go. Far simpler and more reliable than GRUB.
ISTR that the originator of this thread is an openSUSE user. openSUSE will
setup an empty, GPT-partitioned HDD on a UEFI system with GPT ESP and what it
calls Grub-EFI, which is essentially using the UEFI bootloader to chain to a
Grub bootloader. A bit messy but a fairly reliable way of getting started and
from which rEFInd can be installed.
If you have GPT & recent Linux then, AFAIK, the only additonal magic required
for >2.1 TiB HDD is a SATA controller that handles the larger number of
sectors. Most contemporary ones apparently do.
Pass on white-box servers. The little HP Proliant microservers have BIOS to
all appearances. HP claim a max HDD size of 2TB for them and that may be the
case because they use a slightly older SATA controller. Nevertheless mine
boots without difficulty from 2 TB GPT formatted HDD via GRUB 0.97
Rod Smith also provides his rEFInd utility as a CD iso. This is a great
little utility. If it boots, then the mainboard supports EFI booting. If
not, then you are stuck with some other bootloader.
> My experience suggests yes. The motherboard in my server is about 2
> years old and it had no issues with booting the drive.
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