Jan 28, 2011

Posted by in Personal Computing, Tech Tips/Quick Fix | 7 Comments

What you need to know before getting a 3TB hard disk

So you decided to spend some of your hard-earned cash to purchase another hard disk. One that can support your growing collection of movies and photos for eons to come. And what’s the largest capacity available to consumers right now? 3 terabytes! That can hold around 4500 movies (assuming a movie is 700MB in size).

western digital 3tb caviar green

But wait! Before you get excited, here are some things you need to know before getting that 3TB drive. It’s not as simple as slapping it inside your machine and connecting the necessary cables. There are some restrictions and additional stuff to be done before you can freely use a hard drive that is larger than 2.2TB.

Here are the restrictions you need to know when using drives that are larger than 2.2TB:

  • Windows XP (both 32-bit and 64-bit) doesn’t like to play with >2.2TB storage
  • 32-bit Windows Vista and Windows 7 can only support >2.2TB as secondary drives, no problem with 64-bit
  • Linux OS have no problems at all
  • Mac OS 10.5 and 10.6 won’t have any problem although it won’t work with Apple Bootcamp
  • If you wish to boot on a >2.2TB drive, you need to have a Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) firmware on your system and a 64-bit OS

Host Bus Adapter (HBA) card required

Even if you have Windows 7 and a new system, there’s still one critical component that you need and that’s a Host Bus Adapter card. HBA cards are bundled with 2.5TB or 3TB hard drive purchases. If you’re buying a second hand drive, make sure you ask for the HBA card as well.

Host Bus Adapter

The HBA card has the following roles:

  • Avoids incompatibilities with system BIOS and 3rd party storage drivers (Intel and NVidia not capable today)
  • Ensures protection to the users existing Primary drive by not disturbing its configuration during installation
  • HBA provides UEFI support for enabling boot support for 64 bit OS when Motherboard also supports UEFI

>2.2TB Compatibility Chart

Sounds complicated? Here’s a chart I got from Western Digital (click to enlarge) to help you understand much better:

compatibilitychart

*1 Presently WD does not directly provide support for these applications. We have worked extensively with our partners and solutions may be available. HBA and RAID Controller vendors may have developed solutions for these applications.
*2 Linux solutions are available. Please consult your Operating System provider for use with Large Capacity drives.
*3 An available PCI-E slot for the HBA is required. Supported by using the native Windows Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI) drivers only.
*4 Apple Bootcamp is presently not supported. Support is limited to the operating system only.
*5 Boot support requires a system with UEFI Support and a 64 bit version of the OS.
*6 Check with USB Bridge provider to verify if and how Large Drives are supported.



  1. Can this be also compatible to a laptop? if yes, do I still need to put the HBA card?
    Thanks!

    • yup but make sure there’s an updated driver for the USB port to read large drives. (see Note 6)

    • peter2uat says:

      To make use of a 3TB drive with a laptop you have to put the hard disk into an external case and connect this to the laptop with a USB cable – the enclosure will have a power adapter.
      The HBA cards are all PCIe and can only be used with modern desktop computers.

  2. I probably overlooked it, but it’s not really 3 TB, di ba? You’ll actually get like 2+ TB with this one?

    • yup… ganun talaga. just like when you only get 1.8TB of actual usable space on a 2TB disk.

      • Hard drive manufacturers have always used decimal rather than binary definitions for the metric prefixes, so:

        1kB is 1000 (not 1024) bytes
        1MB is 1,000,000 (not 1,048,576) bytes
        1GB is 1,000,000,000 (not 1,073,741,824) bytes
        1TB is 1,000,000,000,000 (not 1,099,511,627,776) bytes

        On top of that, when you format the drive, some of it gets used for the MBR, Partition table, etc.

  3. pa repost sa website ko tol! +1

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. JVC 30GB HARD DISK CAMCORDER | Camcorders Optical Zoom - [...] W&#1211&#1072t &#1091&#959&#965 need t&#959 know before getting a 3TB hard disk | Pinoy Tech … [...]
  2. Tweets that mention What you need to know before getting a 3TB hard disk | Pinoy Tech Blog - The Philippines' Longest-running Technology Blog -- Topsy.com - [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by John Carlo Repol, pinoytechblog. pinoytechblog said: What you need to know before …
  3. Web Monitoring ? The Need and Advantages » Partnerships, MonitoringComputer, Significance, TechniquesDifferent, AdvantagesThe, problemsArticle, articlesbasecomPossibly, generatedRelated, Identification » Horse Places - [...] What you need to know before getting a 3TB hard disk | Pinoy Tech … [...]
  4. USB Cables – From friend to foe | Ergonomic Computer Desk - [...] W&#1211&#1072t &#1091&#959&#965 need t&#959 know before getting a 3TB hard disk | Pinoy Tech … [...]
  5. What you need to know before getting a 3TB hard disk | Pinoy Tech … | StorageDrive.Org - [...] See more here: What you need to know before getting a 3TB hard disk | Pinoy Tech … [...]
  6. What DVD Camcorder Should I Get? Check Out These 2 Reviews … | Camcorders Optical Zoom - [...] W&#1211&#1072t &#1091&#959&#965 need t&#959 know before getting a 3TB hard disk | Pinoy Tech … [...]
  7. Keira Knightley: Theatre work is orgasmic - [...] What you need to know before getting a 3TB hard disk So you decided to spend some of your …
  8. What you need to know before getting a 3TB hard disk | Usb Wireless Adapter - [...] Which can store about 4500 movies (assuming that a movie is 700 MB in size). [...] Read more on …
  9. : netburp : Boxee Box Review - [...] terabytes! That can hold around 4500 movies (assuming a movie is 700MB in size). [...] Read more on Pinoy …

Leave a Reply