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Asus tool provides solution for 2.2TB+ HDDs

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 30 Oct 2010 21:09 User comments (4)

Asus tool provides solution for 2.2TB+ HDDs Asus has released a new software tool that is aimed at legacy systems to make it possible to fully access hard drives with more than 2.2TB of storage space.
Disk Unlocker is a free utility for Asus motherboards that are limited by BIOS as 3TB internal HDDs roll onto the market. The tool cannot create a bootable partition based on the GUID partition table (GPT). Instead, it simply allows users running Windows XP x64, Windows Vista and Windows 7 access the extra space beyond the 2.2GB limit.

To boot from a GPT partitioned drive you would need an Extensive Firmware Interface-capable motherboard. Disk Unlocker, when run, provides a drop-down list of HDDs with more than 2.2TB capacity (but does not list any that already use the GPT format). When a user makes a selection, the tool creates a new virtual drive that gives the user control over the extra storage space.

"This is the first software solution to overcome current operating system limitations that prevent a hard disk drive from utilizing more than 2048 GB (also known as 2.2TB)," the company said. "With just a few clicks, Disk Unlocker taps into hidden storage space beyond the nominal 2048 GB range, helping you use large hard drives to their maximum potential."

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4 user comments

130.10.2010 22:16

It's good that Asus is providing such a tool, though I have to wonder if the virtual drive will be as fast as a controller that has native GUID support. Many times virtualization is slower than having the real thing. Of course, the only drives I have seen that are greater than the 2.2 tb limit are the western digital green drives, which aren't the fastest performers anyway, at least compared to their caviar black drives.

231.10.2010 0:10

Originally posted by Xian:
It's good that Asus is providing such a tool, though I have to wonder if the virtual drive will be as fast as a controller that has native GUID support. Many times virtualization is slower than having the real thing. Of course, the only drives I have seen that are greater than the 2.2 tb limit are the western digital green drives, which aren't the fastest performers anyway, at least compared to their caviar black drives.

I don't think it should hinder performance too much, but I still don't like it much tbh.. just dont like the idea of a workaround to use the full volume of a 3tb drive.. or maybe im just trying to convince myself I need a new system now. Btw, nice to see you Xian. How are you?

331.10.2010 8:24

It is made by Asus...of course it will hinder performance too much!

Seagate also makes 3TB drives...the still only offer them as externals because there are so many companies that refuse to release BIOS updates that enable the features that the boards were sold as having...but inside that case is a regular 3.5" hard drive.

WD's solution isn't much better; they ship their 3TB drives with a 2-port SATA adapter that isn't worth the cost of making the PCB.

Overall, the SATA "Standard" has not been followed...the standard clearly specifies 48-bit LBA, for a maximum drive size of 128 Pib...yet we keep hitting capacity with drives that are less than 1% of that. I first saw it on SATA1 boards that would not support 750GB drives...then on SATA2 boards that would not support anything over 1TB, then on SATA2 and SAS boards that would not support anything over 1.5TB, and now we see a 2.2TB limit on just about every board. These chipsets are built to the standards; any SATA mainboard (even older SATA1 stuff) should support 128 Pib...but they do not support larger drives due to shortcuts made by those who write the BIOS files...and the companies refuse to release updates to fix this because they make more money on new sales that way. We even get new BIOS files that fix other problems, yet ignore this one.

I will never buy from Adaptech again; I bought a pair of SATA RAID cards from them that had "48 Bit LBA" all over the boxes. The online manual stated this as well, and said that the card supported partitions over 2TB. Well, the card didn't even support 1.5TB drives (nor did it support partitions over 2TB made from 1TB drives). What did Adaptech tell me when I asked for an update to the firmware? They said that they did not see it as a problem. I pointed out all their lies, and they said they would forward my complaint to marketing (not engineering). Needless to say, they realized that they were going to get sued, so they changed their front page to "The Adaptec 48-bit logical block addressing (LBA) support enables use of disk drives exceeding 137 GB in capacity.". They are still making and selling these cards (the entire "HostRAID" line has this problem)...and they have not done a bios update since 2008, in spite of all the other massive issues with these cards. As for a refund? I'm out of luck...I didn't discover the problem until I had the cards for over 30 days, and Adaptech will do nothing because, "there is nothing wrong with the card, that is how it is designed".

431.10.2010 15:56

reminds me of the 32GB jumper on the HDD's of old. software solutions are not the answer to obvious hardware issue's.

not to mention you should be able to access the whole drive using a custom boot strap and MBR record.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 31 Oct 2010 @ 16:00

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