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The Stupid 32 GB Pin

Another case of Hardware design that's so arcane I can't understand it. A while ago, one of my internal hard disks made a hiccup and wouldn't mount for a while. When it came back I made a backup to be sure I wouldn't lose any of my new work, and decided to get myself a new hard disk. I planned on getting a disk around 110 GBs, which is the sum total of the two disks I already have. That way I can move all my files and reformat (aka "initialise") the old disks, and then set them up to be a RAID array, maybe.

Getting the drive was fairly easy. I got a 7200 because last time I got myself a 5400 drive, which was noticeably slower than the one that came with my Mac. The clerk at the computer shop (Arlt, a PC parts shop -- I already blogged why I didn't go to the Apple dealer over in Mannheim) was a little surprised at that, and also told me that I shouldn't bother getting anything above 120 GB, as ATA-66 (which my G4 has) can't recognize bigger drives. I like shops who actually have a clue about the hardware they're selling.

Anyway, I put it into the ZIP drive bay below the DVD drive in my Mac. (See my article on the Clockwork Racing Edition upgrade for how to open that up.) The hardest part was correctly setting the jumpers for this hard disk. I knew that, since the HD was behind the DVD drive in the chain, I would have to make it the slave, and the disk came with a slip of paper detailing which pins to put the jumper on. The only problem was that it had two settings for slave. One labeled 32 GB pin.

Remembering how 120GB was supposed to be a problem, I thought I'd jumper it that way, taking this to mean that I wanted to activate a mode for larger drive capacities. What this setting actually did was turn that mode off. Whoever had the idea to sell people 120GB hard disks that can be set to only allow you to address 32 GB of the 120 ... I'd really love to pick your brain. :-)

Anyway, so I had to get back in there and get out that jumper (without removing the disk, because that darned power connector was sitting in its outlet so firmly I couldn't pull out the drive sled). Anyway, the drive now registers at full size. But I still kinda have to chuckle. What on Earth is this jumper good for ???

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Created: 2005-08-31 @629 Last change: 2005-09-01 @354 | Home | Admin | Edit
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