Hard Drive manufacturers have been spending quite some time improving the technology in their drives to allow for more and more capacity with each successive generation. The only problem, though, is that most motherboards and older operating systems have not quite kept up. Since hard drives now exist in sizes beyond 2TB, there was a new limitation that hard drive manufacturers had to overcome in order to get their drives to work properly in most people’s systems.
This limitation is more commonly known as the MBR wall or the 2.2TB wall
[technically 2.19TB]. This wall is a function of the fact that older operating systems[like XP] will have issues properly recognizing and utilizing all four 750GB platters of the 3TB drive. This is a limitation of using an MBR when formatting a drive rather than a GUID partition. Many operating systems will support the 3TB drive as a storage drive with the exception of XP. This means that Windows Vista, Windows 7, Mac OS 1.5 and higher and Linux should all get support. The only problem that then arises is that the drive must communicate with the motherboard via a UEFI motherboard firmware. Current motherboards run a BIOS based firmware which is not conducive to the 3TB drives as they need GPT
Partitioning and a UEFI
As far as current solutions go, in order to make using these drives easier on customers who do not have UEFI based motherboards, WD has supplied an AHCI compliant HBA [Host Bus Adapter]. In the case of the HBA, they’ve included a RocketRAID PCIe card
that has two SATA connectors and enables the seamless installation of the 2.5 and 3TB HDDs without worrying about needing a UEFI based motherboard. Using GPT combined with UEFI yields a final result allowing the formatting of up to 18 Exabytes per drive. Currently, most of us could never imagine seeing an 18 Exabyte drive, but then again who would’ve thought we’d have 3TB drives 10 or 15 years ago?
Furthermore, these drives can be used in conjunction with external solutions but it is on the USB bridge manufacturer to make sure that their devices are compatible with 3TB and 2.5TB drives. Judging by the current limitations of these drives and their overall size, we probably wouldn’t expect many to use these drives as boot drives to begin with.
Below is a useful chart that explains the compatibility or lack thereof across operating systems.WD Caviar Green 3TB Specifications
Buffer Size[cache] 64 MB
Interface SATA 3 Gb/s [SATA 2.0]
Height 1.028 Inches [26.1 mm]
Depth 5.787 Inches [147 mm]
Idle Mode 24 dBA (average)
Seek Mode 0 29 dBA (average)
Seek Mode 3 25 dBA (average)
Read/Write power consumption 6.00 Watts
Idle power consumption 5.50 Watts
Standby power consumption 0.80 Watts
Sleep power consumption 0.80 Watts
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