Is a Controller Card necessary?

Ok, I just spent about 3 hours looking through the forums for an answer to this question, but none of the threads were about my particular question. I want to install a secondary hard drive just for storage. Here is my current setup:

WinXP Pro SP2
Intel Pentium 4 (Celeron) 2.66GHz 133MHz Bus Speed
Soyo P4VGM v1.0 motherboard (VIA Chipset)
BIOS: AMI 07.00T
Primary IDE Controller
Master- 30GB Maxtor 6E030L0
Slave- (open)
Secondary IDE Controller
Master- NEC 3540A DVD-RW
Slave- Sony CRX215E1 CD-RW
Nvidia GeForce 6200 256MB AGP graphics card
Various USB devices

Now, I want to install a 160GB hard drive as a pure secondary storage drive. I do not want to put the OS on it. My friend told me that I had to buy a controller card, because the hard drive was too big for Windows to handle. Now, I’ve tried to verify this online, but I can’t find one thing to support that. If I have a spot open on my Primary IDE Controller, can’t I just install it there? Wouldn’t SP2 take care of the size issue, if any? Would the bigger drive have to be Master? I want to keep the OS and important applications on the 30GB drive, and use the 160GB for data, music, and games. Can anyone see a problem with what I’m trying to do? If you need more info, please let me know! Any thoughts would be much appreciated! :flower:

My friend still uses Windows 98SE (and has never used XP), maybe hard drive size was an issue on that OS… :wink:

You won’t have any problems with a 160, as long as your motherboard supports larger sizes, and it should. Windows will impose no limitations. If you do have trouble, updating the MB BIOS should fix it.

Thank you, I thought so! :slight_smile: I’m pretty sure my friend just thinks that because older versions of Windows do impose size limits. Aren’t controller cards just for when you want to expand past the limits of your onboard IDE controllers? Or when you want a special setup that your motherboard doesn’t support by itself, right? I definitely wanted to ask first, because I don’t have a lot of extra money to be spending on hardware I don’t need…

I agree. It’s not a windows problem, but it depend on your mainboard. If you have a spare IDE I suggest you to use it instead to buy a controller.

It’s not necessary that OS is on bigger HD. If you use this disc only for data, is not necessary to put as master. Leave your OS disc as master.

The biggest reason for a PCI controller card, at least around these parts, is to free up the MB IDE for burners. You also may see a small performance boost by using a card for all HD’s. For the stated purposes, there’s no need.

How do you know that I use a controller for this reason? :bigsmile:

It’s ok to install that HDD on that IDE as Primary Slave…
If you think you are going to buy another HDD at some time, then a PCI ATA Ultra133 card would be Ideal…Put ALL HDD on it n ALL Roms n Burners on your IDEs.
I have 1 SATA Drive (my main Drive) n 4 HDD on a PCI ATA Ultra 133. Works like a Charm…

Well, thank you very much for your quick responses! You have set my mind at ease. This is why I love CDFreaks so much! :bigsmile: :flower:

also, don’t forget about alternatives, such as HDD enclosures, USB to IDE converters, etc…

Firewire is always most stable btw…

Socket 478
Chipset Description
VIA P4M266A / 8235 chipset
Supports 533/400 MHz FSB
Form Factor
Micro ATX
Memory Description
Two 184-pin DDR SDRAM 2.5V DIMM sockets support up to 2GB (DDR 200/266)
Expansion Slots
Three 32-bit Bus Mastering PCI slots (V2.2 compliant)
One AGP slot (support 2x/4x mode)
IDE Type
UDMA 100/133
IDE Description
Two independent channels for Four IDE devices
Supports up to PIO Mode 5 and UDMA 100/133
Two PCI bus mastering ATA E-IDE ports

BIOS ver 2AP4 for SY-P4VGM

Soyo seems to have given up motherboards.

If drive is a Maxtor, they have a program on their site for free DL called big drive enabler. Other brands probably have a similar product.

Well, it was going to be a Maxtor, but the drive I got was defective. It immediately made really loud whining, grinding, and clicking noises while BIOS tried to see it. It was awful. At first I thought I did something wrong, so I tried a couple different setups, jumper configs, made sure the drive was level, etc. Nothing helped, so I RMA’d it back to Newegg for a replacement. But, in the short few days between them shipping the drive, and me sending it back, that model Maxtor was mysteriously pulled from the site. It was model #6Y120P0. Makes you wonder if that model was found to have serious flaws… :wink: So, they refunded me, and I started looking for another drive. But, this time I looked for a different brand and more capacity. So, I went for a Western Digital 200GB. Now, will 200GB still be okay? I know I started this thread about a 160GB, because that is what I was going to get. :o Do the same rules apply, or is 200GB too much now? Here’s the hard drive, and here’s the HD cooler I got for it.

WD JB series seems a bit outdated. I’ve used some BB, LB, JB…

Probably one of the newest WD drives is:

4000KD 400GB, but this is just what I want. :bigsmile: (Cheapest 400GB costs US$300 here.) Never too much.

Latest SR review (though JB isn’t compared there.)

Well, here’s an update for all you people awesome enough to respond to this thread! :stuck_out_tongue: I received the hard drive and HD cooler assembly yesterday. I immediately installed them. I was lucky to have an extra open hanging 3.5" drive bay, or the HD cooler would not have fit in my system… Anyway, I yanked out the old IDE cable, and hooked the new drive and the old 30GB drive together on the primary IDE controller with a brand spanking new IDE cable I just happened to have (new drive was OEM). The 30GB (with OS on it) is the master, while the 200GB is the slave. I turned on my PC and went straight to BIOS, which auto-detected my drive as 200.1GB with no problems at all. So, I booted up WinXP and went to Computer Management, then Disk Management, which also detected my new drive, but this time as 186.36GB (or something like that, which is normal). I made her a dynamic drive, and smacked her with a full format that took an hour and a half! :eek: But, I am now up and running with no problems at all! I love my new Western Digital so far, and have christened her “Big Bertha”. Oh, and her drive letter is Z:. I’ve always wanted to do that…I’m such a dork! :rolleyes:

Thank you again for all your help and suggestions! :bow: :flower:

P.S. Kenshin: I’m always a little behind when it comes to upgrading. I always get the technology that has just been replaced, because it is then within my price range, and is still definitely fast enough and big enough for me! :iagree:
I do drool over certain things, though…but I know I will be able to afford them in about a year or two!


The only problem that I see with your setup - is that you named the drive ‘Z’ which means that if you want to partition it in the future you would have to rename it to a lesser letter-

Otherwise - your setup looks OK-IMO


No, no he would not. What would make you think that?

Why use Dynamic Disc? It really limits you as far as using various defrag and imaging utilities, and is Windows-dependant.


Methinks that if she were to partition the drive and it is at ‘Z’ - there is no next letter for the partition-eh!


Well, I’m not what you would call a power user… I don’t use any other OS but Windows, and this drive is only for storage, so I’m not too worried about being limited in possibilities. :stuck_out_tongue:

Lol, partition? What’s that? I have never partitioned anything in my life, and can’t see myself starting now… but yes, if I for any reason partition Big Bertha, I will use X and Y drive letters. :bigsmile: