OS X claims a 200 GB Maxtor external drive has only 128GB capacity.
November 11, 2004 11:12 PM   Subscribe

New External Drive for OSX: So I bought a new external, as I've been threatening in other posts. It's a 200gb Maxtor. I plug it into my Powerbook which tells me it can't recognize the format. Do I want to Initialize? I say yes... and it identifies the drive as having a 128gb capacity. What gives? Where are the other 72gb? What format should I choose for this sucker? Help!
posted by dobbs to Computers & Internet (17 answers total)
/Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility

"Erase" the drive, formatting as either "Mac OS Extended" or "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)". The 200GB drive should format to approximately 186GB usable capacity.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 12:09 AM on November 12, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks NCM.

Is there a diff between journaled and not journaled?

And it's the disk utility that's telling me (pre-erase) that it's 128gb. Is that normal?
posted by dobbs at 12:26 AM on November 12, 2004

Response by poster: Okay, so I did that. Still tells me it's 128gb. :(
posted by dobbs at 12:30 AM on November 12, 2004

Call Maxtor. Formatting overhead should not be 1/3. My guess is that they shipped you a lower-capacity drive by mistake.

Here's some info on journaling [2] [3]
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 1:13 AM on November 12, 2004

128GB, 186GB, 200GB, whatever.. it won't matter in eight months when your Maxtor external catastrophically fails, as mine did.

posted by rajbot at 4:58 AM on November 12, 2004

*shits himself, decides not to buy that cool, expensive LaCie external drive*
posted by matteo at 5:21 AM on November 12, 2004

... formatting as either "Mac OS Extended" or "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)".

Is the implication here that Mac externals can't support FAT32 partitions in excess of some size?

Also: Would the BIOS date (or whatever the equivalent is on Macs) of his PowerBook matter?
posted by lodurr at 5:22 AM on November 12, 2004

Could be a hardware limitation of the enclosure. I haven't seen this in a while, but I remember a few years ago seeing an external hard drive enclosure with a 120 GB limit.

I'd throw the drive in a machine to test nakedcodemonkey's theory first, personally.
posted by Eamon at 6:00 AM on November 12, 2004

FAT32 is not involved in this instance, lodurr. Your BIOS guess is not far off, though. Apple describes the 128gb limit as the result of formatting large drives under a system prior to OS X 10.2; it's possible that a 'firmware update,' our version of updating the BIOS, added the larger-volume capacity.

OTOH, reading that page seems to indicate that even on a system that has 10.2 or later installed, booting an earlier system would re-instate the limit.

Volume size limits on the Mac. Seagate notes a 137gb limit associated with certain card-based controllers, which should not be the problem here, as mac-based firewire is almost always on the motherboard rather than by a third-party card.

I was curious, though, and found this, which is not an Apple-official page but covers FAT32 issues for the Mac. Here's Apple's page on FAT32 volume size limits.

It would also be nice if Google would put Apple results at the top of search results for stuff like this. ;)
posted by mwhybark at 6:35 AM on November 12, 2004

dobbs: Upgrade to OSX 10.3 or partition the drive into chunks no larger than 128G.
posted by majick at 6:38 AM on November 12, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks, all.

I left out some info that I didn't think relevant:

I'm on 10.3 Panther.

I already have an external 160gb Lacie and it works perfect.

The enclosure suports up to 400gb drives.

I just sent Maxtor an email.
posted by dobbs at 9:08 AM on November 12, 2004

It's not a FAT32 issue and, besides, a reformat as HFS+ would negate any FAT32 limits. Sounds like a controller issue - the controller chip inside your enclosure is only ATA66 not the ATA133 required to support larger drives. There's a FAQ for a similar problem for Cube owners, but it actually applies to anything with an ATA66 controller and a large drive.

Contact your enclosure manufacturer for resolution - if it was sold to you as "supporting up to 400 GB drives", they lied to you.
posted by nathan_teske at 3:56 PM on November 12, 2004

matteo - clean yourself up: I have two LaCie Firewire drives (200Gb and 250GB) daisy-chained onto my PowerBook via FW800. Both work flawlessly and have the entire formatted size for use.
posted by nathan_teske at 3:58 PM on November 12, 2004

Response by poster: nathan, the enclosure box says, "Support for IDE Hard Drive (UDMA 33/66 or ATA 100/133)." It doesn't even mention ATA 66 anywhere on it.
posted by dobbs at 4:24 PM on November 12, 2004

Who made the thing? because a drive dropping off at exactly 128GB is a sign that the controller for the drive doesn't support 48-bit LBA. There might be a firmware update you're missing somewhere, but the problem is definitely with the enclosure manufacturer, not Maxtor.
posted by nathan_teske at 5:36 PM on November 12, 2004

Response by poster: I have an Aluminum G4 867 mhz. I doubt very much the PB is at fault as I do have the 160gb hooked up without issue so it's either the enclosure or the drive. The enclosure says it will handle the drive, so...

Of course Maxtor refuses to help. The guy on the phone specifically said that they do not support their drives in other manufacturers enclosures. What this says to me, whether he meant it or not, is that "Maxtor prefers that people with non-Maxtor enclosures buy drives from their competitors." It's what I'm going to do. The drive is up on Craigs and I'll go with another Lacie and NEVER buy another Maxtor.*

*Yes, I realize the enclosure could be to blame but the Maxtor rep was so bloody rude on the phone that I'd rather get rid of it and never have to think of the company again.

Thanks all for you support!
posted by dobbs at 9:18 AM on November 13, 2004

If you get another LaCie, make sure to get one of the new "Extreme" models - they're quiter and have better drive mounts than the original Big Disks. Makes for a much quieter experience when you have a couple of them spooling up.
posted by nathan_teske at 12:39 PM on November 13, 2004

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