Ok, so I have an existing Windows 10, 64 bit PC, running off a 60 GB SSD.

I also have a "standard" Internal 1 TB Harddrive, (Western Digital).

Both drives are connected via SATA cables.

Lately, I've been experiencing issues with the WD (Western Digital) drive ... sometimes it spikes 100% disk activity, other days, I just "lose it" .. it vanishes from windows. A couple reboots later, it will reappear.

I have opened it up, and swapped the cables between the SSD and WD ... as well as moved the connections to other ports on the Mother Board (it has 6). The SSD drive has never had any issues, only the WD .. so I'm suspecting it is in the process of failing. No worries, I've already backed up everything important on it ...

So I took a trip to local computer shop, and eyed a new 4TB Barracuda drive ... but I was told by the guy there, I might have issues .. so I wanted to come here for a 2nd opinion (or more specifically on this site: "Facts" :) )

Here's my full specs:

O/S: Windows 10, 64 bit. 10.0.17134 Build 17134

Processor: AMD Phenom II X4 920 Processor 2.81 GHz

RAM: 4 GB (4 slots, 2 used, 2 empty)

Motherboard: ASUS M3A79-T Deluxe (it has 6 Sata ports - I'm using 2. 4 RAM slots - I'm using 2)

Power Supply: (can't read the name) but model: TT-450NL2NK Max: 450 W

Video card: NVIDIA GeForce GT 520 (2 GB RAM)

I'm looking to replace my 1 TB drive, with a 4 TB drive .. I would have them both plugged in short term to transfer some files .. but if needed (ie due to Power supply not handling both ?) I have another way of accessing it ... so not too worried.

So my questions boil down to:

1) Is my Power supply ok to handle this load, if I replace the existing 1 TB with a 4 TB ?

2) Can the power supply handle both drives ?

3) Can I handle a 4 TB drive, with my (measly) 4 GB RAM (the guy at the store indicated I could have issues with my low RAM in this area, and it could cause problems - so I wanted a 2nd opinion on this topic, since I had never heard this before).

4) although I'm fairly certain the 1 TB drive is failing .. I'm not 100% sure on that, and any other suggestions for testing/verifying other aspects are always welcome :)

My fallback - assuming the new harddrive doesn't "solve" the problem ... will be to purchase a new computer .. so I'm hesitant to upgrade the RAM at this time. If my current system can't handle the new 4 TB drive, I most likely will also just consider a new computer ;)


[edit] oh - and for what it's worth: I did scan for viruses - none found. shrug [/edit]

closed as off-topic by JakeGould, Ramhound, bertieb, robinCTS, G-Man Jul 15 at 18:12

  • This question does not appear to be about computer software or computer hardware within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Would sombody please clarify what about this is "off-topic" ? I just double checked, and the specific list of On topic questions, lists "computer hardware" as the first item for on topic questions ... which this question is about. All aspects I'm asking, is about computer hardware ... so a little clarification would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! – Ditto Jul 15 at 18:33
up vote 1 down vote accepted

It looks like your motherboard is pretty old (very roughly Circa 2010) and only supports SATA2 - and I expect that this is what caused your local computer shop to suggest it may have issues.

Broadly speaking, at about the time this motherboard was released, the first hard drives > 2tb were released. Hard drives > 2TB use 4k sectors rather then 512 byte sectors and require BIOS support - which may be missing from your system - in which case the 4TB drive will give you a lot of problems (unless you can jumper it to appear as a 2TB drive with 512 byte sectors). It is unclear if your motherboard supports 4k sector drives.

With respect of your questions -

  1. 4 TB drives do not use noticeably more power then 1TB drives, and in any event, not that much (about 10 watts), so that would not be a concern to me.

  2. Your system should cope with the extra drive just fine from a power POV.

  3. The amount of RAM bears little resemblance to the maximum hard drive size - there is no problem with 4GB of RAM and a 4TB drive.

  4. Use S.M.A.R.T diagnostics to see what the drive thinks of itself.

Your system has done well. It might be a good idea to consider new hardware, as - over time - you will probably save close to the cost of the new system just in decreased power bills - depending, of-course, how much you use it, and bearing in mind you need the new hard drive and RAM anyway - and you will get a system which is faster - and has much better graphics performance. (a built in graphics card is about 5-10 times as good as the NVIDIA card you have)

  • 1
    “Hard drives > 2TB use 4k sectors rather then 512 byte sectors” – they certainly do, however there are still no 4Kn drives available in the consumer segment. They’re all 512e. /edit: Wait, there are. Seagate sells a self-encrypting 1/2 TB drive that supposedly has 4Kn. – Daniel B Jul 13 at 5:34
  • @DanielB Are you asserting that old motherboards can handle drives which are > 2TB? If so, I vehemently disagree (and can prove you wrong). If not, how is this relevant to the OP? – davidgo Jul 13 at 5:45
  • Yes, @davidgo, some older motherboards can handle drives > 2 TB. Some can't. The user must however partition any drive > 2TB using using GPT, not MBR. As for 4K sectors, as Daniel B stated, practically all HDs in the consumer space are "512e", meaning that even though they use 4K sectors internally they present 512-byte sectors to the host. This does not require any special motherboard support or optioning. SATA2 is not a factor in supported drive capacity either. – Jamie Hanrahan Jul 13 at 6:08
  • @JamieHanrahan - You appear to be contradicting yourself - yu say some older motherboards can handle > 2tb drives, others can.t You then say that they don't require motherboard support? – davidgo Jul 13 at 6:12
  • No, I said that support for 512e drives doesn't require motherboard support. (Support for 4kn drives does.) A 512e drive presents an interface that behaves exactly like a drive that actually has 512-byte sectors, so requires no special motherboard support. Whether or not a controller can handle a drive > 2 TB depends on whether it implements LBAs of more than 32 bits. With 32 bits you can only count to about 4 billion blocks, and at 512 bytes/block, that's 2 TB. – Jamie Hanrahan Jul 13 at 6:20
  1. yes
  2. yes
  3. probably you would have same problem as he (but not at 100%) - look here 6tb hard drive only showing 1.49tb of unallocated space
  4. show us SMART and scan for bad sectors - or just look at it for yourself, and you would know that it is going to die or not

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