Page 1 of 1

160GB: Asus TX97-XE

Posted: Sun May 05, 2002 12:00 am
by HeraclesMk

Hello all.

Here's what I have:

Program: Unicore BIOS Wizard Version 1.5
BIOS Date: 11/24/98
BIOS Type: Award Modular BIOS v4.51PG
BIOS ID: 11/24/98-82430TX-TX97-XE_C
BIOS Eval: #401A0-0112xe-1
Chipset: Intel Triton 430TX rev 1
Superio: Winbond 877AF (use 87h) rev 0 found at port 3F0h

... and a Maxtor DiamondMax D540X EIDE 160GB.

What I don't have, is access to the full storage space:

ASUS' latest upgrade is v.0112, which I installed, but the LBA is still too low and doesn't recognise anything above 137GB. Not such a big problem for Windows, but Linux doesn't like it at all, because it computes the LBA geometry itself, which the BIOS cripples... which makes little SuSe unstable. :x

I contacted ASUS and they say the MB is not designed to support HD's > 32GB (bullshit); and Unicore says they don't yet have a release that supports HD's > 137GB.

I know for a fact that there's a bug in the Award bios with regards to the LBA. I heard they corrected the bug and posted a patch in mid-1999, but then Award merged with Phoenix, and that file vanished...

I would be happy to adopt any BIOS that is compatible with my current MB/chipset, and would enable me to enjoy my full storage capacity.

True, I could buy a Promise card, but they're expensive, and I just know that a little 100K file out there can solve my problem. I would patch the BIOS myself if I knew how...

Maybe there's a good samaritan out there?...

more than 128GB is a feature :-)

Posted: Sun May 05, 2002 10:38 am
by janpopan

it is easy to fix the 32GB Bug and also the 64GB Bug, because that are Bugs!
But if you want to use a HDD>128GB the Translationcode in the Bios is complete different.

I think You can find a simple solution and post it here :-) or in this case (HDD>128GB) use a Promise controller that support this drive.


Custom-designed OEM BIOS?

Posted: Mon Jul 01, 2002 4:42 pm
by HeraclesMk
Me again...

I haven't given up hope that the stupid 137GB barrier can be overcome with a few bytes' worth of patching in a bios file.

About 1½ month ago, I was contacted by what seemed to be an independent "bios-broker" (if there is such a thing). Since I had contacted a few companies about my problem, I naturally assumed I had been referred to him.

From: "Freeze" <>
Subject: RE: BIOS replacement
Date: Wed, 8 May 2002 19:08:59 +0100

The 137Gb barrier is fundamental to the ATA command set. Maxtor and other have collaborated to rework the commands with a new algorithm that exceeds this limit. However support is sketchy.

I have two options for you:

1) The BIOS from UNICORE appears to offer >137GB support and I can supply this OR
2) I can endevaour to get UNICORE to patch in >137GB support to the OEM


Is it true what he said that ATA cannot overcome 137GB ???

Apparenty, a custom-made OEM BIOS designed by ASUS
and/or Award/Phoenix/Unicore design an OEM version...

-- and later: --

From: "Freeze" <>
Subject: RE: BIOS replacement
Date: Wed, 8 May 2002 23:51:12 +0100

Dont mention EZ-BIOS or any overlay software to me - bane of my life!!

The two options are essentialy the same. The Unicore one (yes they bought Mr BIOS) is built from the Award source and **should** allow large hdd support to >137Gb.

The OEM version would be the 1012 BIOS patched with the large HDD support. Unicore can do this overnight as its just a case of patching the binary file.

Which option do you prefer ??

-- and lastly: --

From: "Freeze" <>
Subject: RE: BIOS replacement (2)
Date: Wed, 15 May 2002 20:49:14 +0100

I have the bios back from the US and I am looking at it as we speak.
I'll drop you a mail later tonight and tell you how it goes.


... and then I never heard from him again. And my emails have never been replied to.

So the question is:

How do I contact/go about getting somebody to patch my current BIOS* so that I can access my 160GB fully? Or, a replacement BIOS whose LBA is not restricted to 137GB?

I currently use EZ-BIOS 3.73M as middle-(firm)ware [because I have no choice], and a 80-pin UltraDMA ribbon-cable (yes, with UltraDMA66 keys enabled in the registry).

Program: Unicore BIOS Agent Version 1.8
BIOS Date: 11/24/98
BIOS Type: Award Modular BIOS v4.51PG
BIOS ID: 11/24/98-82430TX-TX97-XE_C
BIOS Eval: #401A0-0112xe-1
Chipset: Intel Triton 430TX rev 1
Superio: Winbond 877AF (use 87h) rev 0 found at port 3F0h

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Posted: Mon Jul 01, 2002 5:12 pm
by janpopan

Look here: ... de_hdd.htm

It is in German but You can see Asus produce only Bios-Files which support HDD>128/137 GB based on AWARD Bios V 6.0!

for Your Board the have only support up to 32GB.

No it is NOT easy to modify a Bios to use HDD > 128GB.

HDDs up to 128GB (2^28Bit(*512Byte a secotor)) use ONE command to address a sector, over 128GB (2^48Bit(*512Byte a secotor)) they need TWO commands!


Award 4.51PG vs 6.x ?

Posted: Mon Jul 01, 2002 6:08 pm
by HeraclesMk
Hi Jan.

Thanks for the info. Now another question:

What is (are) the difference(s) between Award 4.51PG and the 6.x BIOS?

If I had an Award 6.x BIOS, then you're saying I could get extra updates?
Well, I've been to the ASUS website again, and the latest file they have is v.0112 (beta!), and their Asus-Update program (which I tried) says it doesn't support my MB (O surprise!).

To be honest, I'll admit I still don't know why BIOS' have two names...
Is it an ASUS BIOS, an Award BIOS or a hybrid of both?...

Also, I've been to the URL you mentioned. Interesting stuff there, but from what I understood, the patches are developed by volunteers (by request?), so unless I ask for one and someone is kind enough to write a patch for me, my only option -- short of getting a Promise card -- is to buy a new one (code or EEPROM).

Unicore's BIOS features sound interesting, but the specs mention they only support HD's to 137GB. The very barrier I want to cross...

Getting a new MB would most likely solve my problem (do MB's LBA address HD's > 160GB nowadays?). But it's a costly replacement, as I would have to get a new CPU, SCSI & SB card, plus the RAM I just bought might not work on the new board...

Hence, my relunctance.

Any more ideas?


Posted: Mon Jul 01, 2002 7:53 pm
by Denniss
Best way is to get the Promise card - gives you the full speed the drive is capable of(the drive is faster than 33MB/sec the mainboard can transfer) and you have additional 4 IDE-ports .

Maxtor: problem solved

Posted: Sat Jul 06, 2002 1:33 pm
by HeraclesMk
Hello all.
What a beautiful day.

Yesterday, I got fed up of all this restrictive nonsense (see discussion above), and I bought a Promise IDE controller model Ultra133-TX2.

I was a bit relunctant because today's BIOS' are able to address large HDs...
Also, because my current PCI bus speed is only 33MHz (don't laugh, it works).

However, while reading the PDFs of both the Ultra100-TX2 and Ultra133-TX2 prior to my purchase -- and boy am I glad I did! --, I noticed one line that made all the difference in the world:

The Ultra100, albeit more suitable to my current system, has an LBA that addresses only >= 137GB*.

The Ultra133, while very powerful seemed like an overkill solution for my hardware, but it addresses...
UP TO 144 PB!!

For those who skipped Greek in school:

1024 MB = 1 GB (giga)
1024 GB = 1 TB (tera)
1024 TB = 1 PB (peta)

So 144 PB = 144,000,000 GB !

I think this card will last me a while. :D

*: I read on their website that they are developing new BIOS releases for older cards so that all their products support 48-bit LBA addressing. Finally a company that looks after its customers after they pocketed the money!

By the way, it worked beautifully on the first try.
No surprises, no fuss. The documentation is clear and simple.
Well worth the €70.

One question though: Why does the Promise's BIOS report my 160 GB Maxtor as 152 GB? Where did the last 8 GB go?

This will probably be my last question on the matter.

Thank you all.
Mark T.

Posted: Sat Jul 06, 2002 2:50 pm
by Rainbow
That's the KB/MB/GB "problem". 1KB is 1024B, 1MB is 1024KB = 1048576B, 1GB is 1024MB = 1048576KB = 1073741824B.
HDD manufacturers use 1KB as 1000B to make their drives appear larger.
So 160GB drive is something around 163000000000B which is 152GB really.

More Gig for your $

Posted: Sat Jul 06, 2002 3:43 pm
by HeraclesMk