I have spent enough time working with an 810Mb hard drive to satisfy both my curiosity and my need for self-deprecation. So I deviated from my day-to-day routine yesterday and after browsing for about 20 minutes in an electronics store, I picked up the box for a 40Gb 5400rpm laptop hard drive.
It’s similar to the one I bought almost a year ago, the same one that’s in this Celeron I’m using right now. Samsung-built but IO Data branded, it’s a solid performer and hasn’t given me any errors.
I was tempted to grab a little bigger drive, or perhaps even a monstrous 120Gb drive — with price differences of about US$20 for a drive three times as big, I’m almost a fool not to.
But if the drive is destined for a machine with BIOS limitations on hard drives that date back to 1996, I don’t want to overwhelm it too badly. I know the Samsung drive, I trust it in another machine, the size is more than I will ever use (particularly in a Pentium), so I was content to save US$20 and take the smaller drive. I know, it’s stupid on the surface, but I’m okay with stupid sometimes.
When I got home, I dropped it into the modular bay without looking too hard at it, except to notice that it was a Western Digital drive, and not a Samsung. I shrugged and went on, because to be honest, drive resellers like this don’t usually pin down one model and slap their label on it, from my experience.
But things got weirder. I booted the Crux 2.4 ISO and checked fdisk, and the drive was present. I started cfdisk to partition it (knowing I needed to leave a separate partition for /boot, so the BIOS doesn’t freak out), but the size of the drive is reported at a bizarre number far too big for a 40Gb dimension. I’ve done enough installs and reinstalls on 40Gb drives to know where those numbers ought to be.
So I exited cfdisk and used a few other tools to be sure I hadn’t made a mistake, then went ahead and partitioned it, leaving a ginormous partition at the end. But then mkfs.ext2 was showing giant block arrays that were also way out of the range for a 40Gb drive.
Well this must be wrong, I thought. So I halted the machine, pulled out the drive and checked the label again. And then I realized there is a God, and she loves me.
What incredible luck!
To make the rest of the story short, I checked the box and the receipt and the label, and everything shows it as a 40Gb drive, but the one in the box, sealed from the company, was a 120Gb drive. So I scored on an astronomical scale, with the kind of luck I haven’t had since secondary school when I got a second floppy disk packaged in a C64 game (I’ve forgotten the title), and sold it to a friend for ~$5.
It’s possible it might not be happy in the Pentium (I mean, it has half as much cache as the system has memory!), but even so I can swap it out for another drive if it puts up a fuss. Take it back? I think not. I’ve worked counter retail and there’s no point being honest.
Nope, this one I’m going to chalk up as a point for me, take it as a blessing from above, and bask in a rare moment.