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How many drives can the motherboard support?

by tyrantiger / March 27, 2005 9:31 AM PST

i was planning to but a dvd burner, but my friend told me not to, since all motherboard can only support 4 drives at once. right now i've got a cd burner, dvd rom, and 2 hard drives.

is what my friend said true???

i really want to get a dvd burner and a new hard drive without removing or selling the ones that's in the case right now.

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Here's the truth.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 27, 2005 9:54 AM PST

You will go nuts trying to sort out how to host the CD recording software that came with your CDRW as well as the CD/DVD recording software that comes with your DVDRW (which will record CDR/W).



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While your at it
by pyrixpx / March 31, 2005 8:08 PM PST
In reply to: Here's the truth.

pull the DVD rom as well - all DVD burners read and write CD's DVD's. IF you have an old Cd burner, odds are it's slower than the new DVD-RW.

Or you can add an external hard drive/burner - but they are costly and slow. Buy yourself a new motherboard - but then u run into issues with component (i.e the proccessor and memory off the top of my head) compatabitliy, but if you go this route, get SATA hard drives anywho.

All in all, I would just remove the old ones and seel them.

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Overkill is a crime
by someausiebloke / March 27, 2005 10:11 AM PST

I think what it comes down to is what is the reason for having a CD burner as well as a DVD burner. Give the CD Burner to a friend who doesn't have one, or maybe give it to a charity. Save it and start collecting parts for a new computer, um, what else can i say to do with it, at the end of the day, forget about it, it is possible i think, but there is no reason for it, and it will just become a pain in the *** with all the software. I use to run a CD Burner and a DVD burner, these days i just run a single DVD Burner, may take a bit longer, but i have the time.

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i understand
by tyrantiger / March 27, 2005 10:19 AM PST
In reply to: Overkill is a crime

i kinda understand what Us talking about, it's got to do with using cd burning softwares to recognise whihc drive to use if i have a cd burner and a dvd burner. but what about hard drives? can i have a cd burner, dvd rom and 3 hard drives? will the motherboard support it?

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Don't do it.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 27, 2005 10:32 AM PST
In reply to: i understand

I've seen such disasters and people rarely up the power supply and end up in pain.

Go external USB 2.0 if you need this.


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(NT) (NT) Wouldn't a SATA drive make it if he has that option?
by Jimmy Jazz / March 27, 2005 12:10 PM PST
In reply to: Don't do it.
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Yes, I've used external SATA. Here's why.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 27, 2005 12:19 PM PST

The owner rarely understands the power demands. So we just fit the external case.


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Adding more drives
by Mike Hereid Sr / March 27, 2005 10:35 AM PST
In reply to: i understand

I have a dvd combo cdrw burner-dvd +-rw-1 80 gig hardrive and 2 40gig hardrives-how I bought a pci ide controller- you can also buy one - cost from abt $20 to $50 depending if ide or sata pci controller.
I have the cdrw/dvd rom-dvd+-rw as I get new hardware I always make a backup copy cd and use the backup to do the installing. Just makes it easier-faster-more reliable.

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Almost all motherboard's will
by BAMBAMRCK1 / April 1, 2005 12:38 PM PST
In reply to: i understand

Most boards will support at least 2 IDE drives and 2 SATA
drives and will also support the cd burner and dvd burner. You can also buy excellent DVD/CD combo drives which will do both.

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How many drives can the motherboard support?
by jconner / March 27, 2005 10:36 AM PST

is what my friend said true???

The answer is normally yes. Some newer boards support 3 IDE channels or a combination of IDE and SATA or RAID. It is however possible to add more IDE devices on an older motherboard using specialty PCI IDE controller cards designed for that purpose.

HOWEVER, consider the other two posts not only for the reasons stated but also for added heat and power draw due to adding another unit.

You could consider an external device using USB or Firewire interface.

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How many drives can the motherboard support
by jcrobso / March 29, 2005 12:23 AM PST

You haven't said which MB, it depends on the MB. There are some MBs that have 2 ATA channels, 2 ATA raid channels and 4 SATA ports. And you can get addon ATA and SATA cards. Now if go with SCSI you can have up to 15 drives and you need a 650 watt PSU to handel all of this. John

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How many hard drives can the motherboard support
by bill at compute / March 31, 2005 4:29 PM PST

There are many answers to this question.--- Also many problems. First more drives, I've seen up to 8 drives in a system----- and had to replace the power supply twice (besides it weighed a ton). At todays prices, you can purchase 160G hard drives for less then $100 and if you are willing to file rebates 250G for $50.
Second, the new DVD Burners can burn a CD @ 48x, the dvd readers read one @ 48x. So, scrap your old drives (give them to a friend, save for another computer).
Finally, external drives are slower then the same drive installed internally and who needs cables running all over the place. I've got several external cases that we've replaced for customers over the years. Use Norton ghost to copy your current drives to partitions if this is what you want.

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How many drives can the motherboard support?
by DLBelton / March 31, 2005 7:26 PM PST

This depends on your particular motherboard. Two of my PIII boards support 8 IDE devices, and both of them are full to the max. My 2 P4 systems support 8 devices as well.

For you to get an answer to your question, you need to tell us exactly what motherboard you have. Some support 8 devices, and some only support 4 unless you install an additional card.

Other posts in this thread are also correct. You do need to look at your power supply and the demands that you are putting on it with all of those devices. The power supply that most systems come with just won't handle the load when you start adding devices.

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The answer really is...
by GBTrevor / March 31, 2005 11:11 PM PST

Why do you want to add another Hard Drive?

The answer to that could give a different solution to why you are asking to add another HD.

Not that any of the aforesaid solutions are incorrect, but lets address the problem not the question you asked, if you get what I mean!

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Drive Hoarding
by Impreza WRX / March 31, 2005 11:23 PM PST

Sure, you can add those 2 without removing anything, but you will have to buy an additional IDE Controller card. You will also have to buy a bigger power supply. Get at least a 500w ATX power supply, since those are quite inexpensive if you play your cards right. Do note that OEM cases (for example SONY, COMPAQ, etc.) may have specially designed power supplies that will not fit elsewhere. It is possible to have up to 24 disk and disc drives, plus two floppies, when using DOS and Windows 9X/ME. With Windows 2000 and XP, you can support more than that by mounting the drives in "NTFS Folers" which would be like C:\My other hard drive\ instead of Q:\ etc. The logistics of doing something like that would mean either one reallly powerful power supply (we're talking in the kilowatts) or a multitude of power supplies, maybe even external USB2 or FireWire drives, and a HUGE case or a lot of shelf space for your external drives. Why anyone would want terabytes of hard drive space is beyond me, unless you are too cheap to buy a Beowulf cluster server!

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Ya gotta be kiddin'...
by Wolfie2k5 / April 1, 2005 1:11 PM PST
In reply to: Drive Hoarding
Why anyone would want terabytes of hard drive space is beyond me,...

Hard drive space in a computer is like chocolate to most women -


Sheesh. I remember the first box I got that came with a hard drive. I had gone from an ancient Osborne I with 92 KB floppy disks to an IBM clone with a 40 MB hard drive. When I started out, I thought I'd NEVER fill the drive. That 40 MB seemed like an endless ocean of disk space.

Less than 6 months later, I was getting frustrated trying to figure out what to delete to make room.

These days, many typical files won't even fit on a 40 MB drive. You can't even install the latest Windows in less than 2.5 GIG of space. (Need room for temp files)

Tho, I will admit that these days, drives are dirt cheap. There's no real logical reason to have more than 4 drives (hard and CD/DVD) installed on a computer unless you're building one with a RAID setup for backing up sensetive work.
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How many drives can a motherboard support?
by grandpajim / March 31, 2005 11:37 PM PST

I had the same problem & solved it by getting an external HD. The external is USB (1.1 or 2.0) or FIREWIRE. It is NOT slow - as a matter of fact, it is as fast if not faster than one of the internal drives. I have had no experience with external burners, but people who have external DVD players say that the speed is fine. I vote for the external drive. It may be slightly slower than an internal burner, but usually you don't burn a copy of a file but once, so the additional time shouldn't matter (if there IS any time difference).

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How many drives answer
by larrystell / March 31, 2005 11:53 PM PST

Currently most IDE Controllers will only support 4 devices. However, adding a 2nd PCI IDE Controller will allow 4 more devices. Make sure that each IDE Controller has a hard drive or it will not work. You are only limited by what will fit in the case and how much your Power Supply can handle.

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You can add drives, but...
by kal9000 / April 1, 2005 12:15 AM PST

First, If you're talking about a dvd burner, ask yourself why add it instead of just replacing your old cdrom drive (if you have one), that way you'll have a CDrw and a DVDrw.
As for the hard drive, the post "Drive Hoarding" by "Impreza WRX" is the best: You can always buy a PCI IDE controller card which will enable you to add IDE controllers (some of which have RAID capabilities but will have problems controlling CDs, in which case you can leave you CD Drives on the Motherboard controllers).
Be aware, however, that at least a 350W power Supply is required depending on how many power-hungry pieces of hardware you're using.
Note that today's average 80GB IDE hard drive uses a maximum of 17.0 W (for spinup) and average 8 to 14 w (for read/write/idle and seek)

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re: How many drives can the motherboard support?
by seaside / April 1, 2005 12:34 AM PST

Well Yes and No.

Normally there is only connectors for 4 (ide) drivers on a motherboard. So your friend is correct. But there is a workaround.

You can add a "promis" controll card (pci) to your computer.
It will make it possible to connect 4 more drives units to it.

My experience with promis connected drives is that the computer only sees them when the operating system is loaded, so it isn't a good idea to put windows on any of these drives.

Some computers have this controller built into the motherboard and then of course you can connect 8 drives to the motherboard.


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by doclnemo / April 1, 2005 1:48 AM PST

I am currently running 3 harddrives a dvd rom, cd rom, dvd burner, a cd burner, an old 120 tape drive, 5 1/4 floppy, and my 3 1/2 floppy off my compaq amd 2600+ using win2000

I had to make an extention for the ide ribbons to allow for the additional drives and add a new power supply. The supplys are two 450 watters and yes my computer is the fuglist thing you'll ever see but I did it to prove a piont that even a mini tower can play the big tower games

Lee Miller, doclnemo@yahoo.com

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While you did prove a point
by chuckieu / April 2, 2005 2:11 AM PST
In reply to: Harddrives

I wonder if you know that a DVDrom drive also plays CDs and a DVD burner also burns CDS? But you said you were only proving a point of some kind. chuck

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Get a rack mount and new motherboard. . .
by techtype / April 1, 2005 4:14 AM PST


If you get a rack mount and a server type motherboard, you can have as many as you want. This is because in the rack mount we have all of this fantastic space and air flow, why one could even heat their home with the heat given off. Like the others do not use a CD burner and a DVD burner separate. All DVD's since the beginning were/are planned to play and record both CD's and DVD's, but unlike most here I prefer to use a CD/DVD ROM to play CD's/DVD's and save the burner for recording. This is because the burner needs to have tighter tolerances, so the more it used for non-recording purposes, the more it wears out. To be non-glib about the number drives, how many open PCI slots do you have open/not filled? IDE controller cards can be bought to fill up those empty slots, each controller usually controls four IDE/ATAPI devices. That is how servers are made and using motherboards that are specific to being servers. To answer your question, number slots, number of IDE controller boards.

Hope this helps.



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Re: How many drive can a motherboard support???
by joannejohn / April 1, 2005 4:56 AM PST


I can't say for ALL motherboards, but I have a Compaq Pentium 3 running Win 98 SE, and I have 4 hard drives, 2 CD burners, and an old Zip 100 drive, all running at the same time.

I installed a pci card for 2 additional ide channels, and have no conflicts or problems. I also occasionally use a USB drive when I want to move things between the desktop and my laptop.

Hope this helps!


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How many hard drives and CD's -IDE slots
by ViCtAAh / April 1, 2005 1:51 PM PST

I have an Asus A7V133 mobo with raid. I dont run raid but have utilised the extra IDE's to run DVD rom,CDRW,1x80G HD and 2x 40G HD's. All work fine no need for exst.cards etc but I dont think I can fit anymore in?

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this question is sort of off topic but...
by zimz2689 / April 1, 2005 11:19 PM PST

are all cd drives (ie cdrw, dvd burner etc...) compatible? I have a DVD burner that i want to put in my sony vaio. (PCV-RX552, Windows XP HOME, 384 MB RAM, 80 gig drive) I plan to replace my cdrw drive with it. My other cd drive is a dvd-rom drive. Thanks.

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Simply put... yes... but be sure to check the drive jumper
by khongphutu / April 2, 2005 10:35 AM PST

Technically, the issue of compatibility is a function of several major compatibility factors:
1. Communication Interface
2. Driver (OS-dependant)
3. Software (OS-dependant)

Common communication interfaces, which can be one of the following:
1. IDE/EIDE interface
2. SCSI Interfaces (50/68/80 pins; internal/external)
3. USB/Firewire (typically used for external devices)

Most home users' PCs uses IDE/EIDE interface and newer motherboards also support SATA onboard. Unless you specifically buy SCSI-supported MB or add-on SCSI card/RAID card, this is most likely not applicable to your case. Therefore, based on the intent of your question, the answer is yes from the interface connectivity perspective. That's, you can take any IDE/EIDE device and plug it in another host which also support the IDE/EIDE interface. Just make sure that you check the Master/Slave jumper and jump the drive accordingly.

Beyond the physical interface, you must consider driver and software compatibilities.

Basically, you must have the driver for each hardware device so that it can communicate with the OS. Unless your DVD Burner is rather old, which does not seem to be the case here, Win XP will likely have the driver for it. You could also check with Sony to see if your DVD Burner is supported in Win XP. Your DVD Burner software should works if the hardware is supported by Win XP.


You may need to remove the driver and software installed to support the old hardware/CDRW drive before installing the DVD Burner. In some cases, you may have driver conflict which may prevent loading the driver for the newly installed hardware (DVD burner in your case). Also, in rare instances, the old software can also cause conflict. Just be aware of this possibility and take appropriate action.

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It is true
by itek4u / April 2, 2005 10:25 AM PST

Four drives are the max. To add additional drives, install a second IDE controller adapter (PCI card) to gain four additional IDE drives. The card will have it's own on-board BIOS, all you need to do is load the driver. The motherboard will assign it an IRQ.

Check out the link below to see some of the cards available and the prices:

Anyway, if you do end up with a conflict,just move the card to a different PCI slot so it will get a different IRQ. You can also disable your com ports and parallel port in the bios if they are not used. This will free up a couple of IRQ's.

Also, make sure your power supply has enough juice to handle the additional drives.

Hope this helps,

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How many drives can the motherboard support?
by bdbirr / April 3, 2005 12:24 PM PDT

Most motherboards come with 2 connectors for hard drives, CD-ROMs and DVDs which are referred to as devices. Each connector will support 2 devices. There is a Primary and a Secondary connector on the motherboard. The ribbon that connects to the motherboard has 2 connectors on it for devices. One is called the ?Master? and the 2nd is called the ?Slave?. The jumper settings on the devices determines which device is the ?Master? and which one in the ?Slave? With this setup the motherboard can handle 4 devices. It is possible to add a controller card that will have 2 connectors on it, to your motherboard that will give you the ability to add another 4 devices. That is if you have an open slot. Which will give you a total of 8 devices. It is possible to do what you want to do, but there is the issues of will your power supply be able to handle the other devices?

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Adding the DVD
by cngilbert / April 5, 2005 1:14 AM PDT

By all means, add the DVD.. One way to add it without removing another device would be to add a PCI - IDE controller card ($15 today on Chiefvalue.com).

Yes, there is a 4 device limit on the MB, and remember the DVD burner will allow buring of CD's and playing DVD's, so either of your existing devices COULD be replaced.

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