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Released in 1999, successor to the original PowerMac G3, 300-450 MHz, 64 or 128 MB of RAM, 6 or 12 GB HDD

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Can my B&W-gone-Debian take a harddrive larger than 128GB?

So, as Google will reveal, the PowerMac G3 B&W does not support harddrives larger than 128GB. However, with the help of a friend, I recently turned an old B&W of mine into a server running Debian. I popped a 250GB drive in, and after a couple of formatting procedures, Debian recognizes that I've got a 250GB installed. So my question is, is it safe to use, or will it be that once I get past 128GB that my data will all corrupt?

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It may work, but there's a good chance that if put more then 128GB of files on the drive, it may begin to act up. I have one of these, and it's given me a heck of a lot of trouble with hard drives. From what I've read, the IDE controller (REV. A) can be incredibly unreliable. On the other side, theres a chance that the limit is bypassed by the linux bootloader and may mask the full capacity of the drive until the operating system has begun to load, since when you install linux on a mac, it installs a GRUB-Like boot manager (Or at least it did on my mac). This may bypass the limit through the that.

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I'll try duplicating my iTunes library a couple times on it first then. Hopefully, that will let me know if it's running into problems or not.

What's the easiest way to find out if I have a rev. a or a rev. b?


I'm not sure, i've been told to check on top of the chips, but i can't tell with mine, The Rev. A is very unstable and unreliable compared to the REV. B. I'llread up on it, and see if theres a way to physically tell.


I found a way to differentiate between the two of them (thankfully I have rev. B).

Here's a link to the site I found the information on:


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Unfortunately it won't see a drive larger than 128 gigs. The hardware is 28 bit and not 48 bit so can't address drives that large. However, according to this page:, a patch can be applied to circumvent the limitations. Not sure if Debian has the patch for 28 bit Chipsets.

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Josh Calvetti will be eternally grateful.
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