Gigabyte has just announced the release of a new utility which allows all the company's motherboards that don't feature the Hybrid EFI technology to recognize and use unallocated space on new 3TB and larger hard disc drives, a feat that wasn't previously possible.
The utility adds support for the drives at the OS level and allows even older operating systems, like the 32bit version of Windows XP, to use HDDs that exceed 2.19TB in capacity.
In order to achieve this, the Gigabyte 3TB+ Unlock application allows the user to create virtual drives that can hold up to 128 partitions, as long as there is additional unallocated space on the HDD.
Furthermore, 3TB+ Unlock supports both GPT (GUID Partition Table) and MBR (Master Boot Record) partition styles, although, with MBR, the number of partitions are limited to 8.
3TB+ Unlock currently supports new high-end motherboard models based on the Intel X58, Intel 6-series and AMD 800-series chipsets, and is in the process of being ported to older chipset models so that it will support all motherboards that Gigabyte is currently shipping.
A list with all the supported models is available here, and includes such models as the company's recently launched G1-Assassin rage, the GA-P67A-UD7-B3 and GA-P67A-UD5-B3 models as well as the soon-to-be-released GA-880G-USB3 (rev. 3.1) AMD Bulldozer motherboard.
Gigabyte's utility is available for download from the company's website by following this link.
The compatibility problems of the 3TB, and larger, hard drives are caused by a combination of limiting factors found inside the BIOS, master boot record and older 32-bit operating systems and make it impossible for the system to recognize and use more than 2.19TB of the total disk space available.
One of the solutions of surpassing this problems is to use GUID partition tables (GPT) instead of master boot record (MBR) tables, and this is exactly what the UEFI BIOS has done.
Unfortunately, Gigabyte hasn't introduced UEFI yet in its boards so the company is forced to resort to hacks, such as the 3TB+ utility, in order to enable its users to pair their systems with high-capacity HDDs.