It is now almost impossible to find IDE HDDs and I am considering fitting a SATA HDD via a plugin IDE-SATA adapter to each of my HP Compaq DX2000MT PCs. The latter are currently Windows XP Pro but upgrade tp Windows 7 Pro are planned. The new SATA drive/s will be the primary drive and, from discussions on other technical forums, it has been suggested that booting from such a drive and adapter may not be feasible. The doubt appears to hinge on LBA capability (suggested 48bit) and BIOS version of the existing system, and the drive capacity of the new SATA drive which would almost certainly be more than 137GB. Indeed there may be concern on maximum drive capacity even if I was able to source new IDE drives, the present 40GB capacity of each PC being somewhat inadequate.

I can find no reference to LBA in my PC's user manual and additionally I'd welcome your advice on the the following issues:

  1. Is the installation of SATA drives sensible and are simple IDE-SATA adapters the best way to interface them to the existing IDE motherboards?

  2. Does the existing BIOS support "48-bit LBA", and not just "LBA"?

  3. The existing BIOS version is 1.10 and I'd like to implement later versions, particularly if there's one which will support booting from USB devices. If BIOS upgrades are desirable what version/s do you recommend? An earlier exercise via HP Chat established that the recommended v 2.54 cannot be achieved for Windows 7 Pro (or Windows XP Pro, SP3?). Can you confirm this or advise otherwise?

  4. Assuming that points 1, 2 and 3 have been satisifed, what else, if anything, is required for operation with drives (SATA or IDE) having a capacity of 160GB or greater and what upper limit is there on drive capacity?

3 Years
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Last Post by sdjelinek

I'll share. I found that such machines were never documented to detail what would happen. We would have to experiment to find what would and would not work. That was over 5 years ago. Today the cost to use such machines (they are quite slow) blow away any savings so they are disposed of and we pick up newer PCs. Mind you I live in a nice place where woot.com and such have fire sales of such newer desktops for 99 bucks. Which is why these old desktops are dead to us. This has caused a few to flame about many things but here it's all about the money.

We pay staff by the hour so if the machine eats the user's time, even if we saved the 99 buck PC we lost more than that over the next year.


Since these systems came out in 2004, there have been a lot of changes to both hardware and software. You may be better served by updating to more recent hardware via ebay or other type sites. There are quite a few listings for systems that have much more recent (used) hardware at quite reasonable prices. That said, you certainly can update these with an add-in IDE-SATA card (provided you have pci slots open) and SATA drives, but you are looking at some issues when updating the firmware on these systems.
Since you are at close to the initial versions of the firmware on these systems, you will have to update both the BIOS and the microcode (version 1.14 Rev.A)for the system. It has been so long since I worked with this hardware that I can't remember if you have to have a 3.25 floppy to complete the install of this microcode.
The BIOS version ends at 1.32 Rev.A (dated 6 Dec 2011), and can be updated in the Windows operating environment.

According to the specs, the system can handle up to a 2TB drive if you use NTFS, which I don't know why you wouldn't, with a Windows OS.
Here's a link to the complete Service Reference Guide for this system:

You may have to futz around a bit with the boot controller order, but it will work.

For the SATA controller, here are some examples from newegg, just for example. I would definitely NOT go with an advanced RAID controller for a system of this age, but if you scroll down a bit, you can find a simple PCI 2.2 SATA Controller card for $14.99 plus shipping.

You will need to download all of the drivers for the system before you start updating the OS, it is easy enough to save all of the
The driver support page for the HP Compaq DX2000MT (assuming you don't have the most basic model) is: http://h20564.www2.hp.com/hpsc/swd/public/readIndex?sp4ts.oid=401820&swLangOid=8&swEnvOid=4059

You should have 4 DIMM sockets, and page E-1 of the service manual gives the specs for the memory for this system, max it out with (4) 512MB PC3200 modules taking it to 2GB of memory; or you will be memory thrashing from the get-go.
I would seriously consider updating the hardware to a more recent version as I described above, but you definitely can do what you are describing.

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