a) the hard drives that failed on my dad were both Western Digital.
b) the external (firewire) Maxtor 80GB we got some time ago works perfectly thus far.
story thus far:
Dad wants the 250GB in his systems to use as backup. Plugged it in, Linux recognized it as 16907 cylinders, and this was the most it would recognize / limited us to that. Or rather, 137 GB max. We found that we could hack it to 30000 some cylinders = 250GB (fdisk, expert mode). But we were still getting drive out of space issues.
(Note to others:
If you're getting disk full issues while making things like directories, but you can make small files, this might be the problem.)
Eventually, we discovered that the problem was that the BIOS on that system was way too old. ^^;; And that in the BIOS, it only recognized up to 137.5 GB. ::facepalm:: an entire day wasted there...
Well, given that it's Linux, we decided not to try to hunt down a BIOS replacement. Maybe I'll have to go that route, who knows.
Anyhow, spotting the old 80GB Maxtor external firewire disk, I figured, hey, since the system's max is 137 GB, we can swap Maxtor drives! So I cracked open the external (it's old. There's no warrantee left on it, unless Maxtor offers 10 year/lifetime warrantees. I doubt it.) and swapped in the 250GB. It mounted, sure, but it shows up as 128GB. >.<
I'm pretty sure it's the firewire bridge/chip (for the curious: SYM13FW500, LMI Symbios, 2000 P/N 710-008, 1394-ATA Bridge, Rev A). There's a few jumpers on the board, but they don't seem to do anything. At least nothing immediately apparent.
Yep, it's the firewire bridge limit. My 200GB Seagate drive mounts as 128GB. Annoyingly enough, drives need to be in Master mode (not cable select or slave) in order for them to work. Poop. This means the 80 GB drive goes back in. And uh... I dunno... Looks like I need another enclosure. :: annoyed::
I was wrong. Completely and utterly wrong.
The problem, I believe now, is due to the Linux Kernel my dad's using. It's 2.4.2-2. For drive 137+GB support, he'll need to run at least 2.4.19/2.5--something.
Well, there goes another 2 hours. But eh, knowledge gained. Price's kinda steep, but eh, oh well.