Not all BIOS will support booting from a large drive regardless of the size of the boot partition. I recently installed NasLite on a Pentium II slot 1 with Award BIOS that refused to boot from a drive larger than 137G. This particular BIOS had no manual settings for Cylinder/Head/Sector and used autodetect in the setup menu to set the drive parameters. Problem was, with large drives (over 137G), it would lock up during detection. Although NasLite technically bypasses BIOS, for boot, this was a problem, since this BIOS would only boot from a drive whose C/H/S values were set to other than zero. My solution was to put a 6G drive in the machine (the smallest I had), set that drive to "Auto", and all other drives (2 500G drives) to "None". The 6G drive is only used for boot (my customer wanted it that way) and NasLite is installed there. NasLite recognizes all other drives in the system, bypassing BIOS altogether for addressing.
The limitation in the older IDE interface was the 24 bit addressing, which limited the drive size to 137G (or 127G depending on whether you count 1G=1000M or 1G=1024M). Around year 2000, IIRC, the address was changed to 48 bit word length pushing the max size into the petabyte range. Virtually all IDE interfaces made after this switch will technically support the same 48bit/petabyte drive size, but AFAIK the largest drive available for IDE is 500G. SATA drives go to 1TB and beyond.
As long as you don't have one of the quirky BIOS like the one I mentioned, and can set the C/H/S manually in CMOS, NasLite should boot fine from an older 24 bit IDE with a large drive. It will boot from SATA in any case.