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512gb SDD drive in a TiVo HD.

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by TexasGrillChef, Aug 27, 2010.

  1. TexasGrillChef

    TexasGrillChef New Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    It's expensive as all C**P but the perfromace boost is amazing.

    I just upgraded my TiVo HD unit with a Kingston SNVP325-S2/512GB SSD drive.

    I did have a 1TB drive installed in it and the extra capacity was nice. However, since I have a dedicated computer running TD+ 2.8, & several DLNA NAS devices as well as one of them being a Netgear Ultra 6. The loss in storage capacity on my second TiVo unit wasn't such a big deal.

    This TiVo HD is a bedroom unit. I have an S3 for the living room.

    Suffice it to say that in terms of performace boost to the menus & other parts of the TiVo, I would have to estimate at least a 40 to 50% boost in perfermance and speed. The only noise now is coming from the fan of the unit!

    I was just wondering has anyone else installed a SSD drive in their TiVo's? Did you see a performance boost of any kind?

    512gb of space still gives me well over 40+ hours of HD recording. Plenty for a 2nd TiVo in the house.

    This upgrade did cost me $900 though. So I wouldn't recomend it for everybody.


  2. Thom

    Thom Unemployed and loving it !

    Jun 5, 2000
    Southern Calif.
    I've been thinking about doing an SSD, but the large ones are too pricey. I thought about putting in a 30 GB SSD in the internal drive slot, and a very large SATA hardware RAID array (which mimics a single sata drive) in the external position, then hand-customizing the partition arrangement so that all the media partitions were on the external SATA array, and all other partitions (including application partitions) were on the SSD.

    For example, on a typical expanded internal (A) drive, partitions A11, A13, and A15 are the large media partitions. On a typical B drive, partitions B3, B5, and B7 are the large media partitions. I was thinking of hand-copying the A11, A13, A15, B3, B5, and B7 partitions to an external hardware RAID array, and hand-copying partitions A2 through A10, A12, A14, B2, B4, and B6 to a 30 GB SSD. Then I would have to hexedit the order of the partition names where they are listed in the A10 partition data.

    If it works, all menu operations, show indexing, etc, should be very fast and I will still have my 2 TB of show space. I have the hardware RAID array (Areca ARC-5030), and the 30 GB SSD would be cheap. I just haven't wanted to tear a box apart and fool with it yet.
  3. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    Thanks for the info.. I've been curious about how a SSD would perform in a Tivo. I also know that the "limited writes" is less of a concern nowadays (since obviously people are using them for computer storage), though with a Tivo *ALWAYS* writing, it still seems disturbing.

    Thom, it would be interesting to hear if you end up doing that and how it affects things. (Though how would you have 2 TB? Is that with a hacked image unavailable via the normal upgrade tools?)
  4. windracer

    windracer joined the 10k club

    Jan 3, 2003
    St. Pete, FL
    Do SSDs give off a lot of heat? Would it possible that the fan isn't even that necessary? It would cool (no pun intended) for a bedroom unit to be totally silent.

    Nice upgrade!
  5. TexasGrillChef

    TexasGrillChef New Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    SSD's produce only 10-20% of the heat of a normal HD because their isn't any mechanical friction heat created like their is from heads tossing back and forth and the spinning discs.

    Not saying they don't get hot, just they produce alot less heat.

    If I used a 2.5" hd heat sink case and inproved the heat sink on the proccessor of the TiVo, then I would say you could get by with a fanless TiVo

  6. ScratchFury

    ScratchFury New Member

    Feb 12, 2005
    Finally! Thank you for the answer to the SSD question. Now I'm wondering if the Momentus XT gives a noticeable improvement over a standard hard drive. I'd think it would "learn" to put the menu stuff in the SSD part and the shows in the spinning part.
  7. Sep 1, 2010 #7 of 68

    Worf Active Member

    Sep 15, 2000
    The only real problem with the SSD is the TiVo is the worst possible load to put on it - it's constantly being written to 24/7 which they don't really like. There's a limited life cycle on them, so a constant write tends to prematurely wear it out.

    Doesn't mean it won't last a long time, though. A good quality one will probably serve for years. A cheap low-grade one can die in just a few months.
  8. Sep 1, 2010 #8 of 68

    GreenMonkey New Member

    May 28, 2008
    That's pretty awesome. Too rich for my blood though.

    I love my 60GB Agility SSD on my desktop. Soo nice. Will get one into my laptop when I get a chance.

    One big enough for the Tivo would be pretty expensive. An SLC SSD would last forever though :D
  9. Sep 2, 2010 #9 of 68

    TexasGrillChef New Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    You are correct in that. However, on the unit that I have in use currently is warrantied for 5 years & has a MTBF rate of 1 MILLION hours.

    Now add that up. In the next 5 years I am sure your going to either:

    A.... Buy a new TiVo.


    B.... Want to upgrade the size of the Hard drive anyways. Maybe by that time a 1tb or 2tb SSD drive will be available at an afordable cost.

    So IMHO.... Sure their are limited writes that the SSD can handle. However the number of writes that it CAN do BEFORE it wears out is WAY more than you will ever get too. While what you say is true, all I am saying is that number of writes is well above any amount you would get to even with your TiVo running & writing 24/7.

    SSD drives are currently being used in some 24/7 servers & workstations.

    FYI... just got of the phone with tech support for the drive. The number of writes that can be done to any one sector (Memory location) is 9 Trillion Trillion times. Which takes about 1 MILLION hours of constant writing to the drive to achieve.

    1 Million hours is their MTBF rate. Which works out too: 41,666 days or 114 years. I think the drive will outlast your TiVo box.

  10. TexasGrillChef

    TexasGrillChef New Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Cost of SSD drives are coming way down and fast. I just bought a new HP laptop and was able to upgrade from a 320gb hard drive to a 160gb SSD drive for only $100 extra.

    I have seen several 256gb SSD drives for as little as $500 as well. I even saw an 80gb SSD drive for $149. I do remember when 80gb SSD drives well almost $500 as well. So just keep patient! :)

  11. dvr_dude

    dvr_dude New Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    MLC SSD's have a typical write endurance of 5K-10K cycles per block. There's a great deal of effort spent on "wear leveling" to ensure that blocks don't wear out early. The good thing is when they fail, you can still read the existing data, you just can't write anything new.

    I'm not sure where the tech support guy came up with 9 Trillion Trillion cycles, but that's complete fiction, with no connection to reality.

    Tom's hardware has an article with an interview with a Kingston representative that might shed some light: reviews/kingston-ssdnow-ssd,2550.html.
  12. bilbo

    bilbo New Member

    Dec 7, 2004
    The Tivo is not going to support TRIM without software (and probably hardware) modifications. It seems like you are going to be taking a 3rd Generation product (that is much improved and less expensive than the 1st and 2nd Generation products), but you won't be getting much better performance (specifically the expected useful life) than a 2nd generation product.

    With two 24 hour buffers being written to continuously, if the programming is all in High Definition (which is almost always the case for me) you would be writing about 500GB per day to the drive (which is well more than 50GB per day that only 1% of users in Intel's study used more than). Two years ago Intel was saying their drives would last for five years if you wrote 100GB to them every day (but they only provided a 3-year warranty and they were only expecting 20GB written to them every day).

    http://www.supertalent.com/datasheets/TRIM White Paper.pdf



  13. smbaker

    smbaker Well-Known Member

    May 24, 2003
    Where did you get this for $900 ? I'm seeing prices of $1300+ on 512GB SSDs from places like newegg.
  14. bilbo

    bilbo New Member

    Dec 7, 2004
  15. Floquet

    Floquet New Member

    Feb 12, 2010

    Have you noticed any improvements with file transfers, MRV, TivoToGo ...? How long would a 4GB or 8GB recording take to download? Can you stream 720P or 1080i recordings in real time :)


  16. cwerdna

    cwerdna Proud Tivolutionary

    Feb 22, 2001
    SF Bay Area, CA
    Yep. "9 trillion trillion" is complete fiction. Even insanely expensive SLC drives can only typically ensure 100K cycles per block. See http://www.anandtech.com/show/2614/4.

    1 million hour MTBF does NOT mean that drive will run for 1 million hours.
  17. alansh

    alansh New Member

    Jan 3, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ
    I'm fairly certain the drive is not the bottleneck for TiVo, it's the CPU (as far as MRV, etc.). I really doubt a faster drive will result in any faster performance.

    TiVo is unusual in that it's writing large amounts of data constantly. Your typical desktop drive usage is doing mostly reads.
  18. TexasGrillChef

    TexasGrillChef New Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    I have contacts that were able to get wholesale prices direct from the supplier. But since you asked this question and now that I have answered. There are a few places online that now have it for $900

  19. TexasGrillChef

    TexasGrillChef New Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    I tried several different method of MRV to test speeds.

    TiVo to TiVo -> of a 1hr HD original TiVo recording. Transfer from a TiVo without SSD to the TiVo with the SSD. No noticeable increase in transfer speed. The same show from the SSD TiVo to the non-SSD TiVo, took about 10 min less. ALMOST realtime transfer, but not quite.

    PC to TiVo with SSD. About 10 min faster than the same video transfer from my PC to TiVo without SSD.

  20. TexasGrillChef

    TexasGrillChef New Member

    Sep 15, 2006

    I have removed my SSD from the TiVo and installed it in a laptop.

    Not because I had any issues with the SSD in my TiVo, Just I needed the additional speed and space on my notebook & did not want to invest in another drive.

    I did replace with the 500gb Seagate momentus hybrid drive. It seems to be doing quite well in my TiVo, and the speed is still much better than other drives albeit not as good as the SSD drive.

    I don't beleive that the performance boost that you get from a SSD drive is worth the high investment needed. At least at current prices.


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