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Can a Roamio Rebuild a Data Drive from Scratch?

Discussion in 'TiVo Roamio DVRs' started by puffdaddy, Aug 20, 2013.

  1. puffdaddy

    puffdaddy Member

    Mar 1, 2006
    The Roamio tivos are the first retail offering to have a built in Flash that houses the "executable" portions of the tivo software (as opposed to the data, e.g. videos, program guide data, etc.)

    Presumably, this should allow them to tolerate replacement of the internal hard disk (termed a "data disk") with a blank/new hard disk and be able to boot and rebuild the internal disk.

    One would still lose recordings, but at least it would obviate the need for backup images.

    I'm wondering if anyone has tested this yet (to confirm that it will rebuild the data disk if provided a new drive) and can say whether or not the tivo will attempt to fully utilize the new drive (potentially to 3GB or beyond).
  2. lessd

    lessd Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    I would be shocked if this would work, or that TiVo would let such a system work.
  3. P42

    P42 Active Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Where did you find this cool nugget of info?
  4. puffdaddy

    puffdaddy Member

    Mar 1, 2006
    It should be easy enough to test this out...
  5. hangtime79

    hangtime79 New Member

    May 22, 2005
    This would be sweet if its true.
  6. trip1eX

    trip1eX Active Member

    Apr 2, 2005
    in my armchair version of the next Tivo I had them putting everything on flash and selling a drive-less Tivo for cheap. And leaving it up to the customer to supply a hard drive. The flash storage could have even have enough for a few recordings in the meantime.

    be nice if they did let you just put in a new blank drive and press a button or two.
  7. ShayL

    ShayL Member

    Jul 17, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Sounds like the four-finger press on the moxi.
  8. SullyND

    SullyND L:45-21 TCF Club

    Dec 30, 2004
    Chicago Burbs
    Interesting. The Pace TiVo box does this, right?
  9. unitron

    unitron Active Member

    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    A drive-less TiVo would be a support nightmare.
  10. MeInDallas

    MeInDallas Member

    Jul 31, 2011
    Dallas, Texas
    Some Motorola DVR's do this, you just pop a blank hard drive in, plug it in and formats the drive.
  11. jcthorne

    jcthorne Active Member

    Jan 28, 2002
    IF this were true and the base Roamio has a 2.5" drive it would explain the choice of 500GB for the unit. Its the cheap sweet spot for laptop drives at the moment.

    Driveless TiVo would not happen due to support issues but selling the unit with a mediocre drive and easy upgrade path would be the next best decision. Oh if only its true.
  12. sbourgeo

    sbourgeo Hepcat Daddio

    Nov 10, 2000
    New England
    I'm pretty sure the old Microsoft Ultimate TV DVRs did this too. That would be a great option for the new TiVo units, but I'm not holding my breath in anticipation. :D
  13. Kevin L

    Kevin L Active Member

    Jan 10, 2002
    Gulf Cove, FL
    You're correct, Ultimate TV automatically formatted a new drive and installed the software. When I went from Ultimate TV to the HR10-250, I was surprised at how cumbersome it was to install a new drive.
  14. andyw715

    andyw715 Well-Known Member

    Jul 31, 2007
    If anything they should provision a smallish SSD to the tuner buffers, that would at least allow the HDD to take a break once in a while.
  15. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

    Jan 31, 2002
    And also greatly increase the price. SSDs need to come down alot in price before that happens. Besides the hard drive doesn't need to take a break. My GF is running two of my S3(OLED) boxes. Each with the first 1TB hard drive that was available. The Hitachi, five platter, 1TB drive. Which also runs hot. So far they have both been running 24/7/365 for over six years, buffering the two tuners, without any problems. And hopefully they continue to run because I don't want to deal with the complaints if it does die.
  16. rainwater

    rainwater Active Member

    Sep 21, 2004
    SSDs are not really designed for 24/7 writing. I don't think there would be any benefit to killing a SSD instead of using a hard drive designed for that type of writing.
  17. JoeTaxpayer

    JoeTaxpayer Member

    Dec 23, 2008
    Is SSD write capacity still around 100K? If used as a constant buffer, I'd be curious how often a sector is re-written. Once per hour? That's a 10 year life, still not a deal killer.
  18. mntvjunkie

    mntvjunkie Member

    May 12, 2009
    This would actually lower the lifespan of most Tivo Boxes in two ways. First, it is far better to leave a hard drive spinning 24/7 then to turn it off. Technology has gotten better, but most of your damage to a hard drive would be when it stops and when it starts. Leaving it at a constant spin reduces stress on the drive.

    Second is the limited read-writes of SSD disks. This works great for computers, because most drives will give you 500+ rewrites. But, in the case of a Tivo where the buffer is 30 minutes long and is ALWAYS recording, it wouldn't take very long at all for 500 rewrites to happen (assuming the drive is filled with buffer, 500 half hour cycles would kill the drive, which would happen in about 10 days (48 half hour cycles per day).

    Now, theoretically, if the SSD was 256GB, you'd have space to play with (assuming each channel is 2.5GB for 30 minutes, and 6 buffers, you'd only use 15GB at a time) but that would only increase the life of the drive by 15X, which would still see failure in about 6 months at a cost of $200 per drive retail.

    As far as the OS (and JUST the OS, no databases, as those have high rewrites for indexing and data only being valid for 24 hours before an update is needed) yes, SSD would speed up load times and screen refreshes, provided the processor isn't the bottleneck. And at 700mhz, I think the processor might be the bottleneck rather than the hard drive, but I may be wrong because I don't know what the overhead is on that processor in performing daily operation (indexing, recording 6 tuners 24/7, rendering menus and UI's, doing updates, running HTML5 applications, etc).
  19. mntvjunkie

    mntvjunkie Member

    May 12, 2009
    For consumer grade, it's 2-3000 times, tops. And each sector would need to be rewritten twice per hour, or 48 times per day. (reposting this for the TLDR crowd).
  20. zgamer

    zgamer New Member

    Oct 12, 2007
    Also depends on it's purpose. They could have a small amount of NAND baked in to load a base os (factory) onto a drive if they wanted to and it would be read-only if it can't boot from the hard drive.

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