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Drive Expansion and Drive Upgrade FAQ

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by bkdtv, Oct 19, 2007.

  1. Mar 27, 2009 #2661 of 10284
    keltraine

    keltraine New Member

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    Oct 8, 2008
    Hehe, fair enough; I see bkdtv was the one who wrote the long and extremely detailed and accurate FAQ (thanks bkdtv!) and I've seen Spike's posts too--thanks guys!

    Any thought on my latest post btw, the question about whether you really need to shut down when adding the HDs and using WinMFS?
     
  2. Mar 27, 2009 #2662 of 10284
    bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

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    With many USB adapters, is unnecessary to reboot the computer when switching drives. However, certain USB adapters won't work with a new drive until you restart your computer.

    The instructions are written to accommodate everyone, including members who know very little about computers. For those with "tech" experience like yourself, a few steps may unnecessary and/or redundant.
     
  3. Mar 27, 2009 #2663 of 10284
    keltraine

    keltraine New Member

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    Oct 8, 2008
    Awesome, thanks for the quick reply bkdtv! Like I said in one of my other posts, you typically want to take these instructions literally to make sure you're not taking unecessary or dangerous shortcuts, and since there wasn't any asterisk and/or comment about being able to skip that if you know what you're doing (which again, I understand why as some people would think they know when they don't!) I just wanted to make sure before I assumed it would be fine and then end up with a bricked hard drive or something! ;)
     
  4. Mar 27, 2009 #2664 of 10284
    jjeff

    jjeff Member

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    Feb 21, 2009
    Minneapolis MN
    Does anyone know if any of the larger B&M stores sell any of the 1TB internal drives suggested in the OP?
    I spent several hours today driving to Staples, Office Depot, Office Max, BB and a couple other big box stores. Most stores had very few if any internal HDDs and those who did, didn't have any of the HDDs listed in the OP. BB had the largest selection but again none that was on the list. I really prefer B&M and my last hope will be Micro Center across town. I'll try them Monday unless someone knows for sure.
    I hate calling stores, most of the time nobody knows anything, and that's after spending 10 minutes on hold and going through the phone mazes.
    Oh and maybe I missed it (but I thought I looked thoroughly) what type of drive does the Tivo HD use? IDE, SATA, eSATA:confused: Stores seem to have the drives grouped by type and if I knew what type it might save some time. keltraine spoke of eSATA in a recent post, is that what the Tivo uses?
    Lastly, do I need anything other than the raw drive (such as power cables etc.) or do I just use everything from my old drive. I have no spare cables so if I need to buy one before hand I should.
    Edit:
    Per OP Shut down Windows, turn off your computer, and connect only the original TiVo drive. You can open your computer and connect it with a SATA cable, or you can connect it externally with a SATA->USB adapter or a drive dock.
    Looks like I need to buy a SATA cable or the SATA>USB adapter (does this mean the drive is a SATA) and about what price should I expect for either the SATA cable or USB adapter?
    I have screwdrivers (Torx etc) up the wazoo, so that won't be a problem and I have some old (10? year) PC ribbon cable but I don't suppose it would be a SATA cable...
     
  5. Mar 27, 2009 #2665 of 10284
    bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

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    You probably won't find any of the "made for DVR" drives at retail, since these aren't sold in retail packages. They are only sold in OEM packages; they are sold in sealed, plain brown boxes containing the drive in a sealed anti-static bag.

    Since you have the TivoHD, any of the Western Digital "Green" drives will work fine. You may be able to find one of those locally. Be aware, however, that none of those drives come preconfigured for low-noise operation like the "made for DVR" drives. You can enable low-noise operation on those other drives using Hitachi Feature Tool, as described in Section IV, #31.

    The TiVo uses SATA.

    eSATA is just the external version of SATA connector. It's used for external drives.

    You don't need any cables to connect the drive to the TiVo, but you may need a cable to connect it to your computer, if you aren't using a USB->SATA adapter to connect it externally.

    USB->SATA adapters start at about $10 and go up to $20. I would probably buy the cheapest one you can find; just make sure it has an AC (power) adapter.

    SATA cables start at a few bucks. When I did my first upgrade, I couldn't find my SATA cable, so I temporarily unplugged the one from my CDROM and used that. When I was done, I reconnected the cable to the CDROM. If you don't want to open your computer, and your computer doesn't have an eSATA connection on the back, then you should use a USB->SATA adapter.

    If you have to order a USB->SATA adapter online, then you might as well order a Western Digital WD10EVCS or WD10EVVS from the same vendor. Amazon.com, Buy.com, and Provantage.com all sell those drives, as well as USB->SATA adapters.
     
  6. Mar 27, 2009 #2666 of 10284
    jjeff

    jjeff Member

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    Feb 21, 2009
    Minneapolis MN
    Thanks for clarifying. I've kind of got my heart set on the WD10EVCS mentioned in the OP. If I can't find that one (or maybe the WD10EVVS) at Micro Center then I'll try the mail order and probably order the USB->SATA adapter at the same time. My HP Pavilion Slimline PC has no external eSATA connector, only many USB connectors a Ethernet connector as well as a 1394 connector which looks similar to the USB ports. Since the PC has a small case I'd just as soon not take it apart (things are probably crammed tightly). I'm toying with buying 2 HDDs (one for spare). I figure I'll configure both at the same time, that way in the future all I'll need to do is install the second drive and I should be good to go. Hopefully storing the spare drive 3-5 years or how ever long the first drive lasts, won't hurt it.
    Thanks for all the help, unlike the previous poster I have very little PC experience so I'll be reading your OP instructions to the letter when the time comes.
     
  7. Mar 27, 2009 #2667 of 10284
    bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

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    You're not going to find them at MicroCenter, so you can save yourself the trip. :(

    MicroCenter only sells drives for desktop PCs, and the drives above are intended for CE devices like DVRs.

    WD10EVCS @ Amazon
    WD10EVCS @ Buy.com

    WD10EVVS @ Amazon
    WD10EVVS @ Buy.com

    Keep in mind you'll need 2x USB->SATA adapters if you want to copy all of your existing recordings. If you just want to copy the software and your settings (including season passes, wishlists, etc), then only one adapter is needed.

    As part of the upgrade process, you create a backup image of the TiVo software (around 350MB in size). There's really no need to buy a second drive now, because you can easily restore that image to another drive in the future. You'll still have your original TiVo drive as a backup too.

    Hard drives fall in price every year, and eventually, spike (the author of WinMFS) may figure out a way to allow a 2.0 TB upgrade on the TivoHD. In a few years, you'll probably be able to buy a 2.0 TB drive for less than the cost of a 1.0 TB drive today. In four or five years, a 2.0 TB drive will probably cost half what a 1.0 TB drive does today.
     
  8. Mar 27, 2009 #2668 of 10284
    jjeff

    jjeff Member

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    Feb 21, 2009
    Minneapolis MN
    Thanks for the tip, with gas going up again I think I'll save the trip then.

    It looks like Newegg has the nicest selection of USB to SATA adapters but alas the don't seem to sell either of the 2 highest rated HDDs, only a WD that you said would not work, the WD10EADS:(
    From your links Buy.com and Amazon.com sell the correct drive but I'm not too impressed with their USB to SATA adapters:(
    Reading the customer reviews at newegg is rather scary. It seems like most USB to SATA adapters are really poor quality. The Roswell ($21.99 with free shipping) seems to have the least negative comments but at $44 (for the pair that I would want) they're not cheap(although with shipping at Buy and Amazon it's close to $20 each for ones reviewed much worse at newegg):confused:

    So I'm thinking of getting one HDD at either Buy or Amazon, any preference? and the Roswell adapters at Newegg for $21.99 each including shipping(anything cheaper(including shipping) that would be decent)?
    Does this sound like a good plan?
     
  9. Mar 27, 2009 #2669 of 10284
    bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

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    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    The WD10EADS does work with the TivoHD. It just has problems with the older TiVo Series3 model (based on reports from members).

    The WD10EADS doesn't come pre-configured for low-noise operation, so you'd want to change that with Hitachi Feature Tools if you got that drive. That's unnecessary with the WD10EVCS and WD10EVVS.

    Keep in mind you are buying this adapter to use for, maybe, 20 minutes. And maybe once more in three to five years. It doesn't need to be a high-quality piece of equipment; it just needs to get the job done, and then it goes into storage.

    Buy.com and Amazon.com are both reputable. I got mine from Buy.com, but I've heard Amazon does a better job with packing. Amazon seems to double-box, whereas Buy.com doesn't always do so.

    Two adapters at $21.99/ea sounds pricey for something you are going to use so briefly. You need your existing recordings (and therefore a second adapter) that bad, ehh?

    The $14.99 Sabrent USB->SATA adapter does seem to get good reviews (60/68 rated it Good or Excellent), with a handful of horror stories. The Rosewell you mentioned definitely sounds like a higher quality product -- I guess you'll have to decide whether it's worth the difference.
     
  10. Mar 28, 2009 #2670 of 10284
    jlib

    jlib Lean Forward

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    Carmel...
    jjeff, you should at least open up your computer first to see what is available inside. If it is a modern computer the CDROM will be SATA and you can temporarily use its SATA and power cable for one drive. You can also see if there are any additional SATA connectors available on the motherboard that you would only need an inexpensive SATA cable for. You would also need to make sure there is a power connector available there or get a power cable splitter. Note that SATA drives use the black power connectors not the old white ones you remember. So, you should be able to get one and possibly two SATA connections internally which would affect the number of USB adapters, if any, you would need.
     
  11. Mar 28, 2009 #2671 of 10284
    jlib

    jlib Lean Forward

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    Carmel...
    Yes, you pretty much have a handle on the issues related to the TiVo. That is, the marginal performance increase in the second generation drive is irrelevant for our purposes. Someone looking for performance on their desktop is most like going to go with the Black Label series or Velociraptors anyway.

    Note that the increase in performance of the latest generation GP drives with the reduced platter count is actually inadvertent and is due mainly to the increased areal density as you mention. The real goal was a reduced parts count in a cost cutting effort. What the review doesn't tell you is that WD also removed the top spindle bearing in its cost cutting efforts. The spindle on the newer 3 platter drives is supported only on the bottom just like cheap, low capacity drives. WD feels there is no problem doing that and I am sure they have done tests to show the lighter platter structure needs less support but at the same time there is also nothing wrong with the older series since it has way, way more performance than the TiVo can ever use and is arguably more rugged.

    Finally, a more accurate way of thinking about AV or DVR drives is not so much that they are designed for DVRs but rather they are made for OEMs (like TiVo and other manufacturers) to design a DVR around. That is why they are called OEM drives and you never see them in retail packaging. If a particular OEM manufacturer does not design a DVR to use some of the advanced streaming features built into the firmware of an AV drive then there is no advantage in using one over a regular drive, especially since they are mechanically identical otherwise.

    The TiVo S3/HD were already being designed by the time the ATA-7 standards which created that drive genre were being proposed. In the future, the TiVO 4 just may be able to make use of some of the advanced drive features but the main reasons drives like the EVCS are recommended here is because of a consistent compatibility record and, for lack of any better reason, the AAM head seek acoustics are already detuned for you. A couple years ago AV drives carried a large price premium so there was actually a reason to avoid them but now there is not a whole lot of difference. Shopping on price is the most sensible thing to do. Anyone who thinks that an AV drive is somehow better for a TiVO probably also thinks premium gas is better in their Honda Civic. ;)
     
  12. Mar 28, 2009 #2672 of 10284
    jjeff

    jjeff Member

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    Feb 21, 2009
    Minneapolis MN
    Thanks guys for all your help, I'm going with one WD10EVCS at Buy.com and one Roswell USB>SATA adapter at Newegg.com.
    Per BKDTVs advice I figured why store a extra drive for 3-5 years before I might need it. I also figure I can watch or off load everything off my existing drive, that way I can save money only getting one adapter but I'll buy a quality one.
    I decided against opening up the case on my PC, it's one of those small 1/3 size HPs and I figured since there is no room in the box for any more drives they probably wouldn't have any spare connectors and I didn't really want to disconnect my built in DVD burner, not for $22 anyway(the cost of the good adapter).
    BTW this is the adapter in my cart at Newegg, I thought it was nice that the mfg. took the time to respond to a negative post, it tells me they value peoples opinions or at least take the time to respond to them.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812119152
    I may be buying premium gas;) but IMO the regular wasn't a lot less.
    BTW I usually buy the cheapest grade A regular gas for my '05 Scion Xb:p
     
  13. Mar 28, 2009 #2673 of 10284
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

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    bkdtv gave you some sound advice (as usual) and both the drive and adapter should work just fine.

    As you say, there's no real need for an extra hard drive. You have the original and you can put it on the shelf for safe keeping. You can always use it to be up and running right away if something goes wrong and the image will be good for another drive. I figure in another five years or so SSD hard drives will be the rule of the day...so who knows what you'll want by then?

    Happy upgrading, welcome to the club and enjoy!
     
  14. Mar 28, 2009 #2674 of 10284
    solsurfer

    solsurfer New Member

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    Mar 17, 2003
    LA, CA
    I just got a new TivoHD, and have a bunch of old directTivo drives laying around. Is it possible to expand the capacity by adding an additional internal drive (similar to the old zippper method)?

    Also, I still have one of my HD DirectTivos hooked up in on of my rooms. Does anyone know if I can hack it to MRV the new tivo HD?

    Thanks
     
  15. Mar 28, 2009 #2675 of 10284
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

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    IIRC a couple of folks have done a dual-drive on a TiVo HD. I think it was more for the challenge than practicality. (TiVo HD uses SATA drives BTW.) I still have an old S1 on the shelf w/dual-drives. Ah...the good old days. I'd check on the MFSlive.org forum for the hard-core configurations. For most of us the time and trouble reconfiguring everything just isn't worth it.

    Best to just save up a couple of bucks ($100 will get you 1TB now) and upgrade the internal hard drive, put the original on the shelf and be done with it. More info can be found on the sticky linked below my sig.

    MRV won't work unless you can get your DT on a later software version (v8.4?...can't remember when they implemented it for cross-platform now). That's not to say that it's impossible I suppose. Someone may have sorted it out, but AFAIK no one has posted anything like that.

    Enjoy your new TiVo!
     
  16. Mar 29, 2009 #2676 of 10284
    pmalolepsy

    pmalolepsy New Member

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    Mar 29, 2009
    I tried connecting an eSATA external drive to my Tivo HD and I got the following message...

    "This device is unsupported and may not be set up"

    ...with no option to continue. My tivo is running version 11.0b. Does anybody know if they've removed the option to override the unsupported message? Is there any way around this?
     
  17. Mar 29, 2009 #2677 of 10284
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

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    Welcome to the forum! Everything you could hope to know about upgrading your TiVo HD can be found on the first post of this sticky thread (also linked below my sig).

    Unfortunately the only plug and play eSATA drive you can connect to your TiVo HD is the "verified" Western Digital My DVR Expander. (More here.) The older Series3 is able to accept other eSATA drives, but not the TiVo HD or HDXL.

    That said, other eSATA drives can be connected or "married" to the TiVo HD, however that entails removing the internal drive (voiding the warranty if applicable) and connecting both the original and new drive to a PC and running a program called winMFS. The rule of thumb around here is that if you want to add more recording space to a TiVo HD, simply upgrade the internal drive and put the original on the shelf as a backup.

    Hope that helps and happy upgrading!
     
  18. Mar 30, 2009 #2678 of 10284
    eddielives

    eddielives New Member

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    Nov 29, 2007
    Sorry if this has been covered somewhere in this HUGE thread, but I had a question.
    I currently have an extra WD500GB in my desktop. It's running as a backup drive. Can I upgrade my existing TivoHD drive with this drive? Do I need to wipe the 500GB first, or will it automatically reformat the drive with the Tivo software? I will be using the winmfs tool. Thanks in advance.

    EDIT: I think I found my answer. I can, and I don't have to do anything to the 500GB with existing information on it. The software will take care of it.
     
  19. Mar 30, 2009 #2679 of 10284
    jedispork

    jedispork New Member

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    Feb 17, 2008
    Is there anyway to transfer settings and recordings to a new drive without having them connected at the same time? I have a extra tb drive and was wondering

    Tivo drive > Temp drive> New Tivo drive

    would this be possible?

    The drive I want to use is a WD Caviar Green power 1tb. Not sure the exact model number but I've been using it for the past 8 months as my work drive. My work drives seem to go down every 1-2 years. I'm hoping its still solid. I was going to order the dvr expander but it seems they have a high failure rate. At first I was nervous about the idea of opening my tivo. I'm not very handy but I've built many computers and modified a original xbox so hopefully this will go smooth for me.
     
  20. Mar 30, 2009 #2680 of 10284
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,897
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    Jan 4, 2003
    That's all correct. You may also want to adjust the Automatic Acoustical Management (AAM) settings down to 128 to make the drive quieter. You can use the Hitachi Feature Tool to do that at any time.
     

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