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Drive Expansion and Drive Upgrade FAQ

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

  1. Jan 2, 2008 #661 of 10284
    Burt Spielman

    Burt Spielman New Member

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    May 9, 2001
    Madison, NJ USA
    Back again, now having received the PCI SATA controller and cables I referred to earlier.

    I wound up being able to copy the contents of the 750GB drive to the new 1TB drive in a few minutes more than 6 hours on a PIII PC. I've now progressed as far as disconnecting the 750GB drive and connecting the second 1TB drive I intend to use in the Antec case (FAQ: III, 11, 10). However, it had been used previously in another PC and can only be selected in WinMFS if I click on "Show mounted drives" (FAQ: III, 11, 12). When I attempt Mfsadd (FAQ: III, 11, 13), I get an error message stating, "Not a TiVo drive."

    What now?
     
  2. Jan 2, 2008 #662 of 10284
    thilt

    thilt New Member

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    Nov 2, 2007
    Thanks, Rich. Just got off the phone with Tech Support. They're shipping a replacement unit today.
     
  3. Jan 2, 2008 #663 of 10284
    Burt Spielman

    Burt Spielman New Member

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    May 9, 2001
    Madison, NJ USA
    Further to this, I decided to try copying the original 750GB drive to the "non-TiVo" drive. I'm in the midst of that six-hour process right now.

    For what it's worth, when I attempt the Mfscopy with the 750GB selected in Winmfs as drive A and a 1TB as drive B per FAQ: III, 11, 5, I cannot see any destination drive unless I deselect drive B. Only then can I select the 1TB drive as the destination drive A. Am I missing something here?
     
  4. Jan 2, 2008 #664 of 10284
    Dr. Bear

    Dr. Bear New Member

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    Dec 13, 2006
    Central...
    I installed a TiVo-approved My DVR Expander a few days ago. It took two restarts, but it's now up and running beautifully. Nothing has deleted in days, and I've got 76 programs in my TiVo suggestions folder. This rocks.

    Now when will TiVo approve a 1 TB drive? :)
     
  5. Jan 2, 2008 #665 of 10284
    BobB

    BobB Devout Tivonian

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    Aug 26, 2002
    Brookline, MA
    There is a comment in the FAQ to the effect that WD plans to introduce a 1TB version of the one TiVO is currently selling "by this time next year," but it's not clear when that was originally written - I'm guessing around October? Which means we can probably expect to see one introduced in time for Xmas sales next year. My question (to myself) is, can I wait that long, or will I give in and buy the 500 GB one sooner?
     
  6. Jan 2, 2008 #666 of 10284
    Dr. Bear

    Dr. Bear New Member

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    Dec 13, 2006
    Central...
    I had that debate with myself and went ahead with the 500 GB. I decided to just spend the money now, knowing I'll spend it again (and then some) when the 1TB comes out. Plus, who knows if they'll actually get it released in a year?
     
  7. Jan 2, 2008 #667 of 10284
    danschn

    danschn Member

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    Apr 22, 2004
    New York
    I lost that debate with myself, so I'm waiting for the 1 terrabyte drive.

    1) They are plentiful on the market, so how long can it really take for TiVo to approve another from Western Digital.

    2) In the meantime, I've got 1.5 TB of drive space on my PC that I inconviently access using the Home Media Option and Tivo Desktop. I think I can wait.

    3) By the time the 1TB drive is released, the additional 500 GB will come cheaply compared to buyin the first 500 GB today. I say it will be $299 or less for the whole thing.
     
  8. Jan 2, 2008 #668 of 10284
    ilh

    ilh New Member

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    Dec 21, 2007
    To my knowledge, WD doesn't have an AV disk larger than 500GB currently.
     
  9. Jan 2, 2008 #669 of 10284
    jlib

    jlib Lean Forward

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    Nov 21, 2002
    Carmel...
    Theoretically, they should support drives up to 144 Petabytes (144,000,000 GB). It is misleading for Vantec to say they have 48-bit LBA support but then artificially limit size (Vantec actually claims 750 GB support which still doesn't do you any good).
     
  10. Jan 3, 2008 #670 of 10284
    lpinnell

    lpinnell New Member

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    Nov 20, 2006
    Long Island, NY
    Hello all,

    Let's say I buy the current WD DVR Extender, the 500GB model today, and then when a larger capacity model comes out later, can I "retire" my current DVR extender to my PC and use it there? I understand I will lose programs, and the performance may not be optimal for a PC since it is configured for quiet DVR use, but I would rather not just leave it on a shelf doing nothing. It could be useful as a backup device, where top performance is not a priority.

    Thanks,
    Lee
     
  11. Jan 3, 2008 #671 of 10284
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,897
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    Jan 4, 2003
    IMO I would say yes, you can use WD's DVR Expander as a regular external drive...or even take the drive out of the enclosure and pop into your PC. You'd just need to format it. AFAIK there's nothing unusual about the drive other than the TiVo’s ability to recognize the model number.

    That said I did note the following on BB’s web site page for the Expander:

    I've no idea why that would be true. They might want to avoid trouble with people that don’t know how to format a drive I suppose. The only other thing I can imagine would have something to do with the eSATA bridge being different somehow but IIRC a few folks here have connected them to their PC’s for diagnostic testing with normal results. Even if the bridge is a problem there's no reason it wouldn't work internally IMHO. Perhaps someone else can chime in?

    The performance should be fine as is, but if you require ultra high-speed response you could increase the AAM (automatic acoustic management) settings from 124 to 258 with the Hitachi Feature Tool.
     
  12. Jan 3, 2008 #672 of 10284
    ilh

    ilh New Member

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    Dec 21, 2007
    I thought the DVR Expander has an "AV" drive in it. My understanding is these drives have firmware optimized to streaming and therefore try less to retry errors under the assumption that retries can cause stutters in DVR type applications. If so, these drives may be more likely to produce errors in a normal PC environment. Then again, I don't know how likely a retry is to correct an error.

    (Drive manufacturers also have firmware optimized for RAID, which similarly quickly throws an error, which can be corrected by some types of RAID, rather than slowly retry trying to correct it.)

    Am I off base on this?
     
  13. Jan 3, 2008 #673 of 10284
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,897
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    Jan 4, 2003
    I don't think you're off base, but reading the WD specs shows the only difference to be the AAM. Seagate on the other hand does show the error correction difference with their DVR specific HDD's (DB35 series)...so it might be true with WD's product. A call to their offices might clear things up.

    There are others here more knowledgeable than me about HDD's that say there's practically no difference either way. In any case, unless there is some seriously high calculation/processing going on I wouldn't think there should be a problem using the Expander with a PC.

    I'm going to put our Seagate DB35 in my PC and run it for a while and see how it goes...but then I'm not a huge gamer and I don't do extended mathematical calculations so I don't expect any issues.

    Good point though. Maybe some of the experts will chime in.
     
  14. Jan 3, 2008 #674 of 10284
    jlib

    jlib Lean Forward

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    Nov 21, 2002
    Carmel...
    Western Digital does have an AV drive that is bigger than 500GB, by the way.

    There is no problem using a bare so-called AV or DVR drive in a PC. They are simply capable of the additional ATA 7 Streaming Command Set (including the urgent bit). If you send them regular read/write commands they respond like a regular drive as far as error recovery goes. This is why all these drives (Maxtor QuickView, Seagate DB35, and Hitachi CinemaStar) were all originally considered OEM drives by their manufacturers. They were intended to be sold to companies to design and build a DVR or other consumer electronics device around. They are only of advantage to a host that makes use of the specific streaming commands. The TiVo does not use the Streaming Command Set and treats the drive like any other.

    Some unscrupulous retailers started reselling them at premium prices on the secondary market boasting of their DVR performance (the 1TB CinemaStar initially had a several hundred dollar premium over the functionally equivalent DeskStar when there was only one vendor reselling OEM stock). They do have the advantage of already having the head seek performance acoustically detuned but most regular drives (save Seagate) can have that done manually with no price premium.

    There is no technical reason that drives couldn't default to a lazy error recovery (as with the RAID edition of some drives) in response to normal commands. A RAID would always want the non-aggressive error recovery since the RAID controller itself is the arbiter of error correction not the drive and there is no standard RAID command set that could be used. A DVR drive on the other hand sometimes needs full error recovery capability for operating system and database issues. Hence the optional Streaming Command Set standard that DVR manufacturers and drive manufacturers have agreed to. Seagate even says they can deliver the AV drive with whatever error recovery level the OEM requires as default or just use the standardized Streaming Command Set to activate it as needed. Hitachi has now gone one step further than the AT 7 standard with their AV-Zoning on the newest CinemaStars (unfortunately, that is non-standard).

    The bottom line is that the future TiVo Series 4 four tuner model :D may have some use for the streaming functionality of a AV drive (if designed to capitalize on it) but current TiVo models don't make any use of it.

    Here's some light reading ;) for anyone interested in the subject: See Section 4.17 Streaming Feature Set of the AT Attachment with Packet Interface - 7 Volume 1 - Register Delivered Command Set, Logical Register Set (ATA/ATAPI-7 V1) document.
     
  15. Jan 3, 2008 #675 of 10284
    jlib

    jlib Lean Forward

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    Nov 21, 2002
    Carmel...
    Since Western Digital is not OEMing the bare drive but instead selling the drive with the enclosure as an external DVR add-on there is no reason they could not or would not specially set the response of the drive to be appropriate to the known end use: a non-booting, non-OS containing auxiliary DVR drive. Because of that, and since there is not a simple way for the end user to modify the firmware setting for error recovery, I would take their admonition at face value. The drive itself is probably not appropriate for regular use with critical data.
     
  16. Jan 3, 2008 #676 of 10284
    ilh

    ilh New Member

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    Dec 21, 2007
    jlib, thanks for the correction and wealth of information!
     
  17. Jan 3, 2008 #677 of 10284
    Burt Spielman

    Burt Spielman New Member

    73
    0
    May 9, 2001
    Madison, NJ USA
    Yesterday, I encountered some more issues in what should be a simple, straightforward procedure.

    Using mfscopy, I was able to copy the contents of my 750GB Seagate DB35 drive to a 1TB Seagate 7200.11 drive in a little over 6 hours using SATA connectors and cables on a PIII PC. However, I had to deselect the 1TB drive (initially selected as origin drive B per FAQ instructions) in order for mfscopy to permit me to select it as the destination drive A. The program did not ask me whether I wanted to further expand the drive. Unlike my prior attempts using USB-to-SATA adapters, the program did update itself on-screen, and accurately predicted the amount of time necessary to complete the copy.

    When I attempted the mfsadd from the newly copied 1TB drive (destined to be the TiVo's new internal drive) to another 1TB drive (to be the external drive), I encountered a "Not a TiVo drive" error. This second 1TB drive had been formatted in a PC, and although I seemed to recall that it didn't matter how a drive was formatted for Winmfs to work, I couldn't get past this error.

    I decided to devote another 6 hours to copying my original 750GB drive to the second 1TB drive, just to get it to be recognized as TiVo formatted by Winmfs. That seemed to work, and I was able then to "marry" the two 1TB drives with mfsadd.

    I installed the first 1TB drive into the TiVo and the second into an Antec MX-1 external case, then hooked the latter up using the Antec-supplied eSATA cable, which seemed to seat positively into the sockets on both the TiVo and the MX-1.

    When I powered up the MX-1, however, the Seagate drive would not spin up if the eSATA cable was connected. If I powered the MX-1 up with the cable disconnected, then connected the cable, the drive spun up fine. I am at a loss to explain this.

    Now, when I booted up the TiVo, I got the GSOD. It states that one should not power down the TiVo and that the repair can take three hours, but that, if the TiVo doesn't reboot after that time, one should call TiVo Customer Care. Since this upgrade procedure is unsupported by TiVo and I didn't expect that TiVo would be of any help in this situation, I elected to power everything down, rechecked my connections, and rebooted a couple of times, each time getting only as far as this screen.

    I then disconnected the external drive and booted up again. This time, as expected, the TiVo reported that it couldn't find the external drive, and asked whether I wanted to "divorce" it from the internal drive. I proceeded to do that, and, when the TiVo booted up yet again, all seemed normal. The TiVo reported the expected 141 HD hours (I did not use "supersize," about which I have a question), but after only about a half-hour, the TV audio and video began to stutter very badly, accompanied by clicking sounds from the internal Seagate drive.

    After replacing the new 1TB drive with the original 750GB drive, everything was fine, but, of course, I'm right back where I started!

    I now have an RMA from NewEgg to return the two Seagate drives. They were very accommodating, despite the fact that I had purchased the drives on November 23 and their normal 30-day return policy has expired. Expecting the worst from NewEgg, I had tried to reach Seagate tech support first, with absolutely no success. The quick issuance of a NewEgg RMA for a full refund with no restocking charge was, at least, a pleasant surprise.

    I've now ordered a couple of Hitachi 1TB Deskstar drives, and, when they arrive, I'll attempt this all over again. Now that I know that the mfscopy is at least manageable in terms of time, the upgrade doesn't seem as though it should be so troublesome. Unless, of course, I have further equipment gremlins I'm not aware of.

    Now, a couple of questions:

    When I attempt the mfscopy with the 750GB selected in Winmfs as drive A and a 1TB as drive B per FAQ: III, 11, 5, I cannot see any destination drive unless I deselect drive B. Only then can I select the 1TB drive as the destination drive A. Am I missing something here or can someone comment on what I seem to be doing differently from what the FAQ suggests?

    And, regarding the Supersize command, when does one apply it? Before issuing the mfscopy command?

    And a comment or two:

    I'd avoid the current crop of Seagate 1TB drives, even if they did work. They're pretty noisy compared to the 750GB drive, with a lot of clicking upon spin up. Perhaps a future iteration of the 1TB Seagate drive will emulate the DB35 acoustically.

    I'd also suggest that the FAQ more emphatically state that an SATA controller is the way to proceed when copying a lot of video data from drive to drive. The SATA controller card, purchased on eBay from a vendor in Hong Kong, was significantly cheaper (under $10) than a pair of the recommended USB-to-SATA adapters (about $30). Fortunately, that's only a relatively few dollars wasted on USB-to-SATA adapters, but I lost a fair amount of time trying to go the USB route.
     
  18. Jan 3, 2008 #678 of 10284
    jlib

    jlib Lean Forward

    1,063
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    Nov 21, 2002
    Carmel...
    I agree, SATA PCI cards are now so cheap that that should be the preferred approach. The USB adapters I think were originally intended for folks with laptops.

    Regular, non-DB35 Seagate drives are not a good idea for DVR use from the noise standpoint as you discovered.

    One thing I don't follow in your procedure. When you do the mfscopy you said you did not do an mfsadd to expand the new internal drive. How is it that it ended up full size 1TB instead of 750GB as the original? Does using the mfsadd later as part of the marrying procedure also expand the internal drive at the same time if there is space?
     
  19. Jan 3, 2008 #679 of 10284
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,897
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    Jan 4, 2003
    Thanks for all of the details Burt...you earned your Pioneer star with this one! ;)

    I've been following your ongoing saga, but since all of my experience with upgrading drives is with the old Linux boot disk I didn't want to give any poor advice regarding WinMFS. It sounds as if through trial and error that you've mastered it for the most part.

    I think you're the first to try the Seagate 1TB HDD's. It's good (or bad) to know that they are noisy. The 1TB WD GP drive that I have is whisper quiet. I've read/heard that the Hitachi's are working well in TiVo’s.

    Thanks again and let us know how the new effort goes.

    P.S. I've never had NewEgg do an RMA w/o a restocking fee. Way to go! :up:
     
  20. Jan 3, 2008 #680 of 10284
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,897
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    Jan 4, 2003
    Makes sense...cheers for that! :up:
     

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