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Hard Drive Upgrade Info

Discussion in 'TiVo Roamio DVRs' started by amseven11, Aug 20, 2013.

  1. nooneuknow

    nooneuknow TiVo User Since 2007

    Feb 5, 2011
    Ok, looks like I just misunderstood what you were trying to convey (as well as some others). I thought you were going to go with a single large un-approved eSATA drive (using the Seagate in your own enclosure). Anyway, I'm glad it all seems sorted out, and nobody got hurt in the process. ;)

    So, are you really going to leave the stock drive in and buy an approved expander (which nobody who has ever used one would ever recommend), or are you just going to get a 5400RPM "Green" (Preferably WD AV-GP, or Seagate equivalent) drive that won't give your power supply fits?

    I can say that I've used 3TB WD Red NAS (AV rated, green power profile, 5400RPM, 3yr warranty) drives in my three base Roamios, and am certain the wall-wart power supplies would overheat if without lots of air-space around them (the Red drives have the same power requirements as the Green do, so it's not due to the color-coding).

    Others have reported using Seagate 7200RPM drives in base models without any trouble, which makes me wonder if your power supply is "up to snuff".

    Perhaps if you could supply the specifics of your drive's spin-up power requirements, we could help figure out "what's what". A good start would be just the specs printed on the top of the drive say for amps. The spin-up would require the datasheet for the particular drive model.

    I'm just trying to save you added hassle/time/frustration, if I can.
  2. unitron

    unitron Active Member

    Apr 28, 2006

    I'm pretty sure it's not the enclosure, it's just that the TiVo has a very short list of WD drive model numbers (i.e., model numbers for raw drives) and if the drive inside the enclosure is not one of those few model numbers, the TiVo won't have anything to do with it.
  3. jmbach

    jmbach der Neuerer

    Jan 1, 2009
    I can confirm that information.
  4. nooneuknow

    nooneuknow TiVo User Since 2007

    Feb 5, 2011
    Which is why it IS possible to take the drive out of the lousy enclosure it comes in and move it into a better one with heatsinking and/or fans, if you actually want to give it a chance of lasting the length of the warranty that just was voided. So very many reasons to not like the "approved" expanders...

    WD does burn identifiable data into the firmware that correlates the internal drive was sold as an external drive (internal in a casing). AFAIK, this includes the serial number, plus what the drive identifies itself as to the host (some of which is sight-unseen without special software to get to it).

    I have some EZRX drives that came in that world's cheapest and suffocating plastic enclosures (WD Essentials, non-encrypting USB 2.0), and the serial numbers were in a different format than that of internals of the same drive, both on the drive, and the case (same inside and out). Thus, when registering with WD using the serial number right off the drive inside, it came up as the external drive. No sneaking it by them, unless you can put it back in the enclosure leaving no signs of tampering (can be done).

    Last I recall, approved expander enclosures require breakage to open, unless I missed to how-to post on that.

    EDIT/ADD: I've never had an approved expander to try and defeat the case without breaking it, which is why I don't know.
  5. Adam1115

    Adam1115 20,000!!!

    Dec 15, 2003
    Right, the last TiVo I owned was a Series 3 OLED. I haven't kept up since.

    At first I was going to replace the internal drive with an internal Seagate. When that didn't work, I was going to put it in the external enclosure and us it in parallel to the internal drive, but I wasn't aware that they took the code away to do that after the Series 3.

    So now, I'm going to just use a dvr expander. No big deal. :)


    Really? Why? I used an unsupported external drive on my Series 3 for years and my dad used the dvr expander for years on his series 3. Is there something different about the new TiVo DVRs that make it more unreliable?
  6. nooneuknow

    nooneuknow TiVo User Since 2007

    Feb 5, 2011
    It's the authorized DVR expander from WD, as a product, that sucks. They fail frequently, based on what I've been reading over the last decade. I've seen nothing to indicate that they have suddenly become reliable and trustworthy products. Every now and then, somebody says they got years out of theirs without any problems.

    Everybody is quick to jump on the "points of failure" added by using one, while the fact that they tend to fail so frequently, and almost never last long enough to "get your money's worth" seems to take a back seat.

    If you have no issues with losing all recordings made since you installed it, just because of a bad/bumped connection, or failure of the expander, no problem. If you want reliability and longevity, that's two features that don't come with approved external expander drives. They can spontaneously happen, though.

    Also, be prepared for TiVo support to insist you disconnect it while troubleshooting any issue you call about. Sometimes they have you do it in a manner where you lose your recordings. I'd avoid things that support can make you remove, when you can. If keeping your warranty and being guaranteed support are priorities, you actually need to use the expander. Unfortunately, doing so can cause more headaches than an unauthorized internal drive upgrade.

    I've given up on TiVo support, which is why I run self-upgrade internal only.
  7. Adam1115

    Adam1115 20,000!!!

    Dec 15, 2003
    I'm confused by the bad/bumped connection comment. With the series 3, if it lost connectivity to the drive it would require three thumbs down to un-join it (losing recordings.) Has that changed as well?

    I agree that WD drive suck, but what does the 'expander' do differently than any other enclosure causing so many failures?
  8. nooneuknow

    nooneuknow TiVo User Since 2007

    Feb 5, 2011
    I feel I should defer further input to somebody who actually has used one with a Roamio.

    I like to be accurate, and going off memory about what other people who had them posted isn't a recipe for accuracy.

    I think most TCF members have been so turned-off by them by experience, or by the posted experiences of others, that it's not the easiest to find somebody currently using one on a Roamio.

    Keep in mind that The Roamio has only been available for about a year now. So, the best you can expect hear is "I've been running one for a year...". Nobody can tell you to expect more longevity, that the time the product has been on the market.

    Like has been happening frequently with internal hard drive advice, some folks are giving advice to Roamio owners, whom themselves own Premiere, HD, and older TiVo products, and have no experience with the Roamio, or they are basing longevity off an old 2 tuner unit and a drive that may no longer be on the market. Higher tuner counts, and more things in HD mean more workload for the hard drive(s). I wouldn't be shocked if those using mainstream drives start seeing failures around the 2 year point on internals (which is also the length of drive warranty on non-24/7 & non-AV WD drives).

    I try to hold myself to the same standards I expect of others, so I'm just being honest, and telling you I can't really do more than guess the answer to some of your questions, and/or guess what has changed, when it comes to things I don't have, or have never used.
  9. CharlesH

    CharlesH Member

    Aug 29, 2002
    Thank you for clarifying this point. The original discussion about problems with the enclosure that I was thinking about were quite a few years ago.
  10. A J Ricaud

    A J Ricaud New Member

    Jun 25, 2002
    until 11:59 PM PT 7/4/14 with PROMO CODE EMCPCPG23
  11. unitron

    unitron Active Member

    Apr 28, 2006
    The original discussion about enclosure problems may have been about what people were using on the original Series 3, after someone discovered an undocumented KickStart or something that enabled the eSATA port before TiVo was ready to launch that feature officially.

    The original S3 didn't yet have the short list of approved WD drive models, so most any drive in an eSATA case would work.

    Rather than make a lot of people mad, TiVo elected not to invoke the list on the 648s, which would have turned the eSATA drives already in use into boat anchors, but had it in place when they rolled out the other 2 S3 models, the 652 and the 658, and it's in force for S4s and S5s as well.

    The TiVo-approved WD models with the TiVo logo on the box, etc, apparently also had some problems once they were finally put on the market.

    A lot of the problems, both with the WD enclosures and with other brands, seems to have been eSATA data cables that weren't reliable.
  12. dpurcell

    dpurcell New Member

    Jul 6, 2014
    O.K. First-time poster here. I've gone through my "initiation" (read the 62 pages). My Roamio basic, Mini, and replacement drive will all arrive tomorrow, and I think I'm ready to replace the HDD and hook it up. I've copied the photos and instructions on how to pry the top off the Roamio.

    Never used TiVo before, but I'll be getting rid of DirecTV and their ever-increasing charges as soon as the TiVo is hooked up.

    I've been puzzling over MoCA or Ethernet connection, but I think running new Ethernet cables through the crawl space to connect the TiVo units and the router is the way to go, because it will save buying two MoCA adapters (required for the TiVo basic) and I would still have to connect a new piece of coax from the router to the existing coax that runs from my HD antenna in the attic to the TVs in the bedroom and den. I'll look for another thread on connections.

    Thanks for all the good information.
  13. jmpage2

    jmpage2 New Member

    Jan 20, 2004

    I'm sure many people here can answer any questions that come up. It is stupid easy to replace the hard drive on a Roamio so I don't anticipate you will have too many problems.

    Ethernet is absolutely preferable to MoCA if you would have to buy additional hardware to do MoCA. The only reason maybe to do this would be if down the road you purchased some TiVo Minis.
  14. eric102

    eric102 Member

    Oct 31, 2012
    Just upgraded my Roamio basic to a 3TB Red WD30EFRX ($116 shipped from Amazon), went smooth as silk and very quickly, less than an hour total.

    It had been in service with the stock Seagate 500GB for months and I had finally watched or transferred all the recordings to my Pro so was a good time to do it before the fall recording season.

    The WD30EFRX seems to be running quieter but is a larger form factor so hopefully will run just as cool as the Seagate.
  15. nooneuknow

    nooneuknow TiVo User Since 2007

    Feb 5, 2011
    The Red NAS drives are what I use in my 3 Roamio basics. They are, in my experience, and in the experience of others, the coolest running drives you will find. They require no cooling on their own, and can be enclosed without ventilation, in drive enclosures (often still running cooler than the WD Green and AV-GP drives are designed for being enclosed). However, the cooler you keep any of them (within reason), the longer the life expectancy.

    It's been my determination that the extra height does not restrict the airflow. The basic model fan is just too wimpy to move enough air for it to matter. Even if the fan failed, the drive would not suffer overheating, unless it was due to the other internal's heat, heating the drive. I define "overheating" as exceeding the threshold for data integrity assurance and drive lifespan assurance. If I stated a number, or range, others would likely disagree with what my research has led me to consider the various thresholds.

    If you did not run the WD Data Lifeguard Diagnostics for Windows (WinDLG) program on the drive, performing all the tests, before installation, you may run into issues down the road. I'm 3 for 3 on drives that acted-up without running those tests first. What would happen, as far as I can tell, is the TiVo would write data, then have trouble reading the sectors it was on. A read test with WinDLG would mark the sectors as pending reallocation, but the write zeroes test would reclaim them without using spare sectors to replace them. I would then re-install the drive after one more read test, and not have problems in the future. I'm still working on how to explain what some very extensive testing and diagnostics has led to to believe is an explanation for this.

    I've seen other reports of WD Green, AV-GP, and Red NAS drives acting up like this when installed fresh out of the bag, but working fine when pulled to do the tests, then re-installed. So, I advise that everybody just do the tests first. They can be done with a USB dock/adapter, and USB 3.0 is more than fast enough to match SATA speeds with 5400RPM low-power profile drives (eliminating the need to open your computer).

    Two indicators (the easiest to spot) of the drive having such problems are:

    1. The TiVo intro video is jerky and stutters.
    2. The System Information screen takes more than 3 seconds for all the data to populate with values.

    Another item on my project list is proving the new WD Purple drive is not desirable for TiVo use (for long-term reliability & longevity), more so with higher tuner counts of the TiVo, and how often the constant buffering is on high-bitrate HD channels.

    Total Workload = (# of tuners or cameras) x (bit rate per stream) x 2 (for simultaneous record and playback) + (non-AV data).

    The maximum rated workload of the WD purple is 60TB/yr, and requires 20% idle time (this is per drive, thus the reason why these are designed for RAID, where the workload is distributed, and scalable to meet the demand, while staying within the ratings).

    The Red Nas has an unofficial workload rating of 120-150 TB/yr (per drive).

    The AV-GP drives do not have a disclosed workload rating, and are not RAID-friendly.

    Enterprise-class drives from WD range from 180 TB/yr to 550 TB/yr (per drive) workload rating.

    4 Tuners of HD video = ~200 TB/yr.

    The workload rating combined with idle time rating, kept in range, makes it more likely that you will get at least 3 years of life from the drive. Exceeding the workload and denying the idle time is allegedly going to shorten the life of the drive. Keep in mind that a lot of problems can happen with a drive that has been overworked, causing a myriad of issues, before the drive becomes apparent as the source of the problems.

    While some of the drives from WD are identical internally, the firmware is tailored to operate under specific parameters. Non-AV rated drives currently on-market are expected to spend 3/4 of each year in some form of idle-mode, not 24/7/365 always buffering DVR data, and being denied time to essentially recalibrate to know the optimum seek rates/timings.

    Coming soon (provided I can maintain my motivation): My own thread on all this, citing my sources, providing links, and benchmark results showing just how fast a TiVo-useage degrades a drive's transfer rates, and ultimately the length of time before a drive degrades enough to cause problems in DVR (TiVo) operation...


  16. c3

    c3 TiVoholic

    Sep 8, 2000
    That doesn't make sense to me. How would it fix bad sectors without replacing them?
  17. DancyMunchkin

    DancyMunchkin New Member

    Jul 7, 2014
    I installed a WD20EURS last August in my Roamio Basic. No issues so far and I did not run the WinDLG utility.
  18. nooneuknow

    nooneuknow TiVo User Since 2007

    Feb 5, 2011
    If they are improperly marked as bad, simply because they can not be read, but running the tests determine they can be written to and then read, they are reclaimed, rather than re-allocated by spares. This is basic hard drive SMART 101 stuff. Drives don't condemn and replace sectors without attempting a recovery, they will simply flag the sectors after a read timeout happens.

    If any sector reallocation events occur, raw SMART data for reallocation events and reallocated sectors will no longer be a string of zeroes (and when converted from hex to dec values, will provide exact numbers), and if enough of any SMART events happen, the actual SMART attributes will begin declining from their initial values of 100 or 200 (whatever the mfg decides to use to begin with).

    I used to think that if all my values were 200/100, that the drive had had no negative events recorded. Not so. It takes a number of events/errors for each value to drop that value, by even 1, to 199/99.

    WD's utility hides the raw data, as does most other mfg tools/utilities. They know that by the time you get the drive, it may have developed bad sectors, just from doing nothing at all. HDD Scan gives the raw hex that can be calculated to give a number. Acronis drive monitor does the calculating for you. Both are FREE programs. Spinrite is even more informative, but isn't free, and operates at such low-level modes, a basic pass can take days to complete.

    In the end, the pending sector count returned to zero, reallocation events remained zero, and the reallocated sector count stayed at zero (all raw values), and the corresponding SMART attributes stayed at original 200/100 values. The ONLY value that changed in a negative way was the RAW Read Error Rate, which the raw value hit a high enough count to drop to 199. Once the drive had recovered the pending sectors, the next read pass moved that value back to 200, but still kept the attribute for the worst the value had ever been at 199.

    Each SMART value has Current/Worst/Raw/Threshold values. The raw values start at 0 and climb. At mfg determined counts of raw values, the actual SMART attribute falls.

    For some reason, the data was so corrupted, it could not be read. Once the sectors with that bad data were written full of zeroes, and read again, they proved themselves trustworthy, based on whatever algorithm the mfg uses for that drive.

    Short answer: No reallocation events, no reallocated sector count, and the pending sectors being cleared of their pending status equals recovered versus reallocated sectors.

    New SMART attributes are being added all the time. Some drives have insane amounts of attributes, others keep it bare-minimum. If you decide to go check and see if I'm wrong, please make sure you get your data from more than ones source, as well as considering the sources.
  19. nooneuknow

    nooneuknow TiVo User Since 2007

    Feb 5, 2011
    EDIT/INSERT: I made this post while living in the Mojave Desert, with broken air conditioning. I blame dehydration and sweat in my eyes for failing to reign in my instinct to shoot first and ask questions later. Welcome to TCF, and sorry about the hasty and intolerant response.
    Did I ever say that not running it will cause problems, or always cause an issue? No.

    Did I ever say that running it will guarantee there will never be any problems? No.

    I just pointed-out the same advice, which is frequently-given by many members: Pre-testing a drive before installation is a good practice.

    I then added how it might help prevent problems, and might help avoid this scenario I've now seen for myself, as well as seen reports of by others. I didn't understand what exactly what the reports could possibly be, for sure. Now I have a much better idea of why some have had to pull drives and run tests, when they didn't test before installing their drives.

    I also had a whole batch of WD20____ drives that I slapped in and ran without having this happen. Perhaps the state of reviews over at NewEgg about how many DOA and "infant mortality" WD drives people have been getting lately, is enough to convince some to test first, unless what they are recording is of no importance to them.

    TCF - The only place I know where people interact in the following manner:

    Member A: "If you cross the street without looking, you might get ran-over".
    Member B: "I crossed the street without looking, and did not get ran-over".
    Member C: "I suggest never crossing the street, let the chicken do it".
    Member D: "There are no streets or cars, now run along and play on the asphalt surface with the fast moving objects".
    Member E: "My street is made out of concrete aggregate, so does this still apply?".
    Member F: "I always cross the street without looking, and have never had a problem with being ran-over".
    Member G: "I didn't look, got ran-over, and now I'm in a full body cast".
    Member H: "You are all a bunch of idiots! The correct term is 'run-over' ".

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