1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Sufrace scan tests on hard drives

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by buscuitboy, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. buscuitboy

    buscuitboy Member

    Aug 8, 2005
    Atlanta area
    I have a Series 3 (OLED) that needs a new hard drive. The current ones failed the WD extended test so I'm looking to simply get another 250GB one since this is not a heavily used unit. Its used in a basement rec room and more or less a cable box for down there (with occasional MRV to Premieres upstairs).

    While I am not sure I would do this & its really out of curiosity, I searched ebay for some 250GB Western Digital drives since this size doesn't seem to be available in new units. Came across one that said the drives have "been wiped and passed a surface scan"

    Is a "surface scan" thorough enough? Or can there still possibly be problems similar to what was detected on my current TiVo hard drive (via an extended test only).
  2. L David Matheny

    L David Matheny Active Member

    Jan 29, 2011
    SE Ohio
    If your drive failed the WD Data Lifeguard diagnostic extended test, I think that is just a surface scan that reads every sector. And since the eBay drive is a WD, that may be the surface scan that the seller is saying his drive passed. You could ask him specifically if it passed the extended test.
  3. Worf

    Worf Active Member

    Sep 15, 2000
    The extended test is a surface scan - it works by reading every sector of the drive and seeing if the drive returns an error.

    It isn't, however, a thorough test - just because it passes, doesn't mean there aren't looming problems. It just means every sector can be read.

    Drives remap bad sectors when the sector gets written to, so if you discover bad sectors using the surface scan, then overwrite every sector (using "write zeroes", for example), those bad sectors will 'disappear" as the drive substitutes in fresh sectors for the bad ones.

    So if the surface scan returns errors - chances are the drive is bad. If it doesn't, it provides no information other than every sector can be read at the present time. There may be weak sector that will read fine now, but fail in a couple of months.

    To be honest, after shipping and everything, you ought to be able to find a brand new hard drive of 250GB or larger for the same price with free shipping from NewEgg or other retailers. It's not worth taking the change on a used hard drive when the savings are minimal.
  4. buscuitboy

    buscuitboy Member

    Aug 8, 2005
    Atlanta area
    Yea, I'm thinking I'll probably just get something new instead, but was just curious. I want to simply get another 250GB drive too. Should I just go with the Western Digital brand for this Series 3?

    I see only two available at Newegg ($60-70) that are the "black" and "blue" line. One is a 3.0Gb/s and the other is a 6.0Gb/s. Is it better to get the 6.0 or will it not really matter?

    Are the WD the best to get? Or is there maybe an updated list somewhere that shows which drives & brands to get?

    This is one I initially would be interested in. Would it work in a Series 3 (OLED):


  5. lillevig

    lillevig Cold in East Iowa

    Dec 6, 2010
    Marion, Iowa
    Some people have had issues with the 6.0 Gb/s but I think some drives allow you to set the rate to 3 Gb/s. My experience has been that the Black drives tend to run hotter but I haven't bought one recently. Check places like TigerDirect to see what they have. A 250GB drive may actually cost more than a 320 or 500 at this point so shop around at places like TigerDirect. The Upgrade Forum has some discussion as to what drives work and don't work but they are usually for 1TB and larger. Every Tivo box I've had (except the S1 boxes) has had WD drives and that covers several different S2 boxes, S3HD boxes, and a Premeire.
  6. unitron

    unitron Active Member

    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    The Caviar Blacks have nice long warranties, but they do run toasty.

    Get on newegg's promotional email list, and they'll probably offer something in a few days to suit you.

    You'll get the most GB/$ with a 2TB, the second best rate with a 1TB.
  7. Worf

    Worf Active Member

    Sep 15, 2000
    The blacks are the WD "performance" line, while the blue is the "general purpose" line, and the green is the "efficient" line, and red is "continuous usage" line.

    To be honest, for $60/70, you can find a 500-1TB drive easily for the same price. A 2TB can be had for $100. And on sale, the prices are even lower.

    On sale, you might as well pick up a bigger drive. Even if you don't use the extra space - it'll just use the outer cylinders which are faster.

Share This Page