About to buy a Bolt. Here is where my starting research has led me to:

Discussion in 'TiVo Bolt DVR/Streamer' started by My Cape is a Recliner, Oct 6, 2019.

  1. Oct 6, 2019 #1 of 11
    My Cape is a Recliner

    My Cape is a Recliner Member

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    I just changed my cable provider, and planning for the long term. After comparing Tivo models, the choice was easy to go with the Bolt since I have a 4k UHD tv. I think this is the only one that has option besides the new EDGE, and this is mostly for planning on expected future programming. I only have one tv, its only me, but I filled up half a TB in a week. I can only guess 3TB would work, but would go bigger if there was small difference. A thousand dollars for a new DVR with 3tb and lifetime service is not in the budget for me. I may hold out hoping for a black Friday deal, but researching to feel comfortably informed and ready is priority at the moment. If I wait, its probably going to be to look for a great deal on a SSD, but that's probably not going to happen.


    The problem I am having in my research is this ridiculous 2.5" drive they added. I started to search for a larger 2.5" drive, and found that every drive that I saw mentioned here:
    WD30NPRZ - Factory 3 TB bolt HDD ( Western Digital blue label)
    WD40NPZZ - WD 4 TB HDD (Western Digital blue label)
    WD20NPVZ - WD 2 TB HDD (Western Digital blue label)
    ST3000LM024 - Seagate 3 TB HDD available in 1-5 TB models (Barracuda line)
    MQ03ABB300 - Toshiba 3 TB HDD
    EXCEPT the - WD10EURX - in the DVR expander - (which is available in a 2 & 3TB WD30EURX version);
    Are ALL mid - lower end drives (for these top companies). These drives are for your basic computer user. None of these drives mentioned are designed to be in a DVR (or surveillance) that is constantly working and recording video 24/7. Would you expect your computer's HDD to last as long as it could if you were constantly downloading, deleting, and repeat?
    I see weaknees says they offer a 3TB AV series HDD as an upgrade (for $300), but the blue label drive is NOT an AV series, so they are not offering the factory drive either.
    I don't see any reason the factory 3TB drive is special. I am thinking this is something that they know some people will just search for what came from the factory. Then think the easiest thing to do is to use that. There is nothing special about that model, or the specs from what I see. I'm thinking its just … ignorance and laziness that's kept the demand for that drive up, and therefor the $300 price.


    As of now, my plan is to get a:
    WD10JUCT - 2.5", 1 TB, WD - AV series, 9.5mm height, AV - 25 drive that is rated at 1 million MTBF (as opposed to all the previous drives listed at 600,000 that aren't designed for continuous video use), to replace the internal drive, ($47 on amazon). Then add an external; either
    WD82PURZ - WD 3.5" 8 TB purple (surveillance/dvr line) rated for 1.5 mil BTF. That's 2 1/2 times as long as the factory drive and actually designed for this type of use (~$220). OR,
    WD30EURX- 3.5" 3 TB, WD AV-GP that is the 3TB version of what came in the DVR expander ($97 Newegg). (I will not be specifically looking for the Tivo expander, only an external housing that will have the right connection).
    My thought is that both of these are drives that are designed for constant video recording. Both of these drives are rated at 2/3rds MORE than not only all the other drives mentioned, but also the factory drive, and they are designed for this use.
    (I compare this to one drive's reliability as: Well how long can one person stand there and hold a stick? I might be relying on two people, but I think I'm giving them gloves and a chair).


    --- DVR EXPANDER
    I see the WD DVR EXPANDER is the only SUPPORTED external drive. What is so special about this one? Esata connector with a "silent" hard drive? Here are the features of that drive:
    Advanced Format technology, GreenPower technology, IntelliPark, IntelliPower, IntelliSeek, Native Command Queuing (NCQ), Preemptive Wear Leveling (PWL), SilkStream. That hard drive is also the WD AV-GP series.
    What other external drives work? I know it has to. I see weakness mentioned often here, and they sell a 11 TB option that is 1 TB internal, and 10 TB external.


    --- Last topic, (housing modifications) just to make sure: has anyone made or tried to make a different housing to allow a 3.5" drive to fit (maybe 3d printed or made with maybe plastic, maybe carbon fiber panels, or some other material, even large enough to add a second fan)? Or just cut out enough space to make a 3.5" drive fit either in the housing or with longer cables and a separate housing, then seal around the TiVo housing. Maybe swapping the motherboard and associated parts into an older housing, (haven't looked at the motherboards if they would even fit).


    Again I have not yet bought anything, just doing my research first, and keeping an eye on whats for sale. If this is ridiculous for a very simple reason, please share, there's a good chance I just don't know it. Any thoughts or help would be appreciated. Thank you.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2019
  2. Oct 6, 2019 #2 of 11
    kpeters59

    kpeters59 Well-Known Member

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  3. Oct 6, 2019 #3 of 11
    My Cape is a Recliner

    My Cape is a Recliner Member

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    Yeah, that's the plan. The edge is $400 + $550 for lifetime. If I don't get lifetime it would cost more than what I am paying now. Its lifetime or nothing. I have discounted DVR fees right now, but I could still save $10 a month plus have more space and better features with a TiVo. The only difference I see with the Edge is Dolby Atmos. That may be nice, but I don't need, or even want to put at least 8 speakers up in my living room. I see new Bolts on ebay for $450-$600 with lifetime, and used for a little over half that. That's my plan, and I will be putting in new hard drives whether I buy a new or used DVR. That should still have me in somewhere between $400 (used dvr with new HDDs) -$600 (all new). If I have to be a little patient, I can but they are out there for that.
     
  4. Oct 6, 2019 #4 of 11
    UCLABB

    UCLABB Well-Known Member

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    It would be a lot simpler to do what I and others have done which is to forget the internal drive altogether and simpla cut a hole in the box and connect a SATA cable to an external 3.5" drive. Power the drive in an external case or do what I do and power a bare drive with a separate power supply.
     
  5. Oct 6, 2019 #5 of 11
    My Cape is a Recliner

    My Cape is a Recliner Member

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    That really did seem like an easier and better option, just wasn't sure if there was some reason not to. Thank you. I will read up on this further so I feel completely comfortable with this as the plan going in.
     
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  6. Oct 6, 2019 #6 of 11
    ej42137

    ej42137 Well-Known Member

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    When TiVo first added external drive support in the Series 3, pretty much any expander would work. However, the next model of TiVo, the Series 3 HD, implemented a whitelist so that only certain drives blessed by TiVo would work; it was known that many people had problems with external drives, but it was also true that TiVo was selling the drives at a very nice profit. In any case, the only drives that work are too small to be worth the risk, very old, and almost impossible to find by now.

    The whitelist check is done when the DVR first recognizes that an external drive is connected; it then formats and "marries" the drive with the internal drive. Once the drives are married the whitelist check is no longer done. Weaknees has software that will format and marry the drives offline, and similar software and instruction is available here.

    My position on this is that it isn't worth while unless you get a big payoff; the one TiVo I've used an expander with has 10 TB of storage, and takes me a full TV season to fill. Because you will lose everything if one of the drives goes bad or you answer the recovery question wrong, I wouldn't do this if I only had one TiVo.

    If you had money to burn, I would suggest instead replacing the internal drive with an 8 TB SSD, which only costs about $1,100. I suspect that would not be worth it to you.
     
  7. Oct 6, 2019 #7 of 11
    My Cape is a Recliner

    My Cape is a Recliner Member

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    I am learning as I go, so I may something really stupid. I'm just getting the impression that a lot of the information that I'm reading on this site (mostly from some older threads) is what was told to someone years ago when these were first coming out, and its just been repeated since by many (that's not meant to be directed at you ej42137). Just "sharing".

    I was under the impression that an SAS drive would work too, you just need the SAS controller to connect it to the SATA connection on the board. I see 8, 10, 12 TB SAS 2.5" drives going for $200-$300, and this should be a better option than a SSD. That an SSD drive is more like a flash memory, and that not only is it probably not going to last as long in these conditions, its overkill, and just not needed for a DVR. I understand it as: a normal disc drive will start your movie at the beginning, and buffer out ahead enough. You will watch it through and never notice any difference when its playing. A SSD would load the entire movie and let you skip to any point at any time without having to wait on loading. Well that seems like overkill, especially when the functions of the DVR itself don't allow it. You might get less than a second quicker when advancing. An SSD seems like it would be the option if I wanted something larger than 5TB, that could remain internal, and budget wasn't a concern.

    It was just that I would be more concerned with longevity, then a second or two on the guide. I would much rather have a 3.5" drive, and then have a much larger selection of drives. I can then get that 8TB surveillance/DVR drive (for a little over $200). If I get 10 years down the road, and the drive is still working great, (not only will we probably have better technology at that point), but I could always duplicate the drive to a new one. Based off ratings, I'm expecting this 3.5" drive to last 2-3 times longer MINIMUM compared to the drives most everyone else is using, that were the recommendations I see continuously showing up. Especially if using a DVR/surveillance type drive which AFAIK are supposed to handle an error and keep working afterwards better than any other type of drive.

    I read a couple more threads today, about using a 3.5" drive as the main drive just having it in a different location then where the factory 2.5" drive sits in the housing. All you need is a sata cable to reach, and an external power supply for the drive. That's the kind of style I am too. I am nearly always function over form, and have a couple of spare computer cases I am going to see if I can make them work too. CIR-Engineering's thread about his cooling mod is fantastic ( My Awesome BOLT Cooling Mods ;-) ) . I would much rather have a setup that will cool better, and allow for a MUCH better hard drive that is perfectly suited to this, then be bothered by an extra wire.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2019
  8. Oct 7, 2019 #8 of 11
    ej42137

    ej42137 Well-Known Member

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    I very much doubt that the controller on the Bolt motherboard supports SAS, as it must for any of the SAS to SATA solutions I am familiar with. Do you have a specific adapter that you think might work?

    What is the make and model of your 2.5" SAS drive? I only see 3.5" large capacity drives for sale.

    I didn't suggest an SSD because it is faster; we have discussed that issue to death previously here on TCF. I suggested it because you can get an 8TB SSD that fits in a Bolt, but you can't get an 8TB SATA drive that will fit in a Bolt. (An SSD should also mitigate the Bolt cooling issue.) Calculations suggest that an 8TB SSD should outlast the average Bolt HD and probably the TiVo corporation; I am currently running a test of a 4TB SSD in a TiVo, when it's done I might have a more definitive answer to the question of longevity.

    What one could do is check the SSD periodically, once a year or so, depending upon the rate of TBW; when it has used a significant portion of its lifetime, you could make an image copy onto another SSD and put the new one back in your TiVo. To me this sounds much more reliable than using spinning rusted iron, which is liable to die at completely unpredictable times. (Trust me on this, I've lost several TiVo hard drives over the years; Bolt HDs have a particularly bad reputation.)

    In any case I'm sure this discussion is moot, because you're not going to spend $1,100 more on your TiVo when you can cut a hole in it and use a large, cheap 3.5" drive.

    Edit: The Micron 5210 can be had at Amazon for about $780. Still probably not worth it unless reliability is very important to you.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
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  9. Oct 7, 2019 #9 of 11
    ej42137

    ej42137 Well-Known Member

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    I took my SSD out of my TiVo and looked at the SMART data. My preliminary calculation is that it would take 73 74 years for my TiVo to exceed the rated TBW of the Micron 5210 7.68 TB SSD.

    Edit: Rounding error corrected.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
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  10. mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

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    How many 4K channels do you get? If you answer zero (which you will), why do you need a 4K TiVo? If you want 4K streaming, get a $20 Fire stick. You’re spending a lot of extra money and jumping through a lot of hoops for no benefit whatsoever.
     
  11. My Cape is a Recliner

    My Cape is a Recliner Member

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    It is zero. I bought this tv a few years ago when I was with directv knowing they were going be starting 4k and expecting more. I got tired of directv's ridiculous two year, screw you later contract every time you change anything with your account. Its childish and dishonest. I'm through with them. I tried U-Verse, and that had its own problem. For me it was then Dish or Spectrum. I went with spectrum for now because its no contract. I believe Dish has some 4k content, spectrum has none. I know this spectrum receiver is maxed out at 1080i, and not expecting this to change that. I have one tv, and wanting the 4k tivo is planning for long term. If directv can stop relying on the fine print, and act like a fortune 100 company, I would go back. Supposedly ATT is trying to sell them. So maybe that's a possibility in the near future. I think they only have three 4k channels, but that should expand.

    Truth is I'm not too familiar with the streaming options like firestick, apple tv, Chromecast. I had sling before and that didn't have an option to record, no on-demand, and limited channels. Philo didn't have the right channels, but that was close. With another app that could be worth it. I just looked at apple tv, and it doesn't have the right channels, (about half of what I like to watch). Hulu is close with about 30 out of 40. I would definitely have to do a combination of services, (If I'm understanding how it works). I do have Prime, but don't watch anything on it. (I should look into that).

    I'm a disabled veteran, so I am home and watch more tv then most people with jobs. I probably watch more shows and more channels than a basic service, and like having the options from the big cable providers. So far Spectrum customer service has been great all but one time. Two out of the three calls were great, the other should have been fired. When I switched over from U-verse, I tried the self install, but all the coaxial cables were cut. Dish and ATT were two weeks to get an appointment. When I called spectrum that I couldn't do it, somebody was out here in 50 minutes. He even swapped out several boxes because of a possible problem. He showed up at 4pm ON A FRIDAY, and stayed until after 7pm to make sure it was 100% working right, (which was even after he was supposed to be off for the night). He said he even had another job after mine, and never tried to rush me, and showed me the basics.

    Whether or not I stay with Spectrum or go to Dish, having my own DVR will save $10 a month on the bill, $20 once the promotion is over. I like having the streaming to device option so I can watch shows on my tablet while I'm working in the garage or around the house. That feature alone cuts me down to Roamio Plus, Pro, or a Bolt. There really isn't that much of a price difference, so I'd rather just plan ahead for potential 4K.
     
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