Hard Drive Upgrade Info

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

  1. telemark

    telemark Active Member

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    I think BobCamp1 has demonstrated enough knowledge that I could believe he worked at a HD company at one point.

    Have you guys seen this presentation:
    https://indico.cern.ch/event/247864/session/3/contribution/37/material/slides/3.pdf

    It explains the rationale behind the new "workload" specification. I wouldn't call it obvious and I recall some prominent blogs not quite grasping it.
     
  2. steetyj

    steetyj New Member

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    So is the general consensus that the base Roamio needs the aftermarket power supply to run a 3TB drive? Or is the jury still out on this?

    Is it cheap insurance against drive failure? Or just a solution to fall back on if things start behaving strangely?
     
  3. BobCamp1

    BobCamp1 Well-Known Member

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    We keep almost agreeing with each other. I've been anti-Purple as well.

    The spec. sheets are written to attract as many buyers as they can. There usually isn't a lot of difference between the various models of hard drives. It's more like little tweaks here and there, usually firmware in nature, and maybe some focused testing on whatever that particular model is sold to do. All of them are tested (or at least used to be tested) in a general purpose setting (it was the "GP" in "AV-GP") in case somebody just threw one into a PC because it was lying around.

    All hard drives could work in a Tivo because it's ATA interface is basic. But since Tivo is an embedded device, the hard drive might draw too much power or have some weird incompatibility issues. Those aren't minor issues, which is why it is nice to have people like you report which models work and which ones don't.

    So what on Earth made WD put a load or time limit on just the Purple drive and none of the other ones? It's very bizarre for the industry and a red flag to me that something isn't quite right with this drive. It's like seeing all the packets of Kool-Aid, with just one of the packets having a statement on it that says "do not drink more than 4 glasses per day." It makes me want to not drink it at all, even though I might only drink a glass or two, since the other packets don't have that restriction.
     
  4. Teeps

    Teeps Well-Known Member

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    Torrance,Cal...
    Thanks for that, nooneuknow, above and beyond my expectations.

    I won't pretend that I fully understood all the tech speak. But, the take away is the WD20PURX is not a good choice for TiVo.
    (some times you just want to know what time it is, though at this time I wanted to know how the clock works...)
    At least I know that problems are likely to occur in the future.

    For now, due to budget constraints, I have to continue to tumble the dice with the purple drive (WD20PURX) installed OCT2014 in my XL4.
    The original drive in that TiVo only lasted just 2 years. Before XL4 went into the GSOD serious error reboot loop.


    And, if/when green drives take a big dip in price, I'll be sure to obtain one and swap with the purple.
    I guess at that point I take the purple out to the desert and put a bullet in it.
     
  5. lessd

    lessd Well-Known Member

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    It may be all marking, the Purple drive may be just as good, but WD wants to charge less for them, so they give out a spec. so one will not purchase the drive for any DVR. This is just a guess on my part, so I would never use the Purple drive for any TiVo upgrade as the price difference is not great enough to take that risk, but WeaKnees does use the Purple WD drive, got to make one think as to why.
     
  6. BobCamp1

    BobCamp1 Well-Known Member

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    That presentation is fascinating. Somebody from marketing didn't do their job -- they let an engineer speak about hard drive reliability. It's about @%$# time!

    Basically, the head is so close to the media now that they can't use the useless reliability numbers that they've been putting on their datasheets for the past 30 years. I wonder if a lot of customers complained when those numbers didn't come close to matching reality.

    The head floats a lot closer to the hard drive when it's reading or writing than when it's idle. The closer it is, the more likely it is to have problems. This is (supposedly) best measured by the number of bytes read and written instead of the way they've been doing it for the past 30 years. I also wonder if Seagate started posting the workload numbers, and WD was forced to do the same? Or vice versa?

    Anyway, I've looked around and sure enough, Seagate is putting these numbers on their 1-4 TB desktop HDs (55 TB/yr), but they are using the old, useless reliability numbers on the "special for DVR" 1-4 TB HDs. Of course, the basic design for both models is the same, and they both have the same fundamental problem and dominant failure mode of head-way-too-close-to-the-media. Which means the maximum workload of their DVR hard drives is still less than required for a 4 tuner DVR.

    The WD AV drives also mention nothing substantial about reliability -- only the Purple drives have the new workload rating. WD Enterprise drives only list the workload numbers on the website -- the datasheets for the RE drives use the old-style numbers.

    The problem is that 4-tuner DVRs are really operating at enterprise workloads, yet nobody uses an enterprise drive in their DVR.

    So, if the paper and datasheets are correct, my recommendations would be:

    1. Avoid Roamios at all costs. The hard drives they put in there can't handle 4 HD streams, let alone 6. It's a defective product with a fundamental design flaw. Demand your money back.
    2. Buy the smallest capacity hard drive you can live with. 250 GB sounds about right.
    3. Get an Enterprise hard drive (assuming the Tivo can power and work with it. Based on nooneuknow's excellent work in this area, I don't think it can). It comes with a five year warranty and is the only drive actually rated for 4 or 6 tuner DVR use.

    Or,

    1. It's a no-win situation. Just buy a hard drive that is known to work in a Tivo and has a nice warranty. Hope it lasts a long time, but expect to replace it every 2-3 years.
     
  7. BobCamp1

    BobCamp1 Well-Known Member

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    He got a good deal on it from somebody. Note that if Weakness and I contacted WD to double-check using it in a DVR, our conversations would be different.

    Here's how the conversation would go for me:

    Me: "I want to use a Purple drive inside a Tivo."
    WD: "How many are you buying?"
    Me: "One."
    WD: "It's not recommended for use inside a DVR. Buy one of our more expensive products."


    Here's how Weakness's conversation went:
    Weakness: "I want to use a Purple drive inside a Tivo."
    WD: "How many are you buying?"
    Weakness: "At least 1,000."
    WD" "Sure, no problem!"

    This happens at every company I've worked for. I've been on both ends of this conversation.
     
  8. Arcady

    Arcady Stargate Fan

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    Philadelphia...
    I would add:

    2. Back up your recordings and passes on a regular basis.
     
  9. nooneuknow

    nooneuknow Well-Known Dismembered Member (Lurk Mode On)

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    I'm going to put all things TCF on ice, or back-burner, for now (could wind up being for the foreseeable future).

    TCF is being moved to a new server, location, and being upgraded, starting tonight. Who knows how well that's going to go, and how long before we can expect normality to be restored.

    Plus, my real world, real life circumstances/situations just took a turn for the worst. The last place I should be, is one here, and my time/focus need to be elsewhere. That hasn't stopped me before. But, it will have to, at some point.
     
  10. Mikeguy

    Mikeguy Well-Known Member

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    I hope that things improve for you. Thank you for your participation here, information and advice. And do come back, when you can. :)
     
  11. Mikeguy

    Mikeguy Well-Known Member

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    I don't take matters to understand that the aftermarket power supply automatically is needed--rather, that the 3TB drive could be fine (especially see the reviews at Amazon.com) but if the drive starts getting wonky, the power supply is out there to consider getting.
     
  12. h2oskierc

    h2oskierc I'm a 2-Tuner

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    Sorry to hear this. I have valued your input on many things. Prayers that whatever these circumstances are they work out quickly for you and you can be back to it.
     
  13. h2oskierc

    h2oskierc I'm a 2-Tuner

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    The question, to me, is. How many different drive types does WD actually manufacture, and how many of them are just labeled differently and maybe just have a different warranty?
     
  14. L David Matheny

    L David Matheny Active Member

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    Bummer. As others said, come back when you can, and I hope your real world things improve soon.
     
  15. nooneuknow

    nooneuknow Well-Known Dismembered Member (Lurk Mode On)

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    I felt one post, to specifically acknowledge some things, and try to make my pending exit on the best terms, needed to go out, before TCF goes down for maintenance and upgrades:

    @BobCamp1:
    Many gold stars for finally picking up on that particular odor wafting from the hard drive tech sector (one of many), and seeing the discrepancies it felt as if only I were picking up on. It only took roughly a year. Better late than never, though.

    I don't have doubts that you had worked on the inside. I'm just naturally suspicious of those who make such claims, mostly on how long it has been since, and what the position was (as opposed to if it has any truth at all behind it).

    That being said, I'd feel it safe to assume that you don't have the insider scoop on drives like the Purple, and have to rely on assuming some things haven't changed, while skeptical about trusting the marketing materials and spec sheets. I understand this, is what I'm saying.

    I've been a bit confounded/confused by how what people believe, and want to know about, has taken such a drastic turn. My PM box runneth-over, like as if there's no longer a controversy over the validity of year-old concerns.

    Please take a look at the TLER/ERC side of things. With all the "workload ratings" (essentially duty-cycle) concerns, I think you should come around to understanding just how much worse a TLER-enabled drive, running without a TLER-capable host, can make things. I see it as being of greater concern, as drives age, and rack up those TBs of workload.

    I'll share a nugget of learned-the-hard-way knowledge with you, to help you out on the forum: Tune down the fire and brimstone talk of all our 4-6 tuner TiVos being fatally flawed products, doomed to fail. It will only result in your good data, and your valid thoughts/opinions, being lost in all the skirmishes it will spawn, which will attract certain members who only participate when they see a chance to create/fuel a bar-room brawl.
    As another member mentioned, TiVo did suddenly introduce new "power savings" functions to the Roamio line, with 20.4.6. While they are (currently) disabled by default. Even the manually triggered "standby mode" now will let the drive spin down. For some, enabling the new modes, and making use of standby, will lower the TBs/yr workload being placed on the drive. It sounds like a recipe for other disasters, especially for those with oversized drives in their base Roamios/Roamio OTAs, with just a 24W wall-wart. Heck, I don't feel those are adequate for continual cycles of drive spin-downs/ups, with the stock drives still in them.

    How long until TiVo starts telling customers that their TiVo has a maximum workload, since none of the changes in drive behavior can help, if the TiVo is almost always recording (as opposed to always buffering)? I don't see that day coming. But, I never expected TiVo to suddenly (or ever) even give an option/function that shuts off Live TV buffers (which some have been asking for the ability to do, and some also wanted the drive to spin down). I could like that they've done this, if only the implementation didn't suck (IMO), lacking options that many seem to want, as do I...

    With modern drives always running right at the edge of failure, especially under high workloads, some should re-evaluate their stances that are based on drives based on almost last-decade technology. I fully expect to see a greater number of TiVo drives becoming unreliable after 2 years, and failing after 3.

    I predicted we'd see a larger number of image requests for 4-tuner Premieres, and general help requests, as they aged. I attributed that to both tuner count, and Advanced Format drives, being partitioned un-aligned, and used in TiVos not optimized for AF at the OS level. I feel I called that out fairly accurately, no matter who will take exception, stating I'm full of it, just because they have one or more, that are still running strong.

    @Everybody who has posted a response to my announcement in my previous post, before I opted to send this one out:

    Thanks guys, that really means a lot to me. More than you might possibly know. Prayers, if that's your thing, may be just be exactly what I need. I don't see anything short of a miracle helping much. This has been playing out for a while, and finally became reality and undeniable.


    I hope to share what might be a parting gift, soon, that has been in testing for a long time. It's a boot CD that facilitates disabling TLER on many WD drives that have it. It needs to be documented, though, before I just send it out into the wild. The limited testing done by myself and my fellow collaborators indicates it is safe, and seems to do the job, if used as meant to be used. I wouldn't call it something that makes the WD Purple a good choice for TiVo use, but something that takes away the only downside of using a WD Red, that I'm aware of.

    If I am unable to get it out, I'll make sure to leave it with somebody else to get it out there. Please don't PM just to ask for a copy, unless your intent is to blindly trust and test it without documentation. I'm backed-up on PMs as it is (responding to, not the space to store them).

    @telemark: That presentation you posted a link to is awesome, and the kind of information I crave. I haven't seen that exact one, until now.

    My estimated death-watch clock, counting down to not being able to participate or visit here at all, is roughly a max of 60 days. Unless a miracle comes my way, it just is what it is. :( No matter what is going on, it's hard to stay away from the only "community" I know, no matter how much I might complain about it, or how I tend to bring my problems in with me.
     
  16. Mikeguy

    Mikeguy Well-Known Member

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    Not a religious sort here, but miracles indeed do happen, whatever they might be. The best of wishes--
     
  17. lessd

    lessd Well-Known Member

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    That was the point I was trying to make, for consumer drives now being made I would guess many less different hardware than models, one hardware may take 1 to 3 platters, or WD may just put 3 platters in all drives and set them (in firmware) for what their selling. (I am just making a guess as the number of platters for any drive)

    An nooneuknow I also want to thank you for you input on this Forum and hope you can fix whatever bad is going on in your life.
     
  18. Pilot20

    Pilot20 New Member

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    I installed a WD20EURX drive in my new Roamio Basic right out of the box. The drive worked fine for about a month. Then, I started getting freezing and lots of blue circles. I tired rebooting and it would just keep rebooting itself over and over. It would get to the "please wait" screen and then reboot. I tried all of the usual fixes, but nothing would bring it back. I pulled the drive out and replaced it with the original drive and it's been working fine now for about 3 months.

    Western Digital replaced the bad drive under warranty but I haven't installed it yet because it is such a hassle with TWC and setting everything up again.

    I didn't bother testing the WD drive to see if I could detect problems. I just knew that it wasn't playing nice with the Tivo, so I sent it back.

    I took the advice on the forum and ordered a wall wart "Cisco STA1520 Tuning Adapter, made by LiteOn" from Ebay. It only cost $8 shipped, so I figured...what the heck. I might as well give it a try.

    It arrived yesterday and I will replace the original Tivo wall wart today.

    When I get the time and patience to install the replacement hard drive, we will see if it makes any difference. It's not exactly a scientific experiment since the WD20EURX drive may have just been a bad drive, although, in years of building computers, I have only experienced one bad hard drive and that was years ago with a Seagate that quit several days after it was installed.

    I have two Series 3 Tivos that I have had for 7 years. I replaced the hard drives in those about every 2 to 3 years as a preventative maintenance measure. Each time I would upgrade to a larger drive since the cost kept getting less expensive. Since I could copy the old drive to the new drive, I didn't have to deal with TWC...just copy and replace. I never had a drive fail in any of my Tivo Series 3 boxes.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2015
  19. Mikeguy

    Mikeguy Well-Known Member

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    Please keep us advised--I like simple solutions.

    Also, which source for the LiteOn power adapter did you use (and what was the condition of the adapter)? I think it likely that I'll be going down your path as well. Thanks--
     
  20. Pilot20

    Pilot20 New Member

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    The seller on ebay that I purchased the wall wart from doesn't have any more to sell. They originally had 34 available. I see this morning that they now have zero. There must be a big run on these things.

    The one I ordered was used, but it looked like new. I switched it out about an hour ago, and so for so good. No smoke or flames shooting out of the wall wart or Tivo.:D

    Here is a new wall wart on ebay for $9.50 plus $4 shipping.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/2x-Lite-On-...138?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19f3d6254a

    There are plenty of used wall warts like this available on ebay. Just do a search.
     

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