Hard Drive Usage - Premature drive wear

Discussion in 'TiVo Underground' started by cenright, Mar 7, 2020.

  1. Mar 7, 2020 #1 of 11
    cenright

    cenright bone

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    Not sure if anyone else has hd premature drive failures (starts with recording or playback stutter, ends in drive failure), but.....

    Does Tivo provide details of it's use of the hard drive? Does tivo use some sort of process that moves files around on the drive at some point (either real or recoverable recordings) so that physical areas of drives are not prematurely worn?

    I assumed that the continuously recorded buffer used for each tuner used to use all the remaining free space on the drive (this could have been a bad assumption), so that it would not wear out spots on the drive. This would have been a good reason to keep your free space at a reasonably level?

    Assuming the above was true...

    Isn't anyone concerned about the implementation of the "recently deleted" items? If it fills all the free space on the drive with recordings that can be undeleted, wouldn't tivo just be rewriting over the same free spots on the drive (spots without recordings / recoverable recordings)?

    Due to recent issues with drives in several tivos...
    I notice tivo no longer has a "feature" to disable the "undelete" feature (I am pretty sure my S3 had this?). I have been attempting to delete recoverable files manually without pain, but alas, tivo does not provide a feature to "bulk delete" or just "keep files older that" or "keep at most x recordings" or "keep x size in TB".

    Can anyone confirm that Tivo is indeed not prematurely destroying hard drives / manual manipulation of free space is not necessary / it's all bad luck?
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2020
  2. Mar 7, 2020 #2 of 11
    rpj22

    rpj22 Active Member

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    Mar 26, 2016
    SoCal
    Reading and writing particular spots on a hard drive do not cause any wear on them. When a sector has a hard error on a hard drive (not on a solid state drive), it is usually not due to wear and tear on that particular sector but due to things like a spot that was weak from the moment the coating was applied in manufacturing becoming unreadable. This can happen for a variety of reasons. Wear and tear on the overall drive can be a factor, but weak sectors will become a problem whether or not they have been used a lot.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2020
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  3. Mar 8, 2020 #3 of 11
    cenright

    cenright bone

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    Thanks, I read something like this as well - (but I am personally skeptical that repeatedly just having the head writing or reading above a given spot doesn't increase the odds of a bad sector [but confess, the increased odds may just be too low to matter] - and / or end up causing said manufacturing defect to show up faster). But anyway, if we believe that rewriting / reading the same sector over and over does not specifically cause wear, then that leaves us with other physical issues:

    Does continuously writing the drive with 2 sources of data (2 tuner in S3) vs 6 sources (6 tuners in Bolt) play a role physically on the head? Not sure how tivo writes its buffer - does it always have access to relatively unfragmented areas for buffer writing? Does it need to physically move the head between different positions for each tuner buffer? Does more head movement cause undue head / arm wear? Does this head wear increase the odds of a head causing a bad sector? (not that any of that could be changed by the user... unless tuning to an channel without a station doesn't write buffered data to drive?)

    I guess in the end, I hate to be the among the users spreading paranoia / rumors / propaganda. I'll have to believe none of this matters / have to accept unlucky lemon drives (Seagate generally "unlucky" for me) - or continue with superstitious user actions (keeping the old fingers crossed)
     
  4. Mar 8, 2020 #4 of 11
    HerronScott

    HerronScott Well-Known Member

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    Staunton, VA
    No TiVo is not prematurely destroying hard drives and you don't need to do anything manually. :)

    I believe the TiVo hard drive layout and use for video data at least (OS has moved from disk to flash since the Roamio) but the experts here who have created the tools for backing up and copying disks can better speak to this. We've had 7 TiVo's since 2000 (wow 20 years of TiVo use come Father's Day this year!) and haven't had any drive failures (knock on wood) with drive ages 6-8 years before being either retired or upgraded to larger drives. So far, I've only used Western Digital drives for my upgrades and been happy with the results for what it's worth.

    Note that I'm not aware that the S3 has a way to disable the undelete feature (we still have 2 that have older shows on them but are not actively recording anything).

    Scott
     
  5. Mar 8, 2020 #5 of 11
    cenright

    cenright bone

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    I'll admit as well, for each Tivo that I've either changed to Western Digital (either by failure or choice for bigger size), I've had gotten least 4 years of use. The oldest still in use is a Roamio with a Red in it >= 4 so far. I still have an old S3 that I don't use with 2 1tb green drives - it booted the last time I fired it up - lasted for better than 5 years since last upgrade when in use. My latest replacement for failure is for a bolt+ from the failed seagate (that's two bolt drive failures in less than two years each) to a "western digital" white drive.
     
  6. Mar 8, 2020 #6 of 11
    HerronScott

    HerronScott Well-Known Member

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    Staunton, VA
    I believe most of the Seagate drives in the 2.5" form factor were SMR and those have been reported here as having issues in the Bolt and definitely not recommended (or any SMR drive), but even the WD drives have been reported as having issues in the Bolt also including the factory 3TB in the Bolt+. TiVo has been replacing those for users at a low cost even outside of warranty (and in some cases contacting users that their TiVo is showing errors).

    We upgraded my son's HD to a Bolt 2 years ago with one ot their $99 lifetime transfer deals and upgraded it to a 2TB WD drive (and replaced the factory fan) and so far no issues. If it fails, I'll either go with the Toshiba or an external 3.5" drive.

    Scott
     
  7. TKnight206

    TKnight206 Active Member

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    Oct 20, 2016

    What do you mean playback stutter? The kind that messes up all six of my tuners when I hit that bad spot? Better to keep the file rather than letting it rerecord over that bad part. I received some sort of FAIL when doing a test. Was approved under my extended warranty, but didn't want to lose my shows, so gambled and it's still okay enough.

    I make use of standby. EAS doesn't ruin recordings when in standby. I assume while in standby, it's not constantly writing for all six tuners, which I assume means less heat.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2020
  8. ADent

    ADent Active Member

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    Jan 7, 2000
    Denver, CO
    Yes the TiVo is writing continuously each tuner's buffer to the drive in normal use.

    In my S2 DirecTiVo I put in a pair of drives. 1 died in 7 days. 1 died after a year. No more problems for the next 9 years.

    My family has two Bolts with the 3TB Toshiba (2.5") upgrade, 1 Bolt with the stock drive, and 1 Roamio OTA with a 2TB upgrade (Seagate, similar to what TiVo used IIRC). No problems.

    The upgraded Bolts have the fan upgrade too. The stock Bolt and Roamio live in an a house without A/C.

    You can stop buffers recording by putting it on standby or tuning to a dead channel.

    Spinning hard drives are supposed to have infinite read/write cycles - but obviously some do wear out.

    If you find a bad spot (used to get a couple in one of the Series 3 HD units) leave the show with the bad spot.

    You can pull the drives and install them in a PC and run the manufacture scans (do the full media/long scan) or something like SpinRite that can do a full drive test (read every sector or read/invert write/read/write) to get the drive to mark the bad sectors itself.

    Do you have a lot of vibration? Or a lot of heat? Power failures?
     
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  9. cenright

    cenright bone

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    Feb 11, 2007
    Yes, that's the one, causes recordings, current buffers, current playing to all stutter. If it's bad enough UI hangs, even sometimes the tivo would reboot.

    No vibration, no power failures - using ups, but there is definitely heat. I have since taken the covers off my tivo's to help alleviate some of that.

    I agree with the "leave the bad spot in a show" - if you can figure out that it is in particular show.
     
  10. TKnight206

    TKnight206 Active Member

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    Oct 20, 2016
    What is your MBT Internal Temperature in the System Information?
     
  11. cenright

    cenright bone

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    Feb 11, 2007
    So back when the problems occurred I think it was around 57. I have since transplanted the whole bolt motherboard into an old roamio case, replaced the drive from 2.5 to 3.5 and am running with the cover off - at 46.
     

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