Is it possible to use an SSD drive in a TiVo BOLT +?

Discussion in 'TiVo Bolt DVR/Streamer' started by dmw426, Jan 3, 2021.

  1. Jan 3, 2021 #1 of 37
    dmw426

    dmw426 New Member

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    I have a TiVo BOLT +. All the lights are flashing, which apparently means the drive has failed.
    I've been reading various forum threads about replacing the internal hard drive. Seems that there are specific drive specs required. I have a couple of Seagate Barracuda SSD drives that would fit. Also some Crucible SSDs. The SG drives are 2TB and the Crucible drives are 3.8TB.

    Can they be used in the TiVo BOLT +?
     
  2. Jan 3, 2021 #2 of 37
  3. Jan 6, 2021 #3 of 37
    cwerdna

    cwerdna Proud Tivolutionary

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    Crucible?

    Besides it being a HUGE waste of $, I hope you like wearing out your SSDs. You do realize that the continual writing from recording and buffering of channels will badly wear out SSDs, right?

    Please see my replies at Bolt died again-watching digital cable with QAM tuner.
     
  4. Jan 6, 2021 #4 of 37
    dmw426

    dmw426 New Member

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    I realize it should have been spelled Crucial. It's interesting about the durability issue with SSD vs spinning drive for Tivo application.
    I'm running through the various options available for spinning drives.
    So far not having much luck finding one that will work with TE4.
     
  5. Jan 6, 2021 #5 of 37
    aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    For my Bolt I picked up a 2TB Toshiba from Amazon earlier this year for under $60. It still uses PMR.
     
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  6. Jan 6, 2021 #6 of 37
    cwerdna

    cwerdna Proud Tivolutionary

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    Were you unaware that flash memory has limited lifespan from erase then write cycles?

    This is unlike volatile memory such as DRAM.
     
  7. Jan 6, 2021 #7 of 37
    dmw426

    dmw426 New Member

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    Right.
    Doesn't seem to make any sense but it is what it is.
     
  8. Jan 6, 2021 #8 of 37
    dianebrat

    dianebrat wait.. I did what? TCF Club

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    huh?
    It's a basic aspect of the differences in various storage mediums and the long known weak point in SSDs
     
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  9. Jan 6, 2021 #9 of 37
    cwerdna

    cwerdna Proud Tivolutionary

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    And, it isn't even specific to SSDs. This was known with flash memory even before any SSDs existed.
     
  10. multiple

    multiple Member

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    SSDs currently have to be run under TE3 and not TE4. Under TE4 SSDs get stuck at the startup screen.
    Under TE3 I think the auto formatting stops at 3TB, while under TE4 the Bolt will auto format much larger drives.
    So if you use a 3.84TB Crucial drive you will need to use one of the tools to expand the drive past 3TB.

    Also, once an SSD size goes past 2TB, an SSD should last as long or longer than a hard drive assuming you enable power savings to stop continuous recording on all 6 streams. You can calculated how long an SSD will last based on the DWPD * MTBF which is supplied in the specs of the SSD or you can assume 100 full drive writes as a conservative amount. Also with many cable companies moving to MPEG4 the stream bandwidth is much lower than the maximum 19.2mbps per stream that might occur under MPEG2 streams. So you can potentially expect nearly double the life out of an SSD. If cable moves to 4K streams, you can expect the lifetime to reduce probably back around the MPEG2 worst case. I believe I calculated around 8 to 14 years before failure on a 7.68TB drive assuming about 8 to 10 hours of writing per day and 19.2mbps max rate on a 4 tuner Bolt. So rough adjustment for 3.84TB SSD and 6 tuner Bolt is 1/2 (for 3.84TB drive) and 2/3 (for 6 tuner over 4 tuner) you can expect 3 to 5 years and if the stream rate is 9.6mbps under MPEG4 you can double it to 6 to 10 years lifetime for the 3.84TB drive.

    Assumptions: SSDs usually have 150 to 300 writes per cell before potential failure, but due to write amplification I assumed 100 writes per cell before failure. Also depending on the firmware of the SSD, data errors are not catastrophic for DVR video unless the drive refuses to write once a fatal error is detected. Manufacturer need to introduce a DVR rated SSD which would allow data failures to occur which minimizes the impact the correction algorithms take to do their work. If the SSD manufacturers did this, we could potentially have SSDs which could last tens of years before catastrophic failure.
     
  11. kdmorse

    kdmorse Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    A large part of the SSD longevity question depends on what you consider a reasonable lifetime for a SSD in a Tivo. Given a decent quality SSD (2TB in size), and an average comcast bitrate, and 6 tuners always running, the math says "meh, worry at about 5 years". If you use a larger drive, or use power saving mode (to prevent idle tuners from recording), you can extend that much farther.

    To some people, "Only 5 years" is unacceptable. To others, it's perfectly reasonable. That's a personal decision.

    A lot of people will overly exaggerate the issue, telling you you're burn up the SSD, kill it in months, etc... At best that's judging SSD's by the first generation, and worst it's just fearmongering.

    Now - the TE4 problem however is a bigger concern. Nobody really knows why most SSD's don't work under TE4 (especially those that work fine under TE3). So it's hard to give good advice, beyond the few folks who have found ones that work.
     
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  12. cwerdna

    cwerdna Proud Tivolutionary

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    I would not look at MTBF figures at all. They're meaningless to the end user even for hard drives. One can look at endurance stats such as DWPD (Drives Writes Per Day) and TBW (total terabytes written).

    If one wants to get a large SSD for a reasonable price, one may be venturing into technologies w/lower endurance (e.g. TLC and QLC).

    The tables at Intel SSD 660p 2TB Review: a QLC Bargain (Update) | Tom's Hardware and The Samsung 870 QVO (1TB & 4TB) SSD Review: QLC Refreshed have some stats. The specs at Samsung SSD 870 QVO | Samsung V-NAND Consumer SSD concur w/the table in the 2nd article.

    Along the way, I found this formula for DWPD: Understanding SSD DWPD - Drive Writes Per Day.

    Also, when glancing thru Crucial Solid State Drives (SSDs) | Crucial US, its filters along with the MX500 and BX500 product lines, I don't see any Crucial SSDs larger than 2 TB, so I don't know where the 3.8 TB comes from. And, again, it seems like a massive waste of $. They seem to retail for $200 or $230. Looks like the cheaper BX500 is QLC while the MX500 is TLC.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2021
  13. kdmorse

    kdmorse Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    Anyone who uses a low endurance QLC drive in a Tivo is shooting themselves in the foot to save a buck. If the statement is that cheap low endurance SSD's are bad ideas in Tivos, then I agree. They tend to have between 1/4 to 1/10th of the endurance of a decent SSD, and perform poorly to boot.

    But the broader statement, that SSD's in Tivo's are inherently bad lifespan wise, I completely disagree.

    Now, whether they're worth it $$$ wise, is a reasonable question. I see no compelling reason to put a SSD in a Tivo. And there's the pesky TE4 issue...
     
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  14. cwerdna

    cwerdna Proud Tivolutionary

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  15. cwerdna

    cwerdna Proud Tivolutionary

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  16. tommage1

    tommage1 Well-Known Member

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    You mean CMR. PMR can be CMR or SMR, it is a generic term now.
     
  17. multiple

    multiple Member

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    Crucial sources almost all their SSDs from Micron, with their own firmware.
    If you are lucky you can pick up the Micron 5210 1.92TB to 7.68TB or Samsung QVO 4TB or 8TB SSD for $70/TB on sale. Prices are still dropping dramatically. I'm expecting 8TB will cost around mid $400 by the end of 2021 and you might see low $400 to upper $300 range in 2022. I happen to use these drives in a DAS which has several 2.5" bays.
     
  18. dmw426

    dmw426 New Member

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    I have 5 of the Crucial 3.8TB drives. 4 are 5100 and 1 is 5210. I'm patiently waiting for SoftRaid to get it's software working on the M1 Mac so I can build some RAID sets.
    I tried the 5210 in the Tivo, it worked with TE3 but not TE4. I have a couple of spinning disks on the way to see if they will work. One is a FireCuda that Seagate promotes for gaming. Also a 3TB Baracuda 2.5" drive that a tech as CDW said was CMR. The Seagate spec sheet says it SMR so we'll see.
     
  19. dmw426

    dmw426 New Member

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    A Seagate FireCuda 2TB HD arrived today. I installed it in the Bolt + and its working with TE4.

    That's good news for me.

    The Spec sheet says it's SMR. That seems to become a problem at higher drive sizes. Not sure why.
    It is described as an SS HD with a NAND frontend to improve performance.

    Waiting for a 3TB BaraCuca 2.5" HD to see if it will work as well. That will be then end of my testing.

    Time to get the Tivo back into service so my wife can reestablish her to do list.
     

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