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SSD in a TiVo?

Discussion in 'TiVo Roamio DVRs' started by iNiv, Oct 15, 2015.

  1. Oct 15, 2015 #1 of 110
    iNiv

    iNiv New Member

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    Hey all. I've not seen any recent forums on installing an SSD drive into a TiVo. I have a Roamio, 500gb HDD (which is fine for my use, capacity-wise) that I've considered replacing with a 500gb Solid State Drive, which are quite affordable these days.

    Will it work? Anyone with experience with this, specifically with TiVo's newest hardware?

    Thanks!

    -Scott
     
  2. Oct 15, 2015 #2 of 110
    tgenius

    tgenius New Member

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    My 2c is ssd on TiVo is no good due to the amount of writes would cause it to fail quickly.
     
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  3. Oct 15, 2015 #3 of 110
    ramiss

    ramiss Member

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    Why would you want to? Clearly a spindle drive can keep up with the speeds the system needs. An SSD is more expensive for the size and potentially can fail sooner.

    Sent from my SM-N920V using Tapatalk
     
  4. Oct 15, 2015 #4 of 110
    Philmatic

    Philmatic Member

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    Short answer is that a SSD in a TiVo is useless and a waste of money.
     
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  5. Oct 15, 2015 #5 of 110
    jonw747

    jonw747 Member

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    A longer answer is that SSD's are not typically used for DVR applications but they are improving and of course becoming more affordable.

    "Garbage collection" may be problematic. TiVo probably doesn't perform "TRIM" and since the HD will never be idle, even a disk which performs it's own wear leveling and garbage collection may never get the chance.

    Then ask yourself, if everything goes well, would you be happy with a 3 year life time? Because that's about what the numbers come out to be based on number of write/erase cycles.
     
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  6. Oct 15, 2015 #6 of 110
    LoneWolf15

    LoneWolf15 Jedi Pirate Ninja

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    The Mitten...
    That, and when SSDs go, they just "go". As in, done. Some allow some read-only access when they go, plenty just die. A few Intel models go read-only once, and if you reboot, they brick --and this is by design at end-of-life.

    There are several spaces where platter storage just makes more sense -a Tivo is one of them.
     
  7. Oct 15, 2015 #7 of 110
    jrtroo

    jrtroo Chill- its just TV

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    So, as you are finding, the new posts are exactly the same as the old posts. No use for a SSD in a TiVo.
     
  8. Oct 16, 2015 #8 of 110
    ej42137

    ej42137 Well-Known Member

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    No, the short answer is that it would work. The elaboration is that it is a foolish waste of time and money.
     
  9. Oct 16, 2015 #9 of 110
    CinciDVR

    CinciDVR Contentious Member

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    Here's a link to a site that tested six SSD to see how much data could be written to them before they failed (http://techreport.com/review/27909/the-ssd-endurance-experiment-theyre-all-dead).

    Two of the drives failed at 700 Terabytes, but that was because of internal software that shut them down, not the actual failure of the SSD components. The other four drives were able to write at least 1 Petabytes of data before failure. Now these were 240 GB SSD, and I believe that the larger the SSD is, the greater the total data that can be written to it so a 500 GB SSD might have a slightly higher limit.

    On my Roamio, a 1 hour long HD program takes up about 4 Gigabytes of space. So assuming that you have a six tuner Roamio that is running 24 hours a day, and each tuner is on an HD channel, then an SSD that fails after 700 TB would fail in about 3.5 years. If the SSD didn't fail until after 1 PB then it would fail in about 5 years.

    Of course the example above doesn't account for other data that is written to the drive (e.g. guide data or firmware updates), but I'm assuming the size of that data pales in comparison to the size of actual video data.
     
  10. Oct 16, 2015 #10 of 110
    jonw747

    jonw747 Member

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    I suspect the SMART diagnostics would let you know it's about to go, but if TiVo isn't watching the diagnostics, it's not going to pass on the warning.

    It actually makes sense for an Enterprise targeted HD to stop working once it reaches the point of unreliable operations. The idea here is that no data is better than corrupted data (assuming there's a safe copy somewhere else).

    Not so much the case with a DVR where we'd rather preserve our recordings than avoid some of them becoming pixelated.

    But hey, if someone's primary interest is eliminating noise, it can be done ... they just need to figure out how to eliminate the cooling fan too.
     
  11. Oct 16, 2015 #11 of 110
    iNiv

    iNiv New Member

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    Hey guys:

    Thanks for the great responses! Interesting forum.

    Mostly I asked because I recently put an SSD into my Mac and the difference is amazing. Not only is it more quiet, but the read/write speeds make it feel like it's a new machine. I avoided upgrading to the 'new hotness' iMac because of that, which saved tons of money. (I put in a 1TB SSD and now it boots in about 15 seconds from almost 2 minutes (!!))

    ... which brings me to my Roamio TiVo. If I were to do this, I'm not so sure it would be a "foolish waste" of time and money for several reasons:

    1.) As pointed out in an earlier, very nice, analysis 3.5 YEARS is a long time for electronic equipment. And that figure was calculated assuming a 6-tuner machine (mine is only 4). I strongly suspect I'd upgrade to a new TiVo by the time the drive fails, and even if I don't I could set a calendar event to remind me to swap out the drive with a new SSD in a few years when they'll be even less expensive. Besides, how long do HDDs last in a TiVo? About 3.5 to 5 years? ;)

    2.) QUIET. The fan and drive on my TiVo occasionally create a lot of noise, which is distracting when I'm viewing quiet moments in movies/tv shows.

    3.) Speed. And this is where I'm theorizing... would the menu accesses and seek times for finding the shows be a lot quicker? If they are, bonus!

    As for cost, $150.00 is what SSDs often sell for on a regular basis in the 500GB sizes these days (the same size as my TiVo's current HDD). That's cheap enough for me to be motivated to swap out the drive for all of the above reasons.

    Anything I'm missing? Thanks again for the input, guys.

    -Scott
     
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  12. Oct 16, 2015 #12 of 110
    Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    In my experience the average bitrate of an HD channel is closer to 12Mbps, which is roughly 5.4GB/hour. Which means that the 700TB SSD would fail in about 2.5 years and the petabyte one would fail in about 3.5.

    And with that immanent failure you get almost no benefit. Maybe the DB would load a bit faster but probably not since I think it's more CPU/memory bound then disk bound.
     
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  13. Oct 16, 2015 #13 of 110
    Anotherpyr

    Anotherpyr Active Member

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    On my premiere, the loud noise ended up being the fan. Much cheaper to replace than an ssd drive.

    But if want to go all Mythbusters and see how long it takes an ssd to fail in a TiVo and if there is any benefit, go for it and keep us informed.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2015
  14. Oct 17, 2015 #14 of 110
    ej42137

    ej42137 Well-Known Member

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    What slows down the menus is usually network access to the cloud, an SSD won't help a lot there. It might help with managing the One Passes and indexing the program data.

    You would get a longer SSD life if you maximize the standby settings so that buffers are not recorded when your TiVo is in standby. Of course then you'd have to make sure to put your TiVo to sleep when you're done with it; a Logitech Harmony can be set up to make this automatic.

    By all means, give this a try and report back your findings; it will be a service to TiVodom.
     
  15. Oct 17, 2015 #15 of 110
    Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    Don't Roamios have built in flash for the OS and database anyway? I thought they only put recordings on the drive now?
     
  16. Oct 17, 2015 #16 of 110
    ggieseke

    ggieseke Well-Known Member

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    The OS is in flash, so it's not going to boot any faster. The SQLite partition is on the drive. The MFS application partitions are also on the drive, and there are still quite a few 'tyDb' files there even though the guide data and most of the recording metadata lives in SQL these days.

    P.S. Telemark's research shows that the SQLite partition on Bolts is drastically smaller than on Roamios. Apparently most of the database now lives in flash and the 250MB left on the hard drive is used as a cache.
     
  17. Oct 17, 2015 #17 of 110
    ramiss

    ramiss Member

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    1) if you are willing to take that risk then so be it.

    2) the nose is the fan, or your regular drive is bad. A non SSD drive in good condition is quiet in a tivo.

    3) you won't notice a speed increase. Computers of course benefit. The TiVo is an appliance and, as stated already, a non SSD can keep up with 6 tuners. The menu lag is network related.

    4) for $150, you can get a 3TB spindle drive.

    Sent from my SM-N920V using Tapatalk
     
  18. Oct 17, 2015 #18 of 110
    aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    The WD AV drives are rated for 12 simultaneous HD streams. An SSD doesn't improve on the performance of a DVR. Well based on the WD AV drives, I guess if you had a DVR with more than 12 tuners then it would make sense. An SSD is just not cost effective for a DVR.

    http://www.wdc.com/wdproducts/library/SpecSheet/ENG/2879-701250.pdf
     
  19. Oct 17, 2015 #19 of 110
    iNiv

    iNiv New Member

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    May 4, 2006
    Thanks guys. Given me a lot to think about. If I decide to do this, I'll let y'all know...

    -Scott
     
  20. Mar 8, 2017 #20 of 110
    Nick I

    Nick I New Member

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    Mar 8, 2017
    Saw this thread was related to what I was doing so I am posting the results.

    The Tivo HD in my bedroom may have been going bad because it is years old now and the drive was so noisy.
    The unit is a TCD652160 with lifetime and a dual tuner. When the room was quiet you could really hear the drive ticking away.
    It had the original 160 Gb drive. I got a 240GB SSD for $70 and did the WinMFS copy to it.
    I also got a $10 70mm super quiet Nexus exhaust fan on Amazon.

    The machine is running great with a 50% space increase and almost completely silent for $80.
    I did the math of the SSD drive lifetime on a dual tuner and it comes out to over 4 years if i am always recording on both and I never am. I also have other Tivos on the home network to stream stored media from.
    I my case the SSD silence is what I paid the space premium for.

    Nick
     
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