Vaunted Toshiba 3TB "Toy" Drive Shot After 3 Years

Discussion in 'TiVo Bolt DVR/Streamer' started by V7Goose, Jun 6, 2020.

  1. Jun 6, 2020 #1 of 28
    V7Goose

    V7Goose OTA ONLY and Loving It!

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    This is just a cautionary post for anyone thinking of wasting their money on a new 2.5" toy drive in a Bolt. In my opinion there is a BIG reason none of these drives over 1TB are being made anymore - They are simply JUNK.

    My Bolt (running TE3) with a Toshiba 3TB internal 2.5" drive (MQ03ABB300) is showing major signs of drive failure after only 3 years and two months. While a 3-year drive life is not particularly bad for a Bolt, it is stupidly short for just about ANY 3.5" drive in other TiVo boxes; and this Toshiba drive has widely been considered the best possible option for an internal drive upgrade on these unreliable boxes! Of course we all know that the report of one drive failure means little by itself, but the evidence is mounting that any and all large 2.5" drives in this type of service will be very short lived. SMR drives generally do not work at all, and even the few PMR drives in 2.5" format are suspect.

    I was happy with my Toshiba drive . . . until the problems started. And that is the whole point of this rant - 3 years is a ridiculously short life for any drive. ESPECIALLY in an application where you cannot make regular backups to recover from the inevitable failure.

    My Bolt is still booting fine, but I am seeing almost daily reboots, and very frequent screen freezes and extended gray screens that seem to be precipitated by any trick-play buttons or attempts to start playing recorded programs. Tomorrow I will try cloning the existing drive to a new 3.5" external drive and see what happens.

    It will not be surprising if the clone fails (considering that I already suspect the drive has physical problems), so if it does, I will just start fresh with the new 3.5" external drive to verify that there are not other unknown issues with the box instead of just a bad toy drive.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2020
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  2. Jun 8, 2020 #2 of 28
    tommage1

    tommage1 Well-Known Member

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    External way to go if done correctly (best is Sata to Sata). By the way PMR is now a generic term, includes CMR and SMR. So CMR is the current term for non SMR drives. Try your clone in a computer if possible, will take longer but docks can have problems if errors on either drive. Since no feedback with a dock (other than complete failure) no way to know what happened, with a computer should see if any errors.
     
  3. Jun 8, 2020 #3 of 28
    BobCamp1

    BobCamp1 Well-Known Member

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    A lot of servers use 2.5" drives, and they're constantly writing. Three years is within the range of normal hard drive life.

    How Long Do Hard Drives Last? Lifespan And Signs Of Failure.

    The 2.5" hard drive in my laptop is 10 years old and has been running continuously, which is not normal for any hard drive.

    A server is in a RAID configuration so when the hard drive fails you just exchange it with no data lost. And there's no important data on my laptop that isn't backed up.

    Not so with a Tivo. The last place you want to store an encrypted library of shows is on a drive that gets pounded hard on a daily basis. Put a small hard drive in the DVR and transfer stuff you want to keep onto another larger hard drive for later viewing. Let the small, cheap drive get continuously pounded while the larger hard drive is rarely used.

    If one is going to use a large hard drive in a DVR, at least proactively switch the hard drive out before it fails. Do that once every two to three years. Or be prepared to wake up one morning and lose everything. And before you say, "I've never had to do that before" consider the hundreds of people who've posted here over the years with hard drive failures and consider that you might have been lucky until now.
     
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  4. Jun 8, 2020 #4 of 28
    V7Goose

    V7Goose OTA ONLY and Loving It!

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    Here's an update for anyone interested in following the whole saga:

    I am ready to confirm that the Toshiba drive is in fact bad. I first tried to clone it with a stand-alone cloning dock. The lights on the dock showed that it was supposedly working, but after 36 hours it had not progressed at all, so I canceled it. I have no idea yet if the issue was a problem with the drive or the dock, but I then started a full clone process with ddrescue.

    After the first couple of hours, I am seeing errors on the source drive, so that pretty much confirms the bad drive. I will wait for the clone to complete and then see if it boots.
     
  5. Jun 8, 2020 #5 of 28
    JandS

    JandS Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    Have you chosen an external case? The Rosewill one that folks recommend isn't available on Amazon any more, haven't checked ebay or elsewhere yet. Main concern for me is that the external has a very quiet fan, has a stand so it can be placed long-side vertical, and ideally I'll find an external add-on sata connector so that the drive can be detached from the Tivo without opening either case.
     
  6. Jun 8, 2020 #6 of 28
    V7Goose

    V7Goose OTA ONLY and Loving It!

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    The vast majority of your comments have almost no relevance to the subject at hand. I could not care less about your laptop or how you use it, but I am virtually certain it is NOT a DVR, nor do you have a 2 -3 TB drive it in.

    The issue, as far as I am concerned, has absolutely nothing to do with the failure of a single drive, no matter if it lasted 6 months or 3 years. The issue I am posting about is the extraordinarily high failure rate of virtually all 3TB 2.5" drives that have been used in TiVos - no matter if they were original equipment from TiVo, or added later as a user upgrade. And the unreliability of these drives in this application seems to be anecdotally supported by the fact that almost none of these large drives are being manufactured any longer.

    I have posted in numerous other threads that I strongly advise other uses to NOT use any 2.5" drive as a TiVo upgrade, and I started this thread simply to add to the current user knowledge base on this subject.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2020
  7. Jun 8, 2020 #7 of 28
    V7Goose

    V7Goose OTA ONLY and Loving It!

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    I am using a very old case I just had laying around - one where the USB interface developed heat-related problems (since I won't be using any interface in the external case anyway).

    I personally think that the choice of case is almost totally irrelevant; the only significant points are the ability to connect separate power and SATA cables directly to the drive. In some older threads, I and others have suggested a particular case available from Amazon (not a Rosewill case) for under $20, but that one seems unavailable now also. I will soon be posting a new thread, with pictures, on exactly how simple it is to switch a Bolt from an internal drive to an external drive.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2020
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  8. Jun 8, 2020 #8 of 28
    BobCamp1

    BobCamp1 Well-Known Member

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    Well, the hard drive in my laptop is being used continuously. So it's very much being used like a DVR.

    The HDD model used in the Bolt+ has a high failure rate, but not just because it's a 2.5" drive. Other 3.5" drives have had similar failure rates in the past. It's just a design or manufacturing flaw in that specific model. It happens. Some models are just bad.

    My brother had a Series 3 that failed after just over three years. I remember because I fixed it for him. Even good models can fail anytime after the three year mark.

    Your argument is that high capacity 2.5" CMR drives are tough to find because they are unreliable. My point is that we don't know that, and there are other valid reasons. SMR drives aren't as bad as first believed for everyday use, and there simply isn't enough demand for basic, high capacity, CMR 2.5" drives. Laptops can use a 1 TB SMR drive and most users will have plenty of room to spare. And since SMRs are cheaper to make, and SDDs are a lot faster, we've seen the demise of CMR in both the 2.5" and 3.5" sizes.

    If people are switching from 2.5" to 3.5" for higher reliability, they may be disappointed. Unfortunately the 3.5" drive could be an SMR in disguise. One should research very carefully. However, the availability is better in the 2-3 TB range for a 3.5" drive so that's a reason to switch.

    I'm sorry you lost all your recordings. That always sucks. But if someone lives in an area where transfers aren't blocked, they may want to do what I suggested and grab a 1 TB HD for the Bolt and get another hard drive to archive recordings. When my Series 1 died, I only lost 20 hours of recordings because that's all it could hold. Now a Bolt+ can store 450 hours of recordings so there's literally a lot more to lose when its HDD goes bad.
     
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  9. Jun 8, 2020 #9 of 28
    tommage1

    tommage1 Well-Known Member

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    EC-UEIS7 Has separate connections for IDE so can use Molex power with Molex to Sata adapter. Lots of room in case.
     
  10. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    Whats a Toy Drive? Was the hard drive originally in some type of toy?
     
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  11. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    At least I had one 4TB Seagate drive that lasted over four years in Bolts. And it was recording at around 20 hours every day. But the other 4TB drive I had only lasted, I think, three years in Bolts.

    I now have a stock 500GB drive in one of my Bolts(OTA). And the other Bolt(FiOS) has a 1TB drive that came out of my launch PS4 Pro. Which I had never really used since I replaced it right away with a 2TB Firecuda drive. So that 5400 rpm drive that came in the launch PS4 Pro had been just sitting in a box all these years.

    Although I wish I had jumped on the 2TB Toshiba deal from a month or two ago that was only $50 or so. Because a 1TB drive is a little too limiting for me. SInce I am using that Bolt to record a bunch of news programs and some other content on FiOS.
     
  12. dianebrat

    dianebrat wait.. I did what? TCF Club

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    Nope, he's just trying to be cute and it's not amusing.
    There's nothing "toy" about 2.5" drives, they're a workhorse drive of laptops and the reason we don't see bigger ones is supply and demand, laptop users are moving to solid state over bigger HDDs so there isn't a huge demand for high capacity 2.5" drives and the bigger Seagates out there aren't Tivo friendly.
     
  13. LarryAtHome

    LarryAtHome Active Member

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  14. tommage1

    tommage1 Well-Known Member

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    I've seen videos of them. They are supposedly AV rated SMR drives. Will have to see how they work out over time, Edge is pretty new. I'd be interested to see how the drives hold up over the next 2-3 years. Not sure if available to general public.
     
  15. tommage1

    tommage1 Well-Known Member

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    That WAS a steal ;) However you can do just as well with an external 3.5, Sata to Sata. Very easy to find 2-3TB+ 3.5" CMR drives cheap, and the enclosure/cables etc can be done for under $40. Upgrade takes less than an hour if starting fresh, hardest part is opening the Bolt case without breaking tabs ;) Bolt will run a bit cooler also but not as much as you might think, board/CPU must generate most of the heat.
     
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  16. tommage1

    tommage1 Well-Known Member

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    That is true. Only interesting recent model 2.5" I've seen is the CMR WD 2.5 red, 1TB max though.
     
  17. cwerdna

    cwerdna Proud Tivolutionary

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    That's really unfortunate. :(
    I haven't kept up with whether there still are ongoing battles with software updates sometimes breaking such setups --> unbootable state or all recordings lost.

    That's why I bit the bullet and bought a Bolt+ and the 3 year warranty (which recently expired). However, if the stock 3 TB WD drive fails, I may have to go that route or look for some other suitable alternative...
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2020
  18. ncbill

    ncbill Active Member TCF Club

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    So will we all be switching to an enterprise-level SSD like one user has in their Bolt in another thread?
     
  19. tommage1

    tommage1 Well-Known Member

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    No, I think it is being tested and only works with TE3?
     
  20. shwru980r

    shwru980r Well-Known Member

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    I've been using a Seagate 3TB Laptop HDD SATA 6Gb/s 128MB Cache 2.5-Inch 15 mm Height Internal Hard Drive (ST3000LM016) in my original white bolt for 35 months.

    I've been using a 2TB WD20NPVX in my Bolt Vox for 19 months.
     

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