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Putting the two devices onto different IDE channels should certainly help
speed things up.

I haven't tried any IDE settings tweakings in terms of TiVo disk work and the
mfstools boot CDs, but generally with Linux you can get huge magnitudes of
speed increase by; turning on DMA usage, changing interrupt masks, and
turning on multi-sector I/O - via hdparm.
http://usalug.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=33142 has some info on this, and
I do the above on my Linux servers, but as mentioned I haven't tried it when
doing TiVoish things.
 
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