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Thread: Hard Drive Brands?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    Hard Drive Brands?

    Has anybody had any negative/positive experiences with particular brands of hard drives in a TiVo? I haven't found much information on here about this topic. I just put a new Seagate in mine, though, and it seems to be seriously overheating. I previously had a Western Digital and didn't experience any problems like this. (They both were ATA/100, 7200rpm, 120GB drives).

    The Seagate, which is literally 2 days old, keeps giving me these errors in my kernel logs:

    Code:
    Jan 28 22:40:23 (none) kernel: hda: dma_intr: status=0x51 { DriveReady SeekComplete Error }
    Jan 28 22:40:23 (none) kernel: hda: dma_intr: error=0x40 { UncorrectableError }, LBAsect=70003458, sector=63105
    I get these lines every few seconds. The drive is very hot to the touch when I go to take it out, too. I know that those lines indicate a failing drive usually, but with a brand new drive I take it to mean it's a heat issue.

    So I guess what I'm asking is, when I go to exchange this drive, what should I get? I'm currently planning on getting a WD, as I had good experience with that previously, unless I hear otherwise.

    Thanks again for any advice anybody cares to provide.

  2. #2
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    Jan 2002
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    On your specific problem: Pull the drive and run manufacturer's low level diagnostics on the drive, including the low level media analysis; the destructive one that takes a couple of days if you have nothing irreplacable on the drive. If the diagnostic returns an error code, get the drive replaced. I don't necessarily recommend you keep the drive warm and cozy while running the diagnostic. <g>

    In general, everyone has their favorite brand of drive. I think someone has reported oddball problems with every drive brand out there - problems that were resolved by replacing the drive. About a year ago the general consensus was to avoid the IBM Deskstar line of drives (now available from Hitachi).

    Reports are also mixed on the newer Seagates; they have a 5 year warranty, but may lack acoustic management capability.

    PlainBill
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  3. #3
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    Feb 2002
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    Make sure your fan is connected and functioning. The drive shouldn't be getting that hot otherwise.

    Like PlainBill says, everyone has their favorite brand of drive. I got involved in an interesting discussion a while back on another forum about large drives used in Tivos and PVRs in general. Drives optimized for multimedia applications would work best in a PVR but they are very expensive in contrast to the ones you see on sale all of the time. I don't really know which drives qualify but most manufacturers have them in their lineup.

    One thing I didn't realize is that standard hard drives, especially the new larger drives, have to perform a thermal calibration every so often due to the tighter tolerances to which they are manufactured. When this takes place you may see a brief bit of pixelisation on your TV set. Multimedia drives do not have to perform this calibration and therefore will not induce the pixelisation error during record or playback operations. I had always thought is was due to interference with the broadcast signal or a transmission glitch of some kind. The thought that it might be drive related had never occurred to me.
    Please don't PM me or any other members looking for personal assistance. You'll do better by posting (after you've exhausted the search feature, of course) and taking advantage of the collective expertise of the membership instead of a single individual that may or may not be able to help you. Thank you and enjoy your stay at DDB!

  4. #4
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    Most of us just buy whatever drive that's cheap after rebate this week. You might give some preference to drives with a longer warranty such as Seagate.

    I would suggest you go with just one drive. Adding a second drive, IMHO, is just asking for trouble. If either drive breaks you lose your recordings. A second drive gives you power and heat issues. The large drive hacks are pretty mainstream and you can get a 160-200 Gig drive for next to nothing.

  5. #5
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    Jan 2005
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    Thanks for the input, guys. Most of that is stuff I'd heard before in non-TiVo-related discussions. I guess it is just pretty disheartening to me that a drive that I just bought on Tuesday is having so many problems. I forgot to mention that after the unit has been powered up for a while, the shows I'm watching will get really choppy, and continue to get progressively worse until it's totally unwatchable. Also the menus and remote buttons in general are very unresponsive. If I power it off for an hour or so, then turn it back on, it works fine for a couple of hours and then starts degrading again. This is why I was so sure that it was a heat issue.

    I agree with the sentiment that adding a second drive is probably just going to exacerbate this issue. This reminds me of something else I've been meaning to ask... is it possible to use a drive larger than 137GB without going the monte route? Chainloading a kernel in userland just seems like something I really don't want to do. I realize it works just fine for plenty of folks, but as a Linux admin in real life, I'd prefer something cleaner. The reason I bring this up now is because I think some of the larger drives on the market now are more tuned to "multimedia applications" than the deal-of-the-weak 120GBs I've been trying. Plus, more space is never a bad thing...

    Thanks again for the input. I continue to be amazed by how useful this board is, and how knowledgeable and willing to help the people on here are!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by IlliniFan
    is it possible to use a drive larger than 137GB without going the monte route?
    3.x (2.4.4) & 4.x (2.4.18) kernels don't natively support lba48, and as such, the only way to add support is through a modified kernel patched for lba48 functionality. The only way to run a modified kernel on your system is to chainload into it using monte.

    Perhaps someday in the future if/when a killhdinitrd style hack becomes available for 6.1 (Dtivos) and/or 7.1 (standalones), which both have native lba48 kernels, will users of these software versions be able to have lba48 capability without monte, similar to the HDTivo folks.
    Last edited by JohnSorTivo; 01-28-2005 at 08:30 PM.
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  7. #7
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    Jan 2005
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    Thanks for the info. I'll stick with a 120GB drive for now until further tools exist for 6.1.

    As an update, today I returned my Seagate drive and bought a Western Digital WD1200. This is a newer one than what I was using previously (the drive itself is black), and it works great! No heat problems whatsoever, no errors in the kernel log. The drive doesn't not even feel very hot to the touch after the TiVo has been running for several hours.

    I also started from scratch today and got quite a long ways, thanks to the resources on this forum. Many more heartfelt thanks to everyone here!

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