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First Look: TenLab's eSATA-TenBox

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Tips and Resources' started by Earl Bonovich, Oct 5, 2007.

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  1. Earl Bonovich

    Earl Bonovich Lifetime Achiever

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    Over the past few weeks, I have been taken TenLab's new TenBox for a spin... So.. here is DBSTalk's First Look at the TenBox

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Earl Bonovich

    Earl Bonovich Lifetime Achiever

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    The TenBox arrived pre-assembled... ready to go.
    Out of the box... hooked up and ready to go in about 5 minutes.. rebooted the HR20... and I was on my way...

    The unit I test drove was a dual 750gb system, to provide my HR20-700 with 1.5tb of drive space.

    The TenLab came with the unit itself, an external power supply, and the eSATA cable.

    The power supply is about the size of a modern laptop external power supply, while at first it seemed a little odd... but it sits right there on the shelf behind the unit.

    The eSATA cable popped right into place, with no alternations necessary...
    Plugged it, powered on the TenBox (top left power button)....

    Put my ear on the case so I could hear the drive fire up (yes... seriously, it is that quiet that standing right in front of it... I couldn't hear the drives, I had to put my ear almost on the unit.

    When it was done with the standard "sounding" startup procedures of a harddrive... rebooted the HR20... and the HR20 did all it's work.

    Came back up... empty drive (as expected), and I have my 1.5tb ready to go.
     
  3. Earl Bonovich

    Earl Bonovich Lifetime Achiever

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    I have now had it up and running for about 3 weeks...

    I have used 8% of the drive (according to the meter).

    Right now:
    21 hrs of HD-MPEG-4 recordings
    9 hrs of SD recordings
    3 hours of VOD content

    Earlier this week:
    4.5hr UFC fight from two weeks ago... only took up 2% of the drive...
     
  4. Earl Bonovich

    Earl Bonovich Lifetime Achiever

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    During the usage over the last few weeks...
    I have not noticed any changes in performance (as expected).
    The unit just continues along, like it is on it's internal drive.

    I have been few a through a few CE's too... and no issues there...
    System reboots, downloads, and keeps on going.

    Basically... the box just "works".

    You can not hear the drives in the unit.
    And with the fan in QUIET mode (there are two options), you can even hear the fan running when standing 6" away from the unit.
    Heat... hasn't been an issue... and I have three units in that case.

    If you put your hand on the top of the case... it is warm... not hot... but warm... certainly nothing to get "too" worried about, but enough that you want to make sure that you have some air flow around the case.
     
  5. Earl Bonovich

    Earl Bonovich Lifetime Achiever

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    Well... even though I have had ZERO issues with the box...
    There is one thing, that some people may not like.

    On the front of the unit... there are 6 Lights:

    Power Ring... Very dimm blue circle around the power button. not enough to "light up the room"

    2 Blue Lights... denoting the drives are operational... these are kinda bright... just as bright as the HR20 power button.

    1 Orange Light.. this denotes any activity on the drive controller
    2 Green lights... these denote activity on eithe of the drives.

    In a dark room.. the lights may be distracting for some... but with my unit normally behind glass, and not in my direct eye sight line... hasn't been a problem.

    But for a little bit, I did put a piece of black electrical tape over them... and didn't even notice it...
     
  6. Earl Bonovich

    Earl Bonovich Lifetime Achiever

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    Some other things about the TenBox:

    -) It is a true eSATA device... you can use this with any device that accepts eSATA connections.. PC or other DVRs
    -) It also has a USB option for connections
    -) It has an option to work in two different modes: 1 LARGE Drive, or 1 smaller-mirroed drive.

    TenLab's has tested (I didn't do it, as I wanted 1 large drive)...
    That if one of the drives is pulled (aka if it failed), even with the system still running....

    The eSATA will continue to work with just one drive...

    No loss of recordings.
    Then when the drive is replaced.. it will re-build the mirror "real-time"

    So you can set it up to be one very big drive... or setup it to be a backup of itself.
     
  7. Earl Bonovich

    Earl Bonovich Lifetime Achiever

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    Here are some images, provided by TenLab's...
    As for why I didn't take photos of the inside... well... they asked me not to, as there are some components in there they didn't want to share with their competitors.

    But I can say, that these photo's they provided.. do match what is in the system.

    The drives that are used for the 1.5tb model:
    Seagate DB35 Series 7200.3
    Model ST3750840SCE

    Top Off
    Hard Drive Setup
    Hard Drive Mounting
    Cooling Fan
     
  8. Earl Bonovich

    Earl Bonovich Lifetime Achiever

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    Now, I know in a lot of the pre-discussion about the TenBox...
    There was a lot of chatter about it's cost... versus the alternatives out there.

    Couple of things:
    -)TenBox is not looking to compete with those low end, computer intended solutions. The target audience are mid-high end systems... that want the higher quality then has gone into this product.

    -) This is a different type of solution... intended to be on 24/7, in a home theater setting. The heat, components, and reliability all reflect that. This case is also solid... very solid... you can put other components on top of it.

    -) Eventually they will have other options... like just the case, no drives. Different case color options.


    So while it is on the higher end of the "scale"... it isn't astronomically out of wack.

    Would I buy it for myself... Yes... since I have had my HR20...
    I may have had to go with a smaller one... and then waited a year or so for larger drives, and prices to drop... but I would have gotten it as my enclosure.

    I have been tight on space... and the way my entertainment center is setup, I just didn't like many of the other options out there.
     
  9. Earl Bonovich

    Earl Bonovich Lifetime Achiever

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