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eSATA FAQ


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579 replies to this topic

#51 OFFLINE   steff3

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Posted 28 November 2008 - 01:40 PM

Just picked up Antec MX-1 for 39.00 at a local retailer (easy to return needed) I am looking at one of these 3 HDD's for my HR21 (or maybe my HR-20). Does anyone have any opinions on either of these HDD's?

http://www.tigerdire...&sku=TSD-1500AS

OR

http://www.tigerdire...&sku=TSD-1000AS

OR

http://www.newegg.co...-L1A-_-22136151



Thanks!

...Ads Help To Support This Site...

#52 OFFLINE   russdog

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Posted 28 November 2008 - 02:36 PM

Just picked up Antec MX-1 for 39.00 at a local retailer (easy to return needed) I am looking at one of these 3 HDD's for my HR21 (or maybe my HR-20). Does anyone have any opinions on either of these HDD's?

http://www.tigerdire...&sku=TSD-1500AS

OR

http://www.tigerdire...&sku=TSD-1000AS

OR

http://www.newegg.co...-L1A-_-22136151



Thanks!

Both Seagate and WD are well respected brands. I have no brand loyalty to either one.

The jury's still out on the 1.5TB Seagate. Lots of problem reports from users. (Not about D* in particular, just in general. For example read user reviews on the newegg site.) I have no idea whether this is about an early manufacturing run or about that model in general.

Reports about the 1TB Seagate seem to be something of a mixed bag. Some folks swear by it , while others report issues with it lagging/pausing/stuttering. I have no idea why.

That model of 1TB WD (WD 10EACS) does not seem to elicit problem reports. (You posted a link to newegg. For today (Friday), it's $5 cheaper there ($95 delivered) via promo code EMCBBCJBH)

#53 OFFLINE   steff3

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Posted 28 November 2008 - 02:43 PM

Both Seagate and WD are well respected brands. I have no brand loyalty to either one.

The jury's still out on the 1.5TB Seagate. Lots of problem reports from users. (Not about D* in particular, just in general. For example read user reviews on the newegg site.) I have no idea whether this is about an early manufacturing run or about that model in general.

Reports about the 1TB Seagate seem to be something of a mixed bag. Some folks swear by it , while others report issues with it lagging/pausing/stuttering. I have no idea why.

That model of 1TB WD (WD 10EACS) does not seem to elicit problem reports. (You posted a link to newegg. For today (Friday), it's $5 cheaper there ($95 delivered) via promo code EMCBBCJBH)


Thanks Russdog!! Will give the WD a whirl.

#54 OFFLINE   russdog

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 03:34 PM

The HR21 series require a 3Mbps transfer rate, and a number of drives come out of the box set with jumpers at 1.5Mbps (common to PCs).

If you have a drive that can be changed to (jumper) or is configured at 3Mbps...then you should be fine using it with the HR21 series - eSata. As for using one internally....the tech requirement is the same, but then there's that voided warranty thing....

AFAIK, every 1TB SATA drive is fast enough.
Do we know of any of them that come with default settings that force them to run slower? (I don't, but maybe I missed something.)
AFAIK, the default settings out-of-the-box for modern high-capacity bare SATA drives are the fast setting.

You state that "a number" of them have slow defaults. Is this really true? If so, which ones?
We see cases of people getting confused because they think they need to mess around with jumpers when they shouldn't be doing that.
AFAIK, for modern high-capacity SATA drives, people should not be messing with jumper settings, but maybe I missed something somewhere.
If you know of any cases where people have to mess with jumpers, please post what they are.

Am I correct in assuming that just about any eSATA setup will work with the HR20-700?

No. Don't assume that. But whatever configuration works, it works for all HD DVR models.

This is a false statement.
There are multiple reports that permit us to conclude that various configurations that work with HR20's do *not* work with HR21/HR22's.

The truth appears to be that most-but-not-all eSATA's work with HR20's, but many of those do not work with HR21's.
This very problem of inconsistency between HR20's and HR21's is exactly why this FAQ got started.
The fact is that HR21's (and evidently HR22's) have been a lot more picky about what eSATA drives they work with.
Please don't tell people otherwise, because that's simply not true.

#55 OFFLINE   P Smith

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 12:23 AM

It's time to check new 2TB disk, just shell out $240 for the test.

#56 OFFLINE   wildbillyboygolf

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 09:57 PM

Tried an AcomData 1TB PureDrive model # PDHD1000USE-72 - which a buyer on NewEgg said had a WD10EACS hard drive (tho I didn't confirm this by opening it up) - and it didn't work with my HR22-100.

The picture would freeze and then jump/shudder when it unfroze. Also the hard drive light would change from blue (good signal) to amber (no signal) constantly.

Going to try a Calvary CAXB3701T0 1TB drive next. Calvary said this is the same as the CAXM3701T0 mentioned earlier in this thread - except for the esata adapter and cable. Let you know next week if it works.

Have used the above Calvary CAXB3701T0 1TB drive (with a new SIIG cable) on an HR 22-100 for 10 days now with no problems.

#57 OFFLINE   eastglacierpark

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 04:10 AM

I just updated the 1st post to reflect some new reports we have about RAID boxes.


This is probably just a newbie issue, but I don't see anything attached to the first post? No text, no attachment to download. Can you point me to the FAQ document?

Many thanks!

#58 OFFLINE   t_h

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 09:21 AM

Regarding the comment that theres no need to format the driver before use, since the HR does it.

As far as I know, the HR doesnt do a full format/surface check, but just writes its file system and then continues writing.

While the benefits may be arguable, I always hook up a DVR drive to a computer and run a full format/surface check on it once before installing it, and check for any Smart errors when its done. By doing this, any marginal sectors will be remapped and if the drive is a little hinky out of the box, I'd rather have it do something detectably bad when its hooked up to the PC rather than having it crop up a day/week/month later when I have 100 shows recorded on it.

#59 OFFLINE   P Smith

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 10:47 AM

Regarding the comment that theres no need to format the driver before use, since the HR does it.

As far as I know, the HR doesnt do a full format/surface check, but just writes its file system and then continues writing.

While the benefits may be arguable, I always hook up a DVR drive to a computer and run a full format/surface check on it once before installing it, and check for any Smart errors when its done. By doing this, any marginal sectors will be remapped and if the drive is a little hinky out of the box, I'd rather have it do something detectably bad when its hooked up to the PC rather than having it crop up a day/week/month later when I have 100 shows recorded on it.


Nope.

The "run a full format/surface check on it" will do not do that.
You'll need special programs like MHDD.exe what invoke HDD firmware REMAP process of bad sectors by triggering SMART threshold.

Nope.

#60 OFFLINE   zdstring

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 01:34 PM

Just some points on this thread:

I've built up several external units for myself, friends and customers and have had excellent results with the Antec MX-1 case (actively cooled & comes with an eSATA cable).
Installed and working perfectly were: 1TB (930GB) Maxtor MXTL01F100, Samsung !TB (930GB formatted) and Seagate 750GB ST3750640AS Drives.

-When you install and initialize these drives, I have always done a complete NTFS Format (2-4 hours depending on connection/cpu) before attaching them to DirecTV HR-21/22 systems.
- Because you will be creating all new recording preferences, channels, etc. that will reside on this external expansion drive, turn the DVR off, unplug it, attach the external drive, turn on the external drive and let it spin up 20-30 seconds, plug in your DVR and start it up.
You will need to go through all the station set up, recording preferences, etc. that you originally did with the original setup. These will reside on this external unit. If/when you switch back to the internal hard drive (turn off your system-(no need to unplug it this time), turn off the external drive/unplug the eSATA cable, turn your DVR back on) all of your Original settings, recorded programs, schedules, etc. will be there.
- I have also had excellent results with the Seagate FreeAgent Pro ST305004FPA1E3-RK. Because it came with a bunch of backup software, I reinitialized the drive and did a complete NTFS format and attached it to the DVR in the same process described above.

Hope this helps all of you.
Doug

#61 OFFLINE   P Smith

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 01:45 PM

Don't waste your time for formating the disk as NTFS ! Useless advise.

#62 OFFLINE   Richierich

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 03:02 PM

Don't waste your time for formating the disk as NTFS ! Useless advise.


Well, I guess you had better explain why it is useless as mine did not work until the AMS Tech had me Format it NTFS and then it worked perfectly.
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#63 OFFLINE   P Smith

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 08:52 PM

Those techs out there ... Main source of knowledge. :D

#64 OFFLINE   zdstring

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 12:22 AM

Those techs out there ... Main source of knowledge. :D


From working in the HD mfg. industry for over 12 years there is a smidgeon of relevance in your comments. If you have the resources to pick up 'enterprise' quality of HDs then formatting and mapping out suspect or bad sectors on the drive would be a waste of time. However, in the mfg process drives are graded by their defect results in manufacturing and classified accordingly. Many OEMs have their materials screened before acceptance and the rest of the lot that has an unacceptable defect list are shipped out to retail.

If you picked up a $95 1TB drive from a retailer instead of a $185 1TB enterprise class drive it would be worth your while to reformat and map out any bad areas before you install it and start saving data to it. The manufacturer would be happy to replace your retail drive if it fails during the warranty period, however you are SOL for any data you may have lost. :lol:

#65 OFFLINE   P Smith

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 12:55 AM

I'd worked with servers ( include SUN servers ) for almost 20 years, so what about formatting and remapping bad/weak sectors ? I'll tell you one secret ( depend of manufacturers around here - Seagate in Santa Cruz, ex-Maxtor - close to KLA-Tencore, heh ) - you'll need to send READ cmd to that sector more then twenty times before FW will kick REMAP process ! While you use format, how many attempts it doing ? Less then 10. Back to IT school, zdstring. ;)

#66 OFFLINE   arlen95

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 07:05 AM

Still running my WD My Book Home Edition 2 months after original post with no problems. Knock wood....Let's hope for the best.

#67 OFFLINE   russdog

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 07:29 PM

FAQ continued from previous post...

7. Maximum capacity issues:
  • One of the ongoing HR-eSATA mysteries concerns the question, "Is there a maximum amount of HDD storage that an HR can use?"
    • Based on a small number of user reports, the answer appears to be "Yes".
      • These reports involve using eSATA RAID boxes.
      • We don't think the limit has anything to do with eSATA.
      • We don't think the limit has anything to do with the RAID boxes.
      • The reason the reports come from RAID users is that only eSATA RAID users have big-enough storage to find out.
    • While various details may influence the exact point where the HR hits the limit, it appears to be "soon after 1.5TB".
    • HR responsiveness to some-but-not-all user commands appears to get significantly slower before you reach the limit.
    .
  • The practical limitation appears to be the HR-database's limited ability to store info about recordings.
    • Thus, it appears that there are 2 different capacity issues that are relevant:
      • 1. The ability of the HR to deal with the volume of data stored.
        • This would be measured in TB or GB of info stored on the HDD.
        • We have seen reports that HR20's are capable of addressing a max of 2TB of storage, while the newer ones can address 16TB of storage.
      • 2. The ability of the database in the HR to deal with the amount of program information stored.
        • We have no practical way to measure this.
    • It appears likely that users will hit the limitation of the HR-database before they get near the TB limit.
      • However, this is based on recording a mix of SD and HD programs.
      • It may be that users who record only HD programs might not hit the db limit before hitting 2TB.
    • We say "appears likely" because:
      • We're just guessing, based on the details of how-and-when things have gone haywire, and
      • If we're right, the actual limit may or may not be reached at any given amount of HDD storage.
    .
  • Here's what we think happens:
    • For each recording, various info is stored in the HR's database ("db").
      • This may include the program name, program description, list of actors, date of first airing, etc.
      • The program info provided for some programs is more extensive than for other programs.
      • Thus, some programs may consume more space in the HR's database than do other programs.
    • Regardless of that (even if all programs consume the same amount of db-space), each program consumes some db space.
      • Thus, a very long HD program might consume no more db-space than a very short SD program. (It might consume less.)
      • This makes it hard to correlate how-and-when the db fills up with how much HDD space is used.
        • We know that a very long HD recording will consume more HDD space than two very short SD recordings
        • Yet two short SD programs might consume more space in the db than does one long HD recording.
    • In addition, we are not sure what role (if any) is played by "series recordings":
      • At present, there is a fixed maximum (50) for the number of autorecordings the user can specify.
      • Does using this ability influence how rapidly the HR database gets filled up? Maybe. We don't know.
    .
  • It appears that there are 2 phases to the deterioration if HR performance as the database fills up:
    • Phase 1: The warning phase:
      • As the HR-database fills up, responsiveness to *some* user actions slows down:
      • This is evident in the time it takes for the list of recorded programs to appear onscreen.
      • It may also be evident in HR responsiveness to other user actions that involve interaction with the database.
      • HR responsiveness to other user commands (pause, RW, FF, etc.) seems to be unaffected.
    • This deterioration in responsiveness appears to be progressive.
      • It is a gradual thing, not an "on/off" thing.
      • The time it takes to bring up the list of recorded programs seems to be a good metric:
      • As the database fills past a certain point, the user will start to notice a bit of lag in responsiveness.
      • As the database approaches its limits, this lag gradually gets worse and worse.
      • As the database nears its limit, and approaches failure, the delay in displaying the list of recordings can reach 9 seconds.
  • Phase 2: Database failure
    • It appears that when the limit of the database is reached, the HR starts acting goofy.
    • One obvious sign is that a previously healthy HR will evidence reboots for no obvious reason.
    • Once it reaches this point, deleting programs from the database may or may not fix the problem.
      • Reports are mixed, and we're just not sure.
    • Replacing or reformatting the HDD that has filled to the point of taxing the database beyond its capacity appears to fix the problem.
.

[*] Implications:
.
  • 1. It is difficult (and maybe impossible) to give an easy useful answer about the HR's max storage capacity
  • For practical purposes, the limitations of the HR's capacity re: stored programs appear to about its database.
  • While the HR shows a bar that indicates the amount of free HDD space, it shows nothing that indicates the amount of free database space.
  • This means that there appears to be no easy way to tell:
  • What the practical max HDD capacty is that an HR can cope with.
  • Of the practical limit of db capacity, how much of it is used-vs-free at any moment.
.
[*] 2. Deterioration in HR responsiveness is progressive.
  • As the database fills, HR responsiveness to user actions that involve the database gradually slows down.
    • With lots of recordings and/or lots of autorecordings scheduled, the HR will lag in displaying the list of recorded programs.
  • Some deterioration in responsivess can be evident even with 1TB HDD's.
    • However, some slowness is just an annoyance. It doesn't mean anything bad will happen.
  • At some point, the lag can become very noticable, growing to more than 7 seconds.
    • This should be treated as a warning that the database is nearing its breaking point.
.
[*] 3. Be dubious about claims that a given eSATA product can handle a large volume of programs
  • Because the practical limitation appears to be the database, there are ways to get around this in experiments.
    • For example, manually recording large time-blocks of HD programming will fill up the HDD faster than it fills up the database.
    • One might manage to fill up 2TB of storage without problems this way.
  • However, this is not how most users want to use their HR's, so such results are not meaningful and may be strongly misleading.
    • One important factor appears to be what you're filling the HDD with.
    • It may be that recording only HD programs can permit full use of 2TB's. We're just not sure.
.
[*] 4. Future improvement:
  • The practical limitation appears to be the HR database:
    • While this is influenced by hardware limitations, it is at heart a software issue.
    • It appears that D* made a bad decision about the HR-database design, choosing an approach that does not permit much growth.
    • Any improvement appears to require that D* improve the database software via a db-design change (not just a tweak).
    • While we have seen rumors that they are somehow working on this issue, we have no Actual News about it.
  • My bet is that D* won't "officially support" eSATA capability (or install way-bigger HDD's in HR's) until after they fix the database issue.
.
[*] 5. Bottom line:
  • At present, it seems that 1TB HDD's work fine.
    • As they fill, they may evidence slower responsiveness, but it doesn't appear to be a real problem.
  • Once you get past 1.5TB via normal usage patterns, it appears that you may be asking for trouble.
    • This is based on experience with a mixture of SD and HD recordings.
    • It might be that recording only HD programs may permit using more HDD capacity before hitting the db limit.
  • When it comes to capacity issues between 1TB and 1.5TB, we're just not sure yet.
    • You may get problems or you might not.
    • The difference might be due to personal patterns re: exactly what you're recording.
  • In general, for a given amount if HDD space, lots of short SD recordings will tax the db faster than will long HD recordings.
  • If there ever was a perfect place to say "YMMV", this is it.

[/list][/list]

#68 OFFLINE   russdog

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 02:51 PM

I have been using a 2TB RAID box with an HR21-200. (XtraStor XS-2B35U-R-BK enclosure with 2 WD10EACS's inside.)
It now shows 26% free. I will let it fill up further and see what happens.
Here are my observations so far...

Once it filled up to the point where less than 40% of space was free, *some* (but not all) responsiveness began to suffer:
  • The main lag is when pulling up the list of recorded programs.
    • I noticed delays at about 40% free. The delay has gotten progressively worse as more capacity is used.
    • At present (26% free), it takes about 7 seconds for the list to appear (a 7 sec delay feels like 30 sec's).
  • Other aspects of responsiveness seem fine.
    • Op's like pause, FF, RW, 30-sec slip, etc., seem the same as always, for both live programs and recordings.
    • Once the list of recordings is showing, responsiveness when navigating that list is sometimes fine but sometimes sluggish. I have not discerned a pattern about when it's sluggish vs. fine.
    • However, even when moving thru the list of recordings is sluggish, it's nothing like the huge delay in getting the list of recordings to show up.
My current poorly informed opinion is that:
  • The issue here is a crappy db design.
  • It behaves as if it has to regenerate the list of recordings each time you ask to see the list.
  • I'm not dissing that particular aspect. However, it appears that the db design is lousy, to the point where a longer list of recordings makes it snail-like.
  • There is no good reason for this. The number of items in the db is quite small by any standard of modern db's. Even if it does things on the fly, it should still go lickety-split.
So, I'm hoping that they fix the db problem soon.
It's not that hard a problem (although God-knows what havoc a download to everybody will cause, given the D* track record re: download consequences.)

It will be interesting to see what users who have 1.5TB HDD's say when their HDD's fill up.
EDIT: For those of us who might be trying to make sense of this, for the same amounts of storage used, here are the approximate "Space available" percentage factors for 2TB vs. 1.5TB HDD's used for HR storage:

2TB     50%    45%    40%    35%    30%    27%   
1.5TB   32%    25%    18%    12%     5%     1%
The numbers above are based on a 2TB HDD's having 1763GB available for user recordings vs. 1297GB for 1.5TB HDD's, as shown in post#1.
(By the time we get into this range, 1TB's are already filled up.)

I noticed a slowdown in bringing up the list of recorded programs once I got under 40% free, which would correspond to 18% free on a 1.5TB.
Rich says he didn't see any slowdown until 28%, which would correspond to only 2% free on a 1.5TB HDD.

AFAIK, the slowdown issue has nothing to do with RAID vs. non-RAID, but rather is 100% about the HR-database's ability to cope with a longer list of recordings.

ps: I think this is a different issue than eSATA capacity. For example, we can imagine a db that performs reasonably, while different HR's might still have different upper limits on how many TB they each can handle.

UPDATE 12/12/08: As it dips below 24% free: delay in getting list of recordings is up to 9 sec; plus, 2 HR freezes within last 48 hours.

Another Update 12/12/08: It just exceeded something (db or max-size or something).
Details here: http://www.dbstalk.c...43&postcount=88

#69 OFFLINE   cartrivision

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 01:47 PM

That model of 1TB WD (WD 10EACS) does not seem to elicit problem reports. (You posted a link to newegg. For today (Friday), it's $5 cheaper there ($95 delivered) via promo code EMCBBCJBH)


I have been using the WD10EACS inside an HR21-100 with no problems so far.

#70 OFFLINE   hdtvfan0001

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 05:22 PM

I have been using the WD10EACS inside an HR21-100 with no problems so far.

That seems to be a problem-free HD, as I have not seen much of anything in terms of posts reporting problems. Good to hear yours is doing well too.
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#71 OFFLINE   russdog

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Posted 17 December 2008 - 01:46 PM

I have just now used the "placeholder" post #2 in this thread to provide an update about "max capacity" issues when using HR's with big HDD's.

#72 OFFLINE   wildbillyboygolf

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Posted 22 December 2008 - 06:53 PM

Have used the above Calvary CAXB3701T0 1TB drive (with a new SIIG cable) on an HR 22-100 for 10 days now with no problems.


This unit still working fine - have confirmed it has a WD10EACS hard drive.

#73 OFFLINE   drewkr

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 05:38 PM

What will happen if I turn on a previously used (booted the dvr with this drive successfully before) esata drive (connected to the HR21) after booting my HR21 up with the internal drive? WIll the HR21 ignore it or will it migrate OR will it use both??? I hope.

:shrug:

#74 OFFLINE   Richierich

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 05:42 PM

You can go back and forth from your internal drive to your external drive just by powering off you external drive and rebooting or vice versa.

If it detects the external drive that has been fully spun up and is operational it will boot up with that external drive.

If not detected, it will boot up with the internal drive. However, sometimes it fails to fully recognize the external drive and it's contents and that can cause problems.

It will be IGNORED unless it is recognized during the bootup process, else it will boot up with the internal drive. It is an Either Or Situation.
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#75 OFFLINE   P Smith

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 05:44 PM

It will ignore; all mounts happened during boot time only.




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