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SeaGate FAP 750GB or Western Digital 1TB + enclosure

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Tips and Resources' started by jondiehl, Oct 20, 2007.

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  1. jondiehl

    jondiehl Cool Member

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    Sep 21, 2007
    I need some help deciding on which drive to add to my HR-20. I picked up both today at Best Buy as I was having trouble deciding on which to own.

    The Seagate FreeAgent Pro 750GB I paid $199 (pricematched to Costco).
    The Western Digital Caviar GP 1TB I got on sale for $279.99, but I'll have to add an external enclosure and eSATA cable ($21.99 @ NewEgg for the KINGWIN JT-35E-BK ).

    It's not just the $100 difference between 750 and 1000 GB of storage (well worth it for the extra 250GB in space IMO), it's the reliability and warranty as well. The Seagate warranty is 5yrs, but I've heard it runs pretty hot. This new Western Digital is only warrantied for 3yrs, but this new technology is supposed to run cooler and with less power (and I've had terrible luck with Western Digital in the past, to the point of swearing them off, but this price of $279 for 1TB was too hard to pass up).

    I have both sitting here on my kitchen table, undecided on which to use.

    I guess I could keep both and put the 1TB drive in my HR10-250 HD Tivo as the original drive in that is starting to get slow and is probably failing (although I'll probably get another HR-20 in 6 months to swap for it anyway.

    Sorry for rambling, I'm just looking for some advice from some other people who have already started using an external SATA drive with their HR20.
     
  2. BenE

    BenE Cool Member

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    I was hoping to see a vet of this forum give input on this, I'm in a simlar boat. I'm on the verge of buying an external hard drive as well. Actually, I already bought one that I had to return. Long story short, I asked a D* CSR what the USB port in the front panel was for, he said it was for an external hard drive. When I tried to hook up a WD USB 2.0 drive - - no dice. It was only after scouring this forum that I learned that I needed a eSATA drive. So at least I made it that far...

    So now I've got my eye on a Seagate 750GB ST307504FPA1E3-RK for $199 at Fry's. Which seems to be a phenomenal price as far as I can tell. And of course I have to find a cable (which they don't seem to sell on line). I've found a couple decently priced cables on newegg, but I'm having a hard time determining which end is up regarding the reviews.

    About the heat consideration, I'm pretty much throwing up my hands. I know generally speaking "excessive" heat = bad. XBox 30 teaches me this. But my Onkyo receiver and HR20 don't seem to have any problems running hot (HR20 at 124-127 with no issues thus far...). I'm just going to make sure to give everything plenty of ventillation, maybe even add some small fans to help out with cooling (thinking ahead to when I build my new entertainment center & home "theater").
     
  3. Lord Vader

    Lord Vader Supreme Member DBSTalk Club

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    If money really isn't an issue, then go with the Seagate 750. For me, even though price was an issue, I opted for reliability and extra storage, the former of which was most important. Therefore, I got a Hitachi 1TB and an Antec MX-1 enclosure, which has its own internal cooling fan--nice. There have been more and more reports of the Seagates failing within months of their being connected. It hasn't reached an epidemic, but considering the Seagates lack a cooling unit, why take a chance?
     
  4. keenan

    keenan Godfather

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    I'm running the same exact setup on TiVo S3 and haven't had any trouble. I just picked up another MX-1 for the HR20 and was waiting to see if anyone was using the Hitachi drive, but you've just confirmed that it does work, and works well, thanks. :)

    BTW, Circuit City had the MX-1 for $40 last week, not sure if it's still on sale as of today though.
     
  5. Hansen

    Hansen Hall Of Fame

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    Both good choices. I have gone through a similar debate. Dollar for dollar, the 1TB is still a bit more per gb than the 750gb, especially after you add an enclosure. I'd like to see active cooling built into the Seagate FAP but it does have a 5 year warranty and the aluminum case acts as a good heat sink. In the end, I went with the Seagate 750GB ST307504FPA1E3-RK through CostCo for $199. I like CostCo because CostCo really stands behind its products by providing an even better warranty than Seagate....return any time for any reason. Beats having to wait for Seagate to honor the warranty. I'm currently monitoring temps inside my AV area to see the net heat impact by the FAP and may add a fan to move the heat out of the AV area. (I'd probably have to do that regardless of a fan built in to the HD enclosure since that just re-circulates the air inside the AV area and does not remove it from the area.)

    I think the best choice will come with time when hard drives in the 1Tb+ range get a lot cheaper and they start offering more AV rated drives (drives intended to be used with DVRs - running 24/7) for the current price of regular hard drives. For now the FAP was a good choice for me but I think most of the solutions used out there by posters are good choices. It just comes down to $/gb.
     
  6. Sirshagg

    Sirshagg Hall Of Fame

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    I went with the WD 1tb drive (was $279 at bb last week) and the MX-1 enclosure.
     
  7. Lord Vader

    Lord Vader Supreme Member DBSTalk Club

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    As nice as the warranties are, what good does that do when your drive actually fails and you lose all recordings, settings, favorites, etc.? That's a frustration that is immeasurable, and if it's gonna happen, I'd rather have it happen much less frequently, which would probably be the case with a drive in an enclosed, cooled unit.
     
  8. jondiehl

    jondiehl Cool Member

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    Sep 21, 2007
    Actually, the 1TB option is LESS per GB than the Seagate 750.

    Seagate FAP 750GB = $199.99 = $3.75/GB
    WD Caviar GP 1TB ($279.99) + KINGWIN JT-35E enclosure w/ fan and eSATA cable ($21.99) = $3.31/GB

    Thanks for the responses guys. I didn't know that the Seagate FAP did not have active cooling, which I think is essential for these hard drives in long-term AV applications. Even though Seagate FAP 750GB is a great deal @ $199.99, the Western Digital drive is less per GB even after adding an actively cooled enclosure like the Kingwin from Newegg.com
     
  9. tombet

    tombet Legend

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    And actually, if you are figuring the cost per GB, you should first subtract the 100GB that the HR20's reserve for its buffer and settings, and then do the division with the remaining balance. That will further make the 1TB look like a good choice.
     
  10. Tom Robertson

    Tom Robertson Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

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    Me? Space, Space, Space. :)

    If I were to do an external drive (I own 3 DVRs outright, so I can and have opened), I would go with a Raid 5 enclosure to protect the recordings. I just haven't decided which external case to go with yet.

    Cheers,
    Tom
     
  11. Tom Robertson

    Tom Robertson Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

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    Ummm... $200/750 = $.26666667/GB
    $300/1000 = $.30000/GB

    Using tombet's excellent suggestion
    $200/650 = $.308/GB (usable)
    $300/900 = $.33/GB (usable)

    Sure, I got loose with the total cost, the case and cable and tax will be more, but the comparison should still hold.

    Cheers,
    Tom
     
  12. jondiehl

    jondiehl Cool Member

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    Sep 21, 2007
    Thank you. Wasn't paying close attention to the numbers while typing that and watching football this afternoon.

    Divided wrong or right, looks like 1TB is the way to go for cost per GB (even more so when deducting the 100GB to get to usable storage). :)
     
  13. kikkenit2

    kikkenit2 Icon

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    I bought 2 of the Seagate 750Gb at BB last week on sale. Then I read on here that the Cavalry 750 at buy.com was a better choice so I got 1 of those too. It has the fan and runs way cooler. It came with the cable also. One of the seagates already started giving me trouble today. HR20 kept locking up and had to reset twice. The second time was a rbr and it went directly to the internal drive. Sweating this seagate enclosure. Recommend getting enclosures with a fan built in. Will go 1Tb when prices drop some.
     
  14. Halo

    Halo Godfather

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    The heat and power specs for the 1TB Western Digital are very impressive.

    Here are a few quick stats from the review.

    Surface Drive Temp

    Western Digital 1000GB: 41C
    Seagate 750 GB______: 51C
    Hitachi 1000GB_______: 53C

    Power Consumption

    Western Digital 1000GB: 4.0 watts idle, 12.2 watts load
    Hitachi 1000GB_______: 8.4 watts idle, 18.4 watts load

    This was taken from THIS REVIEW

    I think right now I would definitely choose the WD drive, especially in a multi drive RAID setup where power and heat numbers are multiplied.
     
  15. Tom Robertson

    Tom Robertson Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

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    Quoting from the article:
    In other words, likely not good for a DVR, always under load.

    Cheers,
    Tom
     
  16. jbart1965

    jbart1965 AllStar

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    Oct 12, 2006
    The review actually says it would be good for a DVR, though I don't understand exactly why.

    BTW, Hitachi supposedly has a 1TB drive specifically for DVRs, called Cinemastar, but it's hard to find.
     
  17. keenan

    keenan Godfather

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    I've read, I believe at TCF, that a poster verified with Hitachi that a Cinemastar is just a Deskstar with the acoustic management set for quiet running.
     
  18. tombet

    tombet Legend

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    IMO, some conclusions are being drawn that might not be warranted. I read the review, but I dont think its clear whether the WD or Hitachi 1TB is better for HR20 use. The reviews show the Hitachi is faster and the WD is cooler. Neither of those necessarily mean one is better for use with the HR20. Both seem suitable, and I think we need to wait a year or so to really know as it will come down to reliability. In the mean time, I wouldn't really hesitate to use either.

    Because the Hitachi runs warmer does not mean it runs TOO warm or that you can expect a shorter life span. You might think so intuitively, but the biggest study of hard drive reliability (published earlier this year, using drives in the google data center, easily found with an internet search) did not correlate drive failures to drive temps (until very extreme temps.)

    But in support of the WD, the loads that the TomsHardware review puts on during tests greatly surpass what the HR20 is doing - even when its recording two shows and watching a third. Compared to the stress tests of the reviews, the HR20 is not all that taxing. Figure each video stream in the HR20 is something around 5-7 MB/Sec. SO fully loaded with two recording streams and one playback stream, lets call it 20MB/sec. TomsHardware is testing with average transfer rates of around 60MB/sec, with highs of over 80MB/sec for the fastest drives (like the Hitachi) and always at least 30MB/sec for even the slowest drives. The WD averaged around 60MB/sec, and never did worse than 38MB/sec. (My numbers are approximations.) That is likely why TomsHardware says it would be good for a DVR - because while they think the WD drive is no speed demon, they dont think you need a speed demon for a DVR. In their tests, the WD can easily handle the biggest load a DVR would put on it. Also, TomsHardware recommendation for WD suitability for a DVR (generically speaking) might be assuming a DVR that will idle the drive when its not being used bringing the power savings features into play - but the HR20 will not idle the drive.

    (Looking at the power saving features and temps at IDLE is rather meaningless if deciding for use in the HR20, because the drive is never going to be idle. Its a strong point of the WD for sure, but it wont be used with the HR20.)

    I own a Hitachi 1Tb and am pleased, but from all I have read about the WD, I think its a good choice as well. Over time we'll see if one has better reliability than the other - but at this point I think you cannot come to any conclusion about that.

    As to the CinemaStar, I cannot find any substantive features or technology that would indicate its a model that would do really better than the regular DeskStar. My hunch: it is mostly marketing position to clearly indicate they feel the drive is a good choice for a DVR. I think its more style than substance. One can use Hitachi utilities to tune its power saving and acoustic properties - it wouldn't even surprise me if all the CinemaStar has done is pretuned it to some choices they feel are good for a DVR. (I am purely speculating on that part, but... )
     
  19. Halo

    Halo Godfather

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    Agreed, but I think the bitrates are even smaller than that.
    The 'worst case' condition for the HR20 is to record two full ATSC streams at once while at the same time viewing a recorded full ATSC stream.
    The ATSC stream (no subchannels) is 19.37 Mbits per second.
    So three full ATSC streams should be about 7.3 MB/s, which is well within the capabilities of modern 3.5 drives. A more realistic load (MPEG2HD, MPEG4HD or SD) is smaller than ATSC.
    It would be interesting to see what the actual power numbers for the different drives would be at more realistic HR20 loads.
     
  20. Tom Robertson

    Tom Robertson Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

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    Today, I can create greater loads than 3 ATSC streams. Overlap pad 2 shows on both ATSC tuners, plus watch an existing ATSC show.

    Soon, with DoD, add another HD stream queued via internet.

    After that... well I can't say anything more... ;)

    Cheers,
    Tom
     
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