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TiVo Hard Drive Replacement
Previous | Next by elfie 19 November, 2007 - 2:38 AM

So with the 180GB drive that came with my TiVo HD, I can store about 20 hours of HD or 180 hours of SD. That's plenty of SD, so we'll leave that out of the rest of the discussion, but 20 hours of HD isn't much, especially if we plan to record movies and save them for repeated viewing (which we often do). Between Heroes, Smallville, How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, and My Name is Earl plus extra padding on each show in case of run-over, that's 4 hours of HD gone already. If that was all we recorded on a weekly basis (it's not) and we never waited more than a week between watching shows (we do), that'd leave us room for about 8 movies at 2 hours each. And that doesn't leave any room for TiVo Suggestions, which are one of my favorite TiVo features. So I think I need more drive space.

Fortunately, it's relatively easy to swap out the internal SATA hard drive for a new one and/or add an external SATA drive. I'm leaning away from adding an external drive, because TiVo treats the two drives as one, meaning that shows are saved across both disks, so if one of the drives fails or needs to be replaced for any reason, ALL the recordings are gone. Plus a good external enclosure can run like $70. So then what do I want out of a replacement internal drive? TiVo writes to the disk constantly because it keeps a 30-minute buffer of whatever is on the current channel of either tuner. That means that the drive definitely has to be certified for 24x7 use. It's also got to be quiet. I don't want to hear a lot of whirring and clicking while I'm trying to watch TV. And it's gotta be big. I'm aiming at 1TB.

Each 250GB of disk space is about 33.3 hours of HD, so a 1TB drive will give me about 133 hours of HD recording capability. I think that'll be plenty for a good long time.

So which drive do I get?

Make Model Certified
dBA Price Size
Hitachi Cinemaster HCS721010KLA330 Yes Yes 29 $400 1TB
Western Digital Caviar GP WD10EACS No Yes 25 $268 1TB
Western Digital RE2* WD7500AYYS Yes
28 $222 750GB
Seagate Barracuda ES.2 ST31000340NS Yes
27 $340 1TB
*The RE2 isn't a terabyte, but it's the only WD I could find that was certified 24x7 so I threw it in for comparison. It'd get me 100 hours of HD.

The Hitachi takes a strong lead in the assurance of reliability category for being both certified 24x7 and TiVo community recommended, but damn it's expensive. The WD Caviar is the cheapest, quietest, and it's community recommended. The only thing it doesn't have going for it is the 24x7 certification (which I hadn't ever heard of before doing this research).

Anyone else have any thoughts or recommendations? I think I'm leaning toward the WD Caviar at this point. It's also eco-friendly.

11/19/2007 >> muhgcee

The only brand of hard drive I ever buy is Western Digital. When I worked at a data center with 3000 servers, Western Digitals failed the least often, by far.

11/21/2007 >> elfie

My dad and my former CompUSA tech both agree with you. I got the WD Caviar GP and my TiVo is now reporting 131 hours of HD / 1241 hours of SD. Hotness.

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