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post #1 of 17 Old 11-26-2000, 09:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Do you leave the box on all the time? It seems advantageous since you can always turn on the TV and you'll have several hours (10?)recorded to go back too. (handy for news, weather, when you just learned of a show that played on your favorite channel 2 hours ago).

Disadvantages? What's the cost per day in electricity? Will it reduce the life of the unit? By how much?

Your thoughts?

Rick
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post #2 of 17 Old 11-26-2000, 09:33 PM
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I leave my unit on all the time. Actually, now that I have two Replays, I have to leave one of them on at all times so I can toggle between them.

The only thing turning the unit off actually does is spin down the hard disk (and a lot of people on this forum disable the spindown anyways). The "computer" itself remains active the entire time. The pros & cons of disk spindown have already been discussed ad nauseum; a cursory search of the forum should turn up half a dozen different threads on the subject.

I don't like it to be recording all the time, though. I get downright annoyed to find live TV playing when I turn on my TV. If I leave the Replay at the splash screen, I want it to stay at the splash screen. In my mind, any recordings should occur completely in the background, and I should never notice them (unless I'm currently watching something live, and it needs to change the channel on me).

This is perhaps the thing that annoys me the most about ReplayTV. But it's a minor annoyance. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif

I should note, however, that I have woken up late on a few Sunday mornings and found something worth watching in the pause buffer.

[This message has been edited by ijprest (edited 11-27-2000).]
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post #3 of 17 Old 11-27-2000, 04:17 AM
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Yes, I too find that it displays the current recording show annoying. I often leave the unit on and then sit down a while after the show started only to have it displaying the current record. To make it worse, you can't hit stop, don't want to hit pause, just want the thing to stop showing you the middle of the show.

Having to start another show and pause it seems like a lot of work just to tell it not to start showing another show. For that matter, if you hit power while it is playing a show, when you turn it back on, the show starts back up. Why? It shouldn't assume you are ready to resume watching. It should wait for you to tell it you are ready.
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post #4 of 17 Old 11-27-2000, 06:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by RickSilver:

Disadvantages? What's the cost per day in electricity? Will it reduce the life of the unit? By how much?
It will reduce the unit life. By how much? Don't know. But computer hard drives have a finite life span. If I remember correctly, the average is 3 to 5 years of use. Let's say it's 3 years. If you leave the unit on all the time, in 3 years your hard drive dies. If you turn it off when you aren't using it, even if you were to watch/record 8 hours a day, the life span extends to 9 years.

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post #5 of 17 Old 11-27-2000, 08:00 AM
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3-5 years of use for a hard drive? WHAT?!? They are rated for like 150 years of constant use! Here's a quote from Maxtor:

Quote:
the probability of mis-correction is 1 error in 1020 bits transferred. To put this in perspective, this error rate implies that if random 250KB files were continuously read from the disk, one file per second, 24 hours a day, a mis-correction would occur an average of once every 1.5 million years!
Hard Drives are extremely reliable these days. In any event, I have 386/486 computers at my business that have been on 24/7/365 for almost a DECADE and the hard drives are still perfect.

The bottom line: Don't concern yourself with ruining the hard drive. The more appropriate worry is your electric bill, which could gain a few bucks a month with constant energy useage.
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post #6 of 17 Old 11-27-2000, 08:05 AM
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MTBF figures on hard drives are entirely misleading.

For one thing, their description of error bit rate completely ignores mechanical factors such as bearing failure. Yes, if all the mechanical bits hold up, they'll stick by that failure rate.

As for the mechanical parts: All the drive manufacturers publish these wonderful MTBF numbers. They all assume that you'll be replacing all the drives within their rated lifetimes. Thus, if a drive is rated to last 5 years, and you always replace the drive within 5 years, you won't see a failure for a few hundred. This is entirely different from saying that the drive will last a few hundred years, which is what much of their propaganda would seem to imply.

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post #7 of 17 Old 11-27-2000, 08:19 AM
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Loren, I think your information is outdated. Many modern drives are warranteed for 5 years. The design specs are a minimum life of 5 years and 50,000 on/off cycles (Maxtor 80Gig DiamondMax, Quantum LCT15). The theory behind no-spindown is that the transient conditions during power on and power off are what degrades the device, not continuous operation. Disk drives are not light bulbs, granted, but the phenomenon is exemplified in light bulbs - they always burn out when you turn them on or shut them off, because the filament is mechanically stressed by rapid thermal expansion. The issue whether to spindown or not is complex, is probably dependent on individual usage patterns, and is often a personal preference issue - probably why ReplayTV included the CFP command to disable disk spindown.

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post #8 of 17 Old 11-27-2000, 10:13 AM
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What concerns me is the constant write/read to disk of the 'pause buffer' while the unit is on. I wish this could be software disabled. I think my solution will be to power down the unit...yet not do a drive spindown.

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post #9 of 17 Old 11-27-2000, 10:38 AM
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Naspino,

Sounds like you're doing something to break hard drives. They just won't break often (especially 10 in a year?) You're definately doing something IMHO http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif Perhaps you have a small child who plays with tools? Or Gremlins? But regardless, if you are being serious, it's not the hard drive - it's something else breaking them.

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post #10 of 17 Old 11-27-2000, 10:51 AM
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I've got a ShowStopper 30 hour and I always turn it off because the disk is so noisy.

Ken
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post #11 of 17 Old 11-27-2000, 12:12 PM
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As I said, I am not trying to say that hard drives never fail. I'm just saying that I have yet to have one fail, and I work several drives HARD for YEARS. I've gone through 3 or more CD-ROM drives, had memory fail on me, even lost a motherboard, but never a hard drive.

I too have been a computer technician, and I can tell you that 99.99% of all claims are software related. Those that remain are a mix of hard drive failures, CD-ROM failures (generally the open/close mechanism), power shorts ruin something or other, etc. After doing it for several years, and working on hundreds of PCs, I can say that Hard Drive failures are absolutely NOT unreliable. They don't take well to abuse, but that's not what we're talking about here.


Am I lucky with these hard drives? Most likely. I wouldn't lament if they went down, I'm expecting it. But the fact remains that hard drives are extremely reliable, and most (ahem) "failures" are actually software related. (FDISK is too easy to find http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/biggrin.gif)

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post #12 of 17 Old 11-27-2000, 05:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mark Lloyd:
There is VERY little difference in power consumption between ON and "OFF". Mainly, it just controls power to the A/V outputs.
Wrong. The newer versions of the software actually spin the hard drive down, completely shutting it off and saving the considerable power drain of the hard drive.

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post #13 of 17 Old 11-27-2000, 05:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by derek:
What concerns me is the constant write/read to disk of the 'pause buffer' while the unit is on. I wish this could be software disabled. I think my solution will be to power down the unit...yet not do a drive spindown.
It CAN. Very simply. Start watching a recorded show and hit STOP. The machine will be left in an idle state where it is not recording a thing. There is no channel 'tuned' so it's not buffering anything. The replay guys have said this many times.

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post #14 of 17 Old 11-27-2000, 07:24 PM
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My story:

I bought my ReplayTV 2004 in August of 1999. It has been on everyday since them except for about a week when I moved. It is the hottest beast in my apartment (except for maybe the oven). It sits on top of a receiver, a DVD player, a CD player, and a VCR. I reboot it when the power goes out or if I'm leaving for vacation for a week. Otherwise, it just cranks away.

Cheers

P.S. My sister uses an old 486 DX2 66MHz computer that has a 130MB HD that is from 1992. Granted it is only 8 years old, but it runs fine.

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post #15 of 17 Old 11-27-2000, 09:06 PM
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Okay, forget mfr specs. I have a group of 286's and 386's (5 in all) each with two hard drives. In the past 11 years, I've replaced one hard drive, and that was only because it got really loud (but still worked fine). These PC's are on 24/7/365 at my business doing menial office work and MOH (meaning that they are constanly 'on' and spooling.)

I'm SURE that this isn't quite normal behavior, but in _MY_ experience, hard drives are unbelievably reliable. That's not to say that they won't all go kaput tomorrow (I need an excuse to upgrade anyway).

Your Mileage WILL Vary http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/biggrin.gif but I wouldn't worry about leaving them on/off for the hard drive's sake. By the time it fails, you'll be ready to buy the new 1000-hour model.
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post #16 of 17 Old 11-28-2000, 08:21 AM
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Glenn,
Thanks. That trick should be in the FAQ. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif

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post #17 of 17 Old 11-28-2000, 08:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by RandyL712:

The bottom line: Don't concern yourself with ruining the hard drive. The more appropriate worry is your electric bill, which could gain a few bucks a month with constant energy useage.
I have to disagree. I am a network administrator for a company that has 150 PC's. I have had numerous personal computers since 1983. I majored in computer science in college and have had numerous other classes.

Every computer class I have ever taken used the following phrase...

Quote:
There are 2 kinds of hard drives. Those that have crashed and those that will.
We all think it will never happen to us, but you know what? It does. Sure, I have a 10 year old computer that hasn't crashed, but I also have dealt with several computers who's HD's have died after 1 year, or after 3.

The real bottom line is, "Why risk it". Sure, yours may be one that goes for 10 years without a problem. But, it might be one that dies after 3 years of use. I, for one, have a VCR that I have been using for over 10 years now, and am going to do everything I can to ensure that my ReplayTV lasts as long.

Loren


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