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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I upgraded a showstopper to a maxtor 120 gig. I used the maxtor disk to do which I believe was a low level format. It took about 10 hours. When I was done I ran the quick test and the thourow test and found no errors(was I supposed to do this before the low level format?). I placed the harddrive in the showstopper and it runs fine. However, when I am playing recorded shows I do occasionally see a minor skip or stutter. The 30 gig harddrive i pulled out before the upgrade worked fine except it did frequent 'green flashes' This happened a handfull of times during a show but it never caused any problem. I saw the first green flash on my new drive today. I did an instant replay and it repeats the green flash just like the first drive.


Is there anyway to make my new drive picture perfect? maybe low level formating again?


Are these green flashes going to hurt my unit or do they indicate any kind of hardware problem?


Is a low level format the same as 'writing zeros'?

I get the impression that a low level format makes the harddrive create a list of sectors that are bad and never uses them.

I get the impression that 'writing zeros' merely writes a zero to every sector(i have no idea if 'writing zeros' has anything to do with marking out bad sectors).


Any input would be appreciated


icecow
 

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Below is copy and paste from Maxtors web site.


Write Disk Pack (low level format)

!! Warning!! This is a “Data Destructive†format of the Maxtor hard drive. All information on the hard drive will be lost.

Perform this low level format only if all other tests have passed (or by direction of Maxtor Technical Support) and the hard

drive is still not performing correctly. In the “Select Test†window Highlight Write Disk Pack (low level format) and press

[Enter]. The program will ask you to type YES all capital letters followed by Enter to begin the test. ( Note:typing “YESâ€

does not display on the screen when performing this test) The Write Disk Pack routine overwrites a pattern of zeros to all

sectors on the drive. High capacity hard drives take longer to complete. Allow sufficient time to complete the test.

Several hours to overnight may be needed. A full Low Level Format remains the most effective test for a drive with

intermittent problems.



icecow, during Maxtors "write to zero's" all data written is read and bad sectors marked for disuse. I've never seen a green flash from any Showstopper output. My guess it's caused by a defect with the motherboard. Don't know if this is a sign of pending failure. Call Panasonic if it's still under warranty.
 

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The green flashes--do they always happen on a background of red? In other words, is some object supposed to be red, and then there's green on or in the red during playback?


If so, then this has nothing to do with your HD. I get this often on my 3020 as well--the tuner/video encoder in the 3xxx/SS cannot handle very bright, amplified reds correctly, and it mis-encodes them as green. It's usually from an over-amplification of the incoming signal.


I just live with it, because every time I've tried to remove my coax amplifiers, I get too much static. I'd rather live with occasional over-amplification than static.


Does this help?

Marc
 

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Writing zeros is .. well .. exactly that .. all sectors on the disk are written with a zero pattern. This wipes out any high level information, such as disk partitioning.


Low-level formatting is the process of outlining the positions of the tracks and sectors on the hard disk, and writing the control structures that define where the tracks and sectors are.


Most modern drives are low-level formatted at the factory, and it is not possible to actually low-level format a drive outside the factory. The low-level format utilities are actually "Zero-fill" utilities.


Maxtor is one of these. The "low level format" really just writes zeros to all sectors, and does not perform a true low level format.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'll look for the red Marc. it might take a few days to figure out. I dont remember alot of red being in the screen.


sounds right though. like i said, I can do an instant replay and see the flash in the exact same place as though its a harddrive sector error. It could equally be a decoder glitch.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by jimbalaia
...

Low-level formatting is the process of outlining the positions of the tracks and sectors on the hard disk, and writing the control structures that define where the tracks and sectors are.


Most modern drives are low-level formatted at the factory, and it is not possible to actually low-level format a drive outside the factory. The low-level format utilities are actually "Zero-fill" utilities.

...
Yeah, in the old days, you could change the interleaving factor so drives

could perform better, but since IDE, the interface seemed to have been

dumbed up and moved towards black boxes where the amount of exposure

you had to drive internals is very little. It's good in a way, there was so

much addressing translation going on to overcome various limitations

that it was getting pretty confusing.
 

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SF & Jim...


So why, then, does Maxtor offer both a low level format utility and a write zero utility with PowerMax? How are they different?
 

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IDE drives are supposed to auto-remap bad sectors. Perhaps Maxtor's LLF is writing out zeros then learning which sectors had problems and marking them. In the SCSI world.. you can still bring up the bad sector tables, nuke em and rebuild em.
 

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the PowerMax utility has five (5) options -- this is from their website, and I have used it so I know this information to be true -- italics are mine.


1. Installation confirmation verifies drive installation

2. Basic Quick (90 second) Test writes to beginning of disk -- careful here

3. Advanced Test (Factory Re-certification) this is where the bad block table is re-generated

4. Burn in Test multiple read/writes to some sectors

5. Write Disk Pack (low level format) Actually a zero fill utility


It does seem wierd that the tests are not in the proper order -- on second thought maybe they didn't want people to jump to the low level format -- On third thought, they should realize anyone that gets to this menu knows what they are doing so the order should be natural.
 

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I've seen those tests, Jimbalaia... but if you download the MaxBlast3 set of utilities (which I believe includes the AMSET utility), then you are offered what is described as a true low level format.


The parentheses in your post are yours, and Maxtor does not describe the Write Disk Pack test as a low level format. For that, you need to download the other utility. In other words, this doesn't proove that LLF and zero fill are the same, it just restates that assertion.


Doesn't the fact that Maxtor has them on different utilities imply they are different?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I've low level formated a 52 meg scsi drive and later a golioth 500 meg scsi. Since then they keep changing things and like that one guy said, it looks like everything is blackboxed now along with how to deal with them.



Oh, and to Photon, I haven't been watching tv too much lately and the unit doesnt do green flashes much anymore so I still haven't validated your red background theory. My own tentitive theory is that it has something to do with bad disk sectors because it does it so little now and so consistantly on the first drive. I'm wondering if a low level format might take care of your problem. I dont remember any red backgrounds on mine so maybe not.



So we are still unclear about the zero/lowlevelformat thing?

oh well, thats how i got to this age and still dont know.



icecow
 

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I doubt it's a drive/format problem for me, as others have described the green flash/oversaturated red problem in the past, at least on my model RTV (3020). And, it is VERY repeatable and predictable on my machine, especially during certain shows taped off of certain channels.


That being said, I am planning a drive upgrade/removable carrier install sometime in the future, when all of my other myriad pending projects are completed...


Marc
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by plyons10
I've seen those tests, Jimbalaia... but if you download the MaxBlast3 set of utilities (which I believe includes the AMSET utility), then you are offered what is described as a true low level format.


The parentheses in your post are yours, and Maxtor does not describe the Write Disk Pack test as a low level format. For that, you need to download the other utility. In other words, this doesn't proove that LLF and zero fill are the same, it just restates that assertion.


Doesn't the fact that Maxtor has them on different utilities imply they are different?
The parentheses are NOT mine .. as i indicated in my post .. the italics are mine .. the text was take from their PDF file that I downloaded from their site .. I say again .. the parenthesis are NOT mine.
 

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Sorry jimbalaia... I didn't remember the parens. from the screen menu, and I realize now like you said they are on the PDF.


I guess without anyone more knowledgeable about this I'd say they ARE the same at this point.
 

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I ran the Maxtor utility on a new 120gb drive just last night, and the Powermax utility screen does in fact say, "Write Disk Pack (low level format)". I ran that, and then Factory Recertification, which should hopefully make this drive good and clean for recording.


I'm actually planning to put this one in my HTPC to record HDTV programs from MYHD card.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I ran the low level then the factory recertification on my first drive.


but then I discoverd the proper order is to run the factory recertification FIRST and run the LOWLEVEL only if it passes. Thats what a document said somewhere(one MikeyBoy posted I think) It even said that if the factory recertification didn't pass you should send the harddrive in RMA.


I bet your drive and my first drive are just fine though because they most likely would have passed the factory recertification anyway.


icecow
 
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