SA8000/8300HD - Internal Hard Disk Upgrade Works (Cloning too) See Post 1. - Page 7 - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
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post #91 of 1014 (permalink) Old 2007-10-19, 06:02 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
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Playing with old HD?

I'm wondering ...

For all you folks who have replaced the hard drive on the SA8xxx PVRs, have you tried doing anything with the drive you took out?

Specifically, I'm wondering if anyone has tried mounting it on their computer to see what files exist on the HD. All the recordings have got to be on there *somewhere*.

Inquiring minds ...
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post #92 of 1014 (permalink) Old 2007-10-19, 06:16 PM
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Yes the files are there but you cannot access them. The file system is proprietary and the data encrypted. You can image the drive if you want keep the data. You would have to put the image back on the same drive.
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post #93 of 1014 (permalink) Old 2007-10-19, 06:16 PM
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I tried when I changed my external drive to a bigger one. The smaller drive is now on my PC. The PC did not see any file (the index is on the internal drive and the file are encrypted anyway) and wanted to reformat it (which I did). I don't know what would happen with an internal drive since it also contains the file index, but like I said, the files are encrypted.

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post #94 of 1014 (permalink) Old 2007-10-19, 07:35 PM
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I too was wondering but I have a different question.

Has anyone tried re-installing the original drive? I'm curious if one can watch recordings that existed from when it was pulled?

I don't have a need but was just curious.
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post #95 of 1014 (permalink) Old 2007-10-22, 05:54 PM
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I have not tried reinstalling the original drive, but I am 100% sure that it will work and allow plyback of recordinds that were there when it was removed. Authorization of the box is tied to the serial number of the box (or some internal electronic identification, not the HDD. You do not have to get the box re-authorized when the HDD is swapped.
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post #96 of 1014 (permalink) Old 2007-11-05, 01:32 PM
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I have re-plunged into an internal drive upgrade due to my dissatisfaction with the external SATA box. Since upgrading to it a couple years ago I have been plagued with relentless audio dropouts and pixelization that I put up with to get the capacity. I was even using the Maxtor Quickview Expander! which should have worked.

None of this was happening on my bedroom SA8300HD (which is stock).

I purchased a Western Digital WD5000AAJB (500GB) last week while in the USA and installed it this weekend. After 3 days of misc recordings I am happy to report not a single audio or video problem. The only thing that bothered me was the seek noise from the WDC drive.

The specs on that drive show Seek Mode 0 and Seek Mode 3 with the latter being the quietest. Unfortunately WDC did not release an Acoustic management utility (makes you wonder why they specify the difference) but I determined that the Hitachi Feature Tool will work and allow you to adjust the seek mode on various HHD, including WDC.

I determined that the WDC drive came from the factory with acoustic management disabled and when I set it to quiet mode the seek noise dropped dramatically with no apparent impact on performance. BTW, I changed the acoustic management after I had programs recorded and the programs were still there when I put the HDD back in the STB.

The tool can be downloaded at if you are interested.


Kitchener, ON
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post #97 of 1014 (permalink) Old 2007-11-05, 08:38 PM
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Very interesting lonetreejim! I didn't know anything about these kinds of settings.

I was checking out the differences between your WD5000AAJB and my WD5000AAKB. and

Seek Mode 0 - 26 dBA
Seek Mode 3 - 29 dBA

Seek Mode 0 - 33 dBA
Seek Mode 3 - 29 dBA

I've noticed my drive is noisier than the stock drive especially when I'm watching something while another show is being recorded.

Can you speculate if the specs have a typo or if they changed the meaning of the modes? Would my drive benefit from this tool too?

Again, I don't know much about hardware but I'm surprised to see a Hitachi tool work on a WD drive.
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post #98 of 1014 (permalink) Old 2007-11-06, 11:36 PM
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Hard to say if it's a misprint or they just renamed the modes. In any event, this is a link to the article I read that lead me down the path even though it doesn't speak directly about the 500 GB drive.

Particulalry this section...

There is also another interesting point here ó WD Caviar SE drives from the latest generations officially support the seek acoustics (and performance) control via the Acoustics Management register. WD drives used to have no seek acoustics management before or it was in the bud. And the operating noise in senior WD drives (e.g. the WD2000JB and its counterparts) was rather ugly. However, WD has worked hard on this issue the last year resulting not only in a significant spin noise reduction, but also in an expert approach to the seek performance/acoustics management policy. As a result, the WD3200JB and the WD2500JB under review (as well as the WD2500JD, manufactured at the same period of time) officially support two seek modes ó Performance Mode 0 and Quiet Mode 3. The former (default) mode is enabled when 254dec or 255dec is written to the register (255dec for the WD3200JB and the WD2500JD by default, 254dec for the WD2500JB) and the latter ó when the register contains 128dec. An attempt to write any other value to this register (from 129dec to 253dec) results in the register automatically resetting to 128dec (that is the maximum quiet seek).

WD drives used to have the same register values (without resetting, this time) for quiet and noisy seek modes before. However, the average seek time of 7200rpm Caviar models would change only by 1ms and made practically no sense. And now the quiet seek mode slows down the WD3200JB by 4ms at an average, 7ms in case of the WD2500JB (see the diagram above), having become almost indistinguishable against the spin noise of the drives.

If the manufacturer announces Mode 0 and Mode 3, it would be logical to assume that there exist two more seek modes (that is four modes in total) in these drives. But that's not true ó these drives have only two seek modes. And, by the way, WD Raptor WD740GD unofficially has two seek modes as well, but the difference between them is just 1ms (by the average disk access time). Unfortunately, the acoustics management utility from Western Digital is not yet freely available (but it exists). That's why regular users will have to use third-party utilities in order to toy with seek modes in these WD drives to obtain noiseless or high-performance operation (for example, Hitachi Feature Tool). I also used a Windows utility, Abacus HDD Acoustic Manager (hddacman), in my experiments.

Kitchener, ON
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post #99 of 1014 (permalink) Old 2007-11-11, 02:51 PM
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The WD5000AAKB also has disabled the Acoustics Management. I changed it to enable (which is the Hitachi Feature Tool's recommended setting) as per lonetreejim's post. My recordings too are unaffected after the change.

I immediately started two recordings and FF'd an existing one. The noise level has dropped way off now. Thanks lonetreejim!

I just did this now so I'm going to assume I will have the same lack of issues as lonetreejim reported (aside, I just posted an issue with PBS but that was recorded and watched before I did this exercise).

I recommend others installing a WD drive that you change the Acoustics Management setting before installing in the pvr.

Aside, since my upgrade I've been averaging around 50% capacity which is way more than the stock drive holds. It is a nice luxury not having to be ruthless with the recordings as I was before the upgrade.

A recap - I had mentioned I used T15 for one of the external security screws. I had a close look at it today and I think it really was a T15 as there was no stripping or rounding of the sides and the T15 bit fit snug. How/why they weren't all T10 is beyond me as you think the machine/person who screwed it in originally would have trouble getting it in with a T10 bit.
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post #100 of 1014 (permalink) Old 2007-11-26, 02:05 PM
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Is the WD5000AAKB drive still available in the Toronto/Mississauga area? I looked at the usual stores like Canada Computers, and none of them carried it. I assume this is the best drive for the SA8300HD internal upgrade.
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post #101 of 1014 (permalink) Old 2007-11-28, 05:40 PM
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PC Village Computers shows the WD5000AAKB on their web site though it does indicate that they are currently out of stock.
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post #102 of 1014 (permalink) Old 2007-11-30, 02:03 PM
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Not sure I if anyone is interested since the 500G drives are the bang for the buck champs right now, but I notice a couple of weeks ago that NCIX had the WD3200AVJB (consumer electronic) drive listed. Since this was the first Iíve seen one of these drives listed in Canada, I was curious and ordered one. It arrived this morning. Unfortunately since my PVR is still under warranty (11 months old) Iím reluctant to crack it open. Iíll report back in a month or sooner if I canít control my curiosity.
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post #103 of 1014 (permalink) Old 2007-12-02, 09:03 AM
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Well my curiosity got the best of me and I upgraded the drive in my PVR with the WD3200AVJB. As others have mentioned, it was very simply process. The hardest thing was getting the power connector out of the old drive. As I expected the WD3200AVJB is very quiet. While recording two HD programs and playing a third, I found no video or audio glitches. I plan on recording a bunch of stuff over the next few days to fill it up a couple of times. So far Iím very happy with my choice.
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post #104 of 1014 (permalink) Old 2007-12-07, 07:24 AM
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Dell has an expansion drive on their Deal of the Day today. 500G for $139.99 including the enclosure. "DVR Xpander - 500GB - Compatible with Scientific Atlanta 8300 Series PVR"

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post #105 of 1014 (permalink) Old 2007-12-07, 11:20 AM
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That should probably be in the external HDD thread, but I see that someone has already posted there.

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