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Edit by 57: A firmware update a while back meant that quite a few people have issues with SATA adaptors and the 8300HD. We therefore can no longer recommend this option. Feel free to experiment if you wish...

Edit: See this post for a summary of LesE experience with different adapters.

Since the SA8300HD uses an IDE to SATA converter chip for their external E-SATA port, I would bet that you could use one of the available IDE to SATA adapters to install an internal SATA drive. I've never heard of anyone trying it, though.

Here's what I'm talking about (first hit on a Google search).
This idea caught my interest when I first read this post. I finally got around to picking up one of these adapters on eBay and I decided to give it a try. For the test, I used a WD3200KS drive and I followed the previously posted instructions for cloning the original 160G drive and enabling the acoustic management. After putting it back together, it came up just as it would with an IDE drive. It's been running for 24 hours and so far, it's behaving pretty much they way the original IDE drive did. I'll probably run it for a while longer to make sure that there are no problems and then I'll probably go to a larger drive.

Here are a few pics of the SATA drive with the adapter installed.



 

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Interesting. Let us know if the HD playback + 2 HD recordings test works. Also, try to fill up the drive with many recordings too. If seems some of the issues only appear after a fair amount the recording and deletion has occurred. I expect the next Explorer revision (maybe same model) will have SATA drives since SATA drives cost less. Too bad the original IDE to SATA bridge could not be bypassed.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes, I forgot to mention that I did the test where I recorded two 1080i HD programs while playing back a third 1080i program and I didn't observe any problems during regular viewing or FF/REW. Currently I'm at 30% full so I'll need to do some more recording to see if any issues develop as the drive fills.
 

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Way to go LesE,

Hope you have a 750 or a tera lying around after this test.

They tried a 750 before but had issues, hope it works on your side.

Good luck and keep us posted
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Internal SATA Update

The internal SATA test has been running now for roughly 2 1/2 weeks. For most of this time, I have been running at 85-95% and the 8300HD performed pretty much the way it did with the original IDE drive.

I did experience a problem when recording one program while a second was being recorded. On four occasions, I experienced a momemtary freeze and later noticed that the recorded program ended early at the exact time when the freeze occurred. On one occasion, I happened to be recording the same program on another 8300HD and it recorded the full program so I have no reason to believe that it was related to signal level or the broadcaster's feed. I suspect that this was more related to the specific drive that I'm using (WD3200KS) which has given me trouble in the past. I had previously used this particular drive as an external but gave up on it due to unreliable performance. In fact, it's working better as an internal drive than it did as an external drive.

Other than this, I haven't experienced any giltches or other impairements. So based on this experience, I feel it's worth trying a larger drive (750GB or 1TB). I just need to decide on which one to go with.
 

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I am currently testing an IDE to SATA adapter
LesE did you get around to testing another drive? You mentioned the one you had was flaky and it stopped recording in one instance. Since 500GB IDE is common either 750GB or 1TB would make an interesting test. Let us know.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
paul, Canada Computers is supposed to be opening a store in London on Wharncliffe Rd. according to their web site. So, if you prefer not to order online, you could wait for the new store to open.

Jake, it just so happens that I installed a 1TB WD drive last night. The drive works great except that I got another freeze causing an in-progress recording to stop. At the time, I was recording two HD programs, playing back a recorded HD program and adding new programs to the schedule which is probably the worst case for hard drive activity. I was hoping that the cause of the freezing was my 320G drive but it now appears to be an adapter issue. I have another adapter on hand which I plan to try this evening. It's a bit disapointing but hopefully I'll find that my current adapter is defective. I'll watch it for a few days and let you know.
 

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LesE,

Thank you for the updates.

I think you should at this time switch the adapter to your other 8300hd.

That would eliminate the first 8300hd itself along with cabling etc.

Then, after you test, put your previous hd back in and you should have lost only recordings during the test.
 

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At the time, I was recording two HD programs, playing back a recorded HD program and adding new programs to the schedule
The fact that you were able to do all that says a lot about the drive. If you really want to kill your HD box, access the VOD channel while recording 2 HD channels. It kills mine instantly.
 

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access the VOD channel while recording 2 HD channels
How is that possible?

When you're recording 2 shows, you can only switch to one of the active recordings or to a previously recorded show so I don't see how you access the VOD channel.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I think you should at this time switch the adapter to your other 8300hd.
That did cross my mind. I just figured that swaping adapters would be the fastest and easiest thing to try next. My other 8300HD is in my HT and it's just more of a hassle to get it out because of all of the cables that are connected to that box. The plan for now is to change the adapter and watch it for a few days since the problem only occurs occasionally. If the problem persists, I'll move the adapter and 1 TB drive to my other 8300HD to determine if it's the STB or the adapter that is the cause.
 

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How is that possible?

This is off topic but in the interest of further testing of the SATA adapter on the internal disk I will say all you have to do is press the "A" button.
 

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Here is the link on pictures showing how to do the switch

For those of you that never saw how to change the drive in a 8300hd, here is the link that goes back to page 9, if you really want to get the full background, go back to page 1.

They were discussing changing for a larger PATA drive.


http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=15719&page=9

The discussion was split in two, PATA drive and now SATA drive.
 

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move the adapter and 1 TB drive to my other 8300HD to determine if it's the STB or the adapter
Any luck with that LesE? Could you let us know the WD model you chose. I assume you got the Caviar Black 1TB WD1001FALS.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Update

Here's an update. As mentioned before, I decided to swap out the SATA to PATA adapter to see if I would get better results. After two weeks, I can report that I haven't experienced any freeze up or problems with recordings being terminated since I changed the adaptor. So, it's possible that the first one was defective.

Yesterday, I transferred the the adapter/1TB drive to the 8300HD in my HT which is currently equipped with a 500G external HD. I had no problem cloning the original 160G drive to the 1TB drive and all recordings were intact once I fired it up again. It's only been a day but so far so good on this STB. If all goes well, the plan is to empty out the external and remove it eventually.

Following the change I did notice one interesting thing. The adapter board has an LED which indicates power and drive activity which did flash with activity when installed in the first STB. On the other STB, it's always on bright and never flashes. I just thought that it was odd that they would behave differently.

As far as the drive goes, I did concider a few including the WD Caviar Black WD1001FALS, WD Caviar Green WD10EACS, Samsung SpinPoint HD103UJ and the Hitachi 7K1000. I ended up going with the WD10EACS drive because of it's low noise and power consumption and I can confirm that it is much quieter than the stock 160G WD drive and the top of the STB is also cooler to the touch. I was a bit concerned that the Green drive would be a problem but since there were several people who have reported sucess with this drive as an external on xnappo's database, I figured that the drive must be up to the task.

One issue that has been discussed regarding the green drives is the Intellipark feature which parks the heads after being idle for 8 seconds as a power saving measure. As reported on some Linux sites, this causes a problem because the load/unload cycle counts can get rather high which may shorten the life of the drive. It's not nearly as much of a concern in this application since the drive is not idle very much but I did notice that during one of those times when the STB doesn't spin down the drive (we all know about that issue), it was being accessed every 20 seconds which caused the heads to be loaded and unloaded several times per minute and this went on for two days. WD has addressed this issue with a DOS app called wdidle3.exe which allows you to increase the timeout to as much as 25.5 seconds or disable it all together. I opted to turn it off but again, I don't think it's a big issue in a PVR application even if left at the default value of 8 seconds. So based on my experience so far, I consider the WD10EACS to be a good choice.

I will continue to report any unusual behavior caused by the SATA to PATA adapter.
 

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Wow thanks for the good news update and being a pioneer. Glad to see the Caviar Green works. 1TB internal has to be the Holy Grail of PVRs.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Yes, I really hope this works out long term. Imagine 1TB internal which is quieter and consumes less energy than the stock drive - talk about having your cake and eating it too!

Perhaps the next issue would be to determine which is the best adapter to use. As mentioned previously, I picked up mine off of eBay (search SATA PATA Adapter on eBay). Rosewill and Cooldrives also makes adapters which are slightly more expensive. I was interested in trying out the Cooldrives adapter but unfortunately, they don't take orders from outside of the USA.
 

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Feel free to name the product and model numbers of the SATA/PATA adapters. We have done a similar thing in the internal PATA thread and the external SATA enclosure thread. If there are problems with the hardware (as you have already discovered) other members will know to avoid that product.

As this thread grows and I predict it is about to, I will try to keep post one up to date with a parts summary.

PS: Just a reminder no retailer links.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Most of the eBay items for these adapters appear to be fairly generic so there is no make or model number to provide. Many of them apprear to be almost identical and may possibly originate from the same manufacturer. I thought about providing the eBay item # for the adapters that I purchased but I wasn't sure if that was considered acceptable.

Beyond eBay, the choices appear to be few. The one's I've come across so far include the Rosewill model RC-203, the SataGear model SATA-IDE-34 and the SataAdapters model STI-2. The STI-2 uses the JMicron 20330 chip and appears to be similar to the one produced by CoolDrives.
 
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