Apple TV HDD upgrade: What are the benefits ?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by sonofmof, May 11, 2009.

  1. sonofmof macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    Hi

    After 2 years of use my very hot Apple TV has started making a few strange noises from the drive.

    Currently its a stock 40gb version, which has been streaming my library from my iMac in the study.

    I have found these drives available a WD Scorpio Blue WD3200BEVE 320 GB.

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/158609


    Apart from the extra storage space, which would stop me having to stream content (am I likely to notice a speed increase if stored locally), what other benefits can I expect to see ?

    Will the system be generally snappier running a 5400rpm drive ?

    Also, does anyone here percieve any issues with additional heat ?

    Many Thanks
     
  2. esoh macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    #2
    I'm running the same drive. Heat has been the same (always hot on top), probably wouldn't notice if was any hotter unless I had a infrared thermometer or something similar.

    To me, the biggest benefit is the fact that I don't need iTunes open all of the time to stream, since everything is local. It's a resource hog on the local computer and I don't like to have it open unless I need to.

    Haven't noticed anything snappier (could be microseconds snappier), but I haven't been able to tell. I like the fact that I don't have to wait 2-3 secs for streaming content to buffer, but that's minor. If you are looking for real and noticeable speed increases, don't hold your breath.

    The reality is that if you are currently streaming with absolutely no problems whatsoever (not likely), you are not likely to notice any huge benefits, but overall, I think the larger HD is better. I have about 15 GBs of music and 100 GB of video (mostly cartoons for my kids), so I like the fact that I don't have to worry about babysitters not being able to get it to work if the network goes down, iTunes is closed, etc.

    Ed
     
  3. sonofmof thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #3
    Thanks for the Reply Ed.


    Great to know the drive will work, do you notice it spinning down ? or does it seem to run all the time ?

    Thanks
     
  4. tom1971 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    #4
    If you are concerned the drive might die soon, it is certainly advisable to replace it. If you only want to increase your storage space, an external USB drive with patched ATV will probably be the better and easier solution.
     
  5. esoh macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    #5
    My AppleTV sits behind a cabinet so I really don't know what's going on in there, sorry.

    As a followup to the next post, the other reason to do the upgrade now is that you have the image on your current drive, even though it's on the ropes. If you wait, you'll need to find the image somewhere else, which can be a pain.

    If I were you, I would just do it. ;) You'll probably find 10 different sets of instructions on how to do the upgrade online. I used two different sets and found the set below with the link to be the easiest, fastest, and it worked (I had some problems with the other set that I tried).

    http://diyspirit.com/2008/06/easier-way-to-upgrade-your-apple-tv-hard-drive/

    If you do use the instructions above, look for my post (#13 I think) if you run into the issue that I had.

    Good luck.
     
  6. sonofmof thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #6
    Thanks for the replies...

    I think I might just bite the bullet and do it.


    Shame there won't be any noticeable speed improvement with the UI, it seems to have slowed down, but perhaps thats my perception.


    It seems better to go for it now as you say than to wait until it dies then try from scratch.

    Thanks
     
  7. dynaflash macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    #7
    depending what you go with, you may experience a bit of a speed bump when it comes to the ui, etc. I know for a fact that with the eSata hd mod things "liven up" quite a bit. It is my opinion that this is due to a. using a 7200 rpm drive with a 32 mb cache and b. the fact that the atv os uses quite a bit of swap since the paltry real ram is pathetic.

    I have consistently experienced sluggishness as the drive approaches full.

    As always, just my .02
     
  8. sonofmof thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #8
    thanks Dyna,


    How easy is the eSATA mod now ?

    I remember reading a long forum on it a while back, I think primarily between you and another poster.

    Is it something an amateur could manage, without lots of soldering etc ?

    Thanks
     
  9. dynaflash macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    #9
    No soldering required really ( you probably should solder the two power wires, but on one of mine actually I just twisted and liquid electrical taped it and called it good).

    it is a bit more involved than an internal replacement, but not too bad since either way you open the atv up. Once its open its not much more to do. Also it does not preclude you from going back to an internal drive since the adapter(s) pretty much plug right into the logic board.

    That said, its not for everyone. Increased storage is a plus almost however you decide to achieve it imo.
     
  10. sonofmof thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #10
  11. richyscot1 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    Location:
    Derby, UK
    #11
  12. sonofmof thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #12
  13. esoh macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    #13

    The ultimate question is how much space you really think you'll need and use? I thought long and hard about how much space I wanted (and needed) and I settled on 320GB. I really didn't think it was worth it for the extra 180GB or so that I could get with SATA, and if I really needed that much more space, then an external USB drive (through hacks) or a media server is probably a better way to go. After that analysis, I thought the easiest and best way to go was just adding a ATA drive using the method employed by many other folks before me.

    Before you get all worked up about internal SATA adapters and all of the other stuff, you should give some real thought to how much you really need and will use and then come up with the best solution.

    Obviously, your situation is your own, but that's just my opinion.
     
  14. sonofmof thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #14
    Thanks esoh,


    I am conscious that the excitement and anticipation of going sata might be hooking me, but its also a valid point since in the uk it seems that the sata drives are around 60% of the price of the equivilant IDE version.

    so it makes the convertor and drive not only cheaper, but i guessed potentially snappier and more responsive..

    ultimately, right now i am streaming around 150 gb of content, so the 320 scorpio i originally mentioned is a fine choice and by far the simpliest.

    I think the esata is a bit too messy for me. :)


    Thanks again for the inputs
     
  15. Shiner macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    #15
    Juts a quick follow up. A conversion of IDE to SATA in the appleTV will not speed up anything. The only benefit is a larger hard drive for a cheaper price. The bottleneck in speed is in the system, not the hard drive.
     
  16. dynaflash macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    #16
    well, except for the fact that the Atv uses its vm swap on the media partition, soo since it swaps a lot (due to the paltry real ram) as your media partition gets full you will likely notice sluggishness in the ui ( I have seen this myself several times). imo like all macs at least 20% free is a good thing (though more doesn't hurt ). Then there is the matter of the video buffer, but thats another story. ;)

    of course if you stream everything it doesn't really matter much I suspect.
     
  17. Shiner macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    #17
    I agree but what does that have to do with SATA vs IDE Hard drive?
     
  18. dynaflash macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    #18
    Nothing in particular I was more addressing:
    In that extra space on the hdd in terms of a full or near full disk can and does impact the speed of the system. thats all. no more and no less. I have run it both ways and this is my observation. As well, say what you like about eSata vs pata, Cave Man and I both observed better playback after converting. For whatever the reason. I have no interest in convincing anyone to do it. Just reporting my findings having pushed the atv extensively in both configs. I totally agree its not for everyone. Not doubt about that.
     
  19. Shiner macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    #19
    I agree with the extra space on the hard drive but you are not telling me that the sata conversion actually sped up the exact same pata connection?
     
  20. sonofmof thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #20
  21. dynaflash macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    #21
    Nope, I am not. I said what I said. Just my observation and nothing more. The connection is not faster, but the drive speed as well as the drive cache is greater as well as the capacity. Don't read more into it than that. Nothing more and nothing less.
     
  22. sonofmof thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #22
    obviously can't comment on the Sata mod, but my new wd drive has made it feel faster, the pauses in the menus are gone, and the skipping through movies seems smoother,

    perhaps its just the cache or drive speed, perhaps it that its a newly partitioned drive ?

    who knows.... but i'm happy :)
     

Share This Page