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Thread: Is there much difference between an AV HDD and a normal HDD?

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    Question Is there much difference between an AV HDD and a normal HDD?

    Is there really a such thing called an AV Hard drive?
    As they all look like a normal HDD but a bit more money?

    I have looked into it and they are suppose to be more reliable, run cooler and last longer than normal HDD you put in a PC.

    If this is true, then why are they not used in normal PC's? Is there any cons in having them in a PC?

    What are the Pros and cons with AV Hard Drives?
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    Senior Member watercooled's Avatar
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    Re: Is there much difference between an AV HDD and a normal HDD?

    I think they are drives designed to be used in things like PVRs. As for the differences, I'm not sure.

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    YUKIKAZE arthurleung's Avatar
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    Re: Is there much difference between an AV HDD and a normal HDD?

    I think these AV HDDs are designed to withstand a higher operating temperature, running 24x7 and the firmware is probably tuned to minimize power usage. Even 0.1W less could be benefital in a PVR.

    Harddrives are more or less the same for desktop so just get the cheapest.
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    Re: Is there much difference between an AV HDD and a normal HDD?

    all they're saying pretty much is it will work well for AV, thus likely to be 7200rpm - nothing special about them. you just have to look at the drives in external HDDs or bespoke-built AV systems: nothing special about the drives used. Just sounds like marketing hype to me...

    There are server-approved drives, which are built to run 24/7, but no need to get such.
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    Does he need a reason? Funkstar's Avatar
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    Re: Is there much difference between an AV HDD and a normal HDD?

    Hardware wise, AV drives are probably going to be identical to regular drives, the changes are going to be in firmware.

    The most likely think I can think of is they might not have the peak performance of their regular brothers, but they are going to be more consistent. You don't want to have a glitch in your playback or recording of content just because your drive decides to re-calibrate itself or do any clearing of buffers/caches. You are going to want smooth operation all the time. There could also be spin up/down characteristics that are different.

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    Re: Is there much difference between an AV HDD and a normal HDD?

    AV drives simply have firmware to give guarantees on access times, notably drives tend to do a thermal re-calibration as their temperature changes and it doesn't take much to cause a glitch on video playback.

    Back in the days when TiVo first came out they had 15GB (yes fifteen, that was huge 8 years ago) drives made by Quantum which had special AV rated firmware. That was a long time ago, and I think speeds and techniques are up to the point that most drives are AV rated anyway.

    Also note that whilst lots of drives come with a 2 or 3 year guarantee against failure, most have small print that says the drive can only be powered up for on average something like 8 hours out of 24. Fat lot of use in a PVR/DVR. This has always been enough to get me buying Samsung, as if the quiet operation & low heat wasn't enough.

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    Re: Is there much difference between an AV HDD and a normal HDD?

    I've been considering this, as I am thinking of upgrading my Sky+. Regarding WD's offerings, the AV drives have 'SilkStream'...

    SilkStream™ - Optimized for smooth, continuous digital video playback of up to 12 simultaneous HD streams. SilkStream is compatible with the ATA streaming command set so CE customers can use standard streaming management and error recovery options.
    However, you are looking at £56 for a 500GB disk... I've seen 1TB disks for that price!

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