AV drives

Just curious as I’ve recently liberated a couple of AV-rated drives from my TiVos.

(Generally) AV-rated drives are tweaked for low-noise and constant running.

Has anyone used AV-rated drives in Drobo?

Note that my application would not be for mission-critical data. This would just be for my media Drobo.

I think I did, WD do an av line, it was in a v1 tho (cheapest 1tb drive at the time)

No noticeable difference

No, do not use the drives that are designed for dvr’s, pvr’s, video recording that sort of thing. They do not play well in Raid arrays.

Thanks Docchris!

I just put some WD10EAVS (1TB AV-GP) into my TiVos - I had to disable Intellipark … using DOS … luckily I have the right equipment (and I grew up with DOS). Given that the standard Caviar GP also has Intellipark and is approved for Drobo, I don’t think I’ll have to do that again, but now I know how if I need to.

I’ll post my results if/when I go this route. I don’t suspect any troubles, but it’s nice to have a second opinion. :slight_smile:

I am rather concerned to hear this.

My Drobo FS only arrived yesterday and I have 3 2TB drives arriving tomorrow.

They are : 2TB Western Digital WD20EVDS Green

Are you saying that I should NOT use these drives?

As I have had no way of accessing these forums prior to getting my Drobo, I had no way of knowing this.

Please can you confirm that I should return these drives (if I can) and seek alternatives?

I did not find ANY mention of this anywhere on the Drobo website prior to my purchase.

Well WD does not recommend for Raid Systems.

From the link you provided:

Power-conserving WD AV-GP drives offer significant power savings and thermally optimized operation resulting in lower cost of ownership and unsurpassed reliability for PVR/DVR, IPTV boxes and media server manufacturers.

Long-Term Reliability
These drives are designed to last in high temperature always-on streaming digital audio/video environments such as PVR/DVR, DVR recorders and surveillance video recorders.

Tested for compatibility in a broad range of AV products including set top boxes, DVD recorders, and mainstream surveillance systems.

None of the above references Raid Arrays.

After more research…

AV drives aren’t meant for high-performance use. So essentially they’re “tuned” for a different kind of use. For example, some error-correction might be relaxed or even disabled, as an error in a compressed video stream isn’t the end of the world, whereas an error in an operating system file on the other hand…

They also do things to reduce power consumption and heat generation to increase drive lifetime. A side effect of these optimizations is lower throughput.

That’s not to say they won’t work, but they likely wouldn’t be as data-secure as a normal desktop or server-oriented drive.

That’s why I said my use would be for non-mission-critical data.

Long story short, not a good idea.

Did you get a good deal on them or something? The AV-rated drives tend to cost more than their desktop counterparts. I just bought a couple to upgrade my TiVos.

I purchased the Drobo FS direct from your EU store, sadly there was no option to buy the product with drives included - unlike your US store which offers bundles with the Western Digital WD15EARS.

From http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.asp?driveid=772 regarding the drives that you bundle(from the US store only), there does not appear to be any reference to Raid Arrays either.

I know very little about Raid Arrays which is why I have chosen Drobo. Your website specifically states that ANY SATA drive can be used:



I am now VERY concerned that the drives that I have purchased will not be compatible with Drobo. However there does not appear to be any mention that they (or the drives you yourselves provide) are suitable or not with Raid.

Please can you clarify (before I open the drives packaging) that the drives I have purchased will NOT be compatible with Drobo.
Or perhaps highlight any difficulties that may occur if they are used.

If so I will attempt to return them.


Just saw your earlier reply Bhiga.

I had tried to get hold of:


But they have been out of stock for some time. I had noticed that the Drobo US store supplied the WD15EARS so had wanted to get the same type of drive. The ones that arrive tomorrow are quite a bit more expensive, but they were the only ones I could get that were by WD - who Drobo recommends.

There were much cheaper drives by Samsung available:
but I felt that a more expensive drive would be more reliable/suitable.

Now I am just really confused :frowning:

I just wish that access to the forums was available before purchase, it would have saved me a a lot of trouble.

Short answer: I’d definitely return them and get the “regular” desktop version if at all possible. If your reseller won’t accept returns, you could try eBaying them as drives for TiVo and compatible DVRs. The EAVS drives are the ones I upgraded my TiVos with.

Longer answer:
AV drives are a bit of a specialized animal.

The WD EARS, EADS are fine.
The EVxx drives are tuned for continuous consumer media use, meaning “stuff that isn’t completely destroyed by the occasional glitch” primarily DVRs.

The drive is made to continuously accept multiple streams of data. You’d think this makes the drive better, but in the case of the AV drives, this isn’t the case, as they are made to “just keep going” since a glitch in a streaming/live video stream quickly goes away. You’ve likely seen these with satellite or digital TV - the occasional block or “smear of blocks” - most people don’t even notice. That’s the trade-off made for lower heat, lower latency (so the DVR can keep up with stuff like recording two streams while playing back a third), and possibly lower noise.

The Enterprise drives and “RAID edition” ones are also made to run 24/7, but they’re tuned for performance and assume (err, require) better cooling in a server (ventilated rack) type environment.

Now you might be thinking “Well I should get a RAID drive for Drobo!” but for Drobo’s not a super-high-performance RAID system, it’s a middle-of-the-road one. So there’s not a lot of benefit with using “RAID edition” drives in Drobo. It doesn’t hurt (except perhaps for increased heat and therefore more fan noise from Drobo), but it doesn’t really help either.

Drobo’s kind of like a car designed for 89 octane gasoline. You can feed it 92 octane and it might run a bit better, but probably isn’t worth the extra cost. But if you feed it 87 octane, it’ll still run, but might hiccup and be problematic in the long run.

I recommend DRI add a note to the knowledgebase on this, as the forum isn’t available pre-sale.
Actually, there used to be specific WD models mentioned in the knowledgebase, which is how I knew to feed mine WD20EADS drives in particular, but I’m not finding the specific model mention anymore.

As for non-WD drives… some other forum posters have reported using Seagate, Hitachi and Samsung drives, but I stuck with the WD20EADS in particular because it had been mentioned as approved when I checked DRI’s knowledgebase before I bought my Drobos.

Hope that helps,

Thank you very much for your reply and explanation Brandon.

I contacted the mail order shop and said that I wanted to return the drives, and they agreed - phew.

I still can’t get the WD 2TB EADS ones so I purchased three 1.5 TB drives locally (Samsung HD154UI) out of desperation :

I also added a single WD 1.0TB WD10EADS that I had lying around.

The Drobo FS has recognised them, and I am just setting it up for Dual Disk Redundancy, which will give me 2.23TB. This will be fine until I can get some suitable larger drives.
I really think that the potential problems of using AV drives should be on the Drobo website, so that new customers don’t make the same mistake that I did.

Thanks again Brandon :slight_smile:

since you bought them from the UK you could return them for any reason for up to 7 working days after delivery (unless you bought them as a business)

Glad to hear they’re taking them back (and a bit jealous of your better consumer-protection laws, to be honest).

Distance selling directive

Anything you buy mail order (phone/Internet/carrier pigeon) - 7 working days from the day after delivery to return it and you don’t even have to give a reason and they have to refund the full order costs (I.e. Including their delivery charge)

The only cost you have to pay is that of returning the goods to them.