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Thread: System Freezing: HDD Suspect: Considering SSD: Advice?

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    System Freezing: HDD Suspect: Considering SSD: Advice?

    I have a Mini that freezes up often. Tech support had me run Passmark on the hard drives, and they indicated that there could be some HDD issues. They offered me an RMA (perhaps to replace the drive, at my cost).

    Some time ago, a friend said that NewTek had been having a lot of issues with their SCSI hard drives, and not to be surprised if they wanted to replace one at some point. Now I am reading the forum, and I am finding out that some guys have been through 5 drives, etc. So with all due respect, I don't really want to pay to send my Mini in to NewTek, just to have another faulty SCSI hard drive put back in, do I?

    I saw a few people have added SSDs and other solid state components. If I am out of warranty, are there any difficulties with that? Or are there any tips or tricks? Is it a simple matter of cloning the existing SCSI spin drive to an SSD, and then getting a SCSI to SATA adapter for the SSD? Or how is it done? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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    'the write stuff' SBowie's Avatar
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    Whoever gave you information is a little confused.

    We don't see an unusual number of drive failures, really, but video capture and playback does probably strain drives a bit more than your typical computer user working with Microsoft Office while watching cat videos does ... so the odd failure over the years isn't much of a surprise. That said, I've been running the same 460 and Mini for years and never had a failure. But anyway, we haven't made a product using SCSI drives for many years.
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    System Freezing: HDD Suspect: Considering SSD: Advice?

    Steve,
    Thank you for your response. Maybe my friend did not specify SCSI? Yet I clearly remember him saying that NewTek was having a lot of issues with hard drives in the Mini, and not to be surprised if NewTek wanted to replace it. So I was not surprised when tech support identified the hard drive as having issues, and offered the option of an RMA. What surprised and upset me is that NewTek would think to charge for a replacement when there is a known issue with the hard drives, and I have been having these issues since I got the unit. Since I paid for the unit in full, and since I am trying to be a good customer, wouldn't the right thing be to replace any known hardware issues with NewTek hardware at no additional charge, as part of being an ethical vendor? (Isn't that how you like other companies to treat you? Or are you OK with companies selling you things with known defects, and then charging you for repairs?)

    I think maybe where the SCSI designation came in, is that System Information on the Mini specifies the HDD as SCSI. Maybe I conflated (merged) that information together with my friend's remarks? For example, the below two screen shots clearly identify the drive as SCSI. Is that not correct?

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    System Freezing: HDD Suspect: Considering SSD: Advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by SBowie View Post
    Whoever gave you information is a little confused.

    We don't see an unusual number of drive failures, really, but video capture and playback does probably strain drives a bit more than your typical computer user working with Microsoft Office while watching cat videos does ... so the odd failure over the years isn't much of a surprise. That said, I've been running the same 460 and Mini for years and never had a failure. But anyway, we haven't made a product using SCSI drives for many years.
    Steve, if NewTek does not see an unusual number of drive failures, then why are there reports of so many drive failures on the NewTek Forum (in addition to my friend's remarks)?

    From another current thread:
    >> I think I found out is was a combination of things. Crappy update was one of them. Then, Not telling you that you had to install some microsoft sercurity crap. I had to do a search to find out the errors I was having.
    That you also needed to update the Nvidia driver and also the intel driver.
    It is running better than ever now, and just quicker than heck to start. Part of that is because I had an SSD installed instead of those crappy WD drives they have installed in the mini. I have gone through over 5 WD drives. This SSD has been great. Newtek should just bite the bullet and install SSD drives from now on.

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    'the write stuff' SBowie's Avatar
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    (Forgive me for modifying the order below a bit, for my own convenience in replying.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Nazarene View Post
    I think maybe where the SCSI designation came in, is that System Information on the Mini specifies the HDD as SCSI. Maybe I conflated (merged) that information together with my friend's remarks? For example, the below two screen shots clearly identify the drive as SCSI. Is that not correct?
    Interesting, I had never noticed that before. The guys in QA were equally surprised, since no, it is not correct. We haven't used SCSI for ages. Here's one of several possible explanations for the discrepancy from the net: "The Serial ATA controller's (on the motherboard or through a PCI controller card) bus architecture is taken from a SCSI HBA (Host Bus Adaptor). Many companies that produce Serial ATA controllers also produce SCSI controllers. These companies often use an altered version of a SCSI HBA on Serial ATA controllers."

    Quote Originally Posted by Nazarene View Post
    So I was not surprised when tech support identified the hard drive as having issues, and offered the option of an RMA.
    I'm told that CS can and will test your drive remotely to see if it is ok or not, presume you've done that already ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Nazarene View Post
    ... and I have been having these issues since I got the unit. Since I paid for the unit in full, and since I am trying to be a good customer, wouldn't the right thing be to replace any known hardware issues with NewTek hardware at no additional charge, as part of being an ethical vendor?
    I'm not privy to the history of your system, or warranty period - that's CSes domain ... but if you can substantiate having reported complaints of issues that reasonably seem to be related to a poor drive, I would certainly press that case with them. You might involve your reseller, as he would presumably be able to validate the history of the issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nazarene View Post
    Steve, if NewTek does not see an unusual number of drive failures, then why are there reports of so many drive failures on the NewTek Forum (in addition to my friend's remarks)?
    We literally ship thousands of these units. Not too surprisingly, people don't often post "My hard drive is working ok!" messages ... despite the fact that this is clearly true for the preponderance of users. The posts you do see will pretty much without exception come from those with failures. This doesn't really make them representative.

    And again, in my own experience (I have had a Mini running AE in continuous use for going on three years) I've not seen a drive issue, nor, clearly, have many others (else the aisle next to my office would be full of pallets of dead drives). Now this said, I have absolutely no reason to doubt that you have a drive problem, have had it from day one, nor to argue against a friendly resolution. I was just puzzled by the SCSI thing, and wanted to mention that we don't use SCSI drives.
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    Steve, thank you for those clarifications. I am not saying it is the drive. I am only relating how my friend told me that there were some hard drive problems in the Mini community, and also that there are people on the forum who report having had to change their WD drive up to five times. Plus, CS had me run Passmark on the hard drives, and send them the results. They indicated that that drive had some performance issues.

    CS: "As far as the results are concerned, there are some significant drops in performance of the C and mainly the D drive. We can continue to try troubleshooting the drives or setup a repair order and RMA for the unit to come in."

    Yes, I have had freezing issues since I had the machine. No, sadly, I do not have a record of it. Not long after I bought the machine there were some pressing family issues that redirected my life, and forced a move. Things are better now, and I just got refocused on the Mini maybe a year ago (and am trying to learn it). It is slow going because I have very many irons in the fire. (It is not what I want, it is just where I am.)

    So, to be realistic, it looks like CS will simply point me to the fact that I am out of warranty, and offer to charge me to put another (suspect) spin HDD in there. But I don't want another (suspect) spin HDD, if I have to pay.

    CS: "There is going to be either a minor repair charge of $235 or a major repair charge of $895 (90-day Repair Warranty is included with either repair charge)."

    So especially if it is a SATA interface, Amazon.com sells last year's Samsung 860 EVO 1TB for $162. That is cheaper than the NewTek $235 minor repair charge (especially when you factor in shipping). However, I cannot clone a faulty spin HDD image to an SSD and expect it to work right, so how would I get a clean NewTek image (to clone to the SSD)?

  7. #7
    'the write stuff' SBowie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nazarene View Post
    However, I cannot clone a faulty spin HDD image to an SSD and expect it to work right, so how would I get a clean NewTek image (to clone to the SSD)?
    I'm probably not the best guy to ask, although I agree an SSD would be a nice solution. I'm sure there are those here who have done the conversion and who can offer the benefit of their experience.
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    All drives in all TriCaster models are definitely using the SATA connection, no SCSI drives in use though they may be misreported in Windows as SCSI.

    You can "clone" the TriCaster system drive without any additional software, by connecting a drive externally and then from the ADMIN page, use the BACKUP/RESTORE option to CREATE USER BACKUP. You may need a USB 3.0 drive dock device if the external is a bare SATA drive.

    That will totally clone the main drive, which is actually both the C: and D: partitions on the Mini (other newer models like 460 and TC1 may have a dedicated SSD C: drive already). That external backup drive can then be later used to RESTORE the TriCaster from the USER BACKUP, but one could also physically replace the internal drive with the backup drive as well, which is what many users have done to switch to SSD.

    One thing that has been covered on the forum recently, and that I don't believe was ever verified one way or the other by Newtek, is the SIZE of the BACKUP drive. My understand had always been that the drive used to make the USER BACKUP has to be AT LEAST AS BIG as the internal drive being cloned. That is true, cannot be smaller. But some users are saying the backup must be EXACTLY the same size as the internal or it does not work. If the latter is true, then the 1TB would not work as the Mini uses 750GB drives. Check Disk Management in Windows to get the exact drive size. I really think the larger drive is okay to use.

    But that's basically the process. I did actually change the system drive in a Mini once for a customer, using a replacement HDD sent out by Newtek, so I did not make my own clone or go SSD. You do need some specialty screwdrivers and some patience to open the case and of course need to use some caution when poking around inside the Mini - everything is packed very tightly - but if you have any experience working on or building computers, or are just a good tinkerer, then no reason one should not be able to swap the hard drive in a Mini.

    Keep in mind though that you must either get a pre-loaded drive from Newtek, or use a properly made CLONE drive. You can't just put in a blank drive and install your own copy of Windows or anything like that.

    Thanks and good luck!

    Jeff
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    'the write stuff' SBowie's Avatar
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    I don't think the native TC Backup/Restore feature can be used to install to an SSD, though - not sure what means people are using to do that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SBowie View Post
    I don't think the native TC Backup/Restore feature can be used to install to an SSD, though - not sure what means people are using to do that.
    Why not? When creating a USER BACKUP drive to an external drive - which everyone says could be used to physically replace the TriCaster main drive - the computer doesn't know or care if the backup drive is HDD or SSD, what would the difference be? A SATA drive is a SATA drive as far as Windows is concerned and it doesn't know if the drive is spinning or solid-state.

    Thanks

    Jeff
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  11. #11
    'the write stuff' SBowie's Avatar
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    Hmmm - you may well be correct that a physical replacement in that manner might work, not sure.
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