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Media Center and External hard Drive


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#1 DA8686

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Posted 06 March 2009 - 10:36 AM

Hey,

I use a Vista machine with Home Premium as a media center that records TV. I only have a 160 GB hard drive and was considering getting an external hard drive for extra space. I was wondering if the performance of the external hard drive would be good enough for me to record to. Keep in mind that I do record in HD when it is available.

Thanks in advance.

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#2 hamluis

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Posted 06 March 2009 - 03:31 PM

My recording experience is...external drives are fine for storage...storage only. I would suggest planning on initially recording to a drive connected to the motherboard...and just using the external drive for storage after capturing, editing, etc.

When recording directly to a hard drive, the two most important factors are free space and defragging of the drive. Defrag the partition/drive you intend to use before you start recording...and you will be happier.

Some programs (e.g., Windows Movie Maker) have the default/only settings so that the drive can record to specific space on the C: partition. Some programs will give options but function better if you record to C:...experiment to find out what works best with your setup.

A storage drive (which is what externals are intended to be) should be used for storage, IMO. 160GB is plenty of space for recording/editing video files, prior to moving them to another location. I currently use an 80GB drive on my video capture system, then subsequently move captured video files to 1TB worth of file storage drives.

Louis

#3 golfdude

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Posted 07 March 2009 - 07:36 AM

I would suggest getting a large (500 GB) internal hard drive if you are doing a lot of recording. A friend of mine does a lot of recording and usually has over 300 GB of recorded tv on his internal hard drive. Microsoft Recorded TV creates very large files and I found time consuming if you want to convert them to DV and burn. My friend and me both have HP Media Center computers with slide in removable hard drives (Personal Media Drives) that makes sharing movies and recorded tv a snap. I have a 1 TB external HD connected to my computer and can access the contents in my Windows Media Center- without any playback problems. If you want to access media from an external hard drive be sure to include this location in your folders to "watch" so they show up in Media Center.

Louis is correct in instructing you to Defrag on a regular basis. If you are constantly adding and deleting large files of recorded tv you should do this weekly.

Thanks,
Golfdude

America is all about speed. Hot, nasty, badass speed. -Eleanor Roosevelt, 1936
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#4 golfdude

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Posted 07 March 2009 - 08:05 AM

Another item I would like to suggest if you are going to get an external hard drive is to use the "Backup Status and Configuration" (Accessories/System Tools) to backup your documents on a regular basis. I found out the hard way when I had one of my internal hard drives fail several months ago. When I purchased my computer it had (2) 320 GB hard drives "Stripoed" together to act as one large hard drive. I was using the backup tool to weekly backup my pictures and other important documents to the internal hard drive. Between doing this and having a separate partition with "System Recovery" I had a false sense of security that my important files would be safe. I was wrong. One of the hard drives failed which caused me to lose everything because of the way the (2) hard drives were configured to work as (1) hard drive. I replaced both hard drives and reconfigured them to "Mirror" each other. I also use one of my Personal Media Drives (160 GB)- dedicated to backup my computer every week. I lost a lot of family pictures and video that I can't get back now because I didn't have a good plan for backing up my documents.

Thanks,
Golfdude

America is all about speed. Hot, nasty, badass speed. -Eleanor Roosevelt, 1936
Intel i7-3820, 32 GB DDR3-1600, Intel 330 SSD Boot Drive, WD 3TB Data Drive, Radeon HD7770 GHz Edition, Windows 10 Professional 64 Bit
 


#5 hamluis

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Posted 07 March 2009 - 02:38 PM

I will second the importance of having backups and more-than-adequate storage space.

I never thought that I would be saying this...but you really can never have enough storage, particularly if you start editing/storing video files.

Because I have a lot of my (250GB, 160GB) PATA hard drives (from former systems and before SATA), I use them as nothing but storage containers. I move video files, sports video files, etc. to them...and then I remove them from the system and put them back in their plastic shipping cases.

I can access/use them when I want...and they aren't a potential accident waiting to happen because they are attached to one of my systems.

Louis

#6 DA8686

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 08:35 AM

Thanks a lot for all the tips. It seems like the best thing for me is adding an internal hard drive. I don't have anything at all on the computer that I would need to worry about backing up since this computer is ONLY a media center. I do not use it for anything else besides recording/watching tv and watching stuff on hulu/netflix. If the hard drive failed and I lost what I recorded it would be no big deal. Also, thanks for the tip on defragging. I will have to do this more often on this computer to help performance..




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