Tablo Quad: Internal vs. External Drive?

Ok, another Pre-Sales Question, as I get closer to my purchase of my first OTA PVR, in this case, the Tablo Quad.

Because it can use EITHER an Internal 2.5" SATA Drive (up to 2TB due to height restraint) (or equivalent SATA SSD?), OR an External USB 2.0 Drive (up to 8TB officially supported, users report 10TB successfully used).

First Point: So, with the (non)-(Tablo-Supplied) Support for Saving or Transferring Recorded Content, (with SINCERE apologies to the authors/maintainers of the many Capable “Community” Archival/Transfer Utilities), the question of “How Much Is Enough” (and in this case, more specifically, “Is 2TB Enough?”), becomes a question of “Internal or External” for the Quad.

Second Point: I would venture to guess that the Application of a 4-tuner PVR (that can actually support 6 outgoing steams) would NOT be just considered a “General Purpose Computing” Application. IMHO, it would be more like a Video Surveillance or at least a NAS-like Application. Unfortunately, I don’t THINK there are any “High Duty-Cycle” (Surveillance/NAS-Rated) 2TB 2.5 SATA Drives that are 9.5mm or less in height.

Point 3: USB and Reboots… With a USB Connection, there is a MUCH more “tenuous” link between Tablo and Drive. So, can anyone speak to whether any Tablo (and esp. the Quad) has ANY problems getting “reconnected” to a USB Drive UNDER ANY (Reasonable) CONDITIONS. IOW, I don’t want to have to tromp upstairs to Reset/Power-Cycle my Table AND USB Drive just because the Tablo Rebooted unexpectedly.

So with that, I leave myself to the tender mercies of the Most Helpful and Knowledgeable User Community on the Planet!

…and, oh yes, to the wonderful people @TabloTV, too! :wink:

I think the answer to “how much is enough” depends highly on how you use it. We record whatever we want but we delete it after watching. I have the 2TB internal and we will never fill it. There are people, however who save… everything. And for them I guess there’s never enough space.
I went with the internal because it’s just “cleaner”. And it seemed to me there would be a whole lot less guesswork as to whether or not this usb drive or that usb drive was going to work reliably.
So… how much is enough? How much do you plan to save?

I don’t INTEND to be a Data-Hoarder; but it “Just Happens”.

When I watch something, I generally Delete it immediately; but what happens to me is piled-up Unwatched episodes of Series that I can never seem to get to…

I hear ya on the “Guesswork” aspect with the USB compatibility.

I’ve used a USB HDD with the Tablo since May 2014 with no HDD issues. I have a 3.5" WD 1TB internal drive in a Vantec enclosure that has its own power supply and also a quiet fan to cool the drive. Likely better drive life by keeping it cool.

Yeah, I’m looking at Enclosures with Fans.

This one is cute, if a bit gimmicky…

But I’m not done looking yet. I will be sure to check out Vantec enclosures, too.

Thinking of pairing that with a 4TB 3.5 HGST “Enterprise” Drive.

This is the 1 I have.

Is there an advantage to buying the components separately? I am currently using the following drive and it is working fine:

WD - My Book 4TB External USB 3.0 Hard Drive - Black

It replaced this drive that failed:
WD 4TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive - USB 3.0 - WDBU6Y0040BBK-WESN

You know that’s kind of individual. There are XX GB = XX hrs type formulas which might give you some clearer idea where to start. Then storage needs, archiving? How many 1080 channels you get and do you plan to record at max rate.

As for the duty cycle of the drive prior to the quad, tablos were limited to a 100mbs network connection or 802.11 N max with a USB 2.0 connection to deliver 6 streams. Without doing any technical calculations, I doubt high performance drive is going to gain anything. Just a quality one you trust and feel comfortable with.

Weak Signal, I suspect is a generic reboot at times. I have had issues with drives and/or weak signals in the beginning, did some tweaking and can’t recall the last time it has been an issue. (yes, the possibility exist, and it’s a super PITA, but not a common issue overal)

From what I can tell, tablo is designed to be extremely user friendly - sometimes to the frustrations of more technical users but this isn’t specific to tablo. It can be used across several platforms and they appear to have an in depth KB and blog articles covering a large variety of issues.
These points supersede personal criticism, most are just my (valid) issues I have.

Thanks, but it seems to be basically unavailable on Amazon.

I generally dislike “packaged” External Drive/Enclosure combos; because I just KNOW that they skimp on the quality of the drives that go into those systems. If you notice, seldom, if ever, do those combos say exactly WHAT drives are in those enclosures, and you can BET that they aren’t the high-end versions!

Just like a Guitar maker doesn’t waste the good-looking pieces of wood on the guitars with a PAINTED (solid) finish, you can be sure that WD isn’t putting “Black” or “Red”-series Drives in those “MyBook” combos! Sorry, that’s just the way it is.

Buying separately lets ME choose the quality I am willing to pay for, rather than “the THEM” choose FOR me… :wink:

Good points, plus you get a fan too.

I’m using an external fan to cool my Tablo Quad. For those using an internal SATA drive with this unit, pop the cover off and take the drive out just to feel how scorching hot it gets. Can’t be good for longevity.

1 Like

That’s not necessary true.

I have purchased six 8TB WD drives from Best Buy and the first two had WD Red drives and the other four had WD White drives that have the same specs as Red drives. I shucked four of drives from their cases and are using them in my NAS and have had absolutely no problems with any of the drives. Here is the info on those drives.

I have been using Seagate Expansion 5TB drives on my Tablos. The first one has been in constant operation since September 2015 when Tablo upgraded the firmware to support greater than 2TB drives and the second one since December 2017 when I purchased my second 4 tuner Tablo. The first drive currently has slightly less than 1TB available while the second one is approximately half full.

When the Quad was first announced, I was concerned about placing a drive inside of the unit. I know how hot my original 4 tuner gets and I wouldn’t want any type of drive exposed to those temperatures. I have both of my 4 tuner Tablos sitting on top of a laptop cooler to help keep them cool enough to handle and operate properly. Before I purchased the cooler, I had problems with the unit locking up and having to be cooled off and rebooted. After purchasing the cooler I haven’t had any lock up problems at all. Other people have turned their Tablos on their side to help cool them. Others have used wire racks to allow better air flow and cooling.


Yep, my Quad sits perfectly on top of this fan set to the lowest (and almost silent) speed, which keeps the internal SATA and the entire unit cool.

1 Like

I am quite surprised that those drives were in there. My respect for WD packaged Drives just went up several notches!

Yeah, I still think I will fan-cool my Quad, even if I use an external drive (which is likely how I’ll go). BTW, @allegator1, thanx for the fan link for the Quad!!!

We are experiencing the overheating of our Tablo QUAD with 1TB internal hard drive (purchased September 2020). The settings page in the Tablo website web app is no longer recognizing the internal 1TB hard drive and shows the message “no storage connected” (in red). When we view the settings page in our Sony TV Tablo app it shows the message “Storage Unavailable”. The Tablo QUAD box and the hard drive are extremely hot. We have contacted support and they have remotely connected to the Tablo unit several days ago but we are still in correspondence with them regarding their findings. We have removed and reseated the hard drive multiple times but it still does not recognize the hard drive.

Seconded. I appreciate having the internal drive because it cuts down on cables.