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 Post subject: comparing three 5400.2 drives
PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:43 am 
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Location: Switzerland
I had an opportunity to buy two cheap 5400.2 (2.5'' Seagates). I thought they'd be quiet based on what I read here. I didn't intend to compare them but the difference struck me and I listened more carefully (I've got no meter that can handle such faint noises):
-one of them is a 60G (one platter according to the datasheet) and is truely quiet. It has a faint and soft constant spinning sound. I only hear the seeks as well as an annoying high-pitched sound (the motor?) when it's unmounted and fairly close to my ears.
-the other is an Apple-branded (it makes no difference, right?) 80G (two platters it seems) and I wouldn't call it quiet. The high-pitched sound is similar and I feel the seeks are slightly louder although I'm not sure about that. But the spinning noise is much louder, loud enough to be disturbing in normal use.

So what do you think caused this significant subjective difference?
Is it the platter count? If so, do all models and all brands have such an obvious noise/platters correlation? Or perhaps is it the head count?
Could it a firmware setting? If so, how do check it and change it?
Or is it simply some random variation between the noise of individual drives?
Thanks for your thoughts.

Oh, and if anyone's thinking about buying a cheap and quiet 2.5'', I can definitely recommend a single-platter 5400.2 based on my very modest experience. The faint noise it makes doesn't bother me at all. Yet another opinion to add to the pile...

EDIT: silly me... I forgot I had an old 40G 5400.2 lying around. I compared it to the 60G and the high-pitched noise as well as the spinning seem a tiny bit louder. On the other hand, the 40G's seeks are clearly softer... but only a bit softer. The two drives are very similar-sounding in general. I guess I just solved the mystery... I still wonder though: does the platter count make such a difference with other brands and models?


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 8:41 am 
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It's hard to generalize from a sampling of 3 different drives. :lol:

You should note the mfg dates on the drives, as older ones tend to be noisier -- generally, HDDs have become steadily quieter over the years.

The issue of the high pitch noise is significant, but it kind of depends on level. Higher freq noise is more directional, so if it's low enough in level, when inside a case without a direct line-of-sight path between the HDD and an opening to the outside, it tends to become inaudible.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2008 1:41 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
Posts: 1727
Location: Switzerland
I finally got around to check the dates... surprisingly enough, my old 40G was actually manufactured a little under two monthes after that 80G (which must have been sitting on a shelf for a long time). The 60G is about a year newer.
I guess it's possible Seagate upgraded their stuff during those two monthes. But, if that's the case, I wonder why they didn't introduce a new model name like 5400.3 and mention this significant noise reduction in their marketing litterature...

Yeah, a sample size of three is not enough but I happen to have three 5400.2s which is more than most SCPR readers I'd wager. I assume you'd have to work with laptops to have more on hand and even then you probably wouldn't have enough time to bother... when I had access to many drives of the same make and model at work, I certainly didn't. How many do you have?
More to the point, have you noticed significant random differences in noise between individual units within the same model?


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