Can't find current recommendations on quiet drives.
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Author:  Molitro [ Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Can't find current recommendations on quiet drives.

I moved to build a silent as possible PC a while back with a Fractal R4, and choosing the right components I got it to be effectively silent for my needs (as in, hard to distinguish from ambient noise in the middle of the night).
Thing is, of course, the case is kind of warm, and really, the PC is pretty much dead silent even if I open it up entirely. So I'd like to just go for an airflow case, mostly likely a Meshify S2 (I'm still torn between the Meshify and the Define, because I don't really know just how much of a difference in temperatures there is when using proper fans, but ideally would be the Meshify), since it'll be silent at idle anyway, and will probably be less noisy at load from the fans not having to spin up so much.

Now, you know where this is all going: PC is dead silent... except for the damn hard drives. When they're accessed, they're very quiet, but the vibrations added to the spinning is enough that I can barely hear them if I open up the case (hence why I haven't pulled the trigger on a Meshify yet, the padding does reduce the noise enough to make it not audible say a meter or so away).
Now the drives on the R4 are directly behind the front intake fans, while on the S2 would be on the right, on the "backside" of the case, which may take the noise a bit down, but on the Meshify there would be no padding.

Now after all this halfway pointless story, my question is if there is a current list of the quietest drives out there, and a recommendation.
For comparison, my 2 hard drives are two 2TB WD green WD20EARX, and I just don't know how they're rated in terms of noise.

I'd be perfectly happy to change them for a single 4TB slow drive, these are only used for long term storage. And yes, when they spin down they go completely silent, but they're still accessed relatively frequently, so I'd like to know if there's a drive that's less noisy even while spinning so I can really go for an airflow case.


Author:  CA_Steve [ Sun Mar 03, 2019 3:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Can't find current recommendations on quiet drives.

Welcome to SPCR.

Unfortunately, can't point you to any HDD recent reviews. I will mention that 2.5" 5400rpm class drives are now up in the 4TB+ range and have significantly less seek/vibration noise than 3.5" ones. I've got an external WD Passport 4TB and it would be inaudible inside a case. Oddly, it doesn't look like WD serves the consumer internal drive market with 2.5"...but Seagate does.

As for better cooling with Meshify S2 vs R4...really couldn't say without knowing all of your components / how your fan profiles are set / temps.

Author:  Molitro [ Sun Mar 03, 2019 3:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Can't find current recommendations on quiet drives.

Hi. Thanks.

Checking the specs sheets for WD I see my current wd greens are supposed to average 24dBA while idling (don't care at all about seek noise, that's irrelevant as it's uncommon for my use. It's all about spin and vibration noise), the 4TB Reds are on 25 dBA, which I believe are the ones people are complaining about for the noise. Then there's the Blues (didn't realize until now the greens are no longer hard drivers but SSDs), which for the 4TB model they spec at 23 dBA.

Of course, I have no clue whether these specs have any resemblance to real world use.

I'll look into the Seagate 2.5" ones. I did notice there where no 2.5 WD internal drives.

On the other side, my PC is a 4790k using a Noctua D15, and a GTX1080. Power supply is a 750W seasonic semi fanless, so that's basically permanently quiet (I didn't know what a silent PC was until I got that PSU. Who knew they could be so loud).
I have right now 2 A14 fans as intakes.

As far as I see it there's gonna be no question in terms of better cooling, an open case will obviously do better. The thing is this PC will be dead silent at idle no matter how open the case is (as I said, opening everything up on the R4, you can't hear anything like a few inches away from the front fans), but as it is, when it's working hard the fans have to spin up to over 1000 RPM, which makes it "loud" (for our standards).
A Meshify, which will use 3 unobstructed fans as opposed to 2 as front intake (which will blow some air to the GPU too) will all but certainly take the noise down at load.
I'll also be able to use the Phanteks F140s I have around here, that I can't put in my R4 cause they're a bit too wide for the way you have to mount them in the front of this case.

Still, noise when at load doens't worry me that much, it'll just be an icing on top kind of thing, I just want some better cooling since I should be able to get it without sacrificing idle silence.

Maybe with a bottom intake and opening up the top of the R4 I'll get some halfway decent cooling, but I'd have to dust filter the top or a lot of dust will just fall in (btw I intend to change the case for a couple other reasons anyway, it's a matter of which one would be best).

It's a pain that I can't just test a Meshify and a couple of drives in person to be able to make an informed decision.

Author:  CA_Steve [ Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Can't find current recommendations on quiet drives.

Nods. Abula's done a lot of higher end gaming builds and has messed with a lot of cases/fans. Hopefully, he'll pop in and comment.

If these are just archival HDDs, perhaps your aren't familiar with Windows Power Options? You can set the drives to spin down after xx minutes of inactivity. The WD Red in this system only spins up at boot for a couple of minutes and then when Acronis is doing a backup or I'm pushing files around. Otherwise, it's parked and silent.

Since I already have a power plan: search: edit power plan (control panel)->change adv. power settings -> Hard Disk -> Turn off hard disk after __ minutes

If you don't have one, then search: choose a power plan -> create power plan...follow instructions. save it. then follow the above to change the plan to get to the advanced stuff.

Author:  Molitro [ Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Can't find current recommendations on quiet drives.

CA_Steve wrote:
If these are just archival HDDs, perhaps your aren't familiar with Windows Power Options?

Molitro wrote:
And yes, when they spin down they go completely silent, but they're still accessed relatively frequently

Yeah, that is what I was referring to. As soon as they spin down it's of course no problem, something that pushes me a bit towards the open case option. But when I want to watch something on them or whatever, which happens more or less frecuently... It'd be great if they got even quieter.

And yeah the case choice is annoying. Just thinking on the Fractal S2s (not that I'm closed to other ones, I just like Fractals for aesthetics and because they have pretty much exactly what I want in terms of specs), I really don't have a clue of the real temp difference between the 2 with proper fans for example.
Cause just as the Meshify would perform decently with good fans pushing through the front foam, the Define has a front opening a bit wider than the R models and less restrictive filters, so maybe with the same fans pushing through it it'd still do well enough, still being able to add another bottom intake, with the added padding benefits, plus the choice of opening up the top.

Decisions, decisions.

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