Western Digital Caviar SE16 500GB: Big Low Noise Champ?
Posted: Sat Jun 17, 2006 1:49 pm
Discussions about Silent Computing
This Review shows that the T133 performance is very significantly below that of the P120. They were impressed with noise and heat levels, but there was no objective noise data from what I can remember. Maybe the 400GB will address this issue. Is it released yet?qviri wrote:Let's hope Samsung react to the challenge. Is there any chance of having SPCR review the new-ish T133? I saw a 300 GB model when I was buying my 250 GB, and kind of wondered how well that would work.
WD quote the same noise figures for the whole range of SE16 KS models (250 â€“ 500GB) and they do the same for the SE JS models (160 â€“ 320GB); which leaves us all guessing as to how they compare. They donâ€™t seem to list platter counts either, which doesnâ€™t help.Shining Arcanine wrote:The Caviar SE and the Caviar SE16 are pretty much the same thing but with different caches. The reduction in noise in the 320GB Caviar SE should come from having three platters instead of four, meaning that you should get the same reduction from the SE16 version.
Samsungâ€™s figures back that up with the P120 being 2.5/2.8 Bel versus the T133 2.7/2.9 Bel; this is for idle/random read/write.Ackelind wrote:This drive looks like a better choise than Samsungs's T133 if you need this amount of storage.
This drive is on par with the P120 (even better regarding seeks), and the T133 is reported so (at least subjectively) be louder than the P120.
You have to look at the revision number that is appended to the model number on the label. Resellers should be able to give you this information.SpHeRe31459 wrote:I guess now the question would be to be: how does one make sure you get a quiet model aside from physical inspection? Since, as was mentioned in the article, WD likes to change the drive characteristics and not change the model number.
This review examines the most recent revision of the Caviar SE16 series, coded 00MNB0 as a suffix to the model number.
I couldn't find any. My source of information was a news blurb on StorageReview that it has four 125GB platters. Given that storage review has long-term contacts with just about every drive manufacturer, I consider them a reliable source.winguy wrote:Anyone can point me to the official platter information for the SE16 product line? Only 250GB and 320GB show 3 platters.
You have to remember that the recording mic is 3" away. We do this because if we put it 1 meter away (where we take the noise measurement), you'd never hear half the stuff we record over the noise floor of your audio playback gear -- and our ambient noise. So whatever difference there is gets exaggerated. I think I can agree that in real life, from a few inches away, the Samsung sounds nicer, but from the typical 1/2 to 1m distance and with the HDD floating in an elastic suspension inside a sturdy case, I'd never hear that difference.JazzJackRabbit wrote:The noise numbers look very nice. However, when listening to sound samples P80 sounds much much better. WD noise is much harsher and higher toned. Unless there was a diffence in the way recordings were made ie distance, angle, sound volume, I would never chose WD over P80/P120.
Can Devon or anyone else from SPCR crew explain why P80/WD noise measurements are almost the same, but WD sounds so much worse than P80?
Consider the distance of Hardware.fr's recording microphone: 5cm from the HDD. This is a serious problem. There's no way the decibel reading can be accurate due to boundary effects. It's the same problem at storagereview.com -- not even relative differences are necessarily correct due to compression effects; the close proximity impacts every measurement similarly, reducing differences. From the rough babelfish translation, I get the distinct impression that they had a casual, passing listen; they did not really study the acoustics, either subjectively or objectively.cAPSLOCK wrote:It's performance has been reviewed at Hardware.fr, apparently decent performance.
One worry is that they didn't find it to be exceptionally silent (as you would expect from a drive that has dethroned the P80), they said it was "relatively discrete, but not silent" and found it comparable to the seagates. I know they are far from being experts in acoustics like SPCR, but it does reinforce the concerns of sample variance...
On another note, where I live, it's very expensive, you can buy three P120 250GB for a bit less than the WD drive costs.
A test of hard disk and their function AAM would be incomplete without a measurement of the sound harmful effect of the discs, measured here to approximately 5 cm. This would not be that for the noise in rotation it y' has notable differences. Thus, if the discs Western and Seagate are relatively discrete, without being quiet, it is not at all the case of the models Hitachi and Maxtor. Those are caught up with because of a less overcost at the time of the access, but one remains all the same beyond what proposes the Western disc. To change the Seagate discs are noisiest when one reaches in an intensive way the disc, and the AAM can nothing there since Seagate does not propose this function.
OK, I see. Recording sound from 3" away will certainly exaggerate any differences there are. However in my experience I can hear the difference between different drives even 0.5-1 meter away. Any difference in quantitative noise will fade away as you move further away but it still will be there and most importantly the noise character will stay the same. In other words the harsher character of WD drive will be heard even from one meter away. I don't know if it will be the same if the drive was put inside the case, but I would imagine under the strictest test conditions I would hear the difference. The argument about playback gear or ambient noise is useless as it varies too much. Right now, in the summer with the windows open I can't hear my PC even with all fans cranked up to 12V (due to summer heat), however during winter with windows closed, no airconditining noise and no birds chirping outside the window (stupid fluffy creatures :rolleyes: ), I can hear my PC, I can hear my 2504C neatly tucked away inside the case as far as possible and I can hear my fans if they rotate above 800 or so RPM. Oh well, that's just my opinion.MikeC wrote: You have to remember that the recording mic is 3" away. We do this because if we put it 1 meter away (where we take the noise measurement), you'd never hear half the stuff we record over the noise floor of your audio playback gear -- and our ambient noise. So whatever difference there is gets exaggerated. I think I can agree that in real life, from a few inches away, the Samsung sounds nicer, but from the typical 1/2 to 1m distance and with the HDD floating in an elastic suspension inside a sturdy case, I'd never hear that difference.
I'm not sure I agree with you. When the overall noise level drops because of distance, it becomes harder to hear the quality differences of the noise, too. The recordings are not 100% true representations of what we hear in the lab -- they definitely tend to exaggerate the differences. When it is heard from a meter away, or with the PC under the desk, the character differences at idle becomes very subtle, and the more apparent difference is the lower noise floor at seek -- the WD is quieter than any other drive in seek by at least 2 dBA@1m.JazzJackRabbit wrote:Any difference in quantitative noise will fade away as you move further away but it still will be there and most importantly the noise character will stay the same. In other words the harsher character of WD drive will be heard even from one meter away.
Surely that's not true, because the higher frequencies are more quickly attenuated by the atmosphere than lower ones. So at a greater distance the lower frequencies will predominate, and the noise "character" will be different.Any difference in quantitative noise will fade away as you move further away but it still will be there and most importantly the noise character will stay the same.
Measuring distance is not an issue, imo. I know ISO7779 specifies ~0.6m, but I prefer the 1m distance because...jaganath wrote:I think measuring the sound levels from less than a metre away is fairly realistic; if I was to take a wild guess I would say the average "operator position" is about 0.5-0.75m from the PC (if only because most mouse and keyboard cables are not much longer than this, and yes I know people use wireless mice and kb).
So is there a chance that the one at SPCR was "hand picked" for review?sample variance -- some just leave the factory a little noisier or quieter, sometimes in only one state (like idle, seek, write), sometimes in all/most states.
Judging by the packaging, it seems unlikely, but as mentioned before, the best way to confirm our measurements & reactions is a user poll. Surely some people here are alreadying using this drive, as it's been out for many months.m_yates wrote:So is there a chance that the one at SPCR was "hand picked" for review?
Since the drive under review was supplied by Western Digital, itâ€™s reasonable to assume that they made sure that a good sample was sent. As long as the sample was typical for this drive and not a one in twenty â€˜goldenâ€™ sample, I donâ€™t see a problem with this policy. If their policy is more about making sure they didnâ€™t provide a rogue drive, in the acoustic sense, then that seems reasonable to me. Anything more would be plain misrepresentation.m_yates wrote:So is there a chance that the one at SPCR was "hand picked" for review?sample variance -- some just leave the factory a little noisier or quieter, sometimes in only one state (like idle, seek, write), sometimes in all/most states.