Fractal R4 HDD noise

Enclosures and acoustic damping to help quiet them.

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tldr
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Fractal R4 HDD noise

Post by tldr » Sat Aug 10, 2013 4:20 pm

Hi,

Seeing as the Define R4 was reviewed as a silent case, I didn't expect vibration, case resonance, and noise heard at a 2 meter distance when I installed 3 not especially noisy Seagate ST1000DM003 drives in it. In fact, I expected a whisper quiet case. However, I previously owned a Dell XPS 8100 and I can confidently say that the R4 hard disk noise is terrible. I never even heard the HDD humming in the XPS 8100 (admittedly, the XPS 8100 was a pretty quiet system), but in the R4 it's evident: once the hard disk are activated, the noise level goes from acceptable to irritating. The same Seagate drive model that's super quiet in the XPS 8100.

Tried many things: moving the drives to the top cage, loosening screws, and some aftermarket anti-vibration systems, but they don't fit in the 3,5 " tray system with 3,5 " drives. I'm considering moving my entire system to the Antec SOLO II, will this make a difference, and is it necessary to stop the noise? Fractal Design has offered to send me new grommets, could these make a significant difference?

flemeister
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Re: Fractal R4 HDD noise

Post by flemeister » Sat Aug 10, 2013 9:48 pm


Abula
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Re: Fractal R4 HDD noise

Post by Abula » Sat Aug 10, 2013 10:28 pm

tldr wrote:I'm considering moving my entire system to the Antec SOLO II, will this make a difference, and is it necessary to stop the noise? Fractal Design has offered to send me new grommets, could these make a significant difference?
The solo II will help with the suspension but it wont do miracles if the drive is noise it will still be noisy. Get a quieter drive or isolate it on a 5.25 box.
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mkk
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Re: Fractal R4 HDD noise

Post by mkk » Sun Aug 11, 2013 4:04 am

3.5" 7200 RPM drives will probably always be problematic and more or less need suspension. Using Antec's better silicone buffers could be done with the Fractal Design drive sleds as well, but might still not be enough dampening. Also make sure the screws aren't tightened much more than they need to be to hold the drive in place, or the effectiveness of the buffer will be diminished.

A single 4TB ST4000DM000 drive would be a great replacement if that is an option. Much quieter air borne sound(a world of a difference to the current three 7200 RPM drives) and its low vibration is dampened by the Define R4's regular buffers.

tldr
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Re: Fractal R4 HDD noise

Post by tldr » Sun Aug 11, 2013 1:11 pm

Thanks for your replies! Below my replies.
Ha! This seems a cheap but very effective solution. This is certainly worth considering, if it works (and if I can get all the right materials for it), it'll save me a lot of money.
The solo II will help with the suspension but it wont do miracles if the drive is noise it will still be noisy. Get a quieter drive or isolate it on a 5.25 box.
I don't think the drives themselves are noisy. When I lay them on a table in the open they're very quiet. Somehow the R4 succeeds at making some quiet drives noisy. It's a low-frequency thumping and humming noise that annoys me, disappointing that the R4 features such a poorly thought-through HDD tray system (as HDDs are the main source of noise in my system, even if with 4 fans enabled).
A single 4TB ST4000DM000 drive would be a great replacement if that is an option. Much quieter air borne sound(a world of a difference to the current three 7200 RPM drives) and its low vibration is dampened by the Define R4's regular buffers.
A good solution if it weren't for the fact that one such drive won't match the RAID 0 performance of my 3 drives. ;)

Abula
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Re: Fractal R4 HDD noise

Post by Abula » Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:07 am

tldr wrote:I don't think the drives themselves are noisy. When I lay them on a table in the open they're very quiet. Somehow the R4 succeeds at making some quiet drives noisy. It's a low-frequency thumping and humming noise that annoys me, disappointing that the R4 features such a poorly thought-through HDD tray system (as HDDs are the main source of noise in my system, even if with 4 fans enabled).
A good solution if it weren't for the fact that one such drive won't match the RAID 0 performance of my 3 drives. ;)


Why do you need a 3 disks in raid 0, this will increase the noise, as its stipping all drives will have partials of each file so it will seek in all drives always.

Btw the Solo II with its own suspension can only do 2 hdd, 3 only with the trays.
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tldr
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Re: Fractal R4 HDD noise

Post by tldr » Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:37 am

Abula wrote:Why do you need a 3 disks in raid 0, this will increase the noise, as its stipping all drives will have partials of each file so it will seek in all drives always.
But it also increases write/read speeds. :mrgreen:
Abula wrote:Btw the Solo II with its own suspension can only do 2 hdd, 3 only with the trays.
Good to know.
And this great cheap solution worked wonders! :D

I got 6 meters of 4mm thick elastic cord and used roughly the same set-up as in the photos. It really works. My machine seems whisper-quiet now. So it does indeed seem the drives themselves are quiet, but the case resonance and vibration can make them loud. Thanks very much for this solution, if I hadn't seen these photos I wouldn't have dared doing something like it myself! Hope it will last. Very happy now! :D

Abula
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Re: Fractal R4 HDD noise

Post by Abula » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:45 am

tldr wrote:
Abula wrote:Why do you need a 3 disks in raid 0, this will increase the noise, as its stipping all drives will have partials of each file so it will seek in all drives always.
But it also increases write/read speeds. :mrgreen:
Only sequential writes/reads, unless you do need this for your line of work, imo not worth it, for example i have friend that do need it in editing. For the average user, you better off with single mechancial hdd for storage and ssd for OS/programs.
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tldr
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Re: Fractal R4 HDD noise

Post by tldr » Fri Mar 27, 2015 6:00 pm

I would like to thank flemeister again for posting the solution to my problem. After more than 1.5 years working with suspension, I still didn't have any hdd noise to complain about until I installed one extra hdd in the normal way suggested with the grommets. The noise is back, so it's definitely something to do with a flawed case design rather than having an x amount of hdd's. I have searched a bit on the internet, some suggest a dust filter is causing it, but taking the filters off didn't solve it for me.

CA_Steve
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Re: Fractal R4 HDD noise

Post by CA_Steve » Fri Mar 27, 2015 6:50 pm

I had some abnormal noise pop up a while ago, and found that the one of the front fan mounts had partially popped out and was leaning against the drive cage. It probably slipped out when I shifted the case a bit.
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