Unusually quiet Seagate 7200.7 made-in-China 80G HDD

Silencing hard drives, optical drives and other storage devices

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MikeC
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Unusually quiet Seagate 7200.7 made-in-China 80G HDD

Post by MikeC » Tue Nov 02, 2004 10:10 am

My friend Phil dropped by this morning with a most unusual Seagate 7200.7 80G P-ATA drive: Quite simply it is probably the quietest, lowest vibration 3.5" HDD I've even encountered.

The markings & tags on it are identical in almost every way to another 7200.7 80G I have, except this one was made in Singapore probably a year ago while Phil's very quiet one was made in China fairly recently -- he just bought it.

This China 7200.7 80G is very slightly quieter than several Barracuda-IV 40G drives I have and it has less vibration.

This China 7200.7 80G is quieter than the Singapore 7200.7 80G drive I have and it has substantially less vibration.

This China 7200.7 80G is quieter than any of the Samsuing SP-80 and SP120 drives I have and it has substantially less vibration, the difference in vibration seeming even bigger than against the Singapore 7200.7 80G.

Even seek noise & vibration is also more subdued than the above drives, by varying degrees. I have had no time to take SPL readings -- have to wait for a quieter time in the evening.

I put in a call to Seagate inquiring about whether this China model is an anomaly or whether there is a real & intended & expected improvement in the China plant.

Has anyone else experienced this??
Last edited by MikeC on Thu Nov 25, 2004 1:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by sthayashi » Tue Nov 02, 2004 10:22 am

Hmmm... I have a China-made Seagate 7200.7 PATA 200GB drive sitting on my desk. It says "Product of China" under the +12V 0.35A line, and the sealing label says "The content is made in China".

When I get home, I'll plug it in and see how it sounds.

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Post by Mats » Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:01 pm

I've already told you about the only experience I have with 7200.7 here (fifth post). The China model was much quieter than the one from Singapore. But yeah, maybe 120 vs. 160 GB is not totally fair (although I think so when it comes to IDLE noise).

The question is, can we find something in common for those low noise Seagates? Are there different motors used? Can we determine which motor used if so? (Don't have my Seagate available right now so I can't check)

Mike C: Have you checked if it got AAM enabled?
Quite surprising if it has that option. It wouldn't explain the lower idle noise, but it's still interesting...
Which firmware?

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Post by pangit » Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:20 pm

I thought Seagate stopped using AAM due to a licencing dispute. It would be surprising (but good) if they have started using it again.

Let's hope it's not an anomaly and Seagate can regain the silent HDD crown!

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Post by mai9 » Tue Nov 02, 2004 10:15 pm

I have some Seagate IDE drives, some from China and some from Singapore, I'll take an ear ;) to hear the difference.

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Post by Mats » Tue Nov 02, 2004 10:36 pm

pangit wrote:I thought Seagate stopped using AAM due to a licencing dispute.
Yes they have.

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Post by mai9 » Tue Nov 02, 2004 10:41 pm

well, at first glance, I couldn't hear much difference.

I tried with two IDE 7200.7 160GB and two 200GB.

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Post by MikeC » Wed Nov 03, 2004 8:47 am

mai9 wrote:well, at first glance, I couldn't hear much difference.

I tried with two IDE 7200.7 160GB and two 200GB.
Your post is unclear. What did you compare to what? China versions vs Singapore versions of 7200.7?

You really need a normally working typical Barracuda IV or Samsung SP80/120 as a control reference.

The questions are:

1) Have the 7200.7s have all become quieter since our assessment of them ~a year or more ago?

2) Are the 7200.7s from China quieter than the other 7200.7s?

3) Is Phil's particular 7200.7 from China just a nice anomaly?

If the answers to 1) and 2) are no, then the answer to 3) is yes.

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Post by mai9 » Wed Nov 03, 2004 11:13 am

MikeC wrote:
mai9 wrote:well, at first glance, I couldn't hear much difference.

I tried with two IDE 7200.7 160GB and two 200GB.
Your post is unclear. What did you compare to what? China versions vs Singapore versions of 7200.7?

You really need a normally working typical Barracuda IV or Samsung SP80/120 as a control reference.

2) Are the 7200.7s from China quieter than the other 7200.7s?
yep, I just put my ear close to two 7200.7s, one from China the other from Singapore. Did this with 160GB and 200GB pairs. I couldn't hear a noticable difference in silence ;) that it can be confirmed that is not a placebo effect on me.

I don't have a Barracuda IV or a SP80/120, but I understood that China Seagates were quieter than Singapore's.

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Post by MikeC » Wed Nov 03, 2004 11:19 am

but I understood that China Seagates were quieter than Singapore's
If you read my original post, you will see that I refer to ONE sample of the China 7200.7 which is super quiet. I want to find out whether this is normal; I never said they were generally quieter than the Singapor ones. The whole reason for this post is to try and leverage the power of numbers -- rather than just me trying to get more 7200.7s, asking people like yourself for your experience / perception of your samples.

Anyway... you answered no to question 1). Which begs the question of how your samples compare against B-IV or Samsung?

How did you get a hold of so many drives BTW?
Last edited by MikeC on Wed Nov 03, 2004 11:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by sthayashi » Wed Nov 03, 2004 11:24 am

Sorry, I've been busy pissing and moaning about the US elections to actually test this drive. Before I do though, is there any sort of methodology you'd like me to follow?

For reference, I have another 200GB 7200.7 that's presumably made in Singapore (I'm not in a position to check at this current moment).

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Post by Mats » Wed Nov 03, 2004 12:53 pm

MikeC: Have you checked firmware & AAM ? I know that the AAM option probably isn't there, but you never know! :)

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Post by MikeC » Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:01 pm

Mats wrote:MikeC: Have you checked firmware & AAM ? I know that the AAM option probably isn't there, but you never know! :)
No time -- but even just on idle, you can feel and hear the difference. This particular drive has so little vibration it is amazing, and it is at least as quiet as a B-IV, probably quieter.

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Post by jasond » Sun Nov 21, 2004 9:28 am

I just got a 40 GB 7200.7 from NewEgg, also from China. Seek noise and vibration seem virtually non-existent. However it has a high-pitched whine which does not fade much with direction or closing the case. :(

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Post by jasond » Mon Nov 22, 2004 4:49 pm

Just as a followup, I installed a new 120GB 7200.7 PATA 8MB cache, also from China. Very quiet. No whine, seeks *seem* to be quiet (with 3 drives, it's hard to say, but boot up was pretty quiet.). I didn't detect much vibration when I held it.

I also have 4 200GB SATA Seagates, and a 160GB. None of those whine either. My 40GB whine does go down quite a bit after a while, but it's still there. My 160 has terrible seek noise. The 160 and 200 were bought several months, not sure of the origin.

My Barracuda IV and V also don't whine. Either the 40GB is built cheaply or I got a bad one, I'd say.

FWIW.

PS - The 120 Seagate replaced a 120 screamer from WD. I am MUCH happier :)

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Post by mai9 » Mon Nov 22, 2004 7:13 pm

oops, I didn't notice this post, sorry.
MikeC wrote:
but I understood that China Seagates were quieter than Singapore's
If you read my original post, you will see that I refer to ONE sample of the China 7200.7 which is super quiet. I want to find out whether this is normal; I never said they were generally quieter than the Singapor ones.
I know, I know. But this topic is about China being quiter than the others, so I thought that listening them without B-IV or Samsung would be enough to post.

I was just trying to indicate that my amateur ears do not hear that difference. I can listen to one and say yes, but I can not say it's not a placebo effect, because I can listem to them later (or listen another couple) and fail to feel one more quiet than the other.
MikeC wrote:The whole reason for this post is to try and leverage the power of numbers -- rather than just me trying to get more 7200.7s, asking people like yourself for your experience / perception of your samples.
ok, sorry. I did my best.
MikeC wrote:Anyway... you answered no to question 1). Which begs the question of how your samples compare against B-IV or Samsung?
that's a good question I can't answer, because I don't have any of those.
MikeC wrote:How did you get a hold of so many drives BTW?
oh well, I just bought them.

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Post by PhilgB » Tue Nov 23, 2004 7:59 am

I just noticed that the 7200.7 that I have here for a system I'm building is from China.

When I listened closely:

- At startup there was a short high pitched squeel then it went away
- Idle is quiet but after a few minutes there was a bit of clicking
- It caused my L1A modded Zalman 300A to squeal (only noticeable from 5-10cm)
- On power down there was a loud beep that came from the HDD

Date code 05145.

The idle is much quieter than my JVC SP0802N when it's not clicking.

When I gently flipped the drive over, you could hear something inside move and make a 'click' sound (like the discs or motor landing on the opposite side)

Just a few notes, hopefully mine is just a really bad sample because I wouldn't be able to use it.

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Post by sgksgk » Thu Nov 25, 2004 1:18 pm

So which model is this quient 7200.7 80gb? the pata, sata or the sata w/ ncq?

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Post by Ned Slider » Fri Dec 17, 2004 1:52 pm

I bought one in the UK about 4 weeks back and it's also labelled "Product of China". It's the 80GB ATA model. Mine is extremely quiet in operation. It's idle whine is medium pitched (far better than some of the high pitched whines from other manufacturers) and is just audible from about 6 inches in free air. Seek noise is a little louder, but not a problem when suspended. Combined with an enermax noisetaker PSU and 92mm Panaflow low noise fan I can not really hear it in operation, thus I'm very happy with my drive.

I've not noticed any clicking sounds either.

I've also just aquired a seagate IV (80GB) drive that I'll hook up and compare against for (subjective) reference if anyone would be interested.

Ned

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Post by andyb » Sat Dec 18, 2004 5:19 am

I have had a new batch of drives delivered, and thought I would test them against the old ones, both 7200.7 PATA 80GB.

The new are made in Singapore.

The old are made in Thailand.

The Singapore drive has as much vibration when seeking as the Thailand drive has when idle.

And this trend is reflected when it come to the noise.

The Singapore drive is as quiet as i remember (I havent seen one for a few weeks) the Cuda 4.

The Thailand drive is quiet, theres no denying that, but side by side comparison, the Singapore drive wins hands down, especially considering the PC's main drive is a DM9 120GB (quieter than mose DM9's but still load).

To make my test as fair as possible, I didnt copy the test data from the DM9, it came straight accross my Gigabit LAN from the room next door.

I used our drivers folder, 3.6GB a total of 3,600 files, with a large size variation, the largest being 150MB, the smallest being 1KB.

Andy

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Post by RaNDoMMAI » Sat Dec 18, 2004 1:17 pm

I just got a 200gig seagate that says made in china and it is louder then my samsung 160gig HDD

~RaNDoM

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Re: Unusually quiet Seagate 7200.7 made-in-China 80G HDD

Post by Tamas » Sat Dec 18, 2004 2:15 pm

MikeC wrote:My friend Phil dropped by this morning with a most unusual Seagate 7200.7 80G P-ATA drive: Quite simply it is probably the quietest, lowest vibration 3.5" HDD I've even encountered.

The markings & tags on it are identical in almost every way to another 7200.7 80G I have, except this one was made in Singapore probably a year ago while Phil's very quiet one was made in China fairly recently -- he just bought it.

This China 7200.7 80G is very slightly quieter than several Barracuda-IV 40G drives I have and it has less vibration.

This China 7200.7 80G is quieter than the Singapore 7200.7 80G drive I have and it has substantially less vibration.

This China 7200.7 80G is quieter than any of the Samsuing SP-80 and SP120 drives I have and it has substantially less vibration, the difference in vibration seeming even bigger than against the Singapore 7200.7 80G.

Even seek noise & vibration is also more subdued than the above drives, by varying degrees. I have had no time to take SPL readings -- have to wait for a quieter time in the evening.

I put in a call to Seagate inquiring about whether this China model is an anomaly or whether there is a real & intended & expected improvement in the China plant.

Has anyone else experienced this??
Maybe the super quiet 7200.7 came from a 7200.8 factory.
First 7200.8 owners said that the new drive was much quieter than 7200.7 and quieter than the old Barracuda IV series.

Super quiet China&Singapure 7200.7 linear reading speed is the same?

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Post by andyb » Sat Dec 18, 2004 5:28 pm

I have 2 x 200GB seagates, one SATA one PATA, the SATA is most definitley noisier than the PATA, i will have a look, and tell you where they are from, and when they were made.

Andy

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Re: Unusually quiet Seagate 7200.7 made-in-China 80G HDD

Post by Ned Slider » Sat Dec 18, 2004 5:39 pm

MikeC wrote: This China 7200.7 80G is very slightly quieter than several Barracuda-IV 40G drives I have and it has less vibration.

Has anyone else experienced this??
I've now had a chance to do a direct side-by-side subjective comparison of my recent China 7200.7 80GB PATA drive with a Barracuda IV 80GB drive and I find the same as Mike (above). The new 7200.7 drive is quieter than the Barracuda IV (although there's not much in it) and it has less audible vibration and to the touch.

Quite simply, this is the quietest drive I've heard. I bought mine in the UK from simply.co.uk on 16/11/2004.

Ned

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Post by andyb » Sun Dec 19, 2004 2:52 am

I have had a listen to my 2 x Seagate 200GB Drives.

Both are 7200.7's of course.

One is a PATA ST3200822A.

The other is a SATA ST3200822AS.

Both are made in Singapore, site code AMK.

The PATA drive has a slightly higher pitch motor noise, but you have to listen vey hard to notice.

However the SATA drive has a noticably louder seek noise, and vibrates a lot more when idle and seeking.

The strange thing about this however is that the SATA drive is newer, do all Seagate SATA drives makes more noise than their PATA equivelents.???

The date codes are, PATA 04246, SATA 05037.

I have bought and sold one other 200GB Seagate, it was a SATA and it made about the same amount of noise as my one.

Does anyone else have any first hand experience of these 2 drives.

Regards Andy.

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Post by Tamas » Sun Dec 19, 2004 4:58 am

andyb wrote:I have 2 x 200GB seagates, one SATA one PATA, the SATA is most definitley noisier than the PATA, i will have a look, and tell you where they are from, and when they were made.

Andy
It's normal.
Seagate not using Automatic Acoustic Management instead of it they sell:
-IDE drives with factory set silent mode
-SATA drives with factory set performance mode

Unfortunately you can't change these factory presets.
If you test your two drives access time you get around 12-13ms with the SATA version and 14-15ms with the normal IDE version.

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Post by NicktheNorse » Fri Dec 24, 2004 3:00 pm

Tamas wrote:Unfortunately you can't change these factory presets.
If you test your two drives access time you get around 12-13ms with the SATA version and 14-15ms with the normal IDE version.

I have noticed these results in various reviews. Will this difference in access time change the percepted speeds of these hard drives in real world use? or will it just be noticeable in benchmarks?

what real world effect does the 2ms higher time actually have? slower game loading times? slower accessing files? slower copying data etc....

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Post by BOOGS » Fri Jan 14, 2005 9:56 am

Tamas wrote:
andyb wrote: It's normal.
Seagate not using Automatic Acoustic Management instead of it they sell:
-IDE drives with factory set silent mode
-SATA drives with factory set performance mode
Aha ! this would explain why my SATA was noisy as HELL on SEEK, and my PATA was as quiet as a mouse...................

I couldnt figure it out, as AAM is disabled on both, so why would sata be noisy ?

SEEMS THATS THE REASON !!!

I got rid of my sata because of the seek noise, just too much.........

oh, and the performance on both is more or less identical in real world, I couldnt notice ANY difference at all..............

I would recommend anyone to get the PATA drives..................................

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Post by Sooty » Mon Aug 01, 2005 11:51 am

Tamas wrote:It's normal.
Seagate not using Automatic Acoustic Management instead of it they sell:
-IDE drives with factory set silent mode
-SATA drives with factory set performance mode

Unfortunately you can't change these factory presets.
If you test your two drives access time you get around 12-13ms with the SATA version and 14-15ms with the normal IDE version.
Is it the same situation with the 7200.8's? PATA much quiter than SATA?

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My Perfect 7200.7 and my New 7200.8 SATA compared

Post by halbhh » Mon Aug 01, 2005 7:13 pm

My sweet seagate 7200.7 P-ATA is about 1.5 years old, 40Gig, a ST340014A, and basically you can't hear it without considerable efforts. I originally wrote the remainder of this post at storagereview.net, about the 7200.8....

About the noise level and performance of the 7200.8 SATA

I spent a lot of time reading mostly at Tom's Hardware, and a little at Anandtech to choose my new drive: a 250Gig 7200.8, which I've now had for about 4 days. It's my 4th or 5th Seagate, and my previous one a 40 gig 7200.7, about 1.5-2 years old has been flawless in every way and so silent that you can't even tell if it's busy seeking with your ear anywhere except in full contact with the case! Basically the 7200.7 was never audible, and the new 7200.8 has two sounds: a muffled seek sound which isn't bothering me yet, with my summer air conditioning during the afternoon, and even in the quiet morning time. (more on the second sound later.) I've spent a good bit of time and money on this, my second silent computer (A64 3000, with sweet qualities).

But the advantage to the 7200.8 here is exactly that I can tell when it's busy(!), and thus what's going on when my computer pauses. This has become really important to me actually. With the 7200.7 I never knew, and often wanted to know what the heck was causing my computer to pause -- drive bottleneck or some strange system or software thing (I don't know why my nice quality case doesn't have a hard drive light, lol). When you can detect the drive working, then you can know what is happening. So that's a plus for the 7200.8, with it's gentle access sounds.

But....the second sound.....it has at times had an off and on high-pitched pure tone, very high, medium loud, and somewhat piercing. Currently though it has been quite now mostly (98% of the time) for the last hour, which come to think of it, has happened before. Perhaps it matters how long the system is on, and if the drive is fully warm. Perhaps there's a break in period. Overall, since I like the access noise, if the high pitched thing reduces some more, I'll be satisfied quiet satisfied (pun intended).

Performance wise, with very careful testing on my identical software and system after the change over, I find that on the whole average overall the 7200.8 is perhaps slightly faster than the 7200.7 during most days use, although slower a little on bootup (just 3 seconds though). It's a wash, since the bootup and come out of hibernate lack of better performance are important enough to balance the superior large file (read video) performance.

But....the drive is mainly to record and work with video from my TV-capture card as my PVR, so....since it is faster for large file read and and write (significantly, especially for write -- 10 seconds less to write to hibernate for example), I'm pleased enough with the performance on the whole -- it's excellent where it counts and close in the other most other areas, according to about 5 reviews, which hightlight a good performance, echoing mine, with large file loads and writes.

So....good qualities as a large video file drive, and let's face it, that's the only reason most of us have for going over 80Gigs to start with!

! Excellent in the only place it really matters for many of us speed wise.

Now I'm thinking I'll bring back the 7200.7 as the system drive for bootup (where it is a tiny bit faster anyway, and use the 7200.8 as the data drive just for video and backups, and get some advantage from using 2 channels anyway. So frugal though I am, I'll not be donating the old 7200.7 to someone else after all. If I scrape together another system for a friend, they'll just have to shell out $60 for their drive! :)

Fingers crossed about the high pitched, which has been blissfully silent now for a good while.

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