74GB Raptors? Whine Gone?

Silencing hard drives, optical drives and other storage devices

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MonsterMac
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74GB Raptors? Whine Gone?

Post by MonsterMac » Sat May 07, 2005 9:58 pm

It has been a while, but from what I've read by searching, are the 73gb WD raptors (WD740GD) safe to get for a silent pc?

My main concern is with the whining, has it been fixed?

The seeks are something I have learned to deal with, and if those get too great I can suspend them with ease.

Any input would be appreciated.

nick705
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Post by nick705 » Sun May 08, 2005 12:00 am

I have a 74GB Raptor and there's no audible bearing whine whatsoever. As far as seek noise goes, it's not the quietest disk I've ever heard, but it's nowhere near the loudest either...it's certainly not a major problem and as you say, suspending the drive would probably deal with it.

Whether you'd want to is another matter...any speed advantage the Raptor has over a recent fast 7200k drive comes mainly as a result of its ultra-fast seek times, and there's some debate about whether a non-rigid suspension might compromise this. I won't start the argument all over again but if you search for "torsional windup" you should find the thread in question and links to other info.

Unless you're a no compromise speed freak who's concerned with every last (probably mainly theoretical) ounce of performance, there are better drives available, certainly for a quiet PC. I'm very pleased with my Raptor, but in all honesty I wouldn't buy another... apart from the £/GB factor, I really doubt if its speed makes much difference to my PC's overall performance. It's more to do with that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you know you have the current state-of-the-art equipment...it all adds up in that indefinable "pleasure of ownership" experience...

As always, YMMV... :)

Ephemeron
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Post by Ephemeron » Sun May 08, 2005 9:28 am

From what I've read on these forums it seems that the Raptor is a beast that cannot be tamed by those for whom quietness is a priority.

People have tried evertying, have they not? ...Enclosures, suspension, even stranger custom gizmos, prayer to the dark voodoo gods, etc...

It's a shame no one has come up with an ideal solution. I would really have liked to use this drive as my OS/app drive.

jh
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Post by jh » Sun May 08, 2005 10:36 am

I'll throw in my 2 €ents.

I got a replacement drive last week for a 74-gig Raptor that was dead on arrival. I've run it on foam rubber and in a zalman drive cooler/noise dampener (well...). There is no whine what so ever on my sample, but the seeks are about as loud as the ordinary oldish 80-gig PATA IBM sitting beside it, and noticeable (but not irritating, IMO) outside the case.

SomeGuy15
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Post by SomeGuy15 » Thu May 12, 2005 11:19 pm

How well did the zalman drive cooler/noise dampener work on the Raptor? I've got the 74GB hard-mounted in my main PC with an Antec SX630II case and the seeks are painfully loud.

I have the Zalman HD cooler in another PC which I might try with the Raptor. I've ordered the Sycthe SilentBox from QuietPC NZ but the guy takes forever to respond. I don't think I'll be buying from them again.

hyperslug
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Post by hyperslug » Fri May 13, 2005 7:12 am

nick705 wrote:...any speed advantage the Raptor has over a recent fast 7200k [sic] drive comes mainly as a result of its ultra-fast seek times, and there's some debate about whether a non-rigid suspension might compromise this.
No argument, if you're saying seeks on a suspended Raptor are matched by any recent rigid-mounted drive.

What about a suspended Raptor vs a suspended (sub 10k-rpm) drive? Or are you saying the playing field is equally levelled regardless of what their rigid seek times were? (ie 4.5ms rigid seek --> 10ms suspended seek, 8ms rigid seek --> 10ms suspended seek)

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Post by MikeC » Fri May 13, 2005 7:19 am

This drive is being written up in a review right now. The seek noise is not much affected by suspension, that noise is mostly directly airborne; there's not that much vibration-induced noise. Suspension does help, but not as much as with many other drives, where the seek noise is a more equal mix of vibration & direct airborne noise. To get min noise, this is a drive you'd want to enclose AND suspend. Idle noise is amazingly low; the contrast between seek & idle is high.

I never felt the performance was affected by the suspension. It seemed very fast, regardless of how it was mounted.
Last edited by MikeC on Fri May 13, 2005 9:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

nick705
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Post by nick705 » Fri May 13, 2005 9:42 am

hyperslug wrote: What about a suspended Raptor vs a suspended (sub 10k-rpm) drive? Or are you saying the playing field is equally levelled regardless of what their rigid seek times were? (ie 4.5ms rigid seek --> 10ms suspended seek, 8ms rigid seek --> 10ms suspended seek)
To be honest, I don't have anything like enough data to give such definitive answers. I was really making more of a general point that you'd be unlikely to buy a Raptor in the first place unless absolute performance took priority over quietness, capacity and price considerations, and in that case you might be reluctant to suspend the drive as that would kind of defeat the object of choosing it over a different model.

I'd guess that *if* torque reactions are a real factor, the Raptor would suffer more than a slower-seeking drive as a result of soft suspension simply because it's starting from a higher baseline so to speak, but that's complete speculation and if someone has evidence to the contrary I'll happily eat my words... :D

I haven't bothered suspending my Raptor, it's just sitting in an Antec SLK3700AMB bay with the standard grommets. I wasn't shooting for ultimate quietness with this particular PC, and the drive's seek noises don't bother me anything like as much as idle whine would. If quietness was an absolute priority, I'd certainly get a different drive rather than fanny around trying to quieten the Raptor (and then getting all neurotic that I wasn't getting every last scrap of the performance I'd paid extra for)... :roll:

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Post by acaurora » Fri May 13, 2005 10:02 am

I have never heard of 74 GB raptors whine. I have two, and... they're still a'blazin while staying pretty quiet ;P

monkeh
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Post by monkeh » Fri May 13, 2005 1:06 pm

I have my raptors in silentmaxx hdd enclosures, and i cannot hear a thing from them. no seek noise or bearing noise.

the temps hover around room temp.

never though i could have a silent pc with raid 0 :)

Shining Arcanine
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Post by Shining Arcanine » Sat May 14, 2005 3:17 am

jh wrote:I'll throw in my 2 €ents.

I got a replacement drive last week for a 74-gig Raptor that was dead on arrival. I've run it on foam rubber and in a zalman drive cooler/noise dampener (well...). There is no whine what so ever on my sample, but the seeks are about as loud as the ordinary oldish 80-gig PATA IBM sitting beside it, and noticeable (but not irritating, IMO) outside the case.
Try turning on AAM with the Hitachi Feature Tool. 8)
MikeC wrote:This drive is being written up in a review right now. The seek noise is not much affected by suspension, that noise is mostly directly airborne; there's not that much vibration-induced noise. Suspension does help, but not as much as with many other drives, where the seek noise is a more equal mix of vibration & direct airborne noise. To get min noise, this is a drive you'd want to enclose AND suspend. Idle noise is amazingly low; the contrast between seek & idle is high.

I never felt the performance was affected by the suspension. It seemed very fast, regardless of how it was mounted.
How is the drive when AAM is enabled?

jamesm
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Post by jamesm » Sat May 21, 2005 8:12 am

monkeh wrote:I have my raptors in silentmaxx hdd enclosures, and i cannot hear a thing from them. no seek noise or bearing noise.

the temps hover around room temp.

never though i could have a silent pc with raid 0 :)
are you using 2 36 gb's or 2 74 gb's

halfpower
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Post by halfpower » Wed May 25, 2005 7:45 pm

nick705 wrote:there's some debate about whether a non-rigid suspension might compromise this.
I wouldn't think that this would have any effect on performance. I mean, sure. The needle will not move as fast because of the soft mounting. The reason for this is that it will push the body of the hard drive in the opposite direction. Relative to the [soft mounted] moving hard drive body, the needle will move at the same speed as it would on a hard drive that was firmly secured.

ATWindsor
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Post by ATWindsor » Wed May 25, 2005 10:07 pm

halfpower wrote:
nick705 wrote:there's some debate about whether a non-rigid suspension might compromise this.
I wouldn't think that this would have any effect on performance. I mean, sure. The needle will not move as fast because of the soft mounting. The reason for this is that it will push the body of the hard drive in the opposite direction. Relative to the [soft mounted] moving hard drive body, the needle will move at the same speed as it would on a hard drive that was firmly secured.
Yeah, I agree, if that is the argument, although the head will move slowwer relative to the ground/case it will have the same speed realtivte to the platter, and isn't that what counts?

AtW

halfpower
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Post by halfpower » Thu May 26, 2005 8:48 am

halfpower wrote:
ATWindsor wrote:Yeah, I agree, if that is the argument, although the head will move slowwer relative to the ground/case it will have the same speed realtivte to the platter, and isn't that what counts?
That's all that counts. The equivalent physics problem would be...a comparison of two scenarios.

1) Two masses floating in outer space are connected by a compressed spring and separated by a distance x. One mass is attached to a large space station, and the other is held in place by an astronaut. At time t the astronaut lets go of the mass.

2) Two masses floating in outer space are connected by a compressed spring and separated by a distance x. One mass is attached to a spring. The spring, in turn, is connected to a large space station. Both masses are held in place by an astronaut. At time t the astronaut lets go of both the masses.

If the motion of the mass nearest the space station, relative to the other mass, is the same in both scenarios, then soft mounted hard drives are as fast as hard mounted ones.
Sorry for going off topic...
I've been wondering about the Raptor issue myself. I think the hard drive is usually the slowest part of the computer. Judging by the review, the idle noise is close enough to that of a Samsung with a Nidec. The seek noise, also, does not seem to be very far off. Does any one know whether or not suspended Raptor will dramatically quieter than a hard-mounted one during seeks?

EDIT: initial condition, and spelling

Shadowknight
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Post by Shadowknight » Thu May 26, 2005 2:14 pm

I haven't tried it hard-mounted, but... resting on foam, encased in a Smart Drive 2002, the seeks are still quite audible. I personally find the whine to be louder than a Nidec Samsung, but is inaudible in a closed case.

A Samsung in the identical setup was literally silent: no audible seek noise at all. My specs are in my sig, so I have a pretty quiet rig.

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Post by Spod » Sun May 29, 2005 1:03 am

Soft mounting makes very little difference to seek times. But it does make a difference. I will attempt to explain why.

The reason is that the drive has very sophisticated algorithms to calculate the motion of the actuator given a particular length and duration of power to the actuator motor. It needs to do this to accurately place the head over a track that's maybe a few microns across (I don't recall the actual size, but it's very small). It also optimises the seek to put the head in the right position at the right time - i.e. when the required data has rotated to be under the head - and no sooner, because faster than necessary seeks waste power and make more noise. This is called "just in time seeks".

When the actuator motor is rigidly mounted (hard mounted, via the drive chassis, to the case), all of its acceleration goes into the actuator, and it knows the weight of the actuator, so it can predict what will happen. When it is not rigidly mounted, and the hard drive can move in reaction to the force exerted on the actuator, the algorithms cannot predict how the elasticity (etc.) of the mounting system will affect the forces on the drive and actuator. When the drive springs back into position, that will cause an unpredictable additional force that will move the head relative to the platter.

Effectively, it becomes harder to judge the actuator impulse required to put the head over a particular track, and it's more likely that the drive will have to make a small correction, which might mean it misses the data and has to wait for another revolution of the platter, depending on how much leeway was programmed into the just in time seeking algorithm.

There's always an allowance for the head to "settle" over the track, but soft mounting increases this settle time by an unpredictable amount. Some drives can "learn" that seeks are taking longer to settle and adapt their algorithms to allow for this, others simply allow more time than they need to settle. That's why soft mounting often makes little difference. But it can make a substantial difference, depending on the particulars of the drive and the mounting method.

Seagate did a white paper on this a few years ago. Their conclusion was that it might make up to a couple of ms difference to average seek times. I think drives have advanced a little since then, taking into account that they might be soft mounted or placed in a high vibration environment (e.g. a rack of drives in a server).

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