Is 2.5" worth it in my situation?

Silencing hard drives, optical drives and other storage devices

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qviri
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Is 2.5" worth it in my situation?

Post by qviri » Thu Jun 16, 2005 3:56 pm

Hello,

I'm trying to make a decision between either of Toshiba MK4025GAS and Samsung MP0402H 40G, or a Samsung SP1614N.

I'm making an SFF that will reside on my desk approximately two feet from my head. So far, the design calls for Seasonic SS-200SFD's (of Breadbox PC fame) fan to cool the CPU heatsink as well, so it will not stay at its lowest speed. (The CPU is an XP 2600+, I'll be undervolting it as far down as necessary.)

I'm wondering if there will be any difference between the 3.5" and the 2.5" drives, or will the fan just drown out them both?


As for other considerations: space isn't an issue, a 3.5" will fit. It will also be aptly cooled. One thing I'm worried about that for roughly the same price, I'm getting 160 GB of 3.5" vs 40 GB of 2.5". The CD-ROM I'm going to be using is rather old, and therefore I have considered just copying all my CDs onto the big drive, since the HD will be much much quieter than the CD -- that won't be that much of a possibility with the 40 GBs.


Any ideas? Something I'm overlooking? Other recommendations?

Mar.
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Post by Mar. » Thu Jun 16, 2005 5:49 pm

2 feet from your head? I'd be more worried about brain cancer than silencing.

qviri
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Post by qviri » Thu Jun 16, 2005 6:17 pm

Well yeah, it's an SFF, on my desk like every other decent SFF out there?

Plus, if my brain survived all the CRT exposure, I'm not too concerned.

MikeC
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Post by MikeC » Thu Jun 16, 2005 8:21 pm

A 2600+ might be a bit much to ask the PSU fan to cool just by itself unless you undervolt it seriously -- which probably means you have to underclock it too. But with some care, especially ensuring well-directed airflow from intake to PSU across the CPU HS, it could work fine without the PSU fan ramping up much.

Personally, I think a notebook drive is mandatory for all SFF PCs that will be placed next to the monitor. Even if the PSU fan is louder than the HDD, the 2 devices will not have the same signature, and the noise of the HDD will still be audible, especially when it is on the top of the desk. Also, a 2.5" drive can be suspended in a 3.5" drive bay, which should all but completely eliminate HDD vibration induced hum. Plus, instead of generating upwards of 10W, it will only create ~2W, which could be significant for the PSU fan.

I'd go for the notebook drive. The Samsung is probably the cheapest, and it still remains about the quietest of the 5400 rpm 2.5" drives.

qviri
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Post by qviri » Thu Jun 16, 2005 8:49 pm

MikeC wrote:A 2600+ might be a bit much to ask the PSU fan to cool just by itself unless you undervolt it seriously -- which probably means you have to underclock it too. But with some care, especially ensuring well-directed airflow from intake to PSU across the CPU HS, it could work fine without the PSU fan ramping up much.
I'm OK with underclocking it a bit, or even a bit more. I should be able to work something out.
MikeC wrote:Personally, I think a notebook drive is mandatory for all SFF PCs that will be placed next to the monitor. Even if the PSU fan is louder than the HDD, the 2 devices will not have the same signature, and the noise of the HDD will still be audible, especially when it is on the top of the desk. Also, a 2.5" drive can be suspended in a 3.5" drive bay, which should all but completely eliminate HDD vibration induced hum. Plus, instead of generating upwards of 10W, it will only create ~2W, which could be significant for the PSU fan.

I'd go for the notebook drive. The Samsung is probably the cheapest, and it still remains about the quietest of the 5400 rpm 2.5" drives.
Thanks, I'll check how the prices and the availability shape up.

Would the two-platter 80 GB still be quieter than the Nidec SpinPoints? (assuming I get lucky and draw a Nidec...)
Last edited by qviri on Thu Jun 16, 2005 8:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

MikeC
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Post by MikeC » Thu Jun 16, 2005 8:52 pm

Would the two-platter 80 GB still be quieter than the Nidec SpinPoints? (assuming I get lucky and draw a Nidec...)
Yes, I am pretty sure it would.

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Post by IsaacKuo » Thu Jun 16, 2005 11:49 pm

I recommend the 2.5" drive also.

How does the heat of an XP 2600+ compare to a Northwood 2.4Ghz Celeron? Because I found just the PSU fan to be perfectly adequate in my scratchbuilt SFF.

Originally, I was using a stock 120mm Fortron 350 PSU. The PSU was last in the airflow line, so its thermistor would ramp up the fan at the slightest hint of either the CPU or GPU getting warm. This 120mm fan generated a definitively NON-silent "whoosh" even at idle, but even so the noise of a 3.5" drive was too much. I had to replace it with an enclosed Western Digital Scorpio notebook drive to acheive acceptable quietness. In particular, the 120mm fan never produced the sort of irritating high pitched whine which hard drives produce.

Now, I'm using a single 80mm fan at 5v (manually switchable to 12v). Temperatures are much warmer now, of course, but the airflow is still adequate.

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Post by perplex » Fri Jun 17, 2005 3:43 am

i was thinking about 2.5" too but to me it doesnt seem worth it. i think i'll go with 200GB 3.5" spinpoint and an enclosure after if its not quiet enough. the laptop capacity is very low too with prices two fold

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Post by MikeC » Fri Jun 17, 2005 5:27 am

perplex wrote:i was thinking about 2.5" too but to me it doesnt seem worth it. i think i'll go with 200GB 3.5" spinpoint and an enclosure after if its not quiet enough. the laptop capacity is very low too with prices two fold
Just take note that for the last handful of SFF reviews, the default HDD in the test rigs has been a Samsung notebook drive.

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Post by perplex » Fri Jun 17, 2005 6:49 am

AHH i hate this... one post can change my mind thats been made up for 1 month 8)

ok, i think i may go for a nice 80GB 2.5 inch :oops:

come to think of it, i cant image myself needing a 200GB - i'm actually now thinking of getting 2 80GB 2.5 inch drives and use one for an external hard disk for backup. Because 2.5inch drives dont need a power supply so its even more convenient.

but now i need to do my research on drives on this site all over again, this time with 2.5 inch :lol:

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Post by qviri » Fri Jun 17, 2005 4:53 pm

OK... So we're looking at a 160 GB SP1614N (luck of the draw b/w Nidec and JVC) or a 60 GB MP0603H. Both are costing me $120 Canadian, which I'm willing to pay.

(BTW. Would the 60 GB be one-platter? Two-platter? One-and-a-half-platter? ;) )

The 2.5" is quieter than both JVC and Nidec 3.5"s. It also runs way cooler, and with a single fan in the system, I can use all the less watts I can get.

The 2.5" is less than half of the 3.5" gigabyte-wise, but I haven't even filled up the 17 GB I presently use. Even if you count double that, 34 GB for file storage, that still leaves space for copies of ~32 CDs, and I don't even own that many.

A nice notebook -> IDE + Molex adapter is $15, not ruining.

I'm now leaning towards the 2.5"... Any last-minute recommendations why I shouldn't buy one?

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Post by MikeC » Fri Jun 17, 2005 6:23 pm

Please consider this:

1) Why seek excess capacity you don't need it if it might cost you the ultimate low noise you're buying a notebook drive for in the first place? 60G notebook drives are 2 platter these days. Only the 40G models are single platter. There is a small noise difference. Maybe 1-2 dBA/1m -- but it is there.

2) External storage is amazingly cheap and pretty fast. Consider a firewire box + large capacity quiet 3.5" HDD. Turn it on only when you need to use it.

3) If you want super speed, you could even go external SATA. Which actually gives you the option of no drives in your system at all -- use a 2m cable and put the fast 3.5" eSATA drive(s) of your choice in a distant closed drawer on a bed of foam. Yes, you can boot off eSATA drives. (Uh-oh, here's yet another option!! ) :lol:

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Post by qviri » Fri Jun 17, 2005 8:00 pm

I do appreciate the input, but here's one factor in the equation: I will be an university student next fall and I do have a tight budget and will have a tight budget in the future.

This is the only hard drive I'll be buying during the upcoming year at least.

That said, 40 GB should fit all that I will reasonably throw at it.

Being a cheap person that I mean, I'm thinking how to get the most for my dollars. Not surprisingly, the notebooks aren't faring too well in this category. The 160 GB SpinPoint gives me 1333 MB for a dollar. The 80 and 60 GB 2.5"s are both 500 MB for a dollar, and the 40 GB is even lower at 400 MB for a dollar.

Having said all that, seeing as the 40 GB 2.5" is a) the cheapest per unit b) the quietest and c) enough for now, I might as well go with that and put the $20 saved towards any of those other cute options you have mentioned.

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Post by perplex » Sat Jun 18, 2005 3:17 am

qviri i'm in the exact same boat as you. the problem with me even though 40GB will be enough i still need Two drives (for backup) so i think i'll take MikeC's advice and get a 3.5inch and put it in an enclosure.

need to look for a good firewire enclosure now :?

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Post by qviri » Mon Jun 20, 2005 4:47 am

OK, I just ordered an MP0402H, we'll see how that goes.

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Post by perplex » Tue Jun 21, 2005 5:16 am

:wink: that's the one i think i might order in few months.

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Post by qviri » Tue Jun 21, 2005 12:54 pm

For what it's worth, I was using a laptop when pulling a nighter today. (Quiet keyboard so I don't wake up the entire family :roll: )

I daresay the ambient noise level of an rather small city at 4 AM on a Monday night is pretty low, and yet I could only hear the hard drive spinning when I put my ear within three inches of the case. The seek noise was just slightly higher, audible within maybe nine inches.

I don't know what brand or model is inside, but the experience did finally convince me that my decision to get 2.5" was correct.

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