Noisy RAID 0 - Moved to Samsung HD502HI

Silencing hard drives, optical drives and other storage devices

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pixel
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Noisy RAID 0 - Moved to Samsung HD502HI

Post by pixel » Mon Jun 08, 2009 4:11 am

Hello,

With the help of SPCR articles and forums I have succeeded in bringing my PC to a very acceptable noise level. The case is a cheap ASUS TA-982 (hoping to get an Antec P183 if it's sold in Turkey), but with a TRUE + S-Flex E for the CPU, a Noctua for exhaust, a Kama Bay for air inlet (the Kama Bay's fan is used as bottom intake), an Enermax MODU82+ PSU and elastic hard drive suspension; my PC is much quieter than other PC's I've seen.

Right now, the biggest sound comes from my 2x Seagate 7200.10 250 GB single-platter drives. When I suspended them (I used a belt-tie from a swimming short, somewhat elastic) I experienced a BIG drop in noise. But recently, the hard drives noise seems to have increased again. I though something could have gone wrong with the suspension; but even when I hold the drives in my hands (running) or place them on the carpet, the noise is still there. I'm beginning to think this motor noise from the discs can not be reduced by suspension. I have disconnected their power cables and powered on the PC and the silence was really beautiful.

I have looked at enclosures; but from what I read here they're not quite good solutions either (even when suspended). Plus I cannot seem to find Scythe Quiet Drives here in Turkey (are there better options?), there is just a single SilenX Luxurae in stock and I don't think that brand is very well-liked.

What's more, buying two enclosures will cost me a LOT of money and I'm not even sure if it will solve the problem!

So, I'm thinking of buying just a single, quiet hard drive (500 GB would be fine) and suspending it. The RAID array, in HDTune, gets about 200 MB/s read and 150 or so write performance. I'm wondering if I would experience a big loss of performance if I moved from RAID 0 to a single drive. (The last single-drive setup I used had a very old HDD and the new computer came straight with RAID, so I'm not sure how much gain I have with RAID).

Do you think this would be a reasonable move? Or would the drop in performance not justify the gain in quietness?

(By the way; the "Recommended Harddrive" list was last updated on 2008; so I might also ask for advice on the new, quiet hard drive - which won't be a slouch.)

Thanks in advance for your help!

Edit: Please do tell me if the Quiet Drive actually works, it would be easier not to set up everything from zero and also the OEM license might not like the hardware change. I can try to get one online.
Last edited by pixel on Sun Jun 14, 2009 10:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

MikeC
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Post by MikeC » Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:39 am

1. 1 drive is quieter than 2.

2. RAID0 doesn't improve random access, which to me is the key to a HDD "feeling" fast (around the desktop, general use) -- it does improve throughput in bigger file reads/writes.

3. A higher areal density drive gives you better throughput. Your 1-platter 250gb drive is much slower than a 1-platter 500gb drive.

4. The quietest 500gb drive is probably a Samsung F2 Eco Green HD502HI -- single platter, 5400rpm. I've had it in the lab -- super quiet, low vibration. Suspended, it would probably be quieter than your other noise-making components. Main price is slightly slower random access.

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Post by dhanson865 » Mon Jun 08, 2009 3:36 pm

I'd recommend you drop the two seagates and get a single WD640GB in either Blue or Black.

WD6401AALS is the Black and
WD6400AAKS is the Blue if memory serves me.

Either one has higher aerial density and enough RPM/cache to handle everyday tasks. One is slightly better for some server use and the other is slighlty better for other types of server use.

For home use the only thing that matters between the two is cost and warranty length. The blue has a 3 year warranty and the black has a 5 year warranty. Pick one based on price vs warranty and don't look back.

Just avoid the other sizes as the 320GB, 500GB, 750GB, 1TB, etc aren't guaranteed to be the same platters/electronics you could end up with a slower/louder design if you pick a different WD drive other than the two I recommended.

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Post by pixel » Tue Jun 09, 2009 1:03 am

MikeC and dhanson865; thanks for the replies!

MikeC: I agree about the importance of "random access". I would much rather have a Velociraptor or an SSD than a RAID array which moves more data per second, but accesses it a bit slower. Sadly, the 150 GB Velociraptor is sold for (including taxes etc.) about 220$ here in Turkey; which makes me highly doubt the value of the purchase. (Same goes for every "niche" product, sadly.)

I've heard only good things about the Samsung F1 / F2 series. The fact that it is 5400 rpm bothers me a bit, though - although I enjoy silencing my computer; I also play computer games and maybe it could be a hindrance.

I am definitely going to suspend it. I can't thank SPCR enough for the pictures and explanations of suspension.

dhanson865: Well yesterday I pondered a bit about keeping the drives and getting Scythe Quiet Drives, but I don't think that really solves the problem. So I'm going to get a new drive, do a fresh install of Windows and move things back from my backup drive. The Seagates I'll wipe clean (not that I have anything to hide, mind you..) and sell second hand.

Hmm, the 640 GB WD uses two platters which are 320 GB dense, right?

3 year warranty is quite enough for me, really. I'll probably have moved to SSD by then.

I'm going to phone my favourite computer dealer (a small shop, with a couple of friendly and knowledgeful personnel) and inquire the models you have mentioned. I'll also get their advice on models that are currently sold in Turkey.

I'll let you know how it goes! :)

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Post by dhanson865 » Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:59 am

pixel wrote:the 640 GB WD uses two platters which are 320 GB dense, right?
That is correct. There are more expensive drives out there but to me the 640GB WD Black/Blue are the last stop before SSDs make sense.

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Post by pixel » Tue Jun 09, 2009 11:00 am

Hello,

I spent the day scouring the 'net for hard drive reviews, tests and prices.. Strangely, I could not access SPCR for the most of the day - and found out that using Google's cache is not so much fun.

A computer enthusiast's life in Turkey is not easy - I checked out price-fetching sites and some retailers' websites today; and it seems that the 640 GB Caviars are not sold at all in Turkey. I had to Google some codes and specifications for the Samsungs: I can find the EcoGreen F2 1 TB, and Spinpoint F1's with 32 MB Cache and 750 GB - 1 TB capacity.

So right now my options are:

- Samsung EcoGreen F2 1 TB (I don't really need a 1 TB drive.. But can't find the 500 GB ones)
- WD Caviar Green 1 TB (Same things here.)
- WD Caviar Black 500 GB / 1 TB (can't find 640 GB)

Seagates are easy to find, but I think we can dismiss them for the purposes of quietness.

The computer shop mentioned that every 3,5" drive would be somewhat audible, and 2,5" drives would be much more silent. I can find the Seagate Momentus 7200.3 320 GB one. However, they're really slow compared to 3,5" drives.

I have only one PC and no consoles at home, so playing games (GTA4, TF2, GRID etc..), photo editing and every other sort of activity is done on this PC. I even try my hand at overclocking from time to time. So I have to strike a balance between noise and performance (don't we all..). I can't get the quietest HDD on the market if I can't play games at all.

Anyway.. Opinions are most welcome. I'd like to purchase the drive as soon as possible, so please share your ideas!

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Post by Arvo » Tue Jun 09, 2009 11:19 am

If you can read russian, then you may see that 2.5" drives are not so slow nowadays:

http://www.fcenter.ru/online.shtml?arti ... /hdd/26041

If you can't read russian than there are nice graphs with drive speeds presented anyway :)

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Post by pixel » Tue Jun 09, 2009 11:31 am

Arvo - Thanks for the link! I'm using my phone now, will check the graphs tomorrow morning.

I checked some graphs for the Momentus 7200.3 today (the 7200.4 is nowhere to be found) and transfer speeds peaked at about 90 mb/s. This is not so bad, but I still wonder if it makes sense to put it in a computer with a nice video card that is often used for gaming.. (the current video card is getting old, but I generally try to keep it powerful enough as games need more power.)

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Post by MikeC » Tue Jun 09, 2009 11:58 am

afaik, most games don't access the HDD much -- not once it's loaded and running.

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Post by Rebellious » Tue Jun 09, 2009 2:48 pm

my new 2.5" are just as fast:

viewtopic.php?t=52626&highlight=


I haven't used 3.5" clunkers for years, except for off-site archiving.

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Post by pixel » Wed Jun 10, 2009 12:12 am

Hmm, OK then - it seems 2,5" drives aren't out of the game then. In fact I'm leaning a bit towards the 2,5" 7200 rpm drives since they'll probably have better random access time than 5400'ers, and that's more important IMO than a 5 - 10 MB/s decrease in data transfer rate.

I've been searching the SPCR Silent Storage forums for about an hour, yet I only got more confused. Generally people praise the 500 GB single-platter Samsung F2 EcoPower or the WD Caviar Blue 640 GB; yet I cannot find any of them.

320 GB would be enough for me, really. I only worry about "clicking noises" for the Momentus, which, some say, are present.

So, since I keep getting more and more confused, I'd like to ask one final time between these three. Please keep in mind that this is going to be the primary, OS drive. If I get a few replies I'll just stop worrying and order today.

- Seagate Momentus 7200.3 2,5" (I think only Seagate can be found as 7200 rpm 2,5")
- Samsung F2 EcoGreen 1 TB
- WD Caviar Green 1 TB

Sorry for the repetitive question; it's just that I've never bought a 5400 rpm or 2,5" drive before and I don't want to have a huge regret.

Thanks in advance!

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Post by Ksanderash » Wed Jun 10, 2009 12:55 am

pixel
Pls, check thisthread. There is a link to some latest 2.5" drives reviewed.

I use HD502HI in my 24/7 system, and yeah, I agree with esteemed MikeC, that's very quiet if not the quietest 3.5" drive. And the same behaviour you can expect from 1Tb F2.

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Post by pixel » Wed Jun 10, 2009 1:27 am

Hello Ksanderash;

I'm so glad I got a reply during the daytime of Turkey! :) I can decide and give my order today and will receive the disk tomorrow.

Thank you for the link. I have checked the comparison, and it seems that the Momentus series are easily audible during seeks. If they are more audible than a Samsung F2 EcoGreen, I don't know. Sadly, I can't seem to find other 7200 rpm 2,5" drives here in Turkey. :( (The computer shop checked the regional distributors and no other 7200 2,5" drives are sold here.)

The 1 TB F2 quite probably uses 2x 500 GB platters; which would be a bit more noisy than a single platter 500 GB drive but better than 320's in areal density and data transfer rate. And the advice of MikeC makes me lean more towards this disk than the WD Caviar Green.

So, I have to decide between two things: The lower access time of the 7.200 rpm Momentus, or the data transfer rate of the Samsung F2. I'm getting the feeling that both of them are good choices, BTW. However the change in price is not so much in this corner of Earth, so I might just as well get the 1 TB drive instead of 320 GB.

At the moment I'm leaning towards the 1 TB Samsung F2 EcoGreen. I just hope the random access time doesn't drive me crazy.. :) (The current RAID 0 Seagate 7200.10 was at about 15-16 ms, IIRC.. I tested it on HDTach.)

Thanks for the replies, they definitely educated me on the topic. Unless I get a different opinion about the F2 (like, "It's not good for a system drive") I'm ordering it today.

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Post by CyberDog » Wed Jun 10, 2009 1:33 am

Is this site familiar to you http://www.storagereview.com/ I'm not sure if they had the latest drives in their database...

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Post by Ksanderash » Wed Jun 10, 2009 1:37 am

I have about 15-15.5ms access time in HD Tune with AAM silent mode set to OFF (~17ms with ON).
Another F2 user (he has HD103SI) tells about even lower value -- 14.9ms! :) So don't be so anxious about it.

Image

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Post by pixel » Wed Jun 10, 2009 3:46 am

CyberDog, I did browse storagereview; however the site doesn't seem to be updated lately. I could not find the Samsung F2. There was a 1 TB comparison including the WD Green, but I didn't read it (had to leave office just after I saw it).

Ksanderash, those access times are pretty good. And the transfer rate is around 100 MB/s up to 300 Gb, also enough for me. Looks like I don't have to worry anymore.

I'm placing my order for a 1 TB Samsung F2 EcoPower when I get back in office. Thanks to everyone for the help! :)

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Post by Ksanderash » Wed Jun 10, 2009 5:09 am

Yeah, you can part only half of it and you have the fastest 500Gb 5400 drive in the world ;)

P.S. Give us some feedback whether was it right decision or not, when you got it in your hands.

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Post by Rebellious » Wed Jun 10, 2009 5:59 am

7200 rpm 2.5"s have the same nasty whine of the 3.5"s though not as loud. If you have sensitive ears they've got to be suspended. I think Hitachi or Fujitsu 5400 rpm will be quiet enough for you. I can live with hard-mounted 5400s but not 7200s

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Post by Ksanderash » Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:15 am

Rebellious wrote:If you have sensitive ears they've got to be suspended. I think Hitachi or Fujitsu 5400 rpm will be quiet enough for you.
I wonder how do they compare with my HD502HI. Maybe I'll upgrade my backup USB-storage (now 320Gb 3.5"+80Gb 2.5"), and at the same time will check that out. But we have only Seagate and Samsung vendors here. The WD and Hitachi 2.5" aren't so frequent quests.

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Post by pixel » Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:37 am

Good news, I managed to find the 500 GB HD502HI. I'm ordering it, and will pick it up tomorrow. The store I often choose can't procure the 1 TB version anyway. :)

Rebellious, I was planning to suspend the 2,5" drive anyway; I have no adapters etc. to hard-mount them. I hope this 5400 rpm 3,5" drive is good enough that I won't regret not buying the Momentus..

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Post by MikeC » Wed Jun 10, 2009 9:08 am

pixel wrote:Good news, I managed to find the 500 GB HD502HI. I'm ordering it, and will pick it up tomorrow. The store I often choose can't procure the 1 TB version anyway. :)

Rebellious, I was planning to suspend the 2,5" drive anyway; I have no adapters etc. to hard-mount them. I hope this 5400 rpm 3,5" drive is good enough that I won't regret not buying the Momentus..
If you cannot suspend the Samsung, the Momentus probably will be a touch quieter at idle -- although the Momentus seeks are not that quiet, either.

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Post by pixel » Wed Jun 10, 2009 10:37 am

Oh, I'm certainly going to suspend the Samsung - right now I have 2 suspended 3,5" drives, dropping to 1 will only make things easier.

Sorry if the post was a bit ambiguous. And many thanks for the help. :)

I'll post the results tomorrow.. I'm quite a bit excited; and hope it'll be worth it. Luckily it didn't cost so much that I would really regret it.

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Post by EsaT » Wed Jun 10, 2009 11:17 am

dhanson865 wrote:WD6401AALS is the Black and
WD6400AAKS is the Blue if memory serves me.

Either one has higher aerial density and enough RPM/cache to handle everyday tasks. One is slightly better for some server use and the other is slighlty better for other types of server use.
Black is faster:
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/storag ... html#sect0

pixel wrote:Hmm, the 640 GB WD uses two platters which are 320 GB dense, right?
They're same 333+MB platters as used in 1TB Black and Blue but they're slightly shortstroked.

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Post by Ksanderash » Thu Jun 11, 2009 1:26 am

pixel wrote:I'll post the results tomorrow.. I'm quite a bit excited; and hope it'll be worth it. Luckily it didn't cost so much that I would really regret it.
Hey, you managed to find the 500Gb model, that's great! :) I paid about 62USD for mine, and I realy like this model.

P.S. You can use Victoria to tune up AAM -- there is very handy way to do this.

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Post by pixel » Thu Jun 11, 2009 6:57 am

Edit: Nevermind, I searched a bit and looked at photos and I got the right disk. I wonder why I got the impression that the disk was single-platter..

OK, I got the disk and I'm returning home to install it. The disk is a bit different than what I expected, though.

I thought this disk uses a single 500-GB platter, but the one I got is thick and heavy; definitely not a single-platter. The model mumber HD502HI is written on the disk, but there is no mention of F2 EcoGreen. The manufacturing date is written as 05/2009.

Well, it seems like I was wrong to believe that the drive is a single-platter model.I don't think Samsung has 2 different disks with the same model name..

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Post by line » Thu Jun 11, 2009 11:37 am

It's normal for single platter drives to be thick. Only Seagate's single platter models are half-height nowadays.

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Post by pixel » Thu Jun 11, 2009 9:28 pm

Hi again;

Installed the disk; and was very pleasantly surprised by the silence. When I boot the PC I'm used to the motor noise of the 2x Seagates; and when I first started the PC with the Samsung installed hearing no motor noise felt unusual - yet very good.

I sometimes hear a "writing sound" (can't describe it better; it's the short noises you hear when the disk is active) but otherwise the disk is pretty quiet. (Well, I can hear it when I open the case and place my ear close to the disk but I guess that's pretty normal! :) )

With the RAID Seagates, I tried to define the source of the sound and stopping the video card's fan didn't change anything. Now, I still hear a sound coming but when I stop the same VGA card's fan, most of the noise is cut down. So I guess it *did* work to reduce the noise!

Thanks for all the advice, I think things did work well. If I want to make my PC even more quiet I need to work on some other parts.

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Post by Ksanderash » Thu Jun 11, 2009 11:53 pm

pixel wrote:The model mumber HD502HI is written on the disk, but there is no mention of F2 EcoGreen.
That's OK! Now you got one lovely single plattered EcoGreenF2 :) Good bargain!

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Post by pixel » Fri Jun 12, 2009 1:41 am

Hmm, I read somewhere that the 500 GB F2 EcoGreen uses 2x 320 GB plates, some of the capacity unused.

How can I find out if my drive has a single platter or not? Can I somehow find it by software?

And IIRC on the AHCI screen during bootup I saw "EcoGreen".. But I have to check this again.

I haven't done a careful listening test (out of fear that I would hear the disk :P ) but I will inspect more carefully tonight. After I took out the RAID Seagates, the current most noisy component is the Palit 8800GT Sonic graphics card. Stopping its fan with my finger gives a considerable decrease in noise. There is still some noise remaining; but I haven't been able to find out where it's coming from: The Noctua P12 exhaust, the S-Flex E CPU Fan (on a TRUE), the 800 rpm Scythe intake or the Enermax MODU82+. The new disk should be (inavoidibly) also making some noise, but as I said I haven't carefully listened.

During Windows installation I did notice some writing sounds from the disc, however. Maybe AAM will help...

(On a sidenote; I did not install Vista even though I have an OEM licence, but went for Win 7 RC. Everything seems to be O.K. so far, let's hope it doesn't start deleting files..)

Edit: I paid 103 TRL, approximately 65 $ (including 8% sales tax). Newegg lists for 60 $. Not so bad, especially considering we usually get ripped off when it comes to electronics / computer hardware..

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Post by Ksanderash » Fri Jun 12, 2009 5:23 am

pixel wrote:Hmm, I read somewhere that the 500 GB F2 EcoGreen uses 2x 320 GB plates, some of the capacity unused.
That's so called "bullshit" ;) I.e. misinformation, rumours. This series is 500Gb p/platter only.
How can I find out if my drive has a single platter or not? Can I somehow find it by software?
No, just by estimation. Afaik, only Seagate presents the number of platters in the documents. Launch HD Tune and see how many Mb/sec do you have at the beginning -- there should be ~105-110Mb/sec. If there is less -- yeah, probably, you got 2x320Gb ;)
There is still some noise remaining; but I haven't been able to find out where it's coming from: The Noctua P12 exhaust, the S-Flex E CPU Fan (on a TRUE), the 800 rpm Scythe intake or the Enermax MODU82+. The new disk should be (inavoidibly) also making some noise, but as I said I haven't carefully listened.
The noisiest part in my rig is PSU fan. 120mm on 350rpms, lol. But I hear it, I swear!

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