2.5" vs 3.5" + SSD?

Silencing hard drives, optical drives and other storage devices

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deadrabbit
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2.5" vs 3.5" + SSD?

Post by deadrabbit » Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:43 pm

I'm looking at building a new desktop, and I'm debating about whether to get a 500GB 2.5" drive, or a small 16gb SSD for my OS, and a 1TB 3.5" drive for my files.

Glancing through the forums a bit, I don't really see anyone using 2.5" hard drives over 3.5" to reduce noise.

Any thoughts?

Vicotnik
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Post by Vicotnik » Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:14 pm

What 16GB SSD did you have in mind?

The reason that 2.5" HDDs might be used less often in quiet desktop systems today is that there are many very quiet 3.5" HDDs around.

Today I see SSD + quiet cost effective 3.5" HDD as the way to go, rather than using a 2.5" HDD.

Eunos
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Post by Eunos » Thu Feb 11, 2010 4:14 pm

The advantage of the SSD+3.5" set-up is speed and capacity, though only the OS is fast and only the data drive has high capacity. This is the equivalent of a hybrid-electric car, as an interrim measure until fully electric cars are up to speed range wise (the equivalent being SSDs with competitive capacity-to-price ratios).

The downside of very small SSDs is that they are destined to be junk within a short period of time. I have filled up 16gb with an absolutely minimal Windows 7 install, for example. And on the other end of the scale, how many regular users need anything near 1TB of storage today? It might sound future-proof, but then there are those who speculate that platter hard drive longevity has declined in recent years.

I have stuck with an older set-up involving an 80gb 2.5" WD Scorpio for OS, and a pair of external 2.5" drives for double-backup of critical files. The Scorpio wrapped in foam is not audible at all, and sufficient performance and capacity-wise for basic computing purposes. I have been tempted by some Intel/Kingston offerings to replace the Scorpio, but otherwise I feel this set-up will see me through until I can justify a single, large capacity SSD for my system.

deadrabbit
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Post by deadrabbit » Thu Feb 11, 2010 6:01 pm

Thanks for the advice!

I was thinking of using the 2.5" drive, since I'll be playing music off of it, and that's when I really want my machine to be quiet. Also, my last 3.5" purchase turned out to be quiet noisy, despite the reviews I read (a Seagate Barracude 7200.10 . . . looks like it gets plenty of bad reviews for being noisy now).

However, I think I'll go with the SSD + 3.5" after all . . . I can play music off an NFS mount from my server in another room, which keep the noise away (it's a Linux box). I'd also like to have a fast OS, so the SSD would help there. Not sure what models I'll go for yet, but I'm looking for the 2 drives to be under $250 total . . . I'm sure that's probably unrealistic.

Eunos
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Post by Eunos » Thu Feb 11, 2010 6:48 pm

Doable...

Newegg sells the Intel X25-V for $130 shipped.

A 500gb WD Scorpio Blue (2.5") is $90 or a 1TB 3.5" 'EARS' is the same price.

jessekopelman
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Re: 2.5" vs 3.5" + SSD?

Post by jessekopelman » Fri Feb 12, 2010 7:13 am

deadrabbit wrote: Glancing through the forums a bit, I don't really see anyone using 2.5" hard drives over 3.5" to reduce noise.
What makes 2.5" drives generally quiet is that they are generally 5400 RPM, not that they are 2.5". A 5400 RPM 3.5" will be similarly quiet and perform better (thanks to geometry) and provide more GB/$. The only advantage of 2.5" is they generally are more heat-tolerant and that coupled with smaller dimensions means they are better suited for sticking in some-sort of noise-damping enclosure.

whiic
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Post by whiic » Fri Feb 12, 2010 2:19 pm

[2.5" HDD] vs [3.5" HDD + SDD] is an odd comparison.

500GB 5400rpm 2.5"
vs.
1000Gb 5400rpm 3.5" + 16GB SDD.

Really, why the SDD for the latter option and not the first? 3.5" HDDs (even the 5400rpm models) are faster than laptop drives (or possibly on-par with 7200rpm laptop drives but those aren't available in high capacities, and they cost quite a bit more, and have the potential to make more noise than 5400rpm 3.5", thus in every sense worthless for desktop) so you'd benefit more performance boost with a laptop drive.

Use of SSD alongside a HDD locally is never a silencing choice (as one HDD without SSD would be equally quiet) but always a performance choice. If you would be fine with single 2.5" 5400rpm... then trust me, you will be fine with single 3.5" 5400rpm. No need for SSD.

Like Eunos said, advantage of 3.5" + SSD is speed and capacity. Not quietness. Thus, the option of single 2.5" is really not a proper participant for comparison, as the only reason to install 2.5" HDD to desktop is for quietness.

Of course 3.5" + SSD can be even quieter if the HDD is connected via network and the server is buried deep in a closet somewhere far away. Then there's really no sacrifice in either performance, capacity or noise. Only more money, extra power consumption, space needed to store the server, etc. Local (non-networked) 3.5" + SSD is really only for gamers, not silencers.

To determine which of the two options is better, we have to now more about the criteria for being better. Is money an issue? Won't networked mass-storage be a bit of a nuisance? How low is your noise tolerance?

You said you have 7200.10. Well, comparing to any 5400rpm 3.5" HDD, 7200.10 will be like a friggin' jet engine. Going down to 5400rpm 2.5" it will become even quieter. As for people on SPCR not using 2.5" HDDs that often... I think that's mainly because the 5400rpm 3.5" did a sudden, completely unexpected comeback all of the sudden, and this time, for the first time in history, they were coupled with the quiet bearings 7200rpm drives have had for years. So, while 5400rpm 2.5" is still quieter plus easier to silence even further, 3.5" is more convenient for hard-mounting, cheaper per capacity, bigger available capacities, better performance, etc. Back when it was either 7200rpm 3.5" or 5400rpm 2.5", the laptop HDDs were a proper choice (even though the performance loss was more noticeable than it's with 5400rpm 3.5" vs 5400rpm 2.5").

I have built one computer that runs on 120GB Samsung laptop HDD. Occasionally I've used 2.5" Toshiba on another of my computers (though at the moment, it's running 3.5" (P80) again). Even low-rpm 2.5" are pretty decent. Especially if it's for home-theater, office, light gaming, etc. Only for stuff like video-editing I'd take stuff like performance into consideration when planning mass storage solution.

______
Offtopic:
And on the other end of the scale, how many regular users need anything near 1TB of storage today?
Lol. Here's 7TB and I'll probably have to buy more soon.

jtcb
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Post by jtcb » Tue Feb 23, 2010 12:51 am

So what is the best SSD and 3.5" combo in terms of speed and quietness? I'll get Intel X-25M. What is the fastest/quietness 3.5" out there? WD Green, Blue or Samsung F3?

whiic
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Post by whiic » Tue Feb 23, 2010 2:27 am

jtcp:
You're looking at a silver bullet. There is none. There's no such thing as fastest AND quietest HDD. The fast ones spin fast and seek fast. Greenpower spins at 5400rpm, Ecogreen spins at 5400rpm, Caviar Blue and Black 7200rpm and Spinpoint 7200rpm. All Hitachi and Seagate (Maxtor) desktop drives are 7200rpm (no low-rpm variants).

Fastest: Hitachi or WD Caviar Black, and Spinpoint F3 probably very close to their performance. Seagate trails in actual desktop performance and should only be used for light-duty servers... if they weren't so damn unreliable. It's quite ironic, as just a couple of years ago, Seagate fandom thought Seagate is like the 21st century equivalent to IBM HDD.

Without details on planned system, there's no answer to be given. The quietest and fastest would be local SSD and a remote (not "remove") networked server with HDDs. Anything that needs high performance should be located on SSD, cached there if needed to access faster than through network connection. As long as the server is far enough, you wouldn't hear a thing.

For local SSD + local HDD, it's something only hardcore games should do. For a silencer, my answer would probably be along the lines "You, sir, are a retard. Consider killing yourself." Especially if you still consider local SSD + local HDD after reading this thread, that suggestion should be considered seriously. Same applies if you asked the question in this thread without reading the thread.
Last edited by whiic on Wed Apr 28, 2010 4:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

Vicotnik
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Post by Vicotnik » Tue Feb 23, 2010 5:21 am

whiic wrote:Without details on planned system, there's no answer to be given. The quietest and fastest would be local SSD and a remove networked server with HDDs. Anything that needs high performance should be located on SSD, cached there if needed to access faster than through network connection. As long as the server is far enough, you wouldn't hear a thing.

For local SSD + local HDD, it's something only hardcore games should do. For a silencer, my answer would probably be along the lines "You, sir, are a retard. Consider killing yourself." Especially if you still consider local SSD + local HDD after reading this thread, that suggestion should be considered seriously. Same applies if you asked the question in this thread without reading the thread.
There's nothing wrong with local SSD + local HDD. A NAS box can be a lot of hassle, especially if you like me live pretty small. I have a one room apartment, and no place to put a file server.
My local HDD doesn't make much sound. It's in a sound dampening enclosure and the humm from my TFT bothers me more than the HDD, even though the distances to my ears are about the same.

"You, sir, are a retard. Consider killing yourself." Please.. That is beneath SPCR.

whiic
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Post by whiic » Tue Feb 23, 2010 3:35 pm

There's nothing wrong with local SSD + local HDD.
For silencing (not considering performance), why is SSD+HDD better than just one HDD?

I do understand coupling a low-rpm laptop drive with SSD for performance reasons but not for silencing. To silence with SSD, the HDD needs to be externalized. It's not like SSD will suck airwaves coming from other devices to itself magically.

Vicotnik
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Post by Vicotnik » Tue Feb 23, 2010 3:58 pm

whiic wrote:For silencing (not considering performance), why is SSD+HDD better than just one HDD?
For silencing it would not be better or worse, since an SSD makes no sound.
whiic wrote:To silence with SSD, the HDD needs to be externalized.
That is not exactly true. If good performance is needed, a low RPM HDD might not cut it. But an SSD for system and apps, and a low RPM HDD for storage might.

whiic
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Post by whiic » Tue Feb 23, 2010 6:03 pm

If good performance is needed, a low RPM HDD might not cut it. But an SSD for system and apps, and a low RPM HDD for storage might.
If performance is a concern. To most, it is not. To some, it is. If you however spend big bucks for SSD, do at least pick the quietest possible mass storage, like low-rpm laptop. Should be able to make it virtually silent with not too much effort. The original options
- 2.5" HDD
- 3.5" HDD + SSD
however was odd. The 2.5" would benefit quite a bit more of SSD than faster desktop drive would. And jtcb was in the hunt for a silver bullet, the fasters, quietest, cheapest and most reliable HDD all in one. Ok, exaggerating, but still, people who think there's black and white and nothing else indeed are pretty much idiots. He did want a high performance drive to go with SSD. Why on earth should the performance be a valid concern for mass storage, if everything performance critical is stuffed to SSD?

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Post by Chris Beard » Wed Feb 24, 2010 12:16 am

Sorry - just had to chime in.

Firstly, I'm not sure debating the validity of the OP's question is helping the OP with his question. It might be valid to say that an SSD would be quieter and you could consider remote storage but I don't feel that abuse is helping the boards to flurrish.

Secondly - when I read this I felt that the SSD would be used to avoid constant seeks on the 3.5" drive. The decision from a silencing perspective would be a cost to noise consideration. The SSD + 3.5" HDD for a given capacity > 1TB could be aprox. equal to the cost of 2.5" drives. It would also allow for 1 3.5" drive as opposed to several 2.5" drives.

I will not reply any further in this thread as I don't wish to continue to debate the standard of replies over the whole board in this thread. I'm just finding this forum to be very hostile in a lot of threads and felt someone should say something as it's probably turning off a large silent majority.

fjf
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Post by fjf » Fri Feb 26, 2010 3:04 am

I agree. Most of these questions posted are reasonable, and the tone of some responses is too harsh. Maybe we have too many adolescents here that know so much better than the old guys! ;)

Scoop
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Post by Scoop » Fri Feb 26, 2010 9:10 am

All 16GB SSDs are total crap and not worth buying. 30GB is the smallest size for decent drives like the OCZ Vertex or other Indilinx drives. As far as I know. I would get nothing below 60GB myself, it's not much use to just have your OS on the drive if you have to install all of your programs to another drive and constantly access the other drive.

So in my opinion if you go the SSD + HDD route, a 60GB G.Skill Falcon II/OCZ Agility and as quiet of a HDD as you can find of your desired size.

Calgarian
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Post by Calgarian » Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:55 pm

I've just upgraded to an Intel 160GB SSD combined with a Caviar Green 1TB drive.

I'm happy with the combo. While 40 is doable, I'll agree that 60-80GB for a SSD is a better minimum.

From what I've seen, 99% of the people who get a SSD boot drive says it's worth the money. 60-80GB drives also look to be in an "affordable zone" these days.

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Post by Vicotnik » Fri Feb 26, 2010 7:28 pm

Scoop wrote:All 16GB SSDs are total crap and not worth buying.
I lived happily with my Mtron Mobi 16GB SSD for quite a while, until finally upgrading to an Intel 80GB. Chief reason for the upgrade was that I needed an SSD for my netbook and 16GB is fine for that use.
While in my primary system I only used half of that 16GB for Windows, the rest for Linux. 8GB is not much, but enough for WinXP + apps for me. Now I have 40/40 Windows/Linux and can now also fit my games on the SSD.
The Mtron Mobi is a snappy SLC SSD. Not young anymore and not something I would buy new today but far from "total crap."

Better to say that many cheap SSDs are total crap. :)
Last edited by Vicotnik on Fri Feb 26, 2010 7:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

nyu3
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Post by nyu3 » Fri Feb 26, 2010 7:38 pm

My vote is for: SSD + 2.5"
I'm using a Seagate 2.5" 320gb inside a Scythe Quiet Drive for storage, and Intel 80GB G2 SSD for applications. The combo is totally silent and quite fast.

I'm probably going to a Sandforce based drive, and move the Intel SSD to my notebook.

NoiseFreeGuy
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Re: 2.5" vs 3.5" + SSD?

Post by NoiseFreeGuy » Sun Apr 25, 2010 3:06 pm

jessekopelman wrote:
...What makes 2.5" drives generally quiet is that they are generally 5400 RPM, not that they are 2.5". A 5400 RPM 3.5" will be similarly quiet and perform better (thanks to geometry) and provide more GB/$...
Right.
What I'd like to know is whether there are any 7200 rpm drives on the market that are as quiet as 5400 rpms?
Anyone know?

I know that any time I have tried a 7200 rpm drive over the years, the high-pitched whine they emitted drove me nuts.

greenfrank
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Post by greenfrank » Sun Apr 25, 2010 3:42 pm

I rather would vote for 2.5" hdds for:

1 - low noise
2 - low power consumption
3 - low heat
4 - small form factor (importan if you build mini-itx systems)
5 - affordable price (a bit more than 3.5"hdds but a lot cheaper than ssds)

If ssds would be cheaper, of course they would be a better option than 2.5" hdds. But it's not the case, for now.

whiic
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Post by whiic » Wed Apr 28, 2010 6:11 am

NoiseFreeGuy wrote:What I'd like to know is whether there are any 7200 rpm drives on the market that are as quiet as 5400 rpms?
Anyone know?
Not if you any reasonable comparison (same capacity, same age).

You can take 2000GB WD GP (4-platter) and take a 1-platter 7200rpm drive and (if you are lucky with your pick) get a drive that barely matches the noise level of that capacity monster. You'd be getting 500GB of capacity or even less, so it's not a proper comparison (F2 Ecogreen 500GB would be proper)

You can take a 7200rpm laptop drive, and compare it to the quietest 5400rpm (F2 EG 500GB)... but I still wouldn't be that certain it'd be quieter. Also, it might have inferior performance despite higher spin rate: seek speed is slower on 7200rpm laptop than 5400rpm desktop, only latency is better + sequential transfer rates are in favour of slower spinning 3.5" drive. Not to mention that 7200rpm laptop drives are "premium" priced. They cost a LOT more than 5400rpm low-capacity desktop drive.
A) There's NO clear benefit (noise or performance) of 7200rpm laptop to 5400rpm desktop.
B) Huge price difference makes it an unfair comparison (yet the pricier one still fails to make an improvement)

You can also compare a 7200rpm drive (either laptop or desktop) to some old 5400rpm drive of the same capacity but manufactures ages ago, forcing the 5400rpm drive to have more platter than necessary today. At best, you'd manage to create a situation where 1-platter 7200rpm matches (but does not improve on) 4-platter 5400rpm, unless of course you pick a ball-bearing 5400rpm drive which would be the most ridiculous comparison imaginable.

So:
No. There's no 7200rpm drive that is quieter than even the worst of comparison-worthy 5400rpm drive.

NoiseFreeGuy
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Post by NoiseFreeGuy » Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:32 am

whiic wrote: So:
No. There's no 7200rpm drive that is quieter than even the worst of comparison-worthy 5400rpm drive.
Thanks. That's what I figured.
I was trying to talk my Mom out of buying a 7200rpm notebook.
She didn't listen. She doesn't seem to mind the drive.
I'll be able to check it out in a week or so.

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Post by jonj678 » Sat May 08, 2010 8:03 pm

Bit of necromancy, but Google threw this up as a top hit so why not.

I'm stunned that no one has mentioned that hard drives spin down on command. An ssd with a 3.5", 7200rpm is fantastic for silence since you just turn the hard drive off when you're not using it. As a storage drive, that's most of the time.

I'm using a 30gb vertex with 750gb F1 drive, there's 20gb free on the ssd which I move music/video onto when I want to watch it, which takes very little time as the ssd's sequential write speed is fantastic. So the system is very fast, suffers from zero hard drive noise the majority of the time, and doesn't need an nas / noise dampening measures.

zodaex
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Post by zodaex » Mon May 10, 2010 10:22 am

jonj678 wrote:Bit of necromancy, but Google threw this up as a top hit so why not.

I'm stunned that no one has mentioned that hard drives spin down on command. An ssd with a 3.5", 7200rpm is fantastic for silence since you just turn the hard drive off when you're not using it. As a storage drive, that's most of the time.

I'm using a 30gb vertex with 750gb F1 drive, there's 20gb free on the ssd which I move music/video onto when I want to watch it, which takes very little time as the ssd's sequential write speed is fantastic. So the system is very fast, suffers from zero hard drive noise the majority of the time, and doesn't need an nas / noise dampening measures.
How do you spin down hard drives in windows?

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Post by themaster1 » Mon May 10, 2010 6:47 pm

zodaex wrote:
jonj678 wrote:Bit of necromancy, but Google threw this up as a top hit so why not.

I'm stunned that no one has mentioned that hard drives spin down on command. An ssd with a 3.5", 7200rpm is fantastic for silence since you just turn the hard drive off when you're not using it. As a storage drive, that's most of the time.

I'm using a 30gb vertex with 750gb F1 drive, there's 20gb free on the ssd which I move music/video onto when I want to watch it, which takes very little time as the ssd's sequential write speed is fantastic. So the system is very fast, suffers from zero hard drive noise the majority of the time, and doesn't need an nas / noise dampening measures.
How do you spin down hard drives in windows?

I wonder too! Can you detail the procedure and what software is required to achieve such a thing?

whiic
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Post by whiic » Tue May 11, 2010 3:12 pm

For XP:
Right click anywhere on desktop where there's no icon under the pointer.
Select "Properties".
Select "Screen Saver" tab.
Inside "Monitor Power" box, click button with "Power". This opens Power Options Properties that in addition to monitor power off allows you to set a spindown timer for HDDs.
Set desired value for "Turn off hard disks".

Alternative way to find Power Options Properties is:
"Start" -> Settings -> Control Panel -> Power Options

I'd also recommend enabling monitor power saving. Screen savers don't save electricity... at all. Neither do they "save" the monitor itself as modern TFTs don't burn the image even if they displayed the same image for weeks or months.

themaster1
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Post by themaster1 » Wed May 12, 2010 4:51 am

whiic wrote:click button with "Power". This opens Power Options Properties that in addition to monitor power off allows you to set a spindown timer for HDDs.
Set desired value for "Turn off hard disks".
Oh ok i know this function but the thing is it turn off all drives not just 1 for example the drive where there is no OS. In other words it's useless in my opinion.

whiic
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Post by whiic » Wed May 12, 2010 2:04 pm

It turns off one HDD at a time. Each HDD has a separete counter. The only downside is that each separate counter has the same time out value and they cannot be configured individually even though they are spun down individually.

At least that's how I've understood how it works.

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Post by Vicotnik » Wed May 12, 2010 2:33 pm

whiic wrote:At least that's how I've understood how it works.
You are correct.

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