The silent future is 2.5" wide.

Silencing hard drives, optical drives and other storage devices

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MikeC
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The silent future is 2.5" wide.

Post by MikeC » Fri Jan 30, 2004 12:35 pm

I've seen the silent future & it's 2.5" wide. :lol:

Until solid state storage costs drop to levels affordable for mere mortals, hard drives will remain the noise floor that keeps us from reaching the holy silent PC grail of no moving parts and no noise. Advances in the implementation of heatpipes and heatsinks have shown us the way to fanless cooling -- of CPUs, VGA cards, PSUs etc.

But there's no escape from the spinning of a hard drive. The noise floor for desktop hard drives is probably the newest 5400 rpm Samsungs, which I have heard are quieter than even the Seagate Barracuda IV single platter drive, of which I still have many.

I had a couple of recent - brief - experiences with a Fujitsu notebook drive and a Seagate Momentus 40G 5400 rpm 8mb cache drive that quite shocked me. They are at another level of noise BELOW the quietest desktop drives I've used. I am guessing that the low moving mass combined with advances in bearing & head design are responsible for the amazingly low noise.

The Fujitsu is in a M-ITX system I will soon be posting a review of. The system is fanless; its only moving part is the HDD. It was on a tall stool next to where I was seated, maybe 2~3' away from my head when I first powered it up. I could not tell right away whether it was on -- I did the stereotypical move of checking for lights to see if it was on. The only other noise was from my main PC 4' away under my desk (~20 dBA/1m). This is by far the quietest system I've ever heard. If my quietest PC is 16 dBA/1m, this thing is below 10. There is no way I can measure the SPL -- except maybe at under 12" in an anechoic chamber with a zero dB ambient. Only when the HDD is in seek can I hear it -- even while holding it in my lap! (I don't know exactly how the HDD is mounted in the system as I have not opened it up yet.)

The Seagate Momentus , listened to bare, does not exhibit quite the same level of quiet, but it is quieter than any 3.5" drive in my stable, with considerably less vibration. It stands to reason: Lower moving mass, smaller diameter platters. With a little creativity, I think we (the SPCR community) could find good ways to really silence such notebook drives. And the 5400 rpm speed with 8mb cache in the Momentus holds promise that the performance hit will be much less than we expect.

Look for more on notebook drives in the near future. I expect a notebook drive in a small desktop will be in my future soon. :)

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Post by Sam Williams » Fri Jan 30, 2004 12:52 pm

Absolutely awesome. I think you're totally right, Mike. And that's before even taking the lower power consumption, heat production, ease of cooling (you could easily position one -inside- a duct) and total unit mass into account. My next system will have one too...

al bundy
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Post by al bundy » Fri Jan 30, 2004 2:04 pm

Welcome to my world Mike! I've been trying to get folks to try using these recent notebook drives (with IDE adapters) for a little while now, especially the 8MB cache versions. Forum member aderyn was the first one I read about here that did this, which inspired me. They really are the quietest option IMO (other than solid-state).

Remember they are also fully compatible with the SilentDrive enclosure, as I have been using in my rig with my own notebook drive. This can silence the very last bit of notebook drive noise in the quietest-of-quiet rigs.

This is awesome! Finally some others will hopefully be inspired to try this kind of setup too, and to post their experiences. I'm really looking forward to it. Thanks for encouraging the trend Mike!

8)

Edit: To give credit to aderyn. :)
Last edited by al bundy on Fri Jan 30, 2004 7:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Lord09
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Post by Lord09 » Fri Jan 30, 2004 3:02 pm

I'm thinking about doing this too, since new 7200 rpm drives are out. Too bad they're so expensive...

I've never used one before, but is the only way to mount them in traditional cases via a SilentDrive enclosure?

Also, would they be able to cope with the heat of 7200 2.5 drive?

Thanks...

Daniel

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Post by pangloss » Fri Jan 30, 2004 3:43 pm

It's not just the issue of cost for solid state storage, if by solid state you are including flash devices. There's the whole issue of limited write cycles. I have a small, fnaless box (soekris.com) I use for my firewall/router that uses a cf card--and there are a variety of things done to limit any writes to the card to prolong its life.

But I'm excited to see the review of some notebook drives. This with a Pentium-M would make a great, low-power system--low enough draw to comfortably use a fanless psu.

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Post by MikeC » Fri Jan 30, 2004 3:56 pm

Practical reliable SS drives exist -- they just cost huge gobs of $. That's mostly what I am talking about.

Regarding CPUs, FMAH has shown that we don't have to limit ourselves to lower power processors for fanless cooling. We just have to get a bit creative. See Fanless Heatpipe CPU Cooling System by FMAH

Then there's this kind of fanless PSU cooling too:

Fanless Power Supply: Marko's Homebrew
proSilence PCS-350 Fanless PSU

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Post by Shadowknight » Fri Jan 30, 2004 5:12 pm

There's also a CPU cooler out (forget the manufacturer) that is purely passive (no fan). Goes up to a P4 2.8.

Pity I have a 3.06 :?

Oh, well.

al bundy
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Post by al bundy » Fri Jan 30, 2004 7:49 pm

Lord09 wrote:...I've never used one before, but is the only way to mount them in traditional cases via a SilentDrive enclosure?

Also, would they be able to cope with the heat of 7200 2.5 drive?...
Image

No you can also mount the notebook drive in a traditional case using the adapter and accompanying brackets as in the image above.

Yes a 7200rpm notebook drive (at least the ones available as I write this) are just fine in a SilentDrive enclosure, even at 7200rpm they produce much less heat than a standard harddrive at the same rpm.

8)

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Post by MikeC » Fri Jan 30, 2004 10:04 pm

Yes a 7200rpm notebook drive (at least the ones available as I write this) are just fine in a SilentDrive enclosure, even at 7200rpm they produce much less heat than a standard harddrive at the same rpm.
But is there any advantage to using more expensive 7200rpm notebook drives? At least from the spec sheets I have scanned, the 7200 notebooks are all rated for about the same bels (sound power) as the quietest 3.5" HDDs. In fact, they are rated for slightly higher noise.

Since my first post above, I've scanned notebook HDD specs and see that the loest bel rating is ~2.1 bels, which is surprisingly where Seagate first rated their original Barracuda IV single-platter drives. This doesn;t correlate well to my small listening sample. Of course, the bigger drives must have higher vibration...

I'd have to see & hear 2.5" & 3.5" 7200rpm A/B to be sure.

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Post by al bundy » Sat Jan 31, 2004 1:05 am

MikeC wrote:But is there any advantage to using more expensive 7200rpm notebook drives?...
For both 5400rpm notebook drives and 7200rpm notebook drives, I've found the total drive noise to be effectively diminished to negligible when the drive is SilentDrive-enclosed and the enclosure is foam-mounted.

There is that nice and definite performance advantage of the 7200rpm notebook drives over the 5400rpm notebook versions, due of course to the reduced average seek/latency times.

Here's an interesting .pdf file from Hitachi that explains their position on 7200rpm notebook drives.

But regarding the dreaded cost difference for 7200rpm notebook drives vs. 5400rpm notebook drives: In my opinion the difference isn't worth it yet, until the cost eventually comes down on the 7200rpm notebook drives. If you can easily afford it today, then the advantages are certainly nice - but for others, the "new technology surcharge" in this instance is quite steep.

8)

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Post by Jan Kivar » Sat Jan 31, 2004 8:26 am

MikeC wrote:This doesn;t correlate well to my small listening sample. Of course, the bigger drives must have higher vibration...
Not necessarily. But any 3.5" drive has much bigger mass.

About running cooler: the drive is also smaller, so there is lesser area for heat dissipation. Especically the sides are much smaller.

About 5400 vs. 7200. The difference is at par with normal 3.5" drives, access times are higher. Keep in mind that there are 4200 rpm 2.5" drives also.

Interesting thread... 8)

Cheers,

Jan

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Post by Pgh » Sat Jan 31, 2004 9:02 am

I hope this Mini-ITX system is NOT based on a Via CPU.

MikeC - can you give us a hint?

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Post by Rusty075 » Sat Jan 31, 2004 12:40 pm

pangloss wrote:It's not just the issue of cost for solid state storage, if by solid state you are including flash devices. There's the whole issue of limited write cycles.
For CF cards conscripted into duty as a boot drive, yes, but not for newer purpose built IDE SS drives.

Case in point: Comparing the Bitmicro E-Disk 3.5" IDE/ATA to the Spinpoint SP1213N

E-Disk:

Access Time: 250 to 39 usec
Sustained R/W Rate: 4.5 to 110 MB/sec
Cache: 128mb
Operating Shock: 1500 G's
MTBF: 2 Million Hours (write endurance of 123 years @ 100G/day)
Error Rate: 1 sector in 10^20 bits
Environment: – 60 to + 95 degrees C
Max Altitude: 120,000 feet
Idle Noise: 0 Bel
Random Read/Write Noise: 0 Bel
Max power consumption: 4.5W


Spinpoint:

Access Time: 8.9 ms
Sustained R/W Rate: 33.4 to 57.5 MB/sec (from StorageReview.com
Cache: 8 mb
Operating Shock: 8 G's
MTBF: 500,000 Hours
Error Rate: 1 sector in 10^14 bits
Environment: 5 to + 55 degrees C
Max Altitude: 10,000 feet
Idle Noise: 2.7 Bel
Random Read/Write Noise: 2.8 Bel
Max power consumption: 8.6 W



To summarize, the SS disk is faster, more reliable, longer lived, quieter, and uses less power. :P

Unfortunately it costs as much as a decent used car. :cry:

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Post by MikeC » Fri Feb 27, 2004 7:46 pm

More Notebook HDD details

A review is coming, but I figured forum regulars are always eager...

I managed to do some SPL measurements. I was totally off in my estimate about what the Fujitsu might be (in the Mappit A4F review I guessed 10 dBA). (Why? In 2 words, background noise.)

In a 15 dBA ~16'x10' carpeted room...

Fujitsu 4200rpm 40G -- 16~17 dBA/1m
Toshiba 4200rpm 40G -- 16~17 dBA/1m
Seagate Momentus 5400rpm 8mb cache 40G - 20-24 dBA

Seagate Barracuda IV 40G (3.5" hdd) - 20 dBA
Samsung SP0802N -- 21~22 dBA

All the notebook drives have super low vibration level. It probably accounts for more than half of the perceived difference in loudness.

The Momentus has a terrible constant "pure" tone somewhere in the 6~10KHz range (high frequency whine!), and it drops in level when you face the edge of the drive as opposed the flat large area. (Because of directionality of the sound).

More in the review to come. ;)

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Post by engseng » Fri Feb 27, 2004 8:25 pm

Looks like I'll do fine with a Fujitsu or a Toshiba. But what about Hitachi and the IBM Travelstar? Are these sounds audible if I put them in a HDD enclosure?

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Post by Gxcad » Tue Mar 09, 2004 12:20 pm

Pardon my ignorance, can notebook drives be Dtemped?

Very interesting...harddrives were always my bottleneck for low noise.

-Ken

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Post by MikeC » Tue Mar 09, 2004 12:41 pm

Never tried Hitachi & IBM notebook drives but my guess is that current 4200rpm drives MAY have similar sonic characteristics -- judging from the two I did try. Enclosing ANY of the notebook drives (even the Seagate Momentus) may make them inaudible inside a PC case.

Dtemp -- yes. Tho you hardly need it. They usually felt cool to the touch -- ie, much lower than my skin temp.

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Post by gksam » Wed Mar 10, 2004 12:39 pm

Does anybody have experience with the Samsung spinpoint MP0302H mobile 5400 rpm drives?

looks interesting :)

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Post by MikeC » Wed Mar 10, 2004 3:29 pm

gksam wrote:Does anybody have experience with the Samsung spinpoint MP0302H mobile 5400 rpm drives?
Wow! Going just by the specs, they look very good, the 1-platter version should be just as quiet as the 4200rpm Fujitsu and Toshiba drives. And the performance is not bad, either.

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Post by PorBleemo » Wed Mar 10, 2004 7:08 pm

If you can see if you can get a hold of another identical Momentus and see how they perform in RAID-0. If they do well there they could really be a viable desktop alternative for games and I/O intensive tasks, etc.

-Por

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Post by ariman » Sun Mar 14, 2004 3:29 pm

gksam wrote:Does anybody have experience with the Samsung spinpoint MP0302H mobile 5400 rpm drives?

looks interesting :)
I find this Toshiba also very interesting, actually ordered one.
That 16Mb cache is expecially looking good.

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Post by Edward Ng » Sun Mar 14, 2004 6:19 pm

That's awesome, Ariman...can't wait to hear how it runs! :D

-Ed
Last edited by Edward Ng on Mon Mar 15, 2004 11:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by gksam » Mon Mar 15, 2004 10:17 am

Let us know how it turns out :)

I looked at the specs, and according to how Toshiba measures,
Toshiba 5400 rpm is ~27/33 db idle/seek.
Toshiba 4200 rpm is ~24/31 db idle/seek (this is the one MikeC reviewed)

It looks like the 5400rpm is definately louder than the 4200rpm (which we'd assume anyway). However, with the Samsung-M 5400rpm (albeit only 8mb cache), it looks to be as quiet as a Toshiba 4200 rpm :)


ariman wrote:
I find this Toshiba also very interesting, actually ordered one.
That 16Mb cache is expecially looking good.

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Post by Copper » Mon Mar 15, 2004 12:16 pm

PorBleemo wrote:If you can see if you can get a hold of another identical Momentus and see how they perform in RAID-0. If they do well there they could really be a viable desktop alternative for games and I/O intensive tasks, etc.
They are not a performance alternative, RAID or no RAID. I ran HD Tach on my recently purchased 4200 RPM Toshiba and I got 30MB max read and an astoundingly slow 28ms avg seeks. :shock:

The Raptor I used before pulled 75MB reads and under 8ms seeks. However, it really depends on how much the drive is used by the applications you have in mind. On my system, for instance, even with the Toshiba and extreme underclock the only place that is appreciably taking a hit is boot time and application load time. I can still play a DVD movie and browse the internet simultaniously without any appreciable difference to either.

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Post by ariman » Wed Mar 17, 2004 9:08 am

gksam wrote:Let us know how it turns out :)

Looking nice, slight noise when read/right, but still less noise than Seagate Barracuda ATA V. Toshiba was not even warm after Win install, Seagate was always HOT. Seagate was also bad vibrator, Toshiba dont vibrate at all.
Dont know much about speed, didnt notice any difference to Seagate.

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Hitachi 60GB 7200 RPM 2.5 drive

Post by gahabana » Wed Mar 24, 2004 9:43 am

Hi,
I have in my laptop Hitachi's 7K60 (HTS726060M9AT00), and even without lowering seek noise through utility (Acoustic management) it is extremely quiet, and can barely hear it. In a PC case it wouldve been more quiet, and from more then 1M, hardly audiable.
It is more quiet then Toshiba's 4019AX (40GB, 5400 RPM) in my persoanl experiance, inspite of official specs.
Yes, it is much more expensive (200$ for 60GB), but my machine boots much faster, and I do feel the difference. Not huge, but makes one happy.

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Post by Edward Ng » Wed Mar 24, 2004 12:31 pm

Gahabana,

WELCOME TO SPCR!!!

And thank you for your input; perhaps in the future I might get one, assuming I don't spring for a Savvio instead...

-Ed

silencio
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Mounting brackets for TWO notebook drives

Post by silencio » Sun Mar 28, 2004 5:14 pm

I'm looking for a mounting bracket that will let me mount TWO 2.5" notebook drives in one 3.5" hard drive bay in a regular desktop case.

Has anyone seen one of these? Thanks.

JT

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Post by IsaacKuo » Tue Mar 30, 2004 11:41 am

Does anyone have recommendations for where to order inexpensive 2.5" drive->PATA adapters in the USA?

Also, what about a place to get a compact flash->40 pin IDE adapter? I have a 340Mb IBM Microdrive which I could cram a basic Win98 install onto.

Thanks!

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Post by Rusty075 » Tue Mar 30, 2004 12:35 pm

Directron has them for $9.99. I'm using of the ones they sell in my machine right now.

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