Stumped on how to silence this hard drive setup

Silencing hard drives, optical drives and other storage devices

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sticke4
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Joined: Sat Apr 13, 2013 2:01 pm

Stumped on how to silence this hard drive setup

Post by sticke4 » Sat Apr 13, 2013 2:36 pm

I have an old pc that I wanted to turn into an HTPC but I find that the hard drive hum is to loud for it to be feasible. I have looked at all of the guides that I could find on how to silence or dampen hard drives but I do not feel like any of them are applicable to my case. My case is from a pre-built computer so it is quite small compared to other towers. The hard drive cage is also a very snug fit for the hard drives so I do not see how I can fit grommets into them. I am willing to mod my case or other parts since everything is already out of warranty. Can anyone help brainstorm methods to use grommets, suspend the hard drives in elastic, or some other novel method that may work for my system?

Here are some pics of my pc for reference.

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Vicotnik
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Re: Stumped on how to silence this hard drive setup

Post by Vicotnik » Sat Apr 13, 2013 11:06 pm

The ultimate solution is to place the HDDs in another system, in another room. If you need the HDDs in that system then you need to decouple them from the case somehow. Remove the drive cage and let the HDDs rest on a foam brick perhaps? You seem to have a little space there next to the motherboard.

Spoon Boy
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Re: Stumped on how to silence this hard drive setup

Post by Spoon Boy » Sun Apr 14, 2013 1:09 am

You could use spare the 5.25 CD bay to suspend one drive and like Vicotnik said put the other one on a foam block, or suspend it from under the 3.5 floppy bay.

edh
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Re: Stumped on how to silence this hard drive setup

Post by edh » Sun Apr 14, 2013 1:53 am

Without replacing parts then the only options will involve moving the hard disk mounting around, possibly into another room or inbto the 5.25" as other users have already suggested. Another alternative if this case is a mini tower setup would be to put a sheet of foam along the base of the case and lay the hard disks on it - be careful not to short anything on the foam - this can give a big improvement even with very noisy mechanical sounds.

You could also perhaps remove the drive cage and replace it with an elastic suspension setup. This would as with the foam idea not be appropriate if you move the system a lot.

Perhaps it's also worth considering whether or not 2 old IDE drives are really worth putting so much time and effort into silencing? I see SATA ports on the motherboard so maybe replacing with a single SATA drive or even an SSD would be more sensible depending upon how much you weigh time vs money.

Looking at this system, the hard disks must be very loud for you to be complaining about them as I do see a Thermaltake PSU and they're never a company known for silence. I would think after fixing the HDD mounting the next noise to deal with would be the PSU.

What case is it? What are the other components in the system? I'm wondering about heat flow and where you might be able to move an HDD without problems.

Ralf Hutter
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Re: Stumped on how to silence this hard drive setup

Post by Ralf Hutter » Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:29 am

If you're stuck on keeping your two existing drives, I'd suspend one of them in the empty 5.25" bay and mount the other on the floor of the case using a sorbothane-type pad.

I'd also look at that Thermaltake PSU as a significant source of noise.

sticke4
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Re: Stumped on how to silence this hard drive setup

Post by sticke4 » Sun Apr 14, 2013 7:57 am

Thank you so much to everyone who replied. I am reluctant to put the hard drives in another room because I do not have another computer, NAS, or enclosure to put them into. I had thought about doing suspension from the cd drive bays but I had the misconception that the hard drives would not fit but after looking at it again I think it might work well. I will have to tinker around and see if I will be able to mount both the drives within the CD bays or below, or if I will have to put one of the drives on a foam block at the bottom of the case.

@ehd - You had mentioned the danger of shorting the drives if they were placed on foam. How do I avoid this - do I just keep the moving parts of the hard drive away from the foam?

I looked up prices for SSDs and quiet laptop/desktop hard drives and the cheapest price for either was around $50, which is more than I would like to spend right now.

You are right about the Thermaltake PSU not being quiet - I had not thought about its noise output when I had bought it a few years ago as an upgrade to this computer. I have a Thermaltake PSU in another computer that I bought recently and it is probably the only part in the computer that makes a noticeable amount of noise. Unfortunately I had not known about this site when I had made those purchases.

The case is the one that comes with an emachine T5212. I know its quite an old computer, and manufacturer pre-built cases are the best for customization, but I am trying to minimize the amount of money that I invest into the system. The case fans I will be replacing soon with Enermax UC-8EBs (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811999199). It also has a geoforce 9600 and an intel pentium D 805 with a stock HS.

@Ralf Hutter - You had mentioned using sorbothane. What are the benefits of using that instead of something like packing foam. I looked on amazon and it was around $20 for a sheet - is it worth it to use sorbothane over foam I may have sitting at home.

Thank you again to everyone

edh
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Re: Stumped on how to silence this hard drive setup

Post by edh » Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:38 am

sticke4 wrote:You had mentioned the danger of shorting the drives if they were placed on foam. How do I avoid this - do I just keep the moving parts of the hard drive away from the foam?
It's not so much about shorting the drives with foam but the risk of shorting anything else as well. People before have haphazardly applied electrically conductive foam in computers to dampen them down only to find that when they switch them on they've shorted out their motherboard - new motherboard time. Hard drives aren't so much of a problem themselves but I would avoid having the controller board side of the disk sitting directly on foam as you might short something or risk overheating. I have systems using foam and elastic and haven't had any problems myself but there are risks that you do take.

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