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arghhh.. Disk Drive noise is driving me crazy. What are some recommended options?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hi Folk,

The thing I hate most about the HTPC that I built is the noise from the drives. They spin up and down and just create an incredibly annoying high pitched buzz. I am currently using these WD Sata drives. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822144394.

Right now, I am wondering why I have so much IO and am looking into culprits (virus checkers, other). But, even after I fix this, I still think I would like quieter drives.

Can someone recommend drives (Sata would be preferred) that are known to be quiet. I have read some threads on Solid State drives and they do not seem to be favored, but I am using those at work with a lot of success. I am considering putting in couple of SS drives for the OS/swap/applications and moving the internal sata drive to a different computer that I will use as a server. Hopefully GB ethernet would be good enough for HD movies, but right now I don't really have a lot of those (just short ones from my Camcorder).

Any advice would be appreciated.

Regards
-Hal
post #2 of 12
Use a 2.5" SATA drive. Those things are whisper quiet with very little heat (hell, if they can survive in those teensy laptops, they should be fine in an HTPC case), and without the SSD premium.
post #3 of 12
A lot of drives are quiet these days. See:
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article29-page2.html
- Isolation from the case is important. Suspension is the most effective way.
- There are enclosures e.g. "smart drive", "silent drive" which contain noise. They are designed to keep the drive cool too.
post #4 of 12
You can put your OS on a 2.5" drive as suggested by Kapone and use a drive such as THIS for storage. You can also suspend your drives or use some sort of dampening to prevent your case from amplifying your hard drive noise.
post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by nobail View Post

They spin up and down and just create an incredibly annoying high pitched buzz.

Hi there

You've already gotten a lot of good advice, but your basic complaint seems suspicious. Hard drives should not be spinning "up and down". There is no such thing as variable rate platter speeds. The platters should rotate at a fixed speed, and should emit a steady pitch.

Any other noise emitted from the hard drive will be due to head seeks.

Any chance you're using somekind of television PVR software?

Regards
post #6 of 12
A lot of the new hard drives you'll find on the market today are pretty quiet. Make sure you put rubber washers in between the HDD and the case rack when you screw them in. It helps stop the noise from vibration that HDD's make.
post #7 of 12
I will reiterate CSMR's point: have a look at silentpcreview.com . It's the web's authority on computer silencing IMHO.
post #8 of 12
Indeed.

Another few pieces of advice:

Enable AHCI. This alone can help tremendously with disk noise, as it enables NCQ, which allows for much more linear access for both reads/writes. This results in less "scratching" of the disc. (Less random movement of the r/w head, which is what 90% of the noise from a hdd is.)

Use a current generation hdd. Switching from a not so old 7200.8 Seagate up to a newer 7200.10, and then to a 7200.11 has netted me much quieter hdd access. Now the loudest thing in my case is the PSU fan.
post #9 of 12
I'm using an Antec Fusion case for my All in Wonder HD HTPC. It isolates each hard drive on 4 soft silicon grommets instead of bolting them directly to the case. If I put my hand on the drives I can feel them thrashing about and vibrating as usual...but very little sound leaks out.

Try temporarily removing the hard drive from the case and laying it on a piece of soft foam. If the noise is acceptable now, then keep your existing drive and try to "soft mount" it in the case. (wrapping them in foam is bad because of heat). With a 3.5" drive in a 3.5" bay it's too tight a fit - if you can make some soft mounts there is more than enough rooom if you move the 3.5" drives into an unused 5" bay.
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by James5mith View Post

Use a current generation hdd. Switching from a not so old 7200.8 Seagate up to a newer 7200.10, and then to a 7200.11 has netted me much quieter hdd access. Now the loudest thing in my case is the PSU fan.

Or use an older generation hard drive. I have an old HTPC with the (now legendary) Barracuda IV in a Smart Drive 2002. That thing is silent.

Other good options are 2.5" laptop drives, or if you need speed, a Velociraptor.
post #11 of 12
a solid state drive would almost be ideal, however for me they are not mature enough , I have only a small (80g) single 2.5" sata drive in my HTPC enclosure and i never hear the hard drive. I stream media from an unraid server across gig lan

I went with a 2.5 WD Scorpio Drive and encased it in a sycthe drive cooler 2.5 -> 3.5"
http://www.scythe-usa.com/product/hd...00_detail.html

It encases a 2.5" drive in foam and is then mounted in a regular 3.5" drive bay. Only downside is most people report it raises the drives temp a bit.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the great advice. I am greatful to everyone who has replied.

Yesterday, took the HTPC out of the cabinet it was in and did some tests. I think the main culprit was actually not the drives, but I did secure them better and spread them out a little more in the case and organized the cables a little nicer.

However, the real problem seems to have been a fan who purpose is to cool the disks. I have this case http://www.nmediapc.com/htpc200.htm and this fan is directly behind the on/off button (which was also loose, in fact it was missing a screw on the assembly that holds it to the case) and it blows air over the disk drives. I found that if I pushed the power button hard, it was pushing something into the fan (which made a horrible noise). However, after tightening the fan, the disks, the power button and anything else with a screw, the sound seems to be much better. Most of the sound now seems to be coming from the primary CPU fan and I will attack that next.

I guess I am smacking myself on the forehead and wondering why I didn't do that earlier. However, I will be looking into some of the other items suggested and see what I do to make it even more quiet.

Thanks Again!

- Hal
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