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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Having made a number of tweaks to my HTPC, its now almost completely silent apart from one thing; the disk drive. Its easily the noisiest thing in there.


I am quite surprised by this since I opted for the Seagate 7200.8 (300GB) because I thought it was supposed to be quiet. But really it isn't. I sit about 20ft away from the HTPC when listening to music and its very clearly audible from there.


Its also the quality of the noise thats annoying - this constant high pitched whining noise. And the head seeks are a dreadful din.


Can anyone recommend any drives as being particularly quiet? And in particular, they need to be much more quiet than the Seagates!


On a different - but related - topic, I find it particularly irritating when Windows decides (all on its own) that it wants to start thrashing the disk heads for no apparant reason. Does anyone know what Windows process is resposible for this, and whether its possible to control it? Its probably messing about tidying up pre-fetch files or something else irrelevant. Surely with appropriate configuration of the swap-file and some registry tweaking, it could be possible to stop Windows from doing this?


Any thoughts?


Thanks


Chip
 

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One strategy is to use 5400 RPM drives. The lower spin speed can greatly reduce noise, and heat.


It may be harder to find them, but they can still be found for market prices that reflect their size.


Maxtor 300-400GB 5400 RPM drives were readily available within the past 12 months.


Search froogle.com, pricewatch.com, and check geeks.com inventory.


Also check newegg and chiefvalue.com.
 

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Another strategy is to use 2.5" laptop drives. They are smaller and often quieter.
 

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Another idea is to use a laptop HDD with an IDE adapter - not ideal if you need large storage space though.


Other options are to accoustically decouple the drive with rubber grommets or even put it in a separate enclosure (watch out for overheating).

____

Axel
 

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For the HTPC I use a pair of 40GB Toshiba laptop drives, one for the system (overkill, a 20GB would be more than big enough) and one for timeshifting and the occasional recording that my server is too busy for (40GB is just big enough). If I am really close to the HTPC with no other sounds in the room I can hear the drives when they are accessing, but otherwise total silence. All the noisy IDE drives are in the server tucked away in a closet.


A secondary benefit to the laptop drives is they require almost no airflow for cooling as they generate very little heat.
 

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I suspect you purchased the SATA version of the 7200.8. After they got sued for their implementation of AAM, Segate disabled it in their drives. Their SATA drives are set to noisy with high performance; their IDE drives to quieter with average performance. Your best bet is to find a drive that will let you use AAM. Check out SilentPCReview for suggestions.


You don't have to go to a 5400 RPM drive. You don't have to go with a laptop drive. You just have to find one that will let you adjust the AAM.


The awful seek noise when you're not doing anything isn't due to Windows -- it's all Seagate's fault. For some reason they decided to add a SMART self check that was in an early version of the specs but removed from the current ones. You can stop it by runing something that writes to a log file every couple of seconds, enable logging in Speedfan or the like.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chippy99
Having made a number of tweaks to my HTPC, its now almost completely silent apart from one thing; the disk drive. Its easily the noisiest thing in there.


Can anyone recommend any drives as being particularly quiet? And in particular, they need to be much more quiet than the Seagates!
The only way to get substantially quieter, is to go with a Laptop HDD. I've got a Toshiba 40GB in my HTPC, that I rarely, if ever, hear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks to all who have replied so far.


The laptop drive option is a non-starter really - I will need about 600GB of storage ultimately.


Sounds (no pun intended) like the Seagate drive is a bit of a duff option though. I think I will replace it with 2 x Samsung 250's for now.


Cheers all.


Chip
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chippy99
Thanks to all who have replied so far.


The laptop drive option is a non-starter really - I will need about 600GB of storage ultimately.
You just can't get that much storage to be quiet. Even if you get the quietest 3.5" drives available, by the time you get the 2 or three you'll need for that, it will be louder than what you have now. Find a way to put that storage somewhere else, so you don't have to worry about the noise.
 

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What you could do is build a sound-proof cabinet or even a closet to store the noisy equipment but that is expensive. Just make sure you have good ventilation of that space.
 

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I use all Seagate 7200.8 SATA drives in my systems and have no noise issues. They provide 5-year warranty and they easily operate below 25dba. I would RMA the drive in question and get another one.
 

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I have the Maxtor Maxline III, 300Gb and do not have any noise issues. As I have stated on another thread, I have to put my ear to the Atech HTPC to check to see if it is on or not.
 

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The odd thing here is, I've been in the process of switching all my drives over to Seagates- OS drives from 40-80GB and about 3TB of shared server drives.


I started doing this several months ago after a hard drive reliability discussion on slashdot.org earlier this year, which I read right after having a WD 250 die on me one month after the warranty expired.


The consensus on slashdot.org (IT sysadmin types in high numbers) was to go Seagate due to reliability.


Also, I thought Seagates had been known for low noise due to their being the first to use FDB bearings/motors?


Anywho, the standard 5 year warranty on all Seagate drives, plus having WD and Maxtors die on me the past couple years, pushed me to the Seagate camp.
 

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Seagate baracuda 7200 rpm

pick your size.


You have to almost put your ear on it to hear it....
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chippy99
On a different - but related - topic, I find it particularly irritating when Windows decides (all on its own) that it wants to start thrashing the disk heads for no apparant reason. Does anyone know what Windows process is resposible for this, and whether its possible to control it? Its probably messing about tidying up pre-fetch files or something else irrelevant. Surely with appropriate configuration of the swap-file and some registry tweaking, it could be possible to stop Windows from doing this?
That's what I want to know also. It is NOT the drive's fault, as I have a healthy mix of 6 hd's between Seagate & Maxtor. The only drive that is regularly (to me at least) grinding away is the drive with the OS, and that is on a 3 year old drive. Previously, it was on a new drive, but with the same activity. I've disabled everything even remotely related to this in msconfig, but to no avail. It isn't that it's overly loud, it's just that I don't want my drive(s) to be running when there is absolutely no activity. Any ideas?
 

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The best advice I can give you is to go to silentpcreview.com for ALL your silent computing needs. There is a recommended components section that will give you suggestions. I have an 80G Samsung SATA drive that is dead silent inside my dampened enclosure. However, as mentioned above certain makes and models of 'silent brand' HDDs are quite noisy. Be sure to do your research...


The loudest item on my entire computer is the PSU fan and that's because it's a 500+W beast. When I am 2ft away I can't hear any noise from the entire computer in a completely silent room.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by Genocide1
Seagate baracuda 7200 rpm

pick your size.


You have to almost put your ear on it to hear it....
You obviously didn't read my original post. That's the drive I have now, and it makes a terrible racket.


Chip
 

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Possible to have the machine in a remote location and stream over network? It would not need to be silent and you would still have silence in the theater.
 

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The closet is the best place. Means that all you have out is the display and maybe a wireless keyboard and mouse or a remote. All the CD's, DVD's wires and other crap is put away where no one can see them. I use a closet rather than a cabinet for heat issues.


Makes the wife happier, too.
 
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