eliminating hard drive noise

Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

This is more for people who have media-center or HTPC machines but a
noisy desktop could benefit too (like the one in my cubicle that drives
me nuts when it's doing a virus scan).

My HTPC is already pretty quiet with a Zalman silent PS and a Zalman CPU
cooler (the aluminum copper one that meets Intel's "legal" weight
requirement) set on it's slowest speed. The case has a 60 mm fan that
even though I replaced it with a "stealth" fan was so noisy I had to
disconnect it. It's worth noting that in an office setting the case fan
wasn't noticeable but the second I put the machine in an oak wall-unit
in a living room, the fan noise was transmitted through the wood and was
unbearable.

So the only thing left to silence was the hard drive. Because the Maxtor
drive I'm using has fluid bearings, the motor is inaudible so no
problems there. But seeks are a bit of an issue. Normally this wasn't an
issue except in rare cases. But now that BeyondTV 3.5 (beta) can use
multiple tuner cards to record one channel while watching liveTV on
another, or record two channels at once while watching a recorded show
(we rarely watch live TV anymore), the seek noise became a constant
annoyance.

So to eliminate the seem noise, which seemed to be coming from
vibrations transmitted through the case, I looked into shock mounting
solutions. There are some bizarre ones out there including one kit that
relies on rubber bands (no thanks). The one I bought was (surprise ;->)
made by Zalman. It has aluminum heat pipes, although I doubt their
effectiveness, for passive cooling, and also a good shock mounting
system. The only downside is it requires a 5" drive bay. Well, the
bottom line is that after installing it, I can hear the seek servo if I
listen for it, because the noise is of a random nature. But in terms of
absolute sound levels, the two clocks my wife has hanging on the walls
tick louder than the hard drive now.

http://www.zalman.co.kr/eng/product/view.asp?idx=74&code=019

The Zalman kit was about $30 at the local Fry's, I've found them for
about the same price online :

http://www.casecooler.com/zahehadrco.html
http://www.frozencpu.com/cgi-bin/frozencpu/hdc-22.html
http://www.endpcnoise.com/cgi-bin/e/zm-2hc2.html (one of many reviews I
came across)
11 answers Last reply
More about eliminating hard drive noise
  1. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    Rather than spend $$$ on parts that aren't really going to improve noise
    that much.. Just put your computers on the other side of whatever wall you
    are working at. Simple, Cheap. EXTREMELY quiet, and a hell of a lot cooler.


    "Keith Clark" <clarkphotography@hotmail.com> wrote in message
    news:40C9E430.5D0AF5F9@hotmail.com...
    > This is more for people who have media-center or HTPC machines but a
    > noisy desktop could benefit too (like the one in my cubicle that drives
    > me nuts when it's doing a virus scan).
    >
    > My HTPC is already pretty quiet with a Zalman silent PS and a Zalman CPU
    > cooler (the aluminum copper one that meets Intel's "legal" weight
    > requirement) set on it's slowest speed. The case has a 60 mm fan that
    > even though I replaced it with a "stealth" fan was so noisy I had to
    > disconnect it. It's worth noting that in an office setting the case fan
    > wasn't noticeable but the second I put the machine in an oak wall-unit
    > in a living room, the fan noise was transmitted through the wood and was
    > unbearable.
    >
    > So the only thing left to silence was the hard drive. Because the Maxtor
    > drive I'm using has fluid bearings, the motor is inaudible so no
    > problems there. But seeks are a bit of an issue. Normally this wasn't an
    > issue except in rare cases. But now that BeyondTV 3.5 (beta) can use
    > multiple tuner cards to record one channel while watching liveTV on
    > another, or record two channels at once while watching a recorded show
    > (we rarely watch live TV anymore), the seek noise became a constant
    > annoyance.
    >
    > So to eliminate the seem noise, which seemed to be coming from
    > vibrations transmitted through the case, I looked into shock mounting
    > solutions. There are some bizarre ones out there including one kit that
    > relies on rubber bands (no thanks). The one I bought was (surprise ;->)
    > made by Zalman. It has aluminum heat pipes, although I doubt their
    > effectiveness, for passive cooling, and also a good shock mounting
    > system. The only downside is it requires a 5" drive bay. Well, the
    > bottom line is that after installing it, I can hear the seek servo if I
    > listen for it, because the noise is of a random nature. But in terms of
    > absolute sound levels, the two clocks my wife has hanging on the walls
    > tick louder than the hard drive now.
    >
    > http://www.zalman.co.kr/eng/product/view.asp?idx=74&code=019
    >
    > The Zalman kit was about $30 at the local Fry's, I've found them for
    > about the same price online :
    >
    > http://www.casecooler.com/zahehadrco.html
    > http://www.frozencpu.com/cgi-bin/frozencpu/hdc-22.html
    > http://www.endpcnoise.com/cgi-bin/e/zm-2hc2.html (one of many reviews I
    > came across)
    >
    >
    >
    >
  2. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    Reducing drive noise:

    Could also go with smaller 2.5" laptop HDs attached to 3.5" adapters.

    Eliminating HD noise:

    Even easier! Flash Memory hard drives! No noise at all! (100% silent
    no matter what the conditions!)
  3. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    David Chien wrote:

    > Reducing drive noise:
    >
    > Could also go with smaller 2.5" laptop HDs attached to 3.5" adapters.
    >
    > Eliminating HD noise:
    >
    > Even easier! Flash Memory hard drives! No noise at all! (100% silent
    > no matter what the conditions!)

    Ok. Can you find a half terrabyte Flash drive for under $300 with sufficient
    speed to record DVD quality mpeg-2 in real time?

    Or for that matter a 2.5" drive that meets those specs?
  4. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    "Keith Clark" <clarkphotography@hotmail.com> wrote in message
    news:40CF8D24.5CC51B93@hotmail.com...
    >
    >
    > David Chien wrote:
    >
    > > Reducing drive noise:
    > >
    > > Could also go with smaller 2.5" laptop HDs attached to 3.5" adapters.
    > >
    > > Eliminating HD noise:
    > >
    > > Even easier! Flash Memory hard drives! No noise at all! (100% silent
    > > no matter what the conditions!)
    >
    > Ok. Can you find a half terrabyte Flash drive for under $300 with
    sufficient
    > speed to record DVD quality mpeg-2 in real time?
    >

    tops is 9Mbit/sec. ANY drive can do that.


    > Or for that matter a 2.5" drive that meets those specs?
    >

    Any 2.5" drive can do that.
  5. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    "nappy" <no_spam_@sorry.com> wrote in
    news:19Yzc.86966$zK6.77444@newssvr25.news.prodigy.com:

    >
    > "Keith Clark" <clarkphotography@hotmail.com> wrote in message
    > news:40CF8D24.5CC51B93@hotmail.com...
    >>
    >>
    >> David Chien wrote:
    >>
    >> > Reducing drive noise:
    >> >
    >> > Could also go with smaller 2.5" laptop HDs attached to 3.5"
    >> > adapters.
    >> >
    >> > Eliminating HD noise:
    >> >
    >> > Even easier! Flash Memory hard drives! No noise at all!
    >> > (100% silent
    >> > no matter what the conditions!)
    >>
    >> Ok. Can you find a half terrabyte Flash drive for under $300 with
    > sufficient
    >> speed to record DVD quality mpeg-2 in real time?
    >>
    >
    > tops is 9Mbit/sec. ANY drive can do that.
    >
    >
    >
    >> Or for that matter a 2.5" drive that meets those specs?
    >>
    >
    > Any 2.5" drive can do that.
    >
    >
    >

    OK, if any flash or 2.5" drive can do that, can you answer Keith's
    question and recommend a half-terabyte flash or 2.5" drive for under
    $300? Either one or both...

    I too would like to know...

    Gino

    --
    Gene E. Bloch (Gino) phone 650.966.8481
    Call me letters find me at domain blochg whose dot is com
  6. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    "Gene E. Bloch" <hamburger@NOT_SPAM.invalid> wrote in message
    news:Xns950A756F7FF58Astrolabe@63.240.76.16...
    > "nappy" <no_spam_@sorry.com> wrote in
    > news:19Yzc.86966$zK6.77444@newssvr25.news.prodigy.com:
    >
    > >
    > > "Keith Clark" <clarkphotography@hotmail.com> wrote in message
    > > news:40CF8D24.5CC51B93@hotmail.com...
    > >>
    > >>
    > >> David Chien wrote:
    > >>
    > >> > Reducing drive noise:
    > >> >
    > >> > Could also go with smaller 2.5" laptop HDs attached to 3.5"
    > >> > adapters.
    > >> >
    > >> > Eliminating HD noise:
    > >> >
    > >> > Even easier! Flash Memory hard drives! No noise at all!
    > >> > (100% silent
    > >> > no matter what the conditions!)
    > >>
    > >> Ok. Can you find a half terrabyte Flash drive for under $300 with
    > > sufficient
    > >> speed to record DVD quality mpeg-2 in real time?
    > >>
    > >
    > > tops is 9Mbit/sec. ANY drive can do that.
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >> Or for that matter a 2.5" drive that meets those specs?
    > >>
    > >
    > > Any 2.5" drive can do that.
    > >
    > >
    > >
    >
    > OK, if any flash or 2.5" drive can do that, can you answer Keith's
    > question and recommend a half-terabyte flash or 2.5" drive for under
    > $300? Either one or both...
    >
    > I too would like to know...
    >


    M-Systems makes a flash drive which can do 40MB/sec. The problems with flash
    drives are numerous as they require a significant amount of software for bad
    block management, wear leveling, error correction and more. Not only that
    but they have a limited amount of life due to the very nature of flash. NAND
    flash is only guaranteed to 100,000 program/erase cycles.

    As for the 2.5" drive or the new 1"/5GB drive annouced this week... I don't
    use them or sell them so if he is shopping for such a device he would do
    well to look elsewhere.

    > Gino
    >
    > --
    > Gene E. Bloch (Gino) phone 650.966.8481
    > Call me letters find me at domain blochg whose dot is com
    >
  7. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    nappy wrote:

    > kAs for the 2.5" drive or the new 1"/5GB drive annouced this week... I don't
    > use them or sell them so if he is shopping for such a device he would do
    > well to look elsewhere.

    I'm not shopping for any such device. My post was simply to tell about results I
    obtained with an add-on device for an *existing* drive, but some people just
    like to argue and confuse the issue.
  8. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    Nothing cheap yet, but given the average 50% price drop in almost all
    computer products per year, you should be able to get one in a few years.

    > M-Systems makes a flash drive which can do 40MB/sec. The problems with flash
    > drives are numerous as they require a significant amount of software for bad
    > block management, wear leveling, error correction and more. Not only that

    Say what?!? All of these require no software to be running on the
    computer itself to manage these Flash Hard Drives -- all leveling, etc.
    is built into the hardware.

    > but they have a limited amount of life due to the very nature of flash. NAND
    > flash is only guaranteed to 100,000 program/erase cycles.

    Realistically, you can get a lot longer life than simply looking at a
    100,000 program/erase cycle figure.

    http://www.bitmicro.com/products_edisk_35_ide.php
    http://www.adtron.com/product_detail.html?id=24
    http://memtech.com/35inch.html

    .. How does Memtech calculate the endurance of its products?

    The flash used in Memtech's drives are NAND EEPROM, and can endure
    250,000 to 1 million erase/write cycles in EACH block without any
    remapping technology.

    On the AT2500, AT3500 and SC35 series of products, Memtech uses its
    proprietary Active Remap™ technology to recover failing memory cells.
    This process is automatic and transparent to the user. If a page in
    memory fails to erase or program, the entire block is permanently moved
    to a spare location in memory, and the failing block is mapped out of
    active memory. Spare locations are selected when the device is first
    initialized, so there is no loss of user addressable memory. There are
    100 spare locations for each 100 Mbytes of memory, so an individual
    block could fail up to 100 times before the drive becomes unusable,
    though even then, the data would still be available for reading.

    On the Mighty series of products, wear-leveling and remapping is used to
    handle failed memory locations. The equation used to calculate MTBF for
    Mighty drives and an example calculation is given below:

    The MTBF can be logically calculated in hours using the following formula.

    MTBF = (# FLASH CHIPS * # BLOCKS * # REPROGRAMMING CYCLES * AREA RATE) /
    (AVERAGE PROGRAMMING SECTORS PER HOUR (1 SECTOR = 512 BYTES))

    Note: The program area is the area that is not changed once it has been
    programmed. The remainder of the drive is thus considered
    "Reprogrammable". In the case where 32 Kbytes (64 sectors) are written
    every 5 minutes into an area occupying 30% of a 48 MB disk (64 Mbit x 6
    chips, 1024 Blocks per chip), the MTBF is calculated as shown below:

    MTBF = (6 * 1024 * 1,000,000 * 0.3) / (64 * 12) = 2.4 MILLION HOURS
  9. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    "David Chien" <chiendh@uci.edu> wrote in message
    news:caqhs3$oal$1@news.service.uci.edu...
    > Nothing cheap yet, but given the average 50% price drop in almost all
    > computer products per year, you should be able to get one in a few years.
    >
    > > M-Systems makes a flash drive which can do 40MB/sec. The problems with
    flash
    > > drives are numerous as they require a significant amount of software for
    bad
    > > block management, wear leveling, error correction and more. Not only
    that
    >
    > Say what?!? All of these require no software to be running on the
    > computer itself to manage these Flash Hard Drives -- all leveling, etc.
    > is built into the hardware.


    What do you think that IS that is built into the hardware? It is software. I
    don;t think I implied that this code would run on the host.

    >
    > > but they have a limited amount of life due to the very nature of flash.
    NAND
    > > flash is only guaranteed to 100,000 program/erase cycles.
    >
    > Realistically, you can get a lot longer life than simply looking at a
    > 100,000 program/erase cycle figure.
    >
    > http://www.bitmicro.com/products_edisk_35_ide.php
    > http://www.adtron.com/product_detail.html?id=24
    > http://memtech.com/35inch.html
    >
    > . How does Memtech calculate the endurance of its products?
    >
    > The flash used in Memtech's drives are NAND EEPROM, and can endure
    > 250,000 to 1 million erase/write cycles in EACH block without any
    > remapping technology.

    I am currently writing a NAND flash translation layer for a product. The
    Toshiba, Samsung and STMicro 1Gbit products all have a 100,000 cycle life.


    >
    > On the AT2500, AT3500 and SC35 series of products, Memtech uses its
    > proprietary Active Remap™ technology to recover failing memory cells.
    > This process is automatic and transparent to the user. If a page in
    > memory fails to erase or program, the entire block is permanently moved
    > to a spare location in memory, and the failing block is mapped out of
    > active memory.


    That's normal.. Most NAND products must have this functionality. Mine does.


    Spare locations are selected when the device is first
    > initialized, so there is no loss of user addressable memory. There are
    > 100 spare locations for each 100 Mbytes of memory, so an individual
    > block could fail up to 100 times before the drive becomes unusable,
    > though even then, the data would still be available for reading.
    >
    > On the Mighty series of products, wear-leveling and remapping is used to
    > handle failed memory locations. The equation used to calculate MTBF for
    > Mighty drives and an example calculation is given below:
    >
    > The MTBF can be logically calculated in hours using the following formula.
    >
    > MTBF = (# FLASH CHIPS * # BLOCKS * # REPROGRAMMING CYCLES * AREA RATE) /
    > (AVERAGE PROGRAMMING SECTORS PER HOUR (1 SECTOR = 512 BYTES))
    >
    > Note: The program area is the area that is not changed once it has been
    > programmed. The remainder of the drive is thus considered
    > "Reprogrammable". In the case where 32 Kbytes (64 sectors) are written
    > every 5 minutes into an area occupying 30% of a 48 MB disk (64 Mbit x 6
    > chips, 1024 Blocks per chip), the MTBF is calculated as shown below:
    >
    > MTBF = (6 * 1024 * 1,000,000 * 0.3) / (64 * 12) = 2.4 MILLION HOURS

    2.4 million hours... goes by pretty quickly.. ;)

    This is all pretty standard stuff... If you use enough NAND devices you can
    level and spread the wear across them and extend the life of the device.

    My point was that the NAND Flash drives do have overhead whether implemented
    in hardware or software that will affect their throughput. Always possible I
    am wrong but the M-Systems drives are only 40MB/sec. How fast are the
    Memtech drives.
  10. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    >> Say what?!? All of these require no software to be running on the
    >>computer itself to manage these Flash Hard Drives -- all leveling, etc.
    >>is built into the hardware.
    >
    > What do you think that IS that is built into the hardware? It is software. I
    > don;t think I implied that this code would run on the host.

    Here, we're digressing. but imo, hardware is whatever is physical;
    software is whatever runs on a CPU; firmware is whatever is flashed into
    programmable flash memory to control the circuitry; and embedded
    logic/code is whatever is programmed into hardware that usually can't be
    modified on the PC, by the user, or erased which controls the hardware.

    IF there's no embedded logic ('software' if you so call it), then
    it's simply logic controls that are controlling everything in the
    hardware -- it can be done for something as simple as leveling.

    > in hardware or software that will affect their throughput. Always possible I
    > am wrong but the M-Systems drives are only 40MB/sec. How fast are the
    > Memtech drives.

    Sustained read data throughput 5.4 Mbytes per second and a sustained
    write throughput of 5.1 Mbytes per second -- more than fast enough to
    handle DV video, which only needs 13GB per hour / 60 minutes per hour /
    60 seconds per minute = 3.6 MB per second.

    ---

    Anyways, another idea is to simply put the PC in a remote location
    (farther away) and simply extended the cables to the local monitor (or
    use a wireless extended). Do wireless KB & Mouse and off you go! You
    can easily have a video rack in a closet or something (smart idea
    anyways since you never have to worry about spills on them) with the
    PC(s) setup on them.

    ---

    Grin! Another idea is to have any wireless device running VNC and
    simply remote access the networked PC anywhere in the world. No HD
    noise ever, and you can easily edit video on your PDA/wireless device
    anytime, anywhere -- (yep, even in the bathroom).

    -----

    well, back to HD enclosures. more reviews here:

    http://www.silentpcreview.com/section14.html
    http://www.overclockers.com/tips454/
    http://www.thehardwire.com/reviews/index.php?id=15
    http://www.mikhailtech.com/articles/enclosures/silentdrive/

    dont forget about using a quiet HD:
    http://www.silentpcreview.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=Sections&file=index&req=viewarticle&artid=82&page=1

    also, if you have a HD already, don't forget about the tuning tools
    some HD makers have (eg. Hitachi/IBM, etc.). You can run the software
    to have the HDs run in performance (noisy) or quiet (slower) modes.
  11. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    "David Chien" <chiendh@uci.edu> wrote in message
    news:casnvs$bd6$1@news.service.uci.edu...
    > >> Say what?!? All of these require no software to be running on the
    > >>computer itself to manage these Flash Hard Drives -- all leveling, etc.
    > >>is built into the hardware.
    > >
    > > What do you think that IS that is built into the hardware? It is
    software. I
    > > don;t think I implied that this code would run on the host.
    >
    > Here, we're digressing. but imo, hardware is whatever is physical;
    > software is whatever runs on a CPU; firmware is whatever is flashed into
    > programmable flash memory to control the circuitry; and embedded
    > logic/code is whatever is programmed into hardware that usually can't be
    > modified on the PC, by the user, or erased which controls the hardware.
    >
    > IF there's no embedded logic ('software' if you so call it), then
    > it's simply logic controls that are controlling everything in the
    > hardware -- it can be done for something as simple as leveling.
    >

    Yes.. leveling is often implemented in hardware. Not everything can be of
    course And maintaining NAND flash does require overhead whether it is in
    hardware or firmware. Hence the low data Rate of 5.4 MB/sec from parts with
    a pretty low access time... encumbered by the interface.


    > > in hardware or software that will affect their throughput. Always
    possible I
    > > am wrong but the M-Systems drives are only 40MB/sec. How fast are the
    > > Memtech drives.
    >
    > Sustained read data throughput 5.4 Mbytes per second and a sustained
    > write throughput of 5.1 Mbytes per second -- more than fast enough to
    > handle DV video, which only needs 13GB per hour / 60 minutes per hour /
    > 60 seconds per minute = 3.6 MB per second.

    Just barely. 1 stream.


    >
    > ---
    >
    > Anyways, another idea is to simply put the PC in a remote location
    > (farther away) and simply extended the cables to the local monitor (or
    > use a wireless extended). Do wireless KB & Mouse and off you go! You
    > can easily have a video rack in a closet or something (smart idea
    > anyways since you never have to worry about spills on them) with the
    > PC(s) setup on them.
    >

    My sentiments exactly. It is a lot cheaper and as quiet as you can ever get
    it. I have taken the clock off my wall because now I can hear it ticking
    away... I can also hear little creaks my desk makes that i never heard
    before..!


    > ---
    >
    > Grin! Another idea is to have any wireless device running VNC and
    > simply remote access the networked PC anywhere in the world. No HD
    > noise ever, and you can easily edit video on your PDA/wireless device
    > anytime, anywhere -- (yep, even in the bathroom).
    >

    I am writing this on a VNC connection and while VNC is handy it would
    really be hell to actually have to do much work over it.


    > -----
    >
    > well, back to HD enclosures. more reviews here:
    >
    > http://www.silentpcreview.com/section14.html
    > http://www.overclockers.com/tips454/
    > http://www.thehardwire.com/reviews/index.php?id=15

    > http://www.mikhailtech.com/articles/enclosures/silentdrive/
    >
    > dont forget about using a quiet HD:
    >
    http://www.silentpcreview.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=Sections&file=index&req=viewarticle&artid=82&page=1
    >
    > also, if you have a HD already, don't forget about the tuning tools
    > some HD makers have (eg. Hitachi/IBM, etc.). You can run the software
    > to have the HDs run in performance (noisy) or quiet (slower) modes.
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