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Recommend external hard disk?

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August 17, 2006 8:59:50 PM

Hi Can anyone recommend a brand of hard disk for quietness? I bought a supposedly ultra quiet Freecom Classic, but it has quite a noisy fan. Looking at manufacturers websites, not many (in fact, not any that I found!) tell you noise information for their products. I want something like:

3.5"
320GB
7200RPM
USB2

Any recommendations?
August 18, 2006 1:06:47 PM

Large drives like those really need active cooling. It would be hard to find one that does not have any or is uber quiet. I thought the OneTouch from Maxtor was quiet. Then again I only saw it bestbuy so who knows, that place is loud.
August 18, 2006 1:28:08 PM

Take my advice. By a HDD, then by a separate enclosure and assemble it yourself. You could buy a passive enclosure, or one with a quiet fan. Its so much cheaper then buying a pre-made one in stores. You can find 3.5" enclosures at www.directron.com or probably newegg. I have 5 of them, and they all work just fine.

I've used coolmax, penguin gear, and Bytecc

http://www.directron.com/35enclosure.html

I like coolmax the most, but just take a look around. They also have enclosures for SATA drives.
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August 18, 2006 1:44:14 PM

Doughbuy's recommendation is the a good one. If quiet is what you want, I'd recommend a Samsung drive, then a Seagate. As for enclosures, not enough experience with enough of them to really offer a good recommendation. You get a better warranty this way, 3 or 5 years for the hard drive itself depending on what brand you buy. Otherwise you only get a year from the manufacturer if you buy an external hard drive altogether.
August 18, 2006 1:47:51 PM

Hey Mr. J
PC cash is right. The one touch from maxtor are good. Have you looked at Western Digitals (I think I got it right by name) called The Library or sumpin. :oops:  not sure of name......

Wither that or you can look at the externals from LiCie' s Ferrari line. I have heard good things about those from friends that own them.

With either hdd make sure that the enclosure has a cooling fan with it. I tried out the Vantec Nexstar (they DO NOT HAVE FANS) and although they say that the aluminum enclosure keeps the drive cool, my Maxtor SATA II 7200 rpm drive got the enclosure SOOO FREAKIN HOT I could not touch it for a few minutes. I would stay away from those.

Hope this helps bro but I would lean towards the LieCIe brand.

RIG specs
Antec P180 PerformanceSeries Mid-Tower Case
SeaSonic S12 600 watt power supply
Asus A8N32 SLI mobo socket 939 AMD N-Force 4 SLIX16 (bios 1103 V02.58)
RealTek 97 onboard digital 5.1 Surround
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ Toledo Core, 2 X 1mb L2 cache (AMD driver 1.3.1.0 w/MS hotfix & AMD Dual Core Optimizer)
2 gigs of Corsair TwinX3500LL Pro @ 437Mhz 2-3-2-6-1T
2- BFG 7900 GT OC 256mb in SLI (nvidia driver 91.31)
Western Digital RAPTOR 74.3 gig 10-K rpm HDD for XP & Apps
Maxtor SATA II 250 G HDD for gaming, movies, MP3's
Maxtor SATA II 250 G HDD for document backup (unplugged)
Sony CDrom 52X
Plextor 708-A DVD/CD rom
Logitech Z-5500 Digital 5.1 THX 500watts
August 18, 2006 1:49:36 PM

I have a 250GB drive without a fan, and its very quiet. It was bought at Aldi in the UK for £80. I think the make is Medion. Then enclosure is made of extruded aluminium, and that is enough to keep it cool. It does get warm, but not as warm as the bottom of a laptop that is in use. A friend of mine has a Lacie, again in a metal case, and that too is very quiet

One point to check is the south bridge on your mother board. The one on my PC is an ATI SB400, and using the disk through this is very slow. Connected to one of my laptops its about twice as quick. If the USB performance on you motherboard is poor you may do well to invest in a seperate USB card.

Just my 2p worth.

Robert Murphy
August 18, 2006 2:02:38 PM

I have my 5 external HDD's stacked on top of each other, 2 of them have fans... wait wait.. I have 6 external HDD's... yeah... Either way, since 4 of them are passive and so close together, I went to walmart and bough a desk fan to cool them... Here they are

4 200 gig - Bytecc, Coolmax, Coolmax, Penguin Gear
1 250 gig - Coolmax
1 300 gig - Coolmax

The starfish shaped coolmax cooler works pretty well, I like it a lot, odd shape though, goes at the top of my stack. The alumminum ones do tend to get hot, which are the other 3 coolmax ones. The Bytecc was the first one I bought, was plastic, and has a little fan, can't hear it, but dunno how cooling is because its plastic, although the outside doesn't feel very hot.

The Penguin Gear fan is also pretty quiet, and doesn't get as hot as the passive alumminum Coolmax ones. All these fans are pretty quiet, because they all go at low rpms due to the fact that HDD's don't need much cooling power.

Get a WD Hdd because their the quietest and coolest, and get an alumminum cooler with an active fan. Otherwise your paying an additional $50 premium if you buy a complete solution from those companies.

Another thing, I've had HDD's from all across the board. I like Seagate the best because of the 5 year warranty and the fact that none of them have died. I had a Maxtor die on me, a 200 gig, but they replaced it with a 250 gig, which was good for them. WD and Hitachi are both still running fine for me, so meh... HDD choices for me depend more on price more than anything, whichever company has the better deals at the time.

And I've never had an enclosure die on me because most of them are just metal boxes...
August 18, 2006 2:05:23 PM

If you have an available SATA port on the motherboard and an open PCI or PCIe slot, you could get something like this and the SATA drive of your choice. External SATA drives have equal performance to internal ones, because it's only an extension of the internal interface without the need for an additional controllerl. If don't have SATA you can use something like this and your choice of IDE drive. Read reviews, shop around, etc.
August 18, 2006 2:57:14 PM

After having a fanless external enclosure die on me I've learned it's best to get external enclosures that have fans in them. So far I've have excellent service from two of these:Venus DS3 External 3.5, you can read a review of them at EXTREME Overclocking.
August 19, 2006 5:20:23 PM

I'm actually connecting it to an NSLU2 NAS device, in my front room, so it's going to be on all the time. Hence I don't really want a noisey one, because, for example, I might be watching a quiet bit in a moive.

I'd just assumed drive enclosures would be be a more expensive way to do it, so I didn't even investigate. I've found a combination that looks like a bit of a bargain compared to my noisy pre-assembled unit, so I might call up the place on Monday and ask them more.

I was considering getting a screwdriver and disconnecting the fan, until I read PcCashCow's post. Maybe I'm better off trying to get my money back, or store credit, or something like that - the drive was advertised as "Ultra quiet", so I should be entitled to something.
September 3, 2006 3:03:36 PM

Bugger. I cooked my hard drive! It turns out active cooling is a really good idea... Any suggestions for what I can do with my new brick?
!