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QUIETEST 7200rpm hard drive on the market?

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September 15, 2002 6:52:45 PM

Does Seagate still have the quietest hard drives in the world or will Maxtor's new line of upcoming hard drives be even quieter?
September 16, 2002 1:49:07 AM

i believe seagate have the edge. they have been producing fluid bearing drives for longer than maxtor, and do some very impressive baracuda drives.


<b><font color=green>A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kickboxing! :lol:  </b></font color=green>
September 16, 2002 4:11:35 AM

Alright. Well I'm trying to decide if I should get 2 Barracuda IVs or 2 Maxtor Diamondmax Plus 8 40GB hard drives.
But does the amount of heads and platters in a hard drive affect noise level? Looking at the specs of both hard drives Seagate has 2 heads while Maxtor only has 1.
Related resources
September 16, 2002 4:43:49 AM

mmmm in my experience head seek noise is pretty independent of spin noise, and ive found my maxtor D740X to have a rather noticable 'scratchy' seek... far louder than my 60gxp or 800JB, which have low pitched seeks that blend into the general PC noise.


<b><font color=green>A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kickboxing! :lol:  </b></font color=green>
September 16, 2002 6:06:11 AM

I'm not sure if you have a seagate drive before but you'd still consider it to be quieter than Maxtor than right?

Everything with Seagate sounds promising but I just don't really want to buy the hard drives and have them sent to Seagate to be replaced with RAID compatible ones... Because the regular Seagate Barracuda IV's have RAID compatibility issues and don't work well in RAID set ups..


My goal really is trying to make the quietest PC as possible while still having high performance..

Well in your opinion would you rather go for a 8mb cache Western Digital hard drive without RAID 0 or would you rather get 2 quiet Seagate hard drives in a RAID 0 setup?
September 16, 2002 6:53:08 AM

i have no opinion on the performance of the seagates in raid sorry.

as for seagates vs JB's, i would definately go for the JB's cauz of thier performance, but then again im not trying for the quietest PC around. my JB really isnt that loud with idle, but it may be for you.

<b><font color=green>A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kickboxing! :lol:  </b></font color=green>
September 16, 2002 7:03:04 AM

If you are going to use the Baracuda for RAID0, make sure you state that when you purchase. The standard version has performance problems with RAID0, but Seagate has released some new drives (or new firmware, I dont know the details) that solves this issue.

Regarding choise of HD, I would recommend the WD800JB. I have two of those in RAID0 and they are extremely noiseless. Significantly less noise than my previous IBM 60GXP. And thats goes for idle as well as seek noise.
September 16, 2002 11:26:34 AM

Here are some figures about idle noise from <A HREF="http://www.storagereview.com" target="_new">storage review</A>. Note that it includes 5400rpm and SCSI models.

Rank - Drive Name - Model - dB
1 - Seagate U6 (80 GB ATA-100) - ST380020A - 38.8
2 - Seagate Barracuda 36ES2 (37 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - ST336938LW - 39.3
3 - Seagate Barracuda ATA IV (80 GB ATA-100) - ST380021A - 41.3
4 - Maxtor DiamondMax 536DX (100 GB ATA-100) - 4W100H6 - 41.5
5 - Western Digital Caviar WD800AB (80 GB ATA-100) - WD800AB - 43.7
6 - Samsung SpinPoint P40 (80 GB ATA-100) - SP8004 - 44.5
7 - Seagate Cheetah 36ES (36 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - ST336706LW - 44.6
8 - Samsung SpinPoint V30 (60.0 GB ATA-100) - SV6004H - 45.0
9 - Western Digital Caviar WD800JB (80.0GB ATA-100) - WD800JB - 45.0
10 - Seagate Cheetah 15K.3 (73 GB Ultra320 SCSI) - ST373453LW - 45.1
11 - Maxtor DiamondMax D540X (160 GB ATA-133) - 4G160J8 - 45.5
12 - IBM Deskstar 120GXP (120 GB ATA-100) - IC35L120AVVA07 - 45.8
13 - IBM Deskstar 60GXP (60.0 GB ATA-100) - IC35L060AVER07 - 45.9
14 - Maxtor DiamondMax Plus D740X (80 GB ATA-133) - 6L080J4 - 46.3
15 - Quantum Fireball Plus AS (60.0 GB ATA-100) - QMP60000AS-A - 46.5
16 - Seagate Barracuda 36ES (36 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - ST336737LW - 46.7
17 - Samsung SpinPoint P20 (40.0 GB ATA-100) - SP4004H - 47.0
18 - Western Digital Caviar WD1000BB (100 GB ATA-100) - WD1000BB - 47.1
19 - Western Digital Caviar WD1200BB (120 GB ATA-100) - WD1200BB - 47.1
20 - Western Digital Caviar WD1200JB (120 GB ATA-100) - WD1200JB - 47.3
21 - Western Digital Caviar WD1000BB-SE (100 GB ATA-100) - WD1000BB--SE 47.4
22 - Seagate Cheetah X15-36LP (36.7 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - ST336752LW - 48.1
23 - Seagate Cheetah 10K.6 (146 GB Ultra320 SCSI) - ST3146807LW - 48.5
24 - Quantum Atlas V (36.7 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - QM336700XC-LW - 49.2
25 - Fujitsu MAM3367 (36 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - MAM3367 - 49.3
26 - Fujitsu MAN3735 (73 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - MAN3735 - 49.3
27 - Seagate Barracuda 180 (180 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - ST1181677LWV - 49.8
28 - Maxtor Atlas 10k III (73 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - KW073L8 - 50.1
29 - Seagate Cheetah 73LP (73.4 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - ST373405LW - 50.1
30 - Seagate Cheetah 36XL (36.7 GB Ultra 160/m SCSI) - ST336705LW - 51.7
31 - IBM Ultrastar 73LZX (73 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - IC35L073UWD210 - 52.8
32 - IBM Ultrastar 36Z15 (36.7 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - IC35L036UCPR15-0 - 54.8
September 16, 2002 12:27:39 PM

What! Only 0.9 dB (about 10%) difference between 60GXP and WD800JB. I would have expected a LOT more (3-5 dB). I wonder if HD mounting brackets has a large influence on the noise from the HD. Otherwise I really cant explain why my new PC with WD800JB is much more noiseless that my previous with 60GXP.
September 16, 2002 5:53:27 PM

Don't really know how that noise stuff is measured or - more importantly - how human ear perceives those measured differences. However, IMO the case and mounting can make a big difference. Once upon time I had a *really* crappy AT case. HD rotation noise was prominent, and occasionally the case even started to <i>resonate</i> with the HD rotation noise. I mean, you could *feel* it in your fingertips when you touched the case. And when the CD kicked in... that POS case could have served as a definition of resonance cavity...


<font color=green>I haven't lost my mind. I know exactly where I left it.</font color=green>
September 17, 2002 4:00:31 AM

Well two hard drives in RAID 0 is generally better than a single hard drive though right? Or is that not true?

I'm not desperate for every single bit of performance right now but more on the noise issue..
September 17, 2002 4:12:03 AM

Yeah I already contacted Seagate a few weeks ago and they said if I buy their hard drives I can send them in to get them replaced with RAID 0 compatible ones.

And yes HD brackets CAN make a big difference in noise levels. Depending on what kind of brackets they are since you can now get HD brackets like the No Vibes III designed to reduce the vibrations from the hard drive thus reducing noise level...
September 17, 2002 5:14:31 AM

Quote:
Yeah I already contacted Seagate a few weeks ago and they said if I buy their hard drives I can send them in to get them replaced with RAID 0 compatible ones.

Hm. So it appears that the drives you can purchase still are the problematic ones, and you have to experience the problem before you can get them replaced. I would expect that the drives they have been manufacturing since they discovered the flaw to be fixed, so isnt it possible to get e.g. serial number of good drives, so you can check the one you purchase up front?

I have a <A HREF="http://www.chieftec.com/products/workstation/tx103.htm" target="_new">TX103</A> cabinet. I havent used anything special to mount the drives. Im very satisfied with it, and I can hardly hear the drives spinning or seeking.
September 17, 2002 5:26:28 AM

Yes they are only problematic if used in a RAID 0 setup. I doubt and don't think that Seagate would be fixing the problem as the Barracuda Vs are supposed to be out next month and I don't think they replace the drive but just update the hard drives you sent in with a new firmware and re-ship them back to you.
September 17, 2002 5:48:38 AM

well yes, typically 2 in raid0 have better performance, but if one dies you loose the data on both. plus you have to put up with the noise of 2 drives. (as you said noise is an issue)

<b><font color=green>A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kickboxing! :lol:  </b></font color=green>
September 18, 2002 3:32:53 AM

Ok yes back to the noise issue.
So one Western Digital Hard drive would be definitely quieter than 2 Seagate Barracuda's??

I'm not sure if hard drive and fan noise are measured the same way but someone said that this:
Decibels are logarithmic. If you had 10 fans at 30dB, that would be 40dB.

I'm not sure if it's true and that's why I ask...
September 18, 2002 5:51:52 AM

no idea on your first question.
but sound is logrithmic... a doubling of noise volume equals 10 more dBa.

<b><font color=green>A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kickboxing! :lol:  </b></font color=green>
September 18, 2002 12:43:44 PM

my two IBM 120GXP's are connected in RAID 0 and I connot hear them seek at all in comparison to my two Maxtor D740's also in RAID 0 which were so loud I think they could almost wake up the dead!

Computers remind me of Murphy's law:- whatever can go wrong, it's always associated with a computer!
September 18, 2002 1:30:34 PM

Well, I've never had much use for noise definitions in the acoustic sense, but here's my two cents on how it goes. Feel free to correct me, it's high time I learned some more about this stuff, instead of doing IMOs.

<i>Edited: forget the guesswork below and educate yourselves <A HREF="http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/sound/dbcon...." target="_new">here</A></i>. :smile:

Anyway, as far as I know, acoustic noise in dB is defined as
noise(dB) = 10 * log2(P/Q),

where P and Q are expressed in "power / unit area" (intensity). Q is human hearing threshold intensity. If P equals Q, log2(1) = 0, hence 0dB is perceived as silence.

If the noise intensity doubles, e.g from 2Q to 4Q, the acoustic noise expressed in decibels increases by 10dB: 10*log2(2) = 10dB, 10*log2(4) = 20dB.

Unfortunately, those raw intensity figures in dB tell very little about how loud a human being would <i>perceive</i> the noise to be. Noise spectrum is the determining factor there. E.g some very intense noise in the 25kHz - 30kHz band (ultrasound) wouldn't make any difference to you, but your dog might go berserk...

So, when talking in human terms, the measured noise intensity is first filtered using so called "A-filter" which emulates average human hearing curve. Hence, the "loudness" unit intended for humans is dBA. To my understanding, a human being would perceive a 10dBA increase in noise to be (roughly) twice as loud, just like LHGPooBaa said. To my understanding, whisper is about 30dBA and normal talk is about 60dBA.

I checked some Storage Review charts, and they seemed very confusing to me with their "dB/A @18mm" units. Chances are that they meant unfiltered intensity, measured at a 18mm distance from the noise source. The short distance, of course, serves to reduce the effects of ever-present ambient noise (like the PSU fan...)

If that's the case, those Storage Review measurements really don't mean all that much. In THG's reviews, Barracuda IV's idle spindle noise measured in dBA still seems to be the lowest. Compared against WD1200JB, it's 48.5dBA vs 54.8dBA. Got a 60GB 'cuda myself. I don't have anything up-to-date to compare it with, but IMO it is very quiet. I particularly like the quiet seek noise. Anyway, if you compare the spindle noise of two 'cudas to one WD1200JB, that (48.5+10)dBA = 58.5dBA vs 54.8dBA isn't too bad. Still, it's an individual thing in the end. Bel is a relative unit, and one's hearing curve certainly affects things a lot. Deaf people probably go for the highest performance. :smile:


<font color=green>I haven't lost my mind. I know exactly where I left it.</font color=green><P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Napoleon on 09/18/02 06:26 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
September 19, 2002 4:03:50 AM

Hmm wasn't there a small issue with the IBM hard drives? I'm not sure but it was a little while back where it wasn't suppose to be running for more than an X amount time am I right? Or I might just totally be wrong but to me IBM just puts their names on parts and sell for high prices. Another would be like Dell... My friend spent about $3000CDN just a couple weeks ago on a new 1.8GHZ Dell computer where I can get one for under $2000CDN.
September 19, 2002 4:09:28 AM

Thanks for the info. on the noise measurement. Seems a little confusing but I can figure it out.

Now as you showmed me that there's only a 3.7dbA noise level difference I'm not too sure if I'd benefit from a RAID 0 setup.

I mean what is the probabilty of a RAID 0 failure or a hard drive failure in a RAID 0 setup?

And how much more performance can I possibly get using two Barracuda IVs vs a 8MB cache WD hard drive....?
September 19, 2002 12:48:14 PM

Oh, those figures were IDLE noise btw. Not sure how much noise the Maxtor D740Xs make during read/write, but it is significant. I have 5 running here at work and never hear them, probably because of all the fans though. The 2 at home seem to make alot more noise though.
September 19, 2002 6:13:24 PM

Just to make sure that the misinformation in my previous post doesn't come back to haunt me: log10 is used for acoustic (deci)Bel calculations, <b>not</b> log2. That doesn't change the principle, but sure does affect the numeric values. Regardless, a 10dBA increase is perceived to be "twice as loud". And JND (Just Noticeable Difference) is 1dBA.

noise(dB) = 10 * log10(P/Q)

Due to log10, the increased noise from additional drives would be:

10 * log10(n) dBA

where n is the number of drives. So, having two 'cudas (n=2) would up the idle noise to:
10*log10(2)dBA + 48.5dBA = 3dBA + 48.5dBA = 51.5dBA

Four 'cudas would be
10*log10(4)dBA + 48.5dBA = 6dBA + 48.5dBA = 54.5dBA

Sooo, when you compare four 'cudas to a single WD1200JB (54.8dBA), they would sound equally noisy (0.3dB is below JND level). Go for RAID0+1 with 'cudas... :smile:

BTW, I took the dBA values above from some THG chart. Anyway, it seems that comes to acoustic noise and deciBels, any given value should be taken with a grain of salt. First off, unweighed intensity values expressed in dB are largely meaningless. Better make sure the noise figures are given in dBA.

To complicate things even more, the deciBel figure can be measured in (at least) two ways, namely by measuring sound intensity or sound pressure. Pressure method is dependent from the measurement distance, intensity method is not. One has to be very careful to ensure an apples-to-apples comparison. Even then, if you're in the habit of cranking up your stereos while you're working at your comp or work in an otherwise noisy environment, A-contour no longer applies. Should be B- or even C-contour (dBB and dBC)... :frown:


<font color=green>I haven't lost my mind. I know exactly where I left it.</font color=green><P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Napoleon on 09/19/02 09:25 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
September 19, 2002 11:26:17 PM

Okay thanks for all the information! I only need one equation. 10 * log10(n). That's all that's really important and to have things in dbA not db...

Well thinking bout RAID 0+1 but it kind of wastes two hard drives.. I mean would I be at a high risk of a hard drive failure if I took 4 hard drives and put them in a RAID 0?

Well I might start with 4 Barracuda's now or maybe start with just 2 and move up to 4 later on but I'm not running a critcal server or anything I just want the quietest operation possible with performance...
And I think I'll wait till maybe November when the Barracuda Vs come out because they are already RAID compatible..


I'm having a little trouble using that equation for noise.
Are you sure it's not: 10log(n) + (y)?
where (n= number of devices) and (y=dbA level)...

I tried calculating your example of the 2 and 4 cudda's and I'm getting 68.5 and 88.5dbA which I think is a little too high?..

Maybe just a typo?..<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Vince604 on 09/19/02 09:56 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
September 20, 2002 6:42:13 AM

Quote:
I mean would I be at a high risk of a hard drive failure if I took 4 hard drives and put them in a RAID 0?

I can live with 2 drives in RAID0. 3 makes me nervous but 4 scares the hell out of me. With all the stories of failing harddrives I think the risk is too high regardless of brand and type of drive.
Quote:
or maybe start with just 2 and move up to 4 later on but I'm not running a critcal server or anything I just want the quietest operation possible with performance...

If you change the array configuration (stripe size or width, e.g. number of drives) you have to reformat it. You cannot just add drives and retain the data on the existing drives.
Quote:
I'm having a little trouble using that equation for noise.
Are you sure it's not: 10log(n) + (y)?

I rather stay out of the noise calculation discussion. But I would like to point out that there is no unique equation for calculating the sum of noise. It depends on whether the noise is correlated or uncorrelated. If the sources are 100% correlated you get twice the sound level/pressure, otherwise you get somewhat less depending on the amount of correlation. Now, two harddrives are not complete correlated but they are not completely uncorrelated either.
September 20, 2002 10:06:54 AM

Quote:
I'm having a little trouble using that equation for noise.
Are you sure it's not: 10log(n) + (y)?
where (n= number of devices) and (y=dbA level)...

Yes, the <i>total</i> noise from n identical HDs is 10*log(n) + y, where n is the number of identical drives and y is the dBA noise of one drive. My notation probably got you confused, I used "log10" to denote a 10-base logarithm. So, in my notation log10(10) = 1. Too bad there aren't super/subscript tags available in the forum... Anyway, since it's already established that 10-based logarithm is what we need, let's use your "10*log(n) + y". Less confusing that way.

To calculate <i>additional</i> dBA for n identical drives:
10*log(1) = 0dBA
10*log(2) = 3.0dBA
10*log(3) = 4.8dBA
10*log(4) = 6.0dBA
10*log(5) = 7.0dBA
10*log(6) = 7.8dBA
10*log(7) = 8.5dBA
10*log(8) = 9.0dBA
10*log(9) = 9.5dBA
10*log(10) = 10dBA

So, if the noise from one drive was, say, 48.5dBA (y = 48.5dBA), four of them would produce 48.5dBA + 6.0dBA = 54.5dBA. As HammerBot pointed out, possible correlation between the noise sources hasn't been taken into account here. But I assumed that the worst case is what you're interested in anyway, Murphy's law and all. Introducing some sort of correlation coefficients here would only make things hideously complicated.

Also note that your CPU/case/PSU fans probably are the most significant noise source even if you max out on the HDs. Having e.g eight 'cudas would only bring the HD noise to 48.5dBA + 9dBA = 57.5dBA. In the recent THG <A HREF="http://www17.tomshardware.com/cpu/02q3/020916/cooler-57..." target="_new"> cooler test</A>, the loudest coolers "scored" a whopping 67dBA - that's "twice as loud" as eight 'cudas! Assuming that an apples-to-apples comparison can be made with various THG charts, of course.

And that's whole lotta assuming, boys'n'girls, given how little THG or anyone else cares to explain about the measurement method, equipment, environment and so on. Don't see them quoting any <i>standard</i> like ISO-7779, though.


<font color=green>I haven't lost my mind. I know exactly where I left it.</font color=green><P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Napoleon on 09/20/02 01:42 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
September 20, 2002 4:48:35 PM

Hmm I guess I'll stick with RAID0 using 2 drives then.
Well I just looked at THG benchmarks from the new Samsung Hard drive review and the Barracuda IV seems to almost at the bottom when it comes to write perfromance..
And how does the Burst Transfer rates work? seeing that it can get up to 81.5MB/s..
September 20, 2002 4:57:08 PM

Burst rate gives the transfer speed to/from the HD's cache over the IDE cable. It's your ATA100 or ATA133 speed minus some overhead. Basically pretty meaningless figure...


<font color=green>I haven't lost my mind. I know exactly where I left it.</font color=green>
September 20, 2002 4:59:35 PM

Oh okay then I see.. Yeah just that 10 got me a little confused a bit.

So far right now I have 5 Papst fans for my case and they are at 12dbA each and I have a Panaflo 92mm fan at 30dbA for my CPU..

My PSU I'm not sure how it'll turn out but I'll be ordering a Enermax EG465AX PSU later on when I have some money...
But other than that I think it'll be what I've been always wanting...
September 20, 2002 5:19:18 PM

Correction: doesn't have much meaning unless you have two HDs in a master/slave configuration. There, e.g two ATA100 drives operated more or less in parallel would have to share the bandwith, basically leaving 50MB/s burst speed for each. Since it's a master/slave type of thing, could be that the master has the right of way and the slave will just have to cope with what's left.

If you're planning a master/slave RAID thing with the HDs, better check out the legacy performance of the drive, e.g in <A HREF="http://www.storagereview.com" target="_new">Storage Review</A> or <A HREF="http://www.xbitlabs.com/storage/seagate-barracuda-ata4/" target="_new">X-bit Labs</A>. As you can see, the legacy performance of Barracuda IVs (ATA33 and ATA66) sucks, big time. Dunno, that just could be why they haven't done so well in RAID performance tests. If you have a dedicated channel for each 'cuda, shouldn't be a problem.


<font color=green>I haven't lost my mind. I know exactly where I left it.</font color=green>
September 20, 2002 6:04:23 PM

Wow, your fans sound like a quiet bunch, so you'll probably want to complement them with real quiet HD's. Just a couple of notes on the Samsung drives...

First, they seem to do very well for 5400rpm drives. Put them in a RAID0, and you'll get very decent sustained transfer rates. Still, it's a 5400rpm drive, so real-life seek times will be slower than in 7200rpm drives due to bigger rotational latency (5.6ms vs 4.2ms). RAID will not help there.

Second, those THG charts dealt with idle (rotational) noise. Seek noise may be a different thing altogether. To quote the conclusion in that Samsung article:
Quote:
Samsung drive really is extremely quiet when in operation, so that if you have it built into a PC case, and when it is not being accessed, then you practically cannot hear it.

I can't really decipher what that little statement means in terms of seek noise, but good luck trying to figure it out...

On a final note, check out the 'Cuda IV noise level measurements in the <A HREF="http://www.tomshardware.com/storage/02q3/020920/samsung..." target="_new">Samsung</A> article vs the <A HREF="http://www.tomshardware.com/storage/02q1/020305/wd1200-..." target="_new">WD1200JB</A> article I was quoting earlier. 57dB vs. 48.5dB, well who cares, it's only 8.5dBA difference, who whould even notice... doesn't look like <i>reproducible</i> noise level measurements are THG's strong suit.


<font color=green>I haven't lost my mind. I know exactly where I left it.</font color=green>
September 21, 2002 4:49:59 AM

Oh no I heard you can lose 20% of performance if you put 2 hard drives on the same channel for a RAID setup. I will be using the HighPoint Rocket Raid 404 that has 4 seperate channels where I'll put two barracuda's on 2 seperate channels so each will be a master..

I wouldn't bother going into Raid if I only had 1 master... It'd just be a waste of time.
September 21, 2002 5:03:57 AM

Yeah those Papst fans costed my a bunch though they are performing what I expected. Can barely hear a thing.

Well I can see the Samsung drives having a better 'Write Max MB/s' benchmark but on the other hand Seagate has the highest mark for 'Write Min MB/s' out of all the hard drives being in the test...

So the question really is which is more important?
Writing at max mb/s or the writing min. mb/s?..

Hmm now this has also got me thinking also! haha I mean does 'Drive Idle Time' and 'Drive Idle Noise' mean the exact same thing to them?.. One says 70dbA the other says 57dbA for a WD1200JB...

Well IMO every dbA counts because in the end everything adds up... But I'm maybe just a noise freak so it might not mean much to you guys.. haha.
September 21, 2002 11:48:22 AM

Well, my primary reason to choose 'cuda IV myself was the low noise and the best (or at least good) minimum performance. Then again, I'm a worst-case freak... your best bet would probably be to look for best average performance. The next rig I build will also be as quiet as it can be, so 'Cuda IV seemed like a well balanced choice for the future.

As for the noise measurement I'd say: same thing, but different measurement method, or conditions, or whatever. Is it a kite? Is it an airplane? Is it street traffic on steroids? No, it's a noise level measurement!

Basically, if you want results that are meaningful outside the scope of a single article, noise should be measured in some <A HREF="http://www.iso.org/iso/en/CatalogueDetailPage.Catalogue..." target="_new">standardized</A> way. Of course, there probably are several measurement standards for noise, but wouldn't it be great if HW sites picked one or the other and added a disclaimer like "Noise levels were measured according to ISO-7779 guidelines"? I have a dream...


<font color=green>I haven't lost my mind. I know exactly where I left it.</font color=green>
September 22, 2002 6:01:26 PM

Ah well I guess it's all about preference from here.
Just like if you went watercooling, it'd be almost completely silent but you have to maintain it and have a proper case for it, etc.

Yeah it'd actaully be a really good idea if they made a disclaimer of how the noise level was measured according to whatever standard they used. That's what they should have been doing since the first review they started with measuring noise!

But the noise level measurements does seem to get complex at times. And you have to pay to view one of the pdf documents? Boy everything requires money now a days...
September 23, 2002 1:22:26 AM

Another important factor thats not taken into consideratin with simple dBa measurements is pitch. two drives may have the same decibel noise reading, however if one is higher pitched than the other it will sound louder and high pitched noise is more irritating.
the same applies for seeks. my 60gxp and d740x probably had seeks of the same noise level, but the d740x was by far the most noticable due to its high pitched 'scratchy' sound. the 60gxp was low pitched, thus subjectivly more plesant on the ears and easier to 'tune out' or ignore.

<b><font color=blue>I prefer to blend into the background, because it's much easier to sneak up on people and disembowel them that way. Arr!</b></font color=blue>
September 23, 2002 1:47:07 AM

Umm, no. That applies to raw dB readings, but with dBA an effort has been made to take the effect of pitch into account. That's what the "A" (denoting <A HREF="http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/sound/acont...." target="_new">A-contour filtering</A>) is all about. As the link shows, A-filter amplifies the highly annoying 1kHz - 5kHz band.

I agree about seek noise, it can be a significant factor. After years of pavloving, I can pretty much ignore the steady hum from HD's and fans, but occasional "scratch, scratch, screech, screech" from the seeks bugged me to no end until I got my 'Cuda. :smile:


<font color=green>I haven't lost my mind. I know exactly where I left it.</font color=green>
September 23, 2002 1:57:57 AM

alllrighty. i stand corrected :smile:
i still dont think they take pitch into account ENOUGH though :wink:
whines are highly annoying. at any volume

<b><font color=blue>I prefer to blend into the background, because it's much easier to sneak up on people and disembowel them that way. Arr!</b></font color=blue>
September 23, 2002 2:15:17 AM

I'd agree. In the end, what's annoying and what's not depends on your individual hearing curve. Those contours are an average thing. You know what they say about averages: Averages try to please everybody and succeed in pleasing nobody. We also have a quaint little saying: "My feet are frozen solid and my hair is on fire, but on the average everything is just fine." :smile:

IMO averages generally suck.


<font color=green>I haven't lost my mind. I know exactly where I left it.</font color=green>
September 23, 2002 3:57:43 AM

well put!

<b><font color=blue>I prefer to blend into the background, because it's much easier to sneak up on people and disembowel them that way. Arr!</b></font color=blue>
September 24, 2002 4:33:18 AM

Just noticed an interesting thing, I was able to use IBM's <A HREF="http://www.storage.ibm.com/hdd/support/download.htm" target="_new">Feature tool</A> get some info on my Barracuda IV drive: FW version (3.10), serial number, SMART status and so on.

I was also able to adjust the Acoustic Management of my 'Cuda (seek noise). By default, it was set to max. quiet. When I disabled the AM, seek time improved a little. Unfortunately, the seeks also became noticeably louder. I guess I'll go back to some quieter setting, but if you're interested in wringing out every last bit of performance from your 'Cuda IV, give it a go. At your own risk, of course.


<font color=green>I haven't lost my mind. I know exactly where I left it.</font color=green>
September 25, 2002 3:56:08 AM

yer, i figured thats part of the reason why the maxtor is so loud & scratchy with it seeks... they be very fast.

infact when comparing my maxtor to my WD JB drive the only thing the maxtor is better at is seeking.

<b>"True communication is possible only between equals, because inferiors are consistently rewarded for telling their superiors pleasant lies than for telling the truth."</b>
September 25, 2002 7:02:58 AM

will a WD1200JB w/ one of those No Vibes III things be as quiet as those cuda's? Or even quieter? Cuz if its quieter, then it would be better than the cuda in performance and in noise levels.

does anyone know?

The greatest risk of all is not taking one!
September 25, 2002 10:59:31 PM

Ah I see... Heh this IBM tool would also work for other certain drives also maybe.. However I don't want to put any of my hard drives at risk. It can just turn into a disater if anything goes wrong.

Oh one thing bout the noise levels on hard drives again. Does the capacity of the hard drive make any difference? For example the Barracuda IV 80GB hard drive vs a Barracuda IV 40GB hard drive? I was looking at the datasheet earlier for the Barracuda IV series hard drives and noticed that there was a 0.3dbA difference between the 40 and 80GB hard drives. Was it because the 80GB had 2 discs and 4 heads while the 40GB only had 1 disc and 2 heads?
September 26, 2002 12:44:09 AM

Makes sense that the number of platters makes some difference in the rotational noise. From which datasheets did you get that 0.3dBA reading? It seems way too small. <A HREF="http://www.seagate.com/cda/products/discsales/personal/..." target="_new">This</A> Barracuda chart at Seagate suggests that there is a 4dB (0.4 Bel) increase in rotational noise when number of platters is increased from one to two.

Anyway, it wouldn't help you much to build 80GB using two 40GB 'Cudas. According to the previous calculation, two 40GB cudas would be +3dBA as opposed to single 40GB 'Cuda. The difference would only be 1dBA (JND threshold) in favour for 2x40GB. Taking the other noise sources in your comp/environment into account, that 1dBA would make just about as much difference as spitting into an ocean...


<font color=red><b><i>You want WHAT on the #$#%## CEILING?!</i></b></font color=red> -Michelangelo
September 26, 2002 1:50:37 AM

Oh yes whoops my bad. Yeah I made a mistake on the 0.3dbA. It's the the Performance Seek and Quiet Seek (bels - sound power).
And the chart the exact same one as you were looking at cept it was in PDF format. So if you just click the PDF version one it'd be what I was looking at.

Okay sorry but can you clear things up.. I don't understand what your saying bout "it wouldn't help you much to build 80GB using two 40GB 'Cudas"?
Is it bad to have two 40GB cudas in a RAID 0?..
and what is 'JND'?
September 26, 2002 2:24:52 AM

<A HREF="http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/sound/db.htm..." target="_new">JND</A> stands for Just Noticeable Difference. Anyway, no wonder I could hear the difference in performance vs quiet seek noise. That 3dBA is well above JND...

Having two 40GB cudas in RAID0 or whatever instead of having just one 80GB cuda wouldn't be noticeably quieter. But it would be faster, of course, due to RAID0. Nothing bad about it at all.

By the way, came up with this little acoustics <A HREF="http://www.seagate.com/docs/pdf/whitepaper/disc_acousti..." target="_new">PDF</A> in Seagate website. Oh yes, and X-bit Labs recently posted an article settings some things straight about <A HREF="http://www.xbitlabs.com/storage/barracuda-ata4-raid0/" target="_new">Barracudas and RAID0</A>.


<font color=red><b><i>You want WHAT on the #$#%## CEILING?!</i></b></font color=red> -Michelangelo
September 26, 2002 5:44:40 AM

Alright one of those noise standards again.

Oh okay I thought you were saying it's not going to make any difference between the two...
I understand.

Thanks for the sites! Especially the one on the Barracudas and RAID!.
September 26, 2002 2:42:15 PM

Wouldn't say standard, exactly. Just Seagate's POV on HD noise. Just wanted to point out how hideously complicated trustworthy noise level measurements can be. But I'm thinking, there's been enough noise about noise from my part. The more I look into the matter, the more confusing it gets. So I guess I'll stop looking... :smile:


<font color=red><b><i>You want WHAT on the #$#%## CEILING?!</i></b></font color=red> -Michelangelo
!