Western Digital Green 1.5TB vs. Seagate 7200.12 500GB

Storage
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ACOUSTICS

WD Caviar Green 1.5TB

Acoustically, the 3-platter Caviar Green was excellent, indiscernible from the 2TB model. At idle, it measured 13 dBA@1m, only 2 dBA above our anechoic chamber's noise floor and 14 dBA@1m when seeking. Sitting on foam to take vibration out of the equation, its noise profile was broadband and completely benign. Seeks were very soft and only audible within a couple of feet of the drive. With AAM enabled, there was no measurable or subjective difference, whether idle or during seek activity.


WD Caviar Green 1.5TB idle.

WD Caviar Green 1.5TB seeking. Peak caused by rotation circled in purple.

When seeking, our analysis showed a low frequency peak between 90 and 100Hz, suggesting the drive is under 6000rpm, though it's hard to pinpoint exactly what the spindle speed is with a peak so low. Influence from ambient noise could have affected the peak as our anechoic chamber is not very sound proof below ~150Hz.

Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500GB


A camera battery was used to muffle the drive's "hollowness."

The potential problem of reduced mass around the casing causing resonance or vibration noise issues did crop up here. The 500GB 7200.12 produced a clearly audible hollow sound effect akin to someone blowing gently into an empty can of soda. Frequency analysis showed it manifesting in the form of a large, sharp peak at around 350Hz. To get rid of this annoyance, all we had to do was place an object on top of the top surface anywhere from the bottom of the label to the center. We chose to simply lay a digital camera battery over the drive to muffle it, but anything with a bit of appreciable weight would do. A flat eraser would be an excellent choice if the drive were suspended as the elastic could press the two surfaces together.


500GB 7200.12 idle.

500GB 7200.12 idle, muffled.

In its unmodified state, the drive measured 18 dBA@1m when idle and 19~20 dBA@1m during seek which is fairly high by modern standards. Muffled, it dropped down to 16 and 18 dBA@1m idle and seek, respectively, a typical level for a 7200rpm drive. The noise character was very similar to the 7200.11 series, audible but unobtrusive when idle, but with very sharp seeks.



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