Samsung EcoGreen F4 & Seagate Barracuda XT 2TB Hard Drives

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ACOUSTICS, VIBRATION & POWER

Samsung EcoGreen F4 2TB

The previous EcoGreen model, the F3, generated 15~16 dBA when idle and 18~19 dBA in our anechoic chamber at one meter's distance. Its overall noise level was disappointingly closer to that of a 7200 RPM drive. The F4 seems to have rectified the problem, whether due to an improved casing or simply the reduction in platters, the end result places it in good company.


The rotation of the platters causes a low frequency spike between 80 and 100 Hz, suggesting that the EcoGreen F4 spins at close to 5400 RPM.

Our F4 sample was very quiet, emitting only 13 dBA when idle and up to 15 dBA when seeking measured from one meter away. This is about on par with recent drives from Western Digital's Caviar Green series. The acoustics were very smooth when idle and seek activity was barely audible in the form of soft thumping. We have usually tested Samsung drives with AAM enabled as well, but that feature is now apparently locked.

2TB DRIVE COMPARISON
HDD
Mfg date
firmware version
Vibration
1-10
(10 = no vibration)
Activity State
Airborne Acoustics
(dBA@1m)
Measured
Power
WD Caviar Green 2TB WD20EADS
February 2009
firmware 01.00A01
7
Idle
13
6.4 W (4.0W heads unloaded)
Seek (AAM)
6.5 W
Seek
13~14
6.5 W
Samsung EcoGreen F4 2TB HD204UI
August 2010
firmware 1AQ10001
7
Idle
13
4.0 W
Seek
15
5.6 W
Seagate Barracuda LP 2TB ST32000542AS
June 2009
firmware CC32
6
Idle
14
4.7W
Seek
17
7.9W
Samsung EcoGreen F3 2TB HD203WI
May 2010
firmware 1AN10003
7
Idle
15~16
4.7 W
Seek (AAM)
17~18
6.1W
Seek
18~19
6.9 W

The shedding of the fourth platter did little to alter the level of vibration produced by newest EcoGreen, but it did give it a distinct power advantage. We're pleased to report it has the lowest power consumption of any high capacity (1TB or greater) drive we've tested. In idle it consumes only 4.0 W, the same amount as the WD Green 2TB with its heads unloaded. The F4 seems to be the just the ticket for users who want quiet, high efficiency drives but are paranoid about the frequent head-parking endemic to the Caviar Greens.

Seagate Barracuda XT 2TB


The Barracuda XT is fairly loud by desktop drive standards. At one meter's distance it measured 17 dBA idle and 18~19 dBA when seeking.

Being a high performance 7200 RPM drive, the Barracuda XT is much louder all around. Our drives (we received two from Seagate) had similar acoustics, measuring 17 dBA when idle and 18~19 dBA when seeking at one meter's distance, more or less comparable to the old 7200.11 series. However neither sample produced any whine or significant tonality, just a clearly audible but soft benign hissing when idle. It was much worse during seek activity when they emitted sharp, pronounced clicking noises.

COMPARABLE DRIVES
HDD
Mfg date
firmware version
Vibration
1-10
(10 = no vibration)
Activity State
Airborne Acoustics
(dBA@1m)
Measured
Power
Seagate Barracuda XT 2TB ST32000651AS
May 2010
firmware CC13
7/8
Idle
17
7.0 W
Seek
18~19
7.9 W
Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB ST31500341AS
October 2008
firmware SD17
4
Idle
17
8.8 W
Seek
19
10.7 W
WD Caviar Black 1TB WD1001FALS
July 2008
firmware 05.00K05
4
Idle
21
8.5 W
Seek (AAM)
10.9 W
Seek
25
11.0 W

While the XT isn't any quieter than previous models 7200 RPM Barracudas, the level of vibration has been cut down a great deal. One of the samples scored a 7 on our subjective vibration scale, while the other scored an impressive 8. For comparison, we recently received shipment of six WD Caviar Green drives with similar results — half of them were 7 while the other half were 8.

Power consumption has also been dialed down, 7W when idle and about 8W during seek, very low for a 7200 RPM four-platter drive.



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