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These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording
system inside SPCR's own 11
dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s.
We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from
the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what
we heard during the review.
These recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the product sounds
in actual use one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer
or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient
noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness of the subject. Be aware
that very quiet subjects may not be audible if we couldn't hear it from
one meter, chances are we couldn't record it either!
The recordings start with 5 to 10 seconds of ambient noise, then 10 second
segments of the drive in the following states: idle, seek with AAM enabled (if
applicable), and seek with AAM disabled.
The Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.C and WD Caviar Blue are the quietest 7200 RPM drives we've tested when idle. When seeking, the Deskstar's noise output is fairly low, while the Caviar Blue is more or less average. However, our sample Hitachi generates a great deal of vibration that makes it unsuitable noise-wise unless you utilize a hard drive suspension system. This hard-mounted Deskstar will shake the hard drive cage and the rest of the case and likely cause resonance effects that are far more undesirable than the noise emitted by the drive alone. Without suspension, the Caviar Blue is the better choice.
If speed is a priority, the Deskstar seems to be slightly faster overall than the Caviar Blue, barely edging it out in our tests. Neither drive can compare to a WD's Caviar Black or latest VelociRaptors, but they perform better than the 5400/5900 RPM "green" drives currently on the market. They are not as energy efficient, but that shouldn't be a deciding factor unless you plan on deploying a large number of drives. Between the two, the Caviar Blue uses a bit more power than the Deskstar when idle, but less when seeking.
If your system requires 500GB+ of fast but quiet storage, the best configuration would be a SSD large enough to fit your operating system and commonly used applications and a "green" drive for storing the rest of your data. SSDs of course produce no measurable noise and the acoustics of "green" hard drives simply can't be beat. Unfortunately this combination is fairly expensive because the price of solid state storage is still many times that of the magnetic variety. The latest generation of VelociRaptors might be quiet enough for some (if you're willing to remove the heatsink and void the warranty), but they, too, cost a good chunk of change.
Despite all the changes and product variation in mass storage over the recent years, the Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.C and WD Caviar Blue 1TB drives prove that the good old 7200 RPM hard drive still has a place in the world. Both drives offer a good mix of capacity, performance, and noise, and best of all they retail for around US$60. The only alternative in the same price range is a larger capacity but slower "green" drive.
Many thanks to Hitachi and Western
Digital for the Deskstar 7K1000.C 1TB and Caviar Blue 1TB
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SPCR Articles of Related Interest:
New high areal density 2-and-3 TB Greens from WD
Consumer SSD Battle: WD, Kingston, OCZ, Intel
WD Caviar Black 2TB & VelociRaptor 600GB
Samsung EcoGreen F4 &
Seagate Barracuda XT 2TB Hard Drives
Seagate Momentus XT: The Best of Both Worlds?
2TB EcoGreen F3 Hard Drive
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this article in the SPCR Forums
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