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Our samples were tested according to our standard
hard drive testing methodology. As of mid-2008, we have been conducting most acoustics tests in our own 10~11 dBA anechoic chamber, which results in more accurate, lower SPL readings than before, especially with <20 dBA@1m SPL. Our methodology focuses specifically on
noise, and great effort is taken to ensure it is comprehensively measured
and described. Performance is covered only lightly, for reasons discussed in detail in the methodology article.
Two forms of hard drive noise are measured:
- Airborne acoustics
- Vibration-induced noise.
These two types of noise impact the subjective
perception of hard drive noise differently depending on how and where the drive
Both forms of noise are evaluated objectively and
subjectively. Airborne acoustics are measured in our anechoic chamber using a lab reference
microphone and computer audio measurement system. Measurements are taken at a distance of one meter from the top
of the drive using an A-weighted filter. Vibration noise is rated on a scale
of 1-10 by comparing against our standard reference drives.
Summary of primary HDD testing tools:
Performance Test System:
Performance Test Tools:
- Boot: Time elapsed from pressing the power button to the desktop with all system tray icons loaded (minus the average time to get the "loading Windows" screen, 16 seconds)
- COD5: Load time for "Downfall" level.
- Far Cry 2: Load time for initial screen plus one level.
- ExactFile: Creating a MD5 check file of our entire test suite folder.
- TrueCrypt: Creating a 8GB encrypted file container.
- 3DMark06: Install time, longest interval between prompts.
- PowerDVD: Install time, longest interval between prompts.
- Small File Copy: Copy time for 1,278 files ranging from 10KB to 4MB
- Large File Copy: Copy time for 4 files, 2 x 700MB and 2 x 1400MB
A final caveat: As with most reviews, our comments
are relevant to the samples we tested. Your sample may not be identical. There
are always some sample variances, and manufacturers also make changes without
Ambient conditions at time of testing were 10.5 dBA and 22°C.
Our Seagate Barracuda 3TB sample rolled off the assembly line in November 2011.
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