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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.
Each recording starts with ambient noise, then 10 second segments of product
at various states. For the most realistic results,
set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then
don't change the volume setting again while comparing all the sound files.
The HDD Vibration Killer is one of the rare products that actually lives up to its claims. It doesn't reduce or dampen hard drive vibration it actually does kill it. In our case, it took three of our louder tested hard drives and eliminated the vibrations they passed into the case using the stock hard drive mounting system. Not only did it reduce the amount of noise generated by our test system, it also improved the quality of the acoustics the machine sounded noticeably better, smoother and more pleasant. The Cooler Master Silencio 450 we used was modified to reduce its sensitivity to vibration, so a greater improvement would be experienced in a a more vibration-prone case. If you have never experienced the absence of HDD-induced hum in a computer, you'd be surprised what a treat in can be. Even if the measured SPL reduction is small, the subjective result can be dramatic.
While quieter, the drives ran hotter in the 5.25" bays. We saw drive temperatures of about 50°C, an increase of 8~10°C, but it should be noted that our test system was designed specifically to be thermally challenging; Most machines have more cooling than our test configuration. Our only real complaint is that the floppiness of the adapters makes them difficult to install in the tight confines of 5.25" bays. Lining up the holes after one side is screwed is particularly challenging with the hard drives weighing the entire assembly down.
Enclosure devices like the Scythe Quiet Drive may do a better job of quieting the airborne noise of hard drives but the majority of modern drives are pretty quiet to begin with. Vibration, especially during seek, is much less effectively damped by such enclosure devices, which also require a single unit for each drive while the HDD Vibration Killer can handle three or four drives for a similar price, making it an excellent value. Another alternative is to simply string up your own suspension system using a material like elastic cord. It's a more affordable choice but it may require some case modification (drilling holes) and isn't as secure.
The HDD Vibration Killer can currently be ordered in Europe from Tiché PC for € 23.36 (€ 19.47 excluding VAT), but currently isn't available in North America, though this could change as ZoranICS is seeking resellers. (Interested parties please contact them directly.)
Our thanks to ZoranICS and Tiché PC for the HDD Vibration Killer sample.
ZoranICS HDD Vibration Killer is Recommended by SPCR.
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POSTSCRIPT: Assembly Errata
A few hours after the review was posted, we received the following email from ZoranICS:
"Nice review ;) and thank you again.
"One note though... you got the assembly a bit wrong - thus the installation too. You have to slide the upper killer underneath the top drive fastening screws - they fit in the notches that are on the top side of the killer - On the 3pack. Also, the wider rubber should be on the data/power connectors side of the drives, and should not be rotated as the drives don't have their center of mass in the geometrical center.
"I understand, that this is my fault, as the manual was criticized before. I am working on a better one with pictures.
"Please see them attached."
This photo shows the correct way to mount the upper Killer bracket. We mounted it too high, and "backwards".
Note the more even position of the top and bottom "springs" in this correctly mounted HDD Vibration Killer on three drives.
Hence the review comments about the extra tension on the bottom springs were reflective of our error in assembly and mounting. It should have been mentioned in the review the assembly instructions need major improvement. They were extremely difficult to read and see, printed on a sheet in a tiny font with tiny images, so we simply ignored them and trusted our own instincts.
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this article in the SPCR Forums.
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