Seagate Momentus 7200.1 100GB SATA notebook drive

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Our sample was tested according to our standard hard drive testing methodology. We focus mostly on HDD noise, and great effort is taken to ensure it is comprehensively measured and described. Performance is not tested, for reasons discussed in detail in the methodology article.

It was compared against our reference notebook drive, Samsung MP0402H, profiled in a recent notebook drive review.

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 is mounted.

Both forms of noise are evaluated objectively and subjectively. Both the subjective and objective analyses are essential to understanding the acoustics of the drives. Airborne acoustics are measured using a professional caliber SLM. Measurements are taken at a distance of one meter above 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.

Unfortunately, AAM (Automatic Acoustic Management) is not supported as a user-configurable option on the Momentus 7200.1, which means that our standard means of generating seek noise via the AAM test function in Hitachi's HDD Feature Tool could not be used. Instead, seek noise was generated by copying a large file set within the drive. Unfortunately, this task does not require as much random seeking as the AAM test, so seek noise was not as constant as usual. To compensate, we spent more time than usual listening to and measuring the seek noise.

A final caveat: As with most reviews, our comments are relevant to the sample we tested. Your sample may not be identical. There are always some sample variances, and manufacturers also make changes without telling everyone.

Ambient noise at the time of testing was 18 dBA.

Mfg date
firmware version
(10 = no vibration)
Activity State
Airborne Acoustics
Measured Power
Samsung MP0402H
April 2004
firmware UC100-10
17 [email protected]
0.8 W
Seek (AAM)
18 [email protected]
2.3 W
Seek (Normal)
19-20 [email protected]
2.4 W
Seagate Momentus 7200.1 ST910021AS
Date Code: 06101
firmware 3.04
21 [email protected]
1.7 W (heads unloaded)
2.9W (heads loaded)
Seek (Normal)
22-23 [email protected]
3.7 W

At 21 [email protected], the 7200.1 was slighter louder than most of the other notebook drives we've tested. The noise level was roughly on par with a quiet desktop drive, such as the Samsung Spinpoint P80. The quality of the noise was similar as well: Primarily, broadband air turbulence (whoosh) with a small amount of motor hum. There was no high frequency noise to speak of; no whine was present. By comparison, the Samsung MP0402H had much less broadband noise, but it produced a very slight high frequency whine perceptible from certain angles.

The level of vibration was also slightly higher than other tested notebook drives. It still qualifies as a low vibration drive when desktop drives are considered. The vibration level was very similar to the reference Samsung MP0402H drive, and I could not decide which had lower vibration even after several direct A/B comparisons.

Because of the high rotation speed, the 7200.1 vibrates at a higher frequency than most other notebook drives. The resonant frequency was also higher because of this: 120 Hz instead of 90 Hz. Because human hearing is more sensitive at 120 Hz than at 90 Hz, the vibration noise from the 7200.1 seemed a little higher than the MP0402H even though the vibration levels were almost identical. The low vibrational hum is the same pitch as an ordinary 7,200 RPM desktop drive.

The AAM status cannot be changed for the 7200.1, but this hardly matters as seeks are almost inaudible. Contrary to the measured noise level, I could barely distinguish the seek noise from the idle noise at a distance of one meter. Soft-mounting may help the seek noise, since I could clearly pick out the seek noise once the drive was placed on our vibration test box, but they were still quite muted. Although the seeks of the 7200.1 were a little louder than those of the MP0402H, they seemed quieter subjectively because they were closer to the idle noise level. They were also softer, with less high frequency noise and a less percussive "attack".

Probably because of its higher spindle speed, the power consumption was higher than other notebook drives we've measured. The idle power of 1.7W is a little more than twice that of the MP0402H. Likewise, the peak power consumption of seeks was 3.7W, watt higher than the Samsung drive.

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