Recommended Hard Drives

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GUIDE to the TABLES

A Cautionary Note: For a truly quiet computer, many 3.5" drives vibrate a bit too much to simply bolt into the case normally. Having suspended or soft-mounted all of the hard drives in our systems for many years, our position is that most 3.5" drives benefit from such treatment. For us, this often applies to 2.5" drives as well, but it may be due to our hypersensitivity (cultivated?) to PC noise, and the low ambient acoustics of our environment.

Drive: Manufacturer and model number.

Mfg date: Date of manufacture of our sample model.

Firmware: Firmware version of our sample model.

Vibration: The level of vibration produced by the drive at idle, evaluated relative to standard reference drives on our standard vibration box. 10 = zero vibration, 1 = jackhammer level.

Airborne Acoustics: The measured decibel level, A-weighted (dBA), at 1m distance, during idle and seek, with AAM enabled and disabled (when this is a switchable option).

Power Consumption: The amount of power in watts used by the drive. Can be used to gauge thermal behavior.

NOTE: Only HDDs that were tested (or retested) in SPCR's anechoic chamber are listed in this guide (post-2008). This does not mean that previously tested and recommended HDDs are not quiet, only that we lack sufficiently accurate acoustic data to put them in context. Keep in mind that drives that date back more than a couple years may be discontinued.

5,400 ~ 5,900 DESKTOP HARD DRIVES
Drive
Mfg date
firmware version
Vibration
(10 = no vibration)
Activity
Airborne Acoustics
(dBA@1m)
Measured
Power
WD Caviar Green 2TB WD20EARS
August 2010
firmware 01.00A01
9
Idle
12~13
2.8 W (2.4 W heads parked)
Seek
6.5 W
Samsung EcoGreen F4 2TB HD204UI
August 2010
firmware 1AQ10001
7
Idle
13
4.0 W
Seek
15
5.6 W
WD Caviar Green 2TB WD20EVDS-63T3B0
February 2009
firmware 01.00A01
8~9
Idle
13~14
3.9 W
Seek
6.5 W
WD Red 3TB WD30EFRX-68AX9N0
June 2012
firmware 80.00A80
9
Idle
13~14
3.6 W
Seek
4.9 W
WD Caviar Green 2TB WD20EADS
February 2009
firmware 01.00A01
7
Idle
14
2.8 W (2.4 W heads parked)
Seek
13~14
6.5 W
WD Caviar Green 3TB WD30EZRS
September 2010
firmware 01.00A01
8
Idle
14~15
4.1 W (3.7 W heads parked)
Seek
7.5W
WD Red 4TB
WD40EFRX-68WT0N0

August 2013
firmware 80.00A80
8~9
Idle
15
4.0 W (3.2 W heads parked)
Seek
15~16
6.2 W
Hitachi Deskstar 5K3000 2TB HDS5C3020ALA632
April 2011
firmware 580
7
Idle
14~15
4.1W
Seek
15
5.6 W
Seagate Barracuda Green 2TB ST2000DL003
November 2010
firmware CC31
8
Idle
14~15
4.6 W
Seek
17~18
7.3 W
WD Red 6TB
WD60EFRX-68MYMN1
July 2014
firmware 82.00A8
8
Idle
14~15
4.4 W
Seek
18
5.4 W
Seagate NAS 4TB ST4000VN000-1H4168
September 2013
firmware SC43
7~9
Idle
15
4.8 W (4.1 W heads parked)
Seek
16~17
5.5 W

 

7200(+) RPM DESKTOP HARD DRIVES
Drive
Mfg date
firmware version
Vibration
(10 = no vibration)
Activity
Airborne Acoustics
(dBA@1m)
Measured
Power
Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.C 1TB HDS721010CLA332
February 2010
firmware JP4OA39C
5
Idle
13
4.6 W
Seek (AAM)
15~16
6.4 W
Seek
17
9.6 W
WD Caviar Blue 1TB WD10EALS-002BA0
August 2010
firmware 05.01D05
7
Idle
14
5.2 W
Seek (AAM)
16~17
6.6 W
Seek
20
8.2 W
Seagate Barracuda 3TB ST3000DM001-9YN166
November 2011
firmware CC47
8
Idle
16
6.4 W
(5.6 W after 30s)
(3.9 W after 50s)
Seek
16~17
9.9 W
WD Se 4TB WD4000F9YZ-09N20L0
October 2013
firmware 01.01A01
7
Idle
16
8.1 W
Seek
18~19
9.7 W
Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 2TB HDS723020BLA642
August 2011
firmware MNGOA5C0
5
Idle
17
5.3 W
Seek
18
7.8 W
Seagate Barracuda XT 2TB ST32000651AS
May 2010
firmware CC13
7~8
Idle
17
7.0 W
Seek
18~19
7.9 W
WD VelociRaptor
300GB
WD3000GLFS
May 2008
firmware 03.03V01
(bare drive)
7
Idle
15
3.9 W
Seek (AAM)
20
5.7 W
Seek
22
6.2 W
WD VelociRaptor 600GB WD6000HLHX
August 2010
firmware 04.05G04
7
[bare]
Idle
[14~15]
17~18
4.2 W
[bare] Seek
[20~22]
24~26
5.5 W
WD VelociRaptor 1TB WD1000DHTZ-04N21V0
March 2012
firmware 04.06A00
7
[bare]
Idle
[16~17]
18
4.0 W
[bare]
Seek
[27]
32
5.3 W
Seagate Enterprise v4 6TB ST6000NM0024-1HT17Z
May 2014
firmware SN02
3
Idle
19~20
7.5 W
Seek
20~21
9.2 W

 

2.5" HARD DRIVES
Drive
Mfg date
firmware version
Vibration
(10 = no vibration)
Activity
Airborne Acoustics
(dBA@1m)
Measured
Power
WD Scorpio Blue 500GB WD5000LPVT-22G33T0
March 2012
firmware 01.01A01
8
Idle
12
0.79 W (0.69 W heads parked)
Seek
14~15
1.65 W
WD Red 1TB
WD10JFCX-68N6GN0
August 2013
firmware 01.01A01
8
Idle
13~14
0.92 W (0.79 W heads parked)
Seek
14
1.95 W
Seagate Momentus XT 500GB ST95005620AS
June 2010
firmware SD22
7
Idle
13~14
1.34 W (1.16 W heads parked)
Seek
14~15
2.08 W
Hitachi Travelstar
5K500.B 500GB

February 2009
firmware PB4OC60G
8
Idle
14
0.7 W (0.6 W heads parked)
Seek
15
2.2 W
Seagate Momentus 7200.4 500GB ST9500420AS
March 2009
firmware 0002SDM1
7
Idle
14
1.1 W (0.9 W heads parked)
Seek
15
2.35 W
Seagate Momentus
750GB
ST9750420AS
October 2010
firmware 0001SDM1
8
Idle
15
1.06 W (0.85 W heads parked)
Seek
15~16
2.60 W
WD Scorpio Blue 1TB WD10JPVT-00A1YT0
July 2011
firmware 01.01A01
8
Idle
15
0.89 W (0.75 W heads parked)
Seek
16
1.86 W
WD Scorpio Blue 640GB WD6400BEVT
September 2009
firmware 01.01A01
7
Idle
15~16
0.87 W (0.74 W heads parked)
Seek
16
1.95 W
WD Scorpio Black 750GB WD7500BPKT
November 2010
firmware 01.01A01
7
Idle
16
1.18 W (1.01 W heads parked)
Seek
16~17
2.28 W
Seagate Momentus 5400.6 500GB ST9500325ASG
February 2009
firmware 0001SDM1
8
Idle
16
0.8 W (0.65 W heads parked)
Seek
18
2.2 W

 

SOLID STATE DRIVES

Noise is not a criteria to choose SSDs by, though we have run into one or two samples that made some low level electronic whine/squeal. Based on our experience with some 40~50 SSD samples over the years, we believe this is abnormal and recommend an immedite return to the vendor if it is encountered, assuming the noise is audible and it bothers you.

For your convenience, here's a list of our SSD reviews:


HDD NOISE REDUCTION PRODUCTS

Hard drive noise reduction products typically take the form of enclosures, although the category is not strictly limited to such devices. Noise reduction products are tested using the loudest and most vibration-prone drives in the lab. The noise levels are compared with and without the device. The measurements below reflect the sonic improvement effected by the products.

NOTE: Demand for such products has fallen with the wide popularity of quiet, low vibration drives, especially the 5xxx RPM drives, and the increasing capacity & falling price of SSDs. As a result, these products have very limited distribution and may be difficult to find. Grow Up Japan is the maker of the Smart Drive, and a search with that name will work better. NoVibes is marketed under some other brand names as well as NoiseMagic.

Recommended HDD Noise Reduction Products
Model
(linked to review)
SPL Improvement
Idle / Seek
(dBA@1m)
Vibration Improvement
(on our standard 10 point scale)
Smart Drive HDD Enclosure (also Smart Drive 2002 and 2002Copper versions)
6 / 6
2
Smarter realization of the seal-up-that-hard-drive idea, with slick metal / damping foam / metal construction and great attention to detail. Acoustic isolation is excellent, 6 dBA@1m for both idle and seek noise. Does not eliminate seek noise when mounted normally and has only a minimal effect on vibration. Does not overheat 7200 RPM drives. Mounts in a 5.25-inch drive bay. Updated Oct/05
Scythe Silent Box SBX-1000 HDD Enclosure
4 / 4
3
A foam-padded box that uses a heatlane to transfer heat away from the drive. Less effective at blocking acoustic noise than the Smart Drive but better at reducing vibration. Our review showed that it improved temperature slightly, but real world evidence has contradicted this. Fits into a 5.25-inch drive bay with difficulty. Added Oct/05

 

3 / 6
5
Reduces vibration-caused noise by decoupling the HDD from the case using elastic bands (industrial O-rings) in a 5.25-inch drive rack. Great for drives with low acoustic noise. Just about eliminates seek noise with many drives. It also almost completely eliminates vibration. Sturdy, simple, and effective. Among the commercial HDD noise reducers, this is SPCR's preferred product, mounted not in a 5.25" bay but rather, at the bottom of the case in the intake airflow path. Added Dec/02
Scythe Quiet Drive 2.5
4 / 3
1
An alumimum box containing another aluminum box surrounded by foam, this product is similar to the Smart Drive, but made for a 2.5" drive. It makes a super quiet drive even quieter or a quiet drive nearly super quiet. The increase in HDD temperature was only a couple of degrees.
Tiché PC HDD Vibration Killer
2/4
5
Side-mounted aluminum brackets that use foam rubber strips for damping drive vibration and require an optical drive bay. They work very well, but increase HDD temperature by 8~10°C if it is not in positioned in airflow path. Little improvement in airborne acoustics, but the improvement in vibration-caused noise is quite dramatic. Oct 2014

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