Viewing page 3 of 3 pages. Previous 1 2 3
Our samples were tested according to our standard
hard drive testing methodology. Our methodology focuses specifically on
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. For comprehensive HDD performance testing results, we recommend
who have established a long reputation as the specialist in this field.
Our test drives were compared against our reference drives, the Seagate Barracuda
IV and Samsung Spinpoint P80, which are profiled in our methodology article.
To get a good idea of where the drives in this review stand, it is important
to read the methodology article thoroughly. It was also compared against our
current low-noise champ: A 500
GB Western Digital WD5000KS. A
250 GB Spinpoint P120 was also included in the comparison.
Two forms of hard drive noise are measured:
- Airborne acoustics
- Vibration-induced noise
These 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.
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 16 dBA. For the record, room temperature
The noise measurements place the Spinpoint T slightly better than either the
Western Digital or Samsung's previous drives and roughly on par with the classic
Barracuda IV. As usual, the measurements do give a rough idea of where the drive
stands but don't tell the whole story.
At idle, the Spinpoint sounded very clean and smooth. The Samsung Drives and
the Western Digital were all very similar in volume, and all exhibited the same
whoosh of airflow. Subjectively, the Spinpoint T sounded the nicest by a small
margin; it sounded softer than the Western Digital, and had less high frequency
noise than the older Samsung drives. It should be emphasized that the drives
all sounded very similar, and any would be acceptable in quiet system.
Our usual recommendation to soft-mount any desktop drive goes double for the
Spinpoint T: Its vibration level was very high, and a low 120 Hz hum could sometimes
be heard even when the drive was placed on foam. When placed on a hard surface,
the hum was amplified and came to dominate the noise character, confirming that
hard-mounting would not be good for noise quality.
We were pleased to note that seek noise was much improved over the P120
something that is not reflected in the noise measurements. Seeks were duller
and more muted than the P120, although not quite as good as the P80, and certainly
not as good as the nigh inaudible Western Digital. Even better, AAM seemed to
be working again, and did much to reduce the sharpness of the seek noise. This
is good news; seek noise was one of the biggest disappointments with the P120.
The extra platter in the T Series did not increase power consumption, which
was in line with other 3.5" drives, and even a little on the low side for
such a large drive. Power consumption was almost identical to the P120.
Audio recordings were made of the drives and are presented here
in MP3 format. The recordings below contains 10 seconds of ambient noise, 10
seconds of idle noise, 10 seconds of seek noise with AAM enabled and 10 seconds
more with AAM disabled.
Keep in mind that the recordings paint only part of the acoustic
picture; vibration noise is not recorded, and drives often sound different depending
on the angle from which they are heard.
Samsung T Series HD400LJ Idle: 20 / AAM: 21
Seek: 22-23 [email protected] One
Meter, One Foot
Western Digital WD5000KS Idle: 21 / AAM: 21-22
Seek: 23 [email protected] One
Samsung P80 SP0802N (Nidec) Idle: 21 / AAM:
23-24 Seek: 25-26 [email protected] One
Seagate Barracuda IV ST340016A Idle: 20 / AAM:
23 Seek: 25-26 [email protected] One
Meter, One Foot
HOW TO LISTEN & COMPARE
These recordings were made
with a high resolution, studio quality, digital recording system, 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. Two recordings of each noise level were made, one from a
distance of one meter, and another from one foot
The one meter recording
is intended to give you an idea of how the subject of this review sound
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. For best results, set your volume control so that the
ambient noise is just barely audible. 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 one foot recording is
designed to bring out the fine details of the noise. Use this recording
with caution! Although more detailed, it may not represent how the subject
sounds in actual use. It is best to listen to this recording after you
have listened to the one meter recording.
The Samsung T Series is an excellent addition to Samsung's range
of hard drives. It upholds Samsung's reputation for low noise, and fixes the
only real complaint we had about the P120 series: Sharp seeks. There is no question
that this drive is suitable for a quiet system. Only a notebook drive is likely
to be quieter... and notebook drives don't come in 400 GB capacities.
From a noise perspective, the Spinpoint T only has one real competitor:
The Western Digital Caviar SE16. Neither drive clearly has the upper hand, and
a choice between the two is likely to come down to the kind of noise that bothers
you personally. Heavy users who want to avoid seek noise will probably prefer
the Western Digital, but the large chunk of users whose drives spend most of
their time in idle may prefer the smoother idle noise of the Spinpoint T.
Price, availability, and capacity may also play a role. For now,
Samsung does not have a 500 GB drive, and availability may still be a problem
for some. On the other hand, many retailers appear to be selling the Samsung
at cheaper prices than other similarly sized drives which makes it quite unusual
in the silencing world: A component that is both cheaper and quieter
than the competition.
Many thanks to Samsung
for the Spinpoint T Series sample.
SPCR Articles of Related Interest:
SPCR's Hard Drive Testing Methodology
SPCR's Recommended Hard Drives
Western Digital Caviar SE16 500 GB: Big,
Low Noise Champ?
Seagate Barracuda 7200.9, 500 GB
Samsung Spinpoint P120 200 & 250 GB Hard
* * *
this article in the SPCR Forums.
|Help support this site, buy the Samsung Spinpoint T HD400LJ from one of our affiliate retailers!|