Seagate 7200.11 1.5TB: The Perfect Balance?

Storage
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TEST RESULTS

Our sample was tested according to our standard hard drive testing methodology (though testing now takes place inside our anechoic chamber). The test drive sample was compared against a few other drives. Our methodology focuses specifically on HDD 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. For comprehensive HDD performance testing results, we recommend Storage Review, who have established a long reputation as the specialist in this field.

Two forms of hard drive noise are measured:

  1. Airborne acoustics
  2. 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.


Our sample was manufactured approximately 3 months ago.

Ambient conditions at time of testing were 11 dBA and 20°C.

ACOUSTICS & POWER

DRIVE NOISE EVALUATION
Drive
Mfg date
firmware version
Vibration
1-10
(10 = no vibration)
Activity State
Airborne Acoustics
(dBA@1m)
Measured
Power
Seagate 7200.11 1.5TB
ST31500341AS

October 2008
firmware SD17
4
Idle
17
8.8 W
Seek
19
10.7 W
REFERENCE DRIVES*
WD Caviar SE16 640GB
WD6400AAKS
February 2008
firmware 01.03B01
7
Idle
16
6.8 W
Seek (AAM)
16~17
8.1 W
Seek (Normal)
18~19
9.3 W
Samsung F1 750GB
HD753LJ

February 2008
firmware 1AA01109
6
Idle
16
6.9 W
Seek (AAM)
18~19
8.9 W
Seek (Normal)
20~21
10.2 W
Seagate 7200.11 1TB
ST31000340AS

July 2008
firmware SD1A
3
Idle
18
7.7 W
Seek
19
11.5 W
WD Caviar SE16 500GB WD5000KS
March 2006
firmware 07.02E07
4
Idle
19
8.5 W
Seek (AAM)
19
8.6 W
Seek (Normal)
22
10.7 W
WD Caviar Black 1TB
WD1001FALS

July 2008
firmware 05.00K05
4
Idle
21
8.5 W
Seek (AAM)
21
10.9 W
Seek (Normal)
25
11.0 W
WD Raptor 150GB
WD1500ADFD

March 2006
firmware 20.07P20
5
Idle
16
8.2 W
Seek (AAM)
26~27
12.2 W
Seek (Normal)
26~27
12.2 W
* These drives are references in the sense of previously tested and known entitities to which newly tested products can be compared and contrasted against.

Acoustically, our Seagate 7200.11 1.5TB and 1TB samples were very similar. We measured a 1 dBA@1m improvement at idle, but the drive retained the same tonal/metallic character of the 1TB 7200.11. The overall sound was broadband, except for the 120-130Hz fundamental tone of its motor spinning at 7200 RPM. Seek noise was indistinguishable between the two, measuring 19 dBA — among the best for high capacity 7200 RPM drives.

With 4 platters spinning at 7200 RPM, dampening vibrations is difficult, but the 1.5TB 7200.11 was slightly better in this regard than the 1TB model. It was a small subjective improvement, though not enough for us to forego recommending soft-mounting/suspension.

Power consumption was a mixed bag. We measured 8.8W at idle, which is, by a small margin, among the highest we've recorded. During seek, power consumption reached 10.7W which is slightly less than one would expect for a drive this many platters. We would have preferred lower idle power though — the majority of hard drives deployed in desktop environments lay idle for most of their operational lives.



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