Seagate Pipeline HD Pro 1TB Hard Drive

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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.


The date code indicates our sample was manufactuered approximately 5 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 Pipeline
HD Pro 1TB
ST31000533CS

September 2008
firmware SC15
4
Idle
15
7.1 W
Seek
16
10.1 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 1.5TB
ST31500341AS

October 2008
firmware SD17
4
Idle
17
8.8 W
Seek
19
10.7 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 Pipeline HD Pro sample was a significantly quieter than both our 4-platter 7200.11 1TB and 1.5TB units. We measured a 2-3 dBA@1m improvement at idle, and 3 dBA@1m during seek. The overall sound was broadband, except for a 120Hz fundamental tone of its motor spinning at 7200 RPM. The noise character was similar to previous the 7200.11 Seagates, but noticeably softer with less humming when placed on a soft surface. It was the quietest 7200 RPM desktop drive we've ever tested in our anechoic chamber.

Despite the excellent overall noise level, the vibrations it generated were quite strong, on par with the 1.5TB Seagate 7200.11 and Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB model. Seagate is pushing the Pipelines as the ideal choice for DVRs, and such devices would benefit from the drive's low motor and seek noise. However, the vibrations produced by a Pipeline HD Pro hard-mounted in a DVR-type device or a PC would be very noticeable if the rest of the components were adequately quiet. Once again, soft-mounting is highly recommended.

Power consumption was excellent — just above 7W idle and 10W during seek. It is a fair improvement over 4-platter drives like the Seagate 7200.11's, and performance-oriented drives like the WD Black.

Seagate Pipeline HD Pro vs. Western Digital Caviar Green Power
Drive
Mfg date
firmware version
Vibration
1-10
(10 = no vibration)
Activity State
Airborne Acoustics
(dBA@1m)
Measured
Power
Seagate Pipeline
HD Pro 1TB
ST31000533CS

September 2008
firmware SC15
4
Idle
15
7.1 W
Seek
16
10.1 W
WD Caviar GP 1TB WD10EACS
December 2007
firmware 01.01B01
8
Idle (heads unloaded)
?
3.7W
Idle
?
5.7 W
Seek (AAM)
?
6.7 W
Seek (Normal)
?
7.5 W

Subjectively, the overall noise level of the Pipeline HD Pro was very close to that of Western Digital's 1TB Green Power. We never had the opportunity to measure a GP in our anechoic chamber, but our vibration and power consumption figures are still valid. The Pipeline was very quiet, but as a 7200 RPM drive, it simply could not compete with a GP running at 5400 RPM when it came to vibration and power efficiency.



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