Scythe Quiet Drive 2.5

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These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, 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.

The recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the product sounds 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. 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 recording starts with 5 to 10 seconds of ambient noise, then 10 second segments of the drive in the following states: idle, seek with AAM enabled (if applicable), and seek with AAM disabled (if applicable).

While there are hard drives that can match or even slightly better the bare Momentus 7200.4 500GB, no bare drives other than SSDs can better the acoustics of the same drive inside a SQD2.5.


It's hard to compare the SQD2.5 with Scythe's earlier product, the mostly rubber Silent Box because our experience and testing was with a 3.5" version, and HDDs that were louder than either of the notebook drives used with the SQD2.5. The degree of noise reduction with the earlier product was about the same, but it's clear that the SQD2.5 is more durable, having an aluminum casing. Besides, the earlier Silent Box is now discontinued.

The SQD is quite similar in design to the Smart Drive, which we reviewed eons ago with much cruder test gear. The Smart Drive was compared to the Silent Box in the review of the latter, and we found the Smart Drive a couple dB more effective in silencing airborne noise. How the Smart Drive would fare against the SQD is not clear. An updated version of the Smart Drive is sold by QuietPC, but the asking price in the US is $133, which really puts it out of contention.

Finally, there's the 2.5" version of the NoVibes HDD Decoupling Rack, but given the low vibration level of the best notebook drives, and the minimal quieting effect the NoVibes has on drives that have little vibration, it's probably not really a contender, either.

If you have a free 5.25" bay in a case that provides good cooling airflow for it, then the larger Scythe Quiet Drive with a high capacity 3.5" drive would give you better value for your digital storage budget. But you have to keep an eye on HDD temperature if you use the bigger SQD in a typical mid-tower case, which deosn't provide any real airflow around the optical drive bays.

The Scythe Quiet Drive 2.5 is a solid product. It almost completely silenced the Momentus 7200.4 500GB notebook drive, and reduced the noise output of the louder Travelstar 7K100 by a very audible margin. There was very little increase in HDD temperature in the SQD2.5. For smaller systems, perphaps a HTPC, the SQD2.5 is a good way to get silent storage without the cost and storage limitations of an SSD. The 500GB Momentus 7200.4 sells for a little over $100; add $30~40 for the SQD2.5 and you have a pretty fast, silent 500GB drive. In comparison, the same expenditure will get you about 30GB in a good SSD today. The SQD2.5 deserves an Editor's Choice award for silencing and value.

Scythe Quiet Drive 2.5

SPCR Editor's Choice Award

Many thanks to Scythe for the Quiet Drive 2.5 sample.

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SPCR Articles of Related Interest:
SPCR's Hard Drive Testing Methodology
SPCR's Recommended Hard Drives
NoVibes III HDD Decoupling Rack
Scythe Silent Box
Smart Drive by Grow Up Japan

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