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 Post subject: Looking for a quiet PC case to silence hard drive noise
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 4:37 am 

Joined: Sat Apr 13, 2019 4:08 am
Posts: 2
Location: London, United Kingdom
I'm having difficulties finding reliable information about the best PC case to dampen hard drive noise. Most PC case reviews only test for reduction of fan noise, but hard drive noise is often quite different (in terms of spectrum) and is not using the same decoupling systems as the fans.

I have WD RED 10 TB WD100EFAX drives. Sadly, these produce significant low frequency noise as well as high-frequency seeking noise. I have to mount 6 of these 3.5" drives, and the motherboard is ATX, which puts some additional constraints.

After reading dozens of PC case reviews, I am still quite confused as to which one would be most effective at hard drive noise reduction. Lots of these cases have "sound dampening material" but it's so hilariously thin (around 1 millimeter) that I don't understand how it could possibly be effective. I guess I could just buy thick acoustic foam and add it to the case, assuming there is room for it…

The other problem is that most PC cases have panels that are quite thin, whereas to block low frequency noise I ideally need a case that is as thick and heavy as possible, with very dense, rigid panels. I was unable to find a truly heavy case (relative to its size) that could potentially provide an improvement on that front - they all seem to use the same kind of thin steel panels.

Right now the main options I'm looking at are the Fractal Design Define R6 (a well-known, popular, critically acclaimed reference), the Be Quiet! Silent Base 601 (1 cm thick acoustic foam), and the Nanoxia Deep Silence 6 (extremely heavy, 4 kg doors, though it's very large, hard to find, and reviews are mixed). Does anyone know of any better options?

 Post subject: Re: Looking for a quiet PC case to silence hard drive noise
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 7:54 am 

Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:36 am
Posts: 7236
Location: Monterey Bay, CA
Welcome to SPCR.

When dealing with so many drives, the best solution is to move the noise source far away (like a headless NAS in a closet in a different room) and then use SSDs for local OS/storage in the PC itself. No matter what case you choose, 6 HDDs are going to be heard when the PC is a meter away. Hopefully, Abula will post about his recent case experiences, so let me focus on modifications.

The low frequency sounds tend to be induced/resonance based. Decouple the source (soft bushing mounts rather than hard screw mounts) and increase the case panel mass (buy some cheap HEAVY self adhesive vinyl floor tiles and attach to panels). Decouple the case from the floor by putting a dense rubber mat between the two.

Seek noise is all about baffling/sound deadening material inside the case. The problem is that seek noise tends to be in the 500-2kHz range. 1.1kHz is ~1ft wavelength. Hard to block a 1' wavelength with a thin layer of foam. Thicker foams can absorb reflections. A solid layer of metal/glass between you and the drive is the best. So, closed cases without a direct path between you and the drive is better than an open one. Frontal fans that use side intakes and have a closed front, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a quiet PC case to silence hard drive noise
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 9:47 pm 

Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2008 10:57 am
Posts: 190
Location: Riga
Decouple the disks from the case.

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