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 Post subject: A quieter HDD with a firmware patch
PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 2:20 am 
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I have two WD Black internal HDDs which yield constant noise while they are in *idle* state - not reading nor writing.
I know that the HDDs aren't reading/writing because that all partitions are unmounted.
Also I've tried to disable the SATA port (to which the HDDs are connected) via the motherboard and the noise persists the same.

The constant noise is from the rotation of the motor and the platter.

When I send both HDDs to a Standby State, then the PC gets *very* quiet.
Note that I have 2 CPU fans and 3 Case fans (cheap) and all of these fans (total 5 fans) barely make any noise compared to those HDDs.
The noise from the HDDs isn't extremely loud, but compared to the fans it is too much loud, while it feels unnecessary to be forced to hear that when the environment is quiet.

I've tried placing the HDD on a foam, which slightly reduced the noise, yet a dominant noise remains.

There's a request from WD to release a firmware patch that allows to modify the RPM, thus having less noise.
Note that the default RPM would be as released (for WD Black it's 7200, for WD Blue 5400 RPM).
But the user will have the option to modify the RPM.
Most users don't need performance constantly, for example when surfing the web.

Please show your support in the request by Liking the first post in the following link:
https://community.wd.com/t/firmware-for ... hdd/197333


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 Post subject: Re: A quieter HDD with a firmware patch
PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:07 am 
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Welcome to SPCR.

If this is a Windows system, you can go into power options and create a power profile that puts HDDs to sleep after x minutes of inactivity.

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 Post subject: Re: A quieter HDD with a firmware patch
PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 2:58 pm 
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@CA_Steve:

Thanks but:
1. I've already tried Windows Power option and they failed.
2. There should be a persistent/permanent & adjustable solution and a firmware patch to change the RPM could help with that.

The request at WD's forums help to achieve an additional solution to the noise problem.

I've noticed that no one (including you, CA_Steve) has contributed a Like to the post and I wonder why?
We all in here joining our efforts against the noise.


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 Post subject: Re: A quieter HDD with a firmware patch
PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 3:41 pm 
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I guess I don't see a reason for owning the WD Blacks. So, why would I bother to push them on their feedback site? If you need read and write speed for your apps, get SSD(s). If you need lots of data storage, get the 5400rpm drives.

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 Post subject: Re: A quieter HDD with a firmware patch
PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 11:17 pm 
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CA_Steve wrote:
I guess I don't see a reason for owning the WD Blacks. So, why would I bother to push them on their feedback site? If you need read and write speed for your apps, get SSD(s). If you need lots of data storage, get the 5400rpm drives.

That's true, but:

1. Some of us already bought a 7200 RPM drive.
2. Think big, think about the future:
The fact that you don't need that firmware patch now, doesn't indicate whether you (or someone you know) will need it in the future.

Now it's the time to support for three reasons:
1. Allowing everyone to have an additional solution to the noise when they will need it.
2. It could initiate a better awareness & support in general, other subjects.
3. A request has been made in WD's forum and we don't want to miss that window of opportunity.

Imagine that in 3 months from now, you'll need that patch and will regret that you didn't attempt to solve it early on.
Also, supporting that request merely requires a subscription to WD's forums and Liking that post - takes about 2 minutes tops.


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 Post subject: Re: A quieter HDD with a firmware patch
PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 12:10 am 
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Can we also have a patch to make them free? I think they are rather expensive. ;)

Seriously. No firmware patch will solve your problem. With very few exceptions the RPM of a HDD is fixed and cannot be changed. If the disk is loud while idle, why not simply let the OS put it to sleep? I know you tried that, but try it again will you. Unless your OS is broken it will spin up again when you need it, it just takes a few seconds.

The WD Black has a niche use. In some cases a 5400 RPM "storage" drive won't be fast enough, and a large SSD might cost to much. Then the WD Black might be useful.

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 Post subject: Re: A quieter HDD with a firmware patch
PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 1:09 am 
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Vicotnik wrote:
No firmware patch will solve your problem. With very few exceptions the RPM of a HDD is fixed and cannot be changed.

I don't understand why you all give up on this?
Firmware patch definitely can solve the problem, because that it can lower the RPM thus the HDD yields less noise.
You say that the RPM cannot be changed because that this is the current status of the product.
The whole idea is to be able to change the RPM via an app.
Similar to the app the changes the definitions of your mouse & keyboard, etc.

The solution is fairly easy to implement, all that is needed is to show your support in the request.

Vicotnik wrote:
If the disk is loud while idle, why not simply let the OS put it to sleep? I know you tried that, but try it again will you.

How would the outcome be any different if I try it again..?
I'm suggesting another/additional solution that allows the HDD to be active all the time, yet with a decrease in performance.
I'm positive that many people would enjoy that capability.

Vicotnik wrote:
The WD Black has a niche use. In some cases a 5400 RPM "storage" drive won't be fast enough, and a large SSD might cost to much. Then the WD Black might be useful.

Yes I know.
I didn't say we should replace WD Black.
All I'm saying is to add the capability to change the RPM according to the user's usage/desire.


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 Post subject: Re: A quieter HDD with a firmware patch
PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 1:18 am 
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So with enough support it's possible? All we need to do is believe?

I'm telling you HDDs don't work like that. The RPM is fixed. Ok? Look it up if you don't believe me. Head resting on cushion of air and all that. Maybe we could construct a different HDD, but a firmware patch? Come on...

Sure it would be great if we could fine tune the RPM. I remember doing that with CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs back in the day. Watch a movie - lock speed to 2X or something. Whisper quiet. Copy a file - max RPM for max speed.

But HDDs never worked like that. And now with SSDs there's little need to make it so.

Spin down your 7200 RPM HDD. Or sell it and buy something more quiet. Or put it in another room.

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 Post subject: Re: A quieter HDD with a firmware patch
PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 4:29 am 
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Vicotnik wrote:
So with enough support it's possible? All we need to do is believe?

I'm telling you HDDs don't work like that. The RPM is fixed. Ok? Look it up if you don't believe me. Head resting on cushion of air and all that. Maybe we could construct a different HDD, but a firmware patch? Come on...

Sure it would be great if we could fine tune the RPM. I remember doing that with CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs back in the day. Watch a movie - lock speed to 2X or something. Whisper quiet. Copy a file - max RPM for max speed.

But HDDs never worked like that. And now with SSDs there's little need to make it so.

Spin down your 7200 RPM HDD. Or sell it and buy something more quiet. Or put it in another room.

RPM isn't fixed - look for "IntelliSeek".
IntelliSeek is already implemented in WD Blue & Green.

Now all that is needed is to allow the user to adjust the RPM,
or at least implement IntelliSeek in the current WD Black HDDs and allow the user to turn it on.
Because that although whoever bought WD Black wants performance - that isn't needed most of the time.


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 Post subject: Re: A quieter HDD with a firmware patch
PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 5:44 am 
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I think IntelliSeek is WD marketing speak for AAM.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automatic ... management

"Although there is no definition of the function implemented to provide acoustic management in the ATA standard, most drives use power control of the head-positioning servo to reduce vibration induced by the head positioning mechanism. Western Digital calls this IntelliSeek(tm) which uses only enough head acceleration to position the head at the target track and sector "just in time" to access data. Previous seek mechanisms used maximum power and acceleration to position the head. This operation induced the familiar clicking vibration emanating from a seeking hard drive. Western Digital provides a demonstration flash movie illustrating just-in-time head positioning on their web site."

I cannot find that flash movie, but I found this.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSnRnqM5s5E

It has nothing to do with changing RPM as far as I know. Please provide a link to information that says otherwise if I'm mistaken.

Also, this might be of interest.
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article786-page2.html

"Western Digital has caught a lot of flak for withholding the rotation speed of the Green Power, especially when the product was first launched and the marketing material listed the rotation speed as 5,400-7,200 RPM. This led some to speculate that the rotation speed changed dynamically during use — which would have been an impressive engineering feat had it been true. The reality is revealed by a sentence that Western Digital added to the description of IntelliPower: "For each GreenPower™ drive model, WD may use a different, invariable RPM." In other words, Western Digital reserves the right to release both 5,400 RPM and 7,200 RPM drives under the Green Power name — without telling you which are which."

I like the WD HDDs. I dislike their marketing department...

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 Post subject: Re: A quieter HDD with a firmware patch
PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:34 am 
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dor342y wrote:
RPM isn't fixed - look for "IntelliSeek".
IntelliSeek is already implemented in WD Blue & Green.

Here we discussed those things several years ago (likely a decade ago, IntelliSeek was already here with the venerable Caviar SE16), and your interpretation is plainly wrong.

That's an old but handy recap: http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-reviews/28126-western-digital-caviar-green-2tb-hard-drive-review-3.html

Said differently, currently a variable (rotating) speed disk does not exist.

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 Post subject: Re: A quieter HDD with a firmware patch
PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 1:18 pm 
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Of course it doesn't change while reading/writing.
Before changing the RPM it has to stop read/write activity, then change RPM, then continue read/write.

But let's leave all the calculations to the original engineers of the product, and focus with asking them for help.
It's ridiculous to argue whether it's possible if the product's engineers can tell us better.

Eventually the various HDDs (Black/Blue/Green/Whatever) are loaded with a pre-configured firmware that has the settings as published for the product.
But the manufacturing of the mechanical parts and their assembly are mostly the same.


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 Post subject: Re: A quieter HDD with a firmware patch
PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 1:44 pm 
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I give up.

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 Post subject: Re: A quieter HDD with a firmware patch
PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 3:09 pm 
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dor342y wrote:
It's ridiculous to argue whether it's possible if the product's engineers can tell us better.

The only ridicolous thing here is reading you clutching at straws.

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 Post subject: Re: A quieter HDD with a firmware patch
PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 3:24 pm 
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It's not "clutching at straws", I'm merely using common sense and the familiarity that I have with the methods that systems are designed.
Until someone who truly knows about HDDs (meaning - WD's devs or any other respected company's devs) then you can't say that you know for sure, but for some reason you feel like your answer is a legit fact.
If I'm "clutching at straws" then you guys are a peculiar antagonists, I don't understand the objection while you need to spend only 2 minutes and the investment might be returned to you big time.


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 Post subject: Re: A quieter HDD with a firmware patch
PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 5:17 pm 
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dor342y wrote:
It's not "clutching at straws", I'm merely using common sense and the familiarity that I have with the methods that systems are designed.
Until someone who truly knows about HDDs (meaning - WD's devs or any other respected company's devs) then you can't say that you know for sure, but for some reason you feel like your answer is a legit fact.
If I'm "clutching at straws" then you guys are a peculiar antagonists, I don't understand the objection while you need to spend only 2 minutes and the investment might be returned to you big time.

So when you make assumptions, you cannot be called out, and when others with probably more engineering and/or systems background do correct your assumptions, they must be wrong? Yes, they might appear to be condescending, but that's because you stubbornly refuse any info given that does not support your views.

But let's look at it this way:
You are practically asking for WD to de-throne their flagship product, btw. For a really, really small market segment. There would be quite a few more raging users on their forums who forgot to reset the RPM / bought drives set to low RPM and would give WD's flagship HDDs bad press.

Oh, and optimizing read/write strategies, etc is hard enough for one rotational speed. Plus, lowering the RPM would mean reducing the air-buffer between the disks and the read heads. We are talking about tolerances that are in the range of atoms. Doing it for a range for what globally is practically zero returns would mean the managers at WD not doing their job. And we didn't even go to the problem of whether a simple firmware patch is enough. drive motors and heads could very well be physically optimized for their individual speeds and air drag resistance properties. The fact that they can spin up does not mean they can read at all RPMs. When the spindles are spun down, the heads were parked at a special "landing zone" of the HDD where in the past they could touch the platters. Now, they are removed from the spindles, because doing anything else would really increase the risks of bumping into the platters when the air cushion is not under the heads. It is most definitely NOT a case of "just change it in the software". Serious R&D money.

If WD had a 5400rpm and a 7200rpm line of blacks, with the very same parts, then yes, it would be probably much easier to implement. They do not.

Basically you bought a gas guzzler sports car and now want to get hybrid-like MPG out of it.

Most of us on this site have spent years trying to silence our builds, and that includes finding out peculiar info about HDDs. That included fiddling with "acoustic" settings with utilities in older models (think 10+ years ago, IDE-era), but that is no longer applicable to today. We have much more than "2 minutes" invested.

Any yes, you are extremely wrong about intelliSeek.

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 Post subject: Re: A quieter HDD with a firmware patch
PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 1:39 am 
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nagi wrote:
So when you make assumptions, you cannot be called out, and when others with probably more engineering and/or systems background do correct your assumptions, they must be wrong? Yes, they might appear to be condescending, but that's because you stubbornly refuse any info given that does not support your views.

No one needs to call out others.
No one here knows WD's technology because that no one here works there (probably).
I accept the possibility that the info which you supplied is true, but normally modern system aren't designed like that.
Modern systems are designed using a feedback and sensors which automatically set the correct position of the mechanical parts.

nagi wrote:
But let's look at it this way:
You are practically asking for WD to de-throne their flagship product, btw. For a really, really small market segment. There would be quite a few more raging users on their forums who forgot to reset the RPM / bought drives set to low RPM and would give WD's flagship HDDs bad press.

That not what I'm asking.
All I ask is to add an additional possibility/solution.
Why almost every other product has this possibility? Keyboard, Mouse.
Even my Graphic card's fan is adjustable !
You're imagining extreme scenarios, stop.

All I wrote above covers the rest of your post.


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 Post subject: Re: A quieter HDD with a firmware patch
PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 2:32 am 
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dor342y wrote:
All I wrote above covers the rest of your post.

Set aside you showed off to not understand what actually their IntelliSeek does/how it works.

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 Post subject: Re: A quieter HDD with a firmware patch
PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 5:29 am 
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quest_for_silence wrote:
Set aside you showed off to not understand what actually their IntelliSeek does/how it works.

Set aside that writing a statement without explaining or providing a fact from specialized company/devs shall be ignored.

The right name seems to be "intellipower":

The table in WD Purple HDDs that lists their RPM Class shows "intellipower" in most HDDs, while other HDDs show "5400 RPM":
https://www.wdc.com/en-ie/products/inte ... urple.html

Read about intellipower:
https://support.wdc.com/knowledgebase/a ... px?ID=3665

Also about:
"WD Green Power drives comparisons vs. traditional 7,200 RPM drives"
https://support.wdc.com/knowledgebase/a ... px?ID=3892

And the thread in WD's official forums - where an official WD support rep. supplied an answer:
The thread title is: "My new 7200 rpm hard drive reports as only being 5400 rpm"
The thread link: "https://community.wd.com/t/my-new-7200-rpm-hard-drive-reports-as-only-being-5400-rpm/17555"
The response of the official WD support rep.:
Trancer wrote:
Welcome to the Community.

These are the specifications for the WD Green (WD30EZRX) hard drive family:

http://www.wdc.com/global/products/spec ... nguage=155

As you may notice the rotational speed is not listed as 7200RPM, but rather as IntelliPower. This means the hard drive will only spin under 7200RPM when the device is under heavy load while decreasing its rotational speed in non-demanding circumstances down to 5400RPM. This is because the WD Green family of hard drives was designed for power-saving and low-noise above all else. If you would like a WD hard drive with a constant 7200RPM ratio, then I'd recommend the WD Blue and/or WD Black hard drive families.


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 Post subject: Re: A quieter HDD with a firmware patch
PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 6:17 am 
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dor342y wrote:
quest_for_silence wrote:
Set aside you showed off to not understand what actually their IntelliSeek does/how it works.

Set aside that writing a statement without explaining or providing a fact from specialized company/devs shall be ignored.

I didn't get you here, but be aware that trolling is deprecated here, take that into consideration.


dor342y wrote:
The right name seems to be "intellipower"

Again, you seem plainly wrong.

I *really* don't want to be offensive but I need to know: how old are you? Are you a young guy or a seasoned dude? Anything in between?

Frankly your remarks let me think you are either not confident with english, or not experienced about life facts. Or maybe both.

I say so because what you linked actually pointed out a very different interpretation of what you seemingly pretend to be.

To be more clear, in the official WDC Green spec sheet the note 4 states: "A fine-tuned balance of spin speed, transfer rate and caching algorithms designed to deliver both significant power savings and solid performance. For each WD Green drive model, WD may use a different, invariable RPM."

The official WDC Purple spec sheet is even more clear: there's nothing different from 5400rpm.

The same it goes for WD Red, WD Blue, WD Black...

...so what's the moot point? Actually it's not clear what you pretend to be.

And, please, forgive me if my english is not up to the task to explain you properly these things. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: A quieter HDD with a firmware patch
PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 6:27 am 
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dor342y wrote:
The right name seems to be "intellipower"

I'm back. :) Quoting fzabkar from that thread you linked to:

"Western Digital, please, please, please stop perpetuating this dishonest, deceptive IntelliPower marketing nonsense. Even your own staff have been, and continue to be, deceived by it."

Back when the very nice Green Power HDDs were released by WD 5400 RPM drives had a bad reputation in some circles. 5400 RPM is less than 7200 RPM, that is enough for some even. WD thus decided to not specify the RPM, instead making up a new word, IntelliPower. IntelliPower means what WD wants it to mean, "a fine-tuned balance of spin speed, transfer rate, and caching algorithms designed to deliver both significant power savings and solid performance". Sounds great eh? It also lets WD sell you any drive they may having around under the IntelliPower label. We were not happy.

From the link I posted above:

"Most of a drive's power is consumed by the motor that spins the disk inside the drive. Reduce the speed of the disk, and you reduce the amount of power required. However, Western Digital doesn't want to say that they're selling 5,400 RPM drives — those became second class in the desktop market years ago. Instead, they rate the drive's speed as "IntelliPower" and take pains to emphasize that there are other factors that affect performance."

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 Post subject: Re: A quieter HDD with a firmware patch
PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 7:30 am 
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Explain the response of the official WD support rep.:
Trancer wrote:
...
As you may notice the rotational speed is not listed as 7200RPM, but rather as IntelliPower. This means the hard drive will only spin under 7200RPM when the device is under heavy load while decreasing its rotational speed in non-demanding circumstances down to 5400RPM.
...


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 Post subject: Re: A quieter HDD with a firmware patch
PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 7:38 am 
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Ok, from that thread you linked to. Here again, due to popular demand is fzabkar in reply to that official WD support rep.
Quote:
Western Digital, please, please, please stop perpetuating this dishonest, deceptive IntelliPower marketing nonsense. Even your own staff have been, and continue to be, deceived by it.

Here is the WD Green Drive Specification Sheet:
http://www.wdc.com/wdproducts/library/S ... 0026.pdf22

If you navigate to the bottom of the page and zoom up the fine print about 10 times, you will see the following statement:

"[IntelliPower is] a fine-tuned balance of spin speed, transfer rate and caching algorithms designed to deliver both significant power savings and solid performance. For each WD Green drive model, WD may use a different, invariable RPM."

Note the words "invariable RPM". This means that IntelliPower drives rotate at a fixed speed under ALL conditions. Green drives NEVER spin at 7200 RPM. They ALWAYS spin at 5400 RPM.

In reality IntelliPower is a fine-tuned balance of spindoctoring and technobabble designed to obfuscate the actual rotational speed.

Here are a few more threads that illustrate this Intellipower confusion:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/s ... m-p/620646
http://community.wdc.com/t5/External-Dr ... -p/2407584
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/s ... d-p/427651
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/s ... -p/5487092
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/s ... -p/1549203

Even Newegg is peddling this "5400 to 7200 RPM" nonsense:

Western Digital WD5000AAVS 500GB 5400 to 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 8221362307

Where did this disinformation originate, and how did it become so widespread? No doubt WD has taken cynical advantage of this [Deleted]. Please stop now. I urge those people who have been duped by this IntelliPower nonsense to demand a refund.

BTW, since the speed is invariable, there is no legitimate reason for WD's drive to report a speed of 0 in word 217 (Nominal media rotation rate) of the ATA Identify Device information block. Instead the drive should report its actual, invariable speed, just like WD's other models.

I invite GaryF to run a HD Tune read benchmark against the drive. If he could then upload the graph, I will be able to determine the drive's actual RPM. I would also very much like to see a photo of the packaging.

Here is an example for a Green drive:
http://ettcweb0.aa0.netvolante.jp/log/20090830004.png13

Notice that the band of access time data points is about 11 msec wide. This corresponds to the time required for one complete revolution at 5400 RPM. The width for a 7200 RPM drive would be 8.3ms.

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 Post subject: Re: A quieter HDD with a firmware patch
PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 8:02 am 
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And I must add. It's ok to be deceived by WD here. No shame in that. The people that spin these lies are professionals. They get payed a lot for the "work" they do. I tend to think like Bill Hicks on this. "By the way if anyone here is in advertising or marketing… kill yourself." :p

We as a community are here for you. Both myself and Luca will hold your hand and guide you through this difficult moment. You bought the wrong HDD. It's not the end of the world, buddy. You will be OK. We can silence that sucker, trust me. We will tame that beast or sell it to someone who needs the performance. Together. You are not alone. We here at SPCR feel your pain. Many of us can remember the horrors of the 7200 RPM drives. They are for most of us a distant memory now. We have perhaps grown soft, used to our SSDs and 5400 RPM drives in the NAS box in the other room.

Seriously, it's been slow on the forum lately and I welcome distractions like this. I wonder what drives you. Are you just trolling or are you seriously this afraid to admit you fucked up in your choice of hard disk drive? Embrace that mistake. Celebrate that sucker. Don't avoid it.

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 Post subject: Re: A quieter HDD with a firmware patch
PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 10:52 pm 
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Your statements seem to be true, I verified them with the WD staff and was told the the RPM speed is fixed and cannot be changed after the tuning that's done in factory.
IntelliPower merely means that based on an algorithm - the RPM will be around 5400 but not precisely the same 5400 speed for every HDD.

My original request isn't needed.


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 Post subject: Re: A quieter HDD with a firmware patch
PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 1:41 am 
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dor342y wrote:
Your statements seem to be true, I verified them with the WD staff and was told the the RPM speed is fixed and cannot be changed after the tuning that's done in factory.
IntelliPower merely means that based on an algorithm - the RPM will be around 5400 but not precisely the same 5400 speed for every HDD.

That is another half truth. There is no algorithm. At least not one that gives you the rotational speed of the motor. WDs point is that HDD performance depends on a lot more than the rotational speed. Even though the WD Green is a 5400 RPM drive it performs much like a slightly older 7200 RPM drive due to advances in platter density etc. WD wanted to draw attention away from rotational speed, much like AMD once wanted to draw attention away from CPU clock frequency. The Athlon XP 1400 MHz was called Athlon XP 1600+ for example. There are many examples like this, where the real numbers are feared to be misunderstood and an "algorithm" is invented to solve the problem. But it's a PR algorithm not an engineering one.

dor342y wrote:
My original request isn't needed.
Thank you! :)

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