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 Post subject: HD Enclosure Musings
PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2006 1:38 pm 
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I finally bought a drive enclosure about 6 weeks ago. It's a Smart Drive 2002 (non-copper), which I put into my WCed PC, where it holds a WD2500KS. Adding the Smart Drive to a very quiet computer made a substantial difference. The PC gets ridiculously loud if I turn the YL case fan up to 7V, if that gives a decent reference. Drive noise is just barely audible at night with the YL at <5V, and the system has reached a point that makes trying to reduce noise further seem completely obsessive. Perhaps insane...

And you can tell I like it, because I got another Smart Drive for my second computer! Both of my enclosures were used, which means about half-price, but I now believe that these boxes justify their prices, even at $65-70 each. Here's why.

Today's heatsinks, fans, and power supplies enable us to build very quiet computers with ease and reasonable expense. Once the hard drive is your PC's loudest component, there are only a few potential solutions:
  • 2.5" drives
  • solid-state drives
  • remote drives
  • enclosures
Suddenly, spending $70 for an aluminum box doesn't look so bad! The smart part about the Smart Drive is that it allows cheap, fast, big drives to compete acoustically with expensive, small, slow drives. For $150, you can buy a Smart Drive 2002C and a 250GB/16MB/7200rpm 3.5" drive. Or you can find a 100GB/8MB/7200rpm notebook drive. And when it comes time to upgrade, the enclosure is paid for already.

I certainly don't think that an enclosure is appropriate in every circumstance, and $70 is A LOT of money for a little aluminum and foam. But I do believe that too many people quickly dismiss such enclosures without realizing that they may offer a reasonable long-term investment in silence. If you object to the price, try a $35 Scythe or go DIY. But listen up, SPCR! Not enough of us use these things.

Discuss!


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2006 2:02 pm 
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You said a whole lot about noise, but absolutely nothing about temperature. My take is, any closed box that blocks noise is also going to raise the temperature. So your "review" is analogous to certain sites that measure how well HSFs cool but ignore how loud they are! :lol:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2006 2:16 pm 
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Check out the temperature measument in my Scythe quiet drive thing thread in silent storage, if the SmartDrive is as good as the Scythe, wich i think it might well be, temps won´t really be a problem :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2006 2:32 pm 
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Felger Carbon wrote:
My take is, any closed box that blocks noise is also going to raise the temperature.

This is not so, as demonstrated by SPCR's own testing. If a drive overheats in a Smart Drive, it would have overheated when run naked in the same environment. Sorry for not mentioning this before; but it's well documented, and this thread should prompt further reading, not a "well, then I guess I need a Smart Drive" shopping spree.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2006 2:37 am 
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Agree totally. With care and only a little extra cost, it's not that hard to put together a really quiet PC. It's when we get to quietening the HDD that things become tricky. Drive noise is incredibly insidious, and so-called "quiet" drives are nothing of the sort, even when suspended. It is only since building my own enclosure that I have realised what true silence is. A few extra degrees is a small compromise.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2006 4:48 am 
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Finally someone with the same opinoin of drive-enclosures ! :D

I've tried both suspending a 3.5" drive in rubberstrings vs a SilentDrive enclosure. "Everybody" on this forum seems to think that drive suspension is the best way to silence a drive !?!? I personally disagree with this. While suspension does wonders for seek/write noise it does almost nothing for the VERY VERY annoying idle whine that all 3.5" drives produce (even silent models like the cuda).

Noise-wise I think enclosures (at least my SilentDrive) is much better over pure suspension and if you place the enclosure on foam it is unbeatable.

However the temperature IS a problem. I've been using 5400rpm drives with no problems with temps. I've also been using 7200rpm drives with only 2-platters with fine temps. But when I tried with a raptor 10000rpm it got way to hot even during idle. But from what I can read there are other enclosures that don't have this problem making enclosures the best choice.

I've heard people say that Alleycat's enclosure should be compairable noise-wise with other enclosures (maybe even better) but with no increase in temps. I've already ordered parts for building my own alleycat enclosure (I'm waiting on the delayed coolpacks :( ). When I'm finnished with it I will post and describe differences in noise and temps between my SilenrDrive & the alleycat enclosure.

It is a mystery to me how "all" people on this forum work thier asses of to quiet/remove every fan and then do nothing for the drives other than suspension. A long time ago when I started trying to reduce noise from my computer the hdds were much noisier and not seldom one of the biggest noise-sources. But even if they are less noisy today, they are still very much in need to be silenced in a slient computer. And when you consider it is pretty much a one-time cost, the price isn't that steep.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2006 6:11 am 
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I might do an encloure test in the near future since i have quite a few. The mCubed vertical silence, Scythe quiet drive, Nexus Drive-A-Way, level hdd shell, and homebrew alá alleycat :) Might as well do it with a Raptor while im at it, if that stays cool any 7200rpm drive should too.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2006 6:24 am 
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qstoffe wrote:
But even if they are less noisy today, they are still very much in need to be silenced in a slient computer. And when you consider it is pretty much a one-time cost, the price isn't that steep.

Exactly!

nici wrote:
I might do an encloure test in the near future since i have quite a few.

That would be outstanding, nici.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2006 6:50 am 
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nici, is there any chance you could get your hands on a SmartDrive2002C? Since we know from the review that the SmartDrive is better than the old Scythe box, it would be nice to know if the new Scythe quiet drive can claim the title, or if the SmartDrive is still king. 8)
I am thinking of getting 2 smart drives that would replace my driveway and the novibies (both sitting on foam - see pic), but if the Quiet Drive is better i could go with 2 of them :P
Image


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2006 7:23 am 
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A quiet notebook drive in a good enclosure makes a nice combo. A little short on performance, though.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2006 10:26 am 
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qstoffe wrote:
It is a mystery to me how "all" people on this forum work thier asses of to quiet/remove every fan and then do nothing for the drives other than suspension.


Most people here are wary of trusting their 3.5" drives to an enclosure, and would rather play it the safe route by giving them plenty of direct airflow. And, when they find that this is quiet enough they don't bother with worrying about spending the premium on a 2.5" drive and putting their big files on a file server.

Bear in mind that many people simply aren't sensitive to high pitched whine. Apparently, one's ability to hear high pitched sounds diminishes with age.

Quote:
But even if they are less noisy today, they are still very much in need to be silenced in a slient computer. And when you consider it is pretty much a one-time cost, the price isn't that steep.


I suppose it might be a one-time cost if you frequently have your hard drive die on you or you frequently upgrade your hard drive. I tend to add hard drives if I need more capacity rather than replace them. Of course, that's on my file server, where I can keep my 3.5" drives nice and cool with plenty of airflow (quiet, but not silent).

My approach is changing, now that I've figured out a way to eliminate 3.5" drive whine purely with external sound absorption (that doesn't interfere with airflow). Previously, I had little success with sound absorption but now I've got a working solution--albeit insanely bulky so far. I'm still developing my techniques, but I can see that in the coming months you may see me moving away from enclosed 2.5" drives in favor of 3.5" drives and radical sound absorption custom cases. It's not just hard drive whine I'm combatting, but also annoying electrical noises and subtle airflow noises.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2006 12:28 pm 
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Quote:
My approach is changing, now that I've figured out a way to eliminate 3.5" drive whine purely with external sound absorption (that doesn't interfere with airflow).



What is this magical technique? I'm guessing it involves industrial quantities of acoustic foam?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2006 1:23 pm 
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No, I'm too cheap for anything like that (well, unless I scrounged up a big load of the stuff for free, of course).

Surprisingly enough, it's just a bunch of pillows. My midfan file server has both the intake and exhaust to the rear. The left, right, top, and front are covered by thick pillows. To the rear, there's about a six inch gap and then there are pillows against the wall. When I did this, I expected it to have some small benefit, but I was shocked when it eliminated ALL of the high pitched whine. It's bulky, ugly, and inelegant. One of my cats loves it, though, since the top pillow makes for another comfy spot to nap on.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2006 7:59 pm 
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I've pretty much given up on 3.5" drives and enclosures. With the best enclosures the drive can be pretty quiet, but I've yet to find one that makes the drive inaudible, and I find that heat can be a real problem. You can solve overheating with decent airflow, but providing that airflow without extra noise can be difficult.

I've suffered several hard drive failures over the years, more than most people I know, it wouldn't surprise me at all if they were caused by overheating. In the past I've tended not to use front case fans or seriously consider hard drive cooling, often running drives at 55-60C for long periods of time, these days I'm much more paranoid about keeping them cool.

A 2.5" drive may be a bit slower and more expensive, but it takes all the hassle out of silencing drives. I'm using a WD400VE in a home made gel pack enclosure and with virtually no airflow it stays quite cool. I have to put my head next to the enclosure to hear the drive's idle noise and inside the case it's completely inaudible. I'd switch back to 3.5" drives if I found a way to have the same low noise and acceptable temperatures I enjoy with 2.5" drives, but I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for that to happen.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2006 12:04 am 
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Without knowing every aspect of how other people have set up their systems, it's difficult to comment on why an enclosure is not providing the desired result.

I've mentioned before elsewhere, and I am not exaggerating when I say that my enclosed 3.5" drive really is inaudible. I need to press my ear against it to hear anything.

The maximum temperature I have ever recorded on this drive is 39degC, even in summer in a non-airconditioned room. There is no fan cooling the drive directly, but the drive is located near the air intake hole in the case, so it does get some air movement. However this is quite a low airflow system.

The system has been in constant use since December 2004, running for at least 8 hours a day, and has sometimes been left on for weeks at a time.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2006 2:59 am 
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As mentioned, I suspect everybody on these forums hears HD noise differently, depending on their age and other factors. I am not bothered by hi-pitched noises from hard drives. I think my Tinnitus has solved that problem. :(

HD seek noises bother me however, and I have a temperature thing.....over 40C bothers me a bunch. So I prefer to use HD quieting methods that don't really totally enclose the things. And I consentrate my dampening methods on the case as a whole, not just the drives.

A while back I built a HD enclosure that contained two drives, and routed all the intake air through the unit. Works very well....rather large though. I'll find some photos,,,,,

Link

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2006 7:47 am 
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I did try a samsung 2,5" sata drive, but it was painfully slow for anything but browsing the internet imo. Though i did use the Raptor before that wich made for quite a change. A good choice for a surfbox or office machine, wouldn´t recommend it if you do a lot of games or photoshop though. Unless you are very patient of course, im most certainly not.

Using an enclosure for a 3,5" drive takes some additional planning of the airflow, you don´t have to add more airflow, you just have to control where its going to get maximum cooling without more noise :) Using some heavy damping and foam on every panel in the case also helps, if the enclosure itself doesn´t make the drive inaudible the case will take care of the rest.


As for the SmartDrive, i don´t think i can get one unfortunately. It would cost me nearly 100$. I can compare to the SPCR review though, since i assume ambient temps will not be constant when im testing ill have to do test in degrees over ambient anyway :) SPCR hasn´t tested the 2002C though.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2006 8:04 am 
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For those who like to buy instead of build, a new Logisys enclosure, with 4 heat pipes (it sez). Comes in blue or silver (color is really important when it comes to internal case parts).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2006 11:03 am 
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I wish Directron showed the inside of that Logisys box. The price is certainly reasonable.

Returning to the temperature issue, my Smart Drive 2002C holds an SP1614C in my server. It sits on Sorbothane on the case's floor and does not receive any direct airflow. The drive typically reports 35-39C in a 21C room. I don't remember ever seeing 40+ but don't want to promise that right now. Adding a suitable 80mm fan at 5V would be easy enough if needed.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2006 12:26 pm 
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The Logisys is the same as the Silentmaxx enclosure, reviewed n quite many hardware sites. Here´s one. So it´s a good cooler, not so good at reducing noise. And i don´t see any heatpipes.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2006 2:12 pm 
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nici wrote:
The Logisys is the same as the Silentmaxx enclosure, reviewed n quite many hardware sites. Here´s one. So it´s a good cooler, not so good at reducing noise. And i don´t see any heatpipes.

Same outer enclosure but different innards?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2006 2:44 pm 
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I find it hard to believe that it´s possible to fit any heatpipes in there.. Here is a picture from the Logisys website, i don´t see any heatpipes. The specs say it has heatpipes though.. They also seem to have a new GPU cooler wich looks quite similar to the zalman 80d.. The specs on directron.com are directly from the logisys site, http://logisyscomputer.com/

edit: ypo..


Last edited by nici on Mon Jun 26, 2006 4:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 4:21 pm 
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nici wrote:
...i don´t see any heatpipes. The specs say it has heatpipes though..

Here is the Coolerguys site, with more pics - and I don't see any heatpipes either. Strange, because the written specification is unambiguous. :(


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 7:50 pm 
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Felger Carbon wrote:
Strange, because the written specification is unambiguous. :(


yes it is.. :( *puts the dictionary back on the shelf*

So it´s no good for SPCR then, judging by the reviews of the silentmaxx imentioned earlier. Or its good like the aerocool thing or the LEVEL, doesn´t reduce noise but cools very well so putting it in a heavily damped case with very little airflow makes it very much inaudible with nice temps :) Not shure id buy one though.


Last edited by nici on Sun Sep 24, 2006 3:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 27, 2006 1:51 pm 
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Alphacool is a German manufacturer. Silentmaxx is one of their brand names. The Silentmaxx HD-Silencer Rev2 was introduced at the tail end of 2004. Now Logisys is offering the Silentmaxx - and it is that, all the promotional verbiage is identical - as a badge-engineered product in the US and possibly other geographical areas.

The question is, is Logisys carrying a "Rev3"? If so, that would explain the 4 heat pipes that are not present on the Rev2. After all, it's been over 18 months since the Rev2 was introduced.

I assume there'll soon be a review, or an SPCR person will buy and let us know; a Google search shows lots of places in the US are carrying the product. Coolerguys has it for $33.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 5:57 am 
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It seems we have an answer to the Logisys "4 heat pipe" question. Here is a detailed review of the enclosure. There are no "heat pipes" in the copper tube sense anywhere.

I believe that we have a simple translation problem. The enclosure attempts to cool the HDD using the air-fin channels on the top, bottom, and 2 sides. What was a "cooling channel" in a different language evidently became "heat pipe" when translated. An honest mistake, if it can be called a mistake - our little corner of the world here at SPCR has attached a more restricted meaning to "heat pipe" than exists in the wider world.

And the Logisys enclosure is entirely about heat. Any sound reduction, if such exists, is purely incidental and not planned.


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