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 Post subject: Alleycat's hdd enclosure
PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2006 11:14 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 25, 2006 1:32 pm
Posts: 81
Location: Sweden
I've got a qustion for all of you that has made a copy of alleycat's homebrew hdd enclosure-idea with coolpacks.

Previous discussion of the enclosure here on the forum:
http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=20305&highlight=coolpack

Picture of alleycat's enclosure:
http://www.rendezvousaustralia.net/projects/enclosure/


I understand that the enclosure is very good for reducing hdd vibration, but how good is it at removing hdd idle whine ?

I myself have two SilentDrives for my 3.5" drives and they do a very good job at reducing the idle whine. Since I have the SilentDrives resting on foam there is almost no vibration either. Noise-wise I'm happy with them but cooling-wise I'm not. My drives idle at about 49 degrees even though a have an external fan (@5V) aimed at them. At load they are pushing 57-59 degrees :(

My question is to you people who have made a coolpack hdd-ecnlosure. Are they good for reducing idle-whine ? Do you think your coolpack enclosure equals the commercial available hdd enclosures at reducing idle whine and vibration (i.e. SmartDrive, SilentDrive, Scythe Silent Box, ...) ?

If I would know for sure (or almost anyway) that alleycat's coolpack enclosure is as good at reducing idle whine as my current SilentDrives are I would replace them for a copy alleycat's enclosure right away. It would be really nice to get a little cooler hdd temps... :)


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2006 7:05 pm 
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
The enclosure was designed primarily to eliminate the high-pitched whine and broad-spectrum hiss found in many drives. Although I have documented the project using a NIDEC Samsung, in my initial experiments I used a whining JVC Samsung to decide if the concept was viable. At that stage, getting rid of the whine was my top priority, and I would not have gone ahead with the project if it could not pass this test. I was surprised to find that the enclosure performed better than expected in every way.

To put things into perspective, when I open the case of my PC and put my ear in there, the only sound I can hear is mechanical noise from an undervolted 80mm Nexus fan. I need to actually press my ear against the HDD enclosure to hear anything happening inside. The enclosure DOES vibrate slightly, and this will be transmitted to your PC's case if not isolated. Sitting the enclosure on a small piece of foam easily overcomes this problem.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2006 1:15 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 25, 2006 1:32 pm
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Location: Sweden
alleycat wrote:
The enclosure was designed primarily to eliminate the high-pitched whine and broad-spectrum hiss found in many drives.
...getting rid of the whine was my top priority, and I would not have gone ahead with the project if it could not pass this test. I was surprised to find that the enclosure performed better than expected in every way.

To put things into perspective, when I open the case of my PC and put my ear in there, the only sound I can hear is mechanical noise from an undervolted 80mm Nexus fan. I need to actually press my ear against the HDD enclosure to hear anything happening inside.



Thanks for the reply alleycat :D

After reading this I've decided to build 2 copies of your enclosure. From what you say I would expect it to be just as good as my SilentDrives at reducing idle-whine but with the huge advantage that it can keep hdd temps at a normal level. The temps will be quite important to me since I'm planning on running raid-0 in my next set-up, which basically means if one drive fails -> all data on both drives is lost.


alleycat wrote:
The enclosure DOES vibrate slightly, and this will be transmitted to your PC's case if not isolated. Sitting the enclosure on a small piece of foam easily overcomes this problem.


Good to know. I've my current 2 SilentDrives sitting on foam at the bottom of my case so it will be an easy swap. :)


A couple of question:
- How many coolpacks did you use ?

- About how thick is your coolpacks ? (I will be using the same metalbox with the same dimensions as you). When I checked my "local" store they only had pretty thin coolpacks, about 1cm thick.

- I saw you were using a piece of foam outside the coolpacks but inside the enclosure. How important is that ? Have you testded without the foam.

- Anything specific that I should think of ?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2006 3:04 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 20, 2002 10:32 am
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
I think most of your questions are answered in the original thread. I used 3 coolpacks, they are about 1 cm thick, 19.5 x 11 cm.

The foam is very important, it keeps everything tightly packed. The drive will not be silenced without it. I doubt that it has much effect on temperature.

I noticed that someone used a dremel to make the cable slot, but it is probably more easily and accurately done by hand with a small file.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2006 2:13 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 25, 2006 1:32 pm
Posts: 81
Location: Sweden
alleycat wrote:
I think most of your questions are answered in the original thread.


Yes you're right. I forgot about that since it was a while since I read the whole thread. :oops:


alleycat wrote:
I used 3 coolpacks, they are about 1 cm thick, 19.5 x 11 cm.


My local stores didn't have any coolpacks at a good enough size :( I'm going to do an online order from a swedish medical company. They have 24x24 cm and 12x24 cm. Hmmm.. I don't know if I should go for three 24x12 (almost like you) or if I should go for one 24x24 + one 24x12.


alleycat wrote:
The foam is very important, it keeps everything tightly packed. The drive will not be silenced without it. I doubt that it has much effect on temperature.


Ok. But how did you managed to squeeze in a piece of foam in there with 3 coolpacks ?

Image

The enclosure is 55 mm outside and only 46mm inside. A harddrive is 25 mm thick. That only leaves 21 mm for the coolpacks (7 mm for each).

Is the foam only there to make sure everything fits tightly or is there to do actual damping by design ? Did you only use foam on the top side (like in the picture above) ?

By the way, which side of hdd is more important cool: metal-side or circuitry-side ?


alleycat wrote:
I noticed that someone used a dremel to make the cable slot, but it is probably more easily and accurately done by hand with a small file.


Good. I was planning on using a small file since a dremel or a nibbler seems to be more suited for larger cuts.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2006 8:05 pm 
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
When I first posted this project I didn't think about the availability of coolpacks in other countries. If I had to mail order them I probably would never have bothered! I'm sorry but I can't advise you regarding the size of the coolpacks. I can only tell you what I used, so you may need to experiment. Although you need to get coolpacks which will fit the enclosure, the actual size is not critical. For example, I thought I had filled the enclosure using only two coolpacks, but later I realised that I could fit one more in.

Even with just two coolpacks, the foam seemed like it wouldn't fit, but it did. Adding another coolpack didn't appear to make much difference. I know it may sound strange, but you need to try it. The foam gets squashed flat I think. There is actually some pressure involved, as the lid requires a bit of force to be placed on it while it is being screwed down. The foam is only required on one side, and at the end of the drive to prevent any possibility of movement.

The circuit side and the edges are the hottest parts of the drive. I tried to wrap the coolpacks around the edges for good contact.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 11:08 am 
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Location: Sweden
alleycat wrote:
When I first posted this project I didn't think about the availability of coolpacks in other countries. If I had to mail order them I probably would never have bothered!


But I will :) Hdd idle-whine is simply worst noise I can imagine and although my current enclosures do wonders for noise-reduction, they are also "cooking" my drives temp-wise. Your coolpack solution seems perfect for me.


alleycat wrote:
I'm sorry but I can't advise you regarding the size of the coolpacks. I can only tell you what I used, so you may need to experiment. Although you need to get coolpacks which will fit the enclosure, the actual size is not critical. For example, I thought I had filled the enclosure using only two coolpacks, but later I realised that I could fit one more in.


No problem :) I will just have do a little tweaking to get it right.


alleycat wrote:
The circuit side and the edges are the hottest parts of the drive. I tried to wrap the coolpacks around the edges for good contact.


Good to know. I will try to tweak the coolpacks to cool the edges and circuit-side better. I will also try to pack the foam on the other side(s).

Thanks for all the info. Will order the enclosure and coolpacks tomorrow.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 02, 2006 4:52 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 25, 2006 1:32 pm
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Location: Sweden
Finally I got my delayed coldpacks!! :D

I'm going to use this enclosure in my upcoming woodcase build (early next year). But I had to test how good this enclosure is at reducing hdd noise before deciding to go with it in my new case. I just tested it very quick without any temp. measures or seek/write noise, just idle whine. I've posted som pictures below. I will do some more testing once I start building my wood case.

Image
My case. A Dragon Chieftech with Zalman stuff for CPU, GPU, PSU.
I know, my cable management sucks! I will do this much better in my new case.



Image
An old Quantum Fireball drive @ 1.2GB. The noisiest drive I've ever come across by far. If you can't hear the idle whine from this drive, in any case, I say: get an hearing aid :wink:


Image
The parts.


Image
Two coldpacks squeezed inside the enclosure.


Image
The drive seated in place.


Image
An extra coldpack on top and some foam to make it a thight package.


Image
Selead up and done ! No sata cable needed since I will only test noise for idle whine.


Image
Ok the first test: Sitting on the bare plastic floor. Most of the drive's noise was gone. However I could still here a quiet hum. When I put my hand on the drive I could feel alot of vibrations. Please note that this is a really old drive that vibrates ALOT more than ANY modern drive do.


Image
Finally I tested having the enclosure sitting on foam. I'm really amazed to tell you that ALL drive-noise where completly gone :shock: Before I couldn't even dream that a drive as loud as this one could be completly silenced. From 0.5m away I couldn't tell the difference wether the drive was on or not !!!


I'm really happy with the results of this enclosure :D
Although I haven't tested temps, but I can't imagine it being worse than my current SilentDrives. To sum it up: A kickass enclosure !!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 02, 2006 5:01 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2004 8:49 am
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Location: Suomi Finland Perkele
It is a nice enclosure isn´t it :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 02, 2006 6:14 am 
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qstoffe wrote:
Although I haven't tested temps, but I can't imagine it being worse than my current SilentDrives.


Well, what're ya waiting for? :)

Temps please, idle and load, pre and post cold packs. Thanks!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 02, 2006 6:36 am 
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Just so you know, you need to have the HDD on for about 24 hours before the temp settles.. At least with the gelpacks i have. And you would have to defrag for hours to get the tremp to rise just a few degrees. That hdd probably doesn´t even have a temp probe... :P


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2006 5:23 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 25, 2006 1:32 pm
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Location: Sweden
Ok I decided to run with the new enclosures even though they were only intended for my next case build (like sneak preview :wink: )

Having 2 drives makes my current case a little small for this enclosure but I decided to put one drive at the bottom of the case (referred to as HD1) and the other (referred to as HD0) above my DVD, occupying two 5.25" slots.

After 12 hours I removed the two 5.25" covers in front of HD0. I thought they where unnecessary since my chieftech case has a front "door" anyway.

It's sommer here in Sweden now so ambient temps are higher than usual. Roomtemp. is about 29C. I've noticed that my CPU temps are about 10C higher than they are in the wintertime. I used Speedfan 4.28 to measure the temps.

HD0: Seagate Barracuda.9 300GB
HD1: Seagate Barracuda.8 200GB

Hdds i free air - no enclosure (no direct airlow)
1 hours idle
| HD0 | 47C |
| HD1 | 46C |

2 hours idle
| HD0 | 47C |
| HD1 | 46C |

2 hours idle + 1 hours defrag
| HD0 | 51C |
| HD1 | 50C |
------------------------------------------------------------

Hdds i inside SilentDrive enclosures (no direct airlow, at bottom of the case)
1 hours idle
| HD0 | 56C |
| HD1 | 53C |

2 hours idle
| HD0 | 57C |
| HD1 | 55C |

2 hours idle + 1 hours defrag
| HD0 | 63C |
| HD1 | 62C |

------------------------------------------------------------

Hdds i inside Alleycat enclosures (no direct airlow, HD1 at bottom of the case HD0 above DVD drive)
2 hours idle
| HD0 | 41C |
| HD1 | 41C |

4 hours idle
| HD0 | 45C |
| HD1 | 45C |

6 hours idle
| HD0 | 47C |
| HD1 | 47C |

8 hours idle
| HD0 | 48C |
| HD1 | 49C |

10 hours idle
| HD0 | 48C |
| HD1 | 49C |

12 hours idle
| HD0 | 48C |
| HD1 | 49C |

14 hours idle
| HD0 | 45C | // Note after 12 hours I removed two of the 5.25" covers in front of HD0
| HD1 | 49C |

16 hours idle
| HD0 | 45C |
| HD1 | 48C |

16 hours idle + 1 hours of defrag
| HD0 | 47C |
| HD1 | 49C |

------------------------------------------------------------


Conlusion: I'd have to say that temp-wise, the Alleycat enclosure is much much better than my old SilentDrives. If you don't have your computer on for more than 4 hours then your drives will actually be cooler in the Alleycat enclosure than in free air :shock: . But I have to say 1 or 2 degrees higher after 16 hours inside the alleycat enclosure is well worth the price considering how well it silences the drives.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2006 2:25 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 20, 2002 10:32 am
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
Thanks for posting your results. I'm glad you have been successful in building the enclosure. The cold packs you used look like a better size than the ones I used. Nice work!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2006 6:49 am 
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Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 6:29 am
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Location: IN, USA
Qstoffe, those temps are quite impressive. :shock:

Alleycat, if there was money in it I'd suggest you should check into getting a patent on a "Gel Based Hard Drive Enclosure System."


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