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 Post subject: Moving HDDs out of the computer?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:23 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2010 9:44 pm
Posts: 67
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Hello there :)

I have two 7200RPM drives in my rig, which are suspended in my Fractal Define R2. The problem is that I can clearly hear the seek noise and the start-up spin. Also, the HDD suspended in the 5.25" is getting almost no cooling.

My case is sitting to my right and it is very close to my ears. This means I hear the noises very clearly. I can't find a space to fit the case on the floor, but the desk has a small cubby-hole at the bottom right where I can put a small enclosure with the HDDs inside.

I'm just unsure about the logistics of this. Chances are, I'll build the box out of wood, by myself (I have a hacksaw, drill, nails, screws, sandpaper and I can buy some glue, wood and varnish/paint as well).
I think I will put two wooden vertical wooden struts on either side and drill large holes through them so I can suspend the hard drives. I wonder how I'll silence the drives, though. Is there any industrial sound damping, or are materials close to acoustipack fine? The enclosure doesn't need to be fully quiet, I just don't want to hear the seek noises.
I don't know how I'll connect the HDDs to my motherboard.

Thanks for any tips. I don't want to build a NAS box as that would be quite expensive, and I don't want to throw away the 7200RPM drives and get 5400RPM drives and an SSD for the same reason.


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 Post subject: Re: Moving HDDs out of the computer?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:02 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
Posts: 1728
Location: Switzerland
You don't need to suspend the drives if they've got nothing noisy (like a case) to shake and drum on. Silencing the drives should be pretty easy if you're handy and willing to take your time. Silencing them without making them run too hot is something else.

Cubby-hole pics or drawing (including the relevant part of the desk)? I have no idea what you're talking about.
Maybe that's not the best place to keep your drives if you want them to be cool.
In my opinion, an ideal place would be a kind of nook between pieces of furniture where you can let hot air rise freely while being able to sound-proof (if needed) the surfaces against which noises could reflect. Something like that:
Code:
. . . desk-------------
wall
wall . . . . . obstacle
wall . drive . obstacle
. . . piece of furniture


ickarumba1 wrote:
I don't know how I'll connect the HDDs to my motherboard.

Cable length between mobo and cubby-hole?

ickarumba1 wrote:
I don't want to build a NAS box as that would be quite expensive

Not really if you're willing to be creative and to put in a little work. But you wouldn't get the same performance from a NAS box.


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 Post subject: Re: Moving HDDs out of the computer?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:56 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2010 9:44 pm
Posts: 67
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Thanks for the reply

Desk:
Code:
                   computer
||========================||
||             ||         ||
||             ||  drawer ||
||             ||=========||
||             ||  cubby  ||
||             ||  hole   ||
||             ||         ||
||========================||
||                        ||
||                        ||


(took me ages to get this right)

If I route the cables through the rear water-cooling holes in the R2, I'll need around 1m of cabling to get to the bottom of the cubby hole (this is an over-estimate). The SATA cables that came with the motherboard are only 45cm long.


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 Post subject: Re: Moving HDDs out of the computer?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 12:56 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
Posts: 1728
Location: Switzerland
I had imagined something completely different (I'm not a native English speaker).

Assuming you don't want to use a fan...
The first thing I'd try is to build a sort of door to close the lower part of the cubby-hole. The point is to prevent the noise from leaving the cube without being reflected on a surface. But the top of the cubby-hole should remain open to allow air to move. Then sound-proof the surfaces as needed. You might want to try to channel rising hot air in the right direction (as opposed to the top corner at the back of the cube) but I don't know if that would really make a difference.
I wouldn't use an enclosure. I'd simply lay the drives and their heatsink at the bottom of the cube on cloth, foam or some other vibration-absorbing stuff.
You could try without a heatsink at first but the drives might get too hot if you stress them. You could use a good chunck of metal as a heatsink but you'll probably need something to keep the drives from using it to make a racket. You could try some kind of thermal pad. Or instead of a chuck of metal you could try a material that's not too crappy at transmitting and absorbing heat but that's not noisy. Maybe you could simply use a molten ice pack of some kind if you don't need an efficient heat sink. I have no experience in the matter because I prefer to use drives that don't need a heatsink to being with. You could take a look at what the few noise-conscious hard drive heatsinks on the market use (I've got no experience with them).
The details would depend in part on what your desk is made of.

I'd get 80cm SATA cables or something like that. I have no idea if you should use shielded cables or not. I suppose it would be best if you could ground the shielding but is it worth the bother? Probably not.


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 Post subject: Re: Moving HDDs out of the computer?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 1:12 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2010 9:44 pm
Posts: 67
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
I was thinking of building an enclosure that would just fit into that hole. It would have a slow 120 mm exhaust fan as well.
The HDDs have metal casings that act as heat sinks. Considering that I currently have the drives suspended without direct contact to the case, I'm sure they're fine without an external heat sink.

Hmm, it's rather difficult to get long SATA cables where I live. So far, I've only been able to find 50 cm cables, which are pointless to buy.

Maybe I'm too ambitious with my idea.


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 Post subject: Re: Moving HDDs out of the computer?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 1:31 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
Posts: 1728
Location: Switzerland
Does no one in Hong-Kong sell long SATA cables? This is where I bought my uncommon 3$ cables and such. Try ebay, meritline and so on.

If you want to use a fan you obviously don't need heatsinks and you can enclose the drives without making them overheat. But I've never needed to use a fan with my out-of-case drives myself.
I wouldn't bother with an enclosure. But if you'd enjoy building one, why not? I imagine it could pair well with a fan: if you build your dual-drive wooden enclosure right without too much space between the drives or besides them, you could have a fan at one side of the box move air exactly where you want along the drives. If you really want to suspend the drives, I imagine vertical supension would waste less space allowing for more efficient airflow.


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 Post subject: Re: Moving HDDs out of the computer?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 1:51 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2010 9:44 pm
Posts: 67
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
The problem is shipping to NZ is very expensive.
If cables cost $3 from Hong Kong, then it'll cost $20 to get it shipped to NZ.


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 Post subject: Re: Moving HDDs out of the computer?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 2:10 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
Posts: 1728
Location: Switzerland
I'm talking about $3 shipped to the other side of the world! You're a lot closer to HK than I am. With inflation, the price of oil and so on it'd probably be more like 5$ now. The Chinese know business. They'll make items that cost them virtually nothing affordable to you.


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 Post subject: Re: Moving HDDs out of the computer?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 2:27 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2010 9:44 pm
Posts: 67
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Do you have a link directing to the website you bought from?


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 Post subject: Re: Moving HDDs out of the computer?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 2:55 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
Posts: 1728
Location: Switzerland
HFat wrote:
Try ebay, meritline and so on.

I've bought cheapos from both websites. But there are others I don't remember now. So don't despair if you don't find what you're looking for there or if they raised their shipping costs.
It would be strange if you can't source a simple cable. NZ has no electronics distributor with a fat catalogue? Ask a professional. You can also try the more technically-oriented shops in your aera. They know of to order stuff. With a little luck, they won't slap a large fee on a low-value item.


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 Post subject: Re: Moving HDDs out of the computer?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:49 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 12:44 am
Posts: 36
... PB tech has them (1m). and some ebay sellers ship stuff to nz for dirt cheap, only it takes like 2 weeks to get here and another week to clear customs (from experience)

http://www.pbtech.co.nz/index.php?z=p&p ... -300Mpbs-D


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 Post subject: Re: Moving HDDs out of the computer?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:52 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
Posts: 1728
Location: Switzerland
nzdcoy wrote:
only it takes like 2 weeks to get here

Right. It can take even longer for the stuff to get here. That's the downside of cheap shipping. It's worth the trouble if the part is simply not available in your country and you don't want to pay 25$ for a cable.


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 Post subject: Re: Moving HDDs out of the computer?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2011 7:01 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2010 9:44 pm
Posts: 67
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Thanks guys. I'll check pbtech. I'll see how I do with this project, but I may give up.


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 Post subject: Re: Moving HDDs out of the computer?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 6:18 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:46 am
Posts: 135
Location: Minneapolis, MN, USA
ickarumba1 wrote:
I have two 7200RPM drives in my rig, which are suspended in my Fractal Define R2.


Fractal Define R2 cases are trendy, but the steel is thin. Thick steel and thick foam cuts more noise then thin materials. I would sell the Define R2 while it is still the hot case, and get something with thicker walls.

I will always suggest my case, the NZXT Whisper (video review). It holds 9 drives on rubber grommets, and packs them into a chamber of 10mm foam. It costs USD 110 from Amazon but you will need a controller for the included fans.

ickarumba1 wrote:
The problem is that I can clearly hear the seek noise and the start-up spin. Also, the HDD suspended in the 5.25" is getting almost no cooling.


Hard drives do not need much cooling. Use SMART to check your temperatures on your hard drives. The popular Speedfan program has a SMART tool included. If the drives are under 45c, you not need more cooling.

Google Labs has proved that hard drives don't need much cooling

ickarumba1 wrote:
My case is sitting to my right and it is very close to my ears. This means I hear the noises very clearly. I can't find a space to fit the case on the floor, but the desk has a small cubby-hole at the bottom right where I can put a small enclosure with the HDDs inside.


Noise falls off quickly with distance, and interior walls help cut down noise to unnoticeable levels. If you get video and USB extension cables, you could put the computer far away.

I have put computers in the next room and then run HDMI and USB through the walls. I have also put computers in the basement near the furnace, and run cables via the cool air return (NOT the hot air vents). I usually just go to the machine to change DVDs, but I also have a USB DVD player.

ickarumba1 wrote:
I'll build the box out of wood, by myself (I have a hacksaw, drill, nails, screws, sandpaper and I can buy some glue, wood and varnish/paint as well).


You will need a wood saw blade for your hacksaw. Hacksaw blades (fine-toothed) are for cutting metal and hard plastic. Wood saw blades have coarse teeth for cutting wood.

Building stuff is cool, but the GF will never like the way it looks.

ickarumba1 wrote:
Thanks for any tips. I don't want to build a NAS box as that would be quite expensive, and I don't want to throw away the 7200RPM drives and get 5400RPM drives and an SSD for the same reason.


Well, once you eliminate the simple and good ideas, you may need to build something...

_________________
Q9300 @ 3.0 (7.5 x 400 fsb) w/ Noctura NH-C12P (top-down 120 mm cooler, "blue" speed)
On: Gigabyte EP45-UD3P w/ SAPPHIRE 100283-3L Radeon HD 5770 1GB (@ 20% fan speed)
In: NZXT WHISPER w/ Lian Li BS03 120mm fan duct (required drilling thick steel)


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 Post subject: Re: Moving HDDs out of the computer?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 6:29 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2010 9:44 pm
Posts: 67
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Dr. Jim Pomatter wrote:
Fractal Define R2 cases are trendy, but the steel is thin. Thick steel and thick foam cuts more noise then thin materials. I would sell the Define R2 while it is still the hot case, and get something with thicker walls.

I will always suggest my case, the NZXT Whisper (video review).


I'm getting some acoustipack shipped in from the UK, I'll put a lot of that at the front of my computer (the side that is facing closest to me). Also, I like the look of the case.
I've read about the whisper, but no one sells it here in NZ (and I'm definitely not having something that heavy shipped in).

Dr. Jim Pomatter wrote:
Hard drives do not need much cooling. Use SMART to check your temperatures on your hard drives. The popular Speedfan program has a SMART tool included. If the drives are under 45c, you not need more cooling.


I have Speedfan, but I think the temperature monitor for it is broken. Straight after a cold boot, I open speedfan, and it registers the temperature at 64 degrees current and 63 degrees max, which doesn't make sense. My other drive is at 28 degrees after a cold boot, but it is suspended in a more ventilated area.

Dr. Jim Pomatter wrote:
Noise falls off quickly with distance, and interior walls help cut down noise to unnoticeable levels. If you get video and USB extension cables, you could put the computer far away.


The adjacent room is a bedroom, and it's not mine, so I don't think I can put the computer there.

Dr. Jim Pomatter wrote:
You will need a wood saw blade for your hacksaw. Hacksaw blades (fine-toothed) are for cutting metal and hard plastic. Wood saw blades have coarse teeth for cutting wood.

I have a saw for cutting wood, but thanks for the tip.


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 Post subject: Re: Moving HDDs out of the computer?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 11:17 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
Posts: 1728
Location: Switzerland
ickarumba1 wrote:
Straight after a cold boot, I open speedfan, and it registers the temperature at 64 degrees current and 63 degrees max, which doesn't make sense.

Right: it makes no sense.
Try smartmontools instead of Speedfan.


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 Post subject: Re: Moving HDDs out of the computer?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2011 12:00 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:43 am
Posts: 74
Location: Germany
Really, don't bother building anything yourself. Get a Scythe Quiet Drive enclosure and put your HDD's in there. SQD for 2.5" drives are widely available, for 3.5" drive - not really. Check ebay. It may cost some money - 20-30$ a piece, but it will dampen 90% of the noise. I think it is the cheapest and the most hassle-free way to reduce HDD noise. The only better option is SSD, but price...


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 Post subject: Re: Moving HDDs out of the computer?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 12:05 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2010 9:44 pm
Posts: 67
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
I can't find it here in NZ, and the only place I've found that ships to NZ sells them at $60 NZD, plus $60 NZD shipping. :(
I'll find a comprimise. I'll try and get some noise blocking foam, and put it in all the places I can.


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