Before the great hard drive price disaster of recent months, I bought a 'quiet' storage drive. The choice was between the Barracuda Green 2tb and the Caviar Green 2tb. I chose the barracuda because it was (according to the reviews) both faster and quieter than my existing 1Tb Barracuda 7200.
The drive runs perfectly performance-wise, except that it makes a loud resonating noise when idle.
I've downloaded a few HD diagnostic tools that all tell me the drive is fine, including seagate's sea-tools thing. This is how I characterize the problem:
The noise comes in bursts very periodically every ~1.5 seconds or so, which is why I describe it as "resonating". The noise is not too loud relatively speaking - it's about 2-3 times as loud as the drive itself, but due to the periodic bursts, it is clearly audible anywhere in the room and is extremely annoying. The busts themselves are a low-frequency hum that is reminiscent of resonance or gentle grinding.
When the drive is idle, the noise starts up at random with no warning and continues without stop for an unknown amount of time (usually several days) then stops without warning only to start up again a few days later.
The noise will only go away if the drive starts doing something: copying files, loading programs or benchmarking, ie; when the drive is active. When the copying, loading or benchmark is over, the drive goes right back to making that noise.
Rebooting does not change this, neither does shutting down completely and starting up again. When the system boots, the drive goes back to making the noise.
Changing from a Sata3 to Sata6 port does not change the situation.
Unplugging the Sata cable entirely does not change the situation. The drive will make the noise simply by being powered. (I did not unplug the Sata while the drive was in use of course, this was a test)
The drive is new, it is only used for storage, it is not an OS drive.
The drive is about 20% full at the moment, but it makes the same noise when empty.
This is my hardware: P6X58D-E, 6gb Gskill 1600, i7-930, HD6870, Seasonic X750, 2xVertex2-OS.
I don't think the rest of my system is to blame here, since as I mentioned, the noise will come on even if the drive is just powered, and the power supply is still great, despite being a year old.
And here is the strange thing:
I returned the drive, thinking there was something wrong with it, and got another one of exactly the same type. The same problem is occurring with the new drive.
I am at a loss here. The rest of my computer is not to blame, and the drive itself was not "defective". All I can think of is that the noise is due to some internal operation that the drive decides to do on its own. But if this is the case, then shouldn't seagate design it's drives so that they don't make all this noise at random?
I can't switch to another drive by returning this one, as that would cost me an extra $100 due to the price hikes, yet I need the storage, so I need to solve this problem.
So what should I do? Is there a tool that will let me change the internal settings on the drive? (reduce error checking or auto-defrag or whatever is causing the noise)