Your insinuations make me wonder whether I want to keep you as a reader, but I will respond on behalf of other readers who look at this and wonder.
Our noise measurements
are done from a distance of one meter for a reason: This is roughly the distance that a user sits from a desktop tower. We use this standard of measurement for every piece of hardware we test to avoid confusion, although I admit that it is less than ideal for a notebook drive that is actually used in a notebook (you'll notice that our notebook reviews tend to talk about use in a desktop system).
Still, one meter is much better than three inches, which is the distance at which the Scorpio drives were recorded. In fact, it's so much better that, since the Scorpio article was published, we have changed the way we make recordings
to match our measurements and what we hear
more closely. Recordings are now done from one meter, as well as one foot.
Why do I mention measurement distance? Because I strongly suspect that you have not heard both drives in person, and are basing your conclusions and accuasations solely on the mp3 files that we provided. I do not dispute that the mp3 of the WD1200BEVS is louder than the mp3 of the WD800VE. And, speaking from personal experience, I can say that that difference is indeed audible ... if you listen from 3 inches.
But that doesn't paint a complete picture. Nobody routinely uses notebook drives that are 3 inches from their ears. The distance is typically more like half a meter (in a notebook) or a full meter (in a desktop). And from this distance, the difference quickly disappears. For the same reason, the difference that is so obvious in the 3" mp3 files doesn't even show up in the measurement from one meter. Rest assured that we are not lying, even if our conclusions are presented in a somewhat confusing way.
I should also take this time to reiterate a couple of things that needs to be said repeatedly.
1) dBA@1m measurements are approximations
of what we hear. They do not always accurately represent what we hear in person. An irregular or high pitched sound that measures 20 dBA@1m is much more audible than a broadband whoosh that measures 20 dBA@1m. Our subjective descriptions take this into account; our measurements do not. I call the WD drives quiet by virtue their good noise character as much as by virtue of their relatively low measurements.
2) dBA@1m measurements are inherently unreliable, especially at low levels. I doubt that our measurements are accurate to closer than ~Â±2dBA@1m. There are too many variables outside of our control to do much better. Meter placement, ambient noise, the surroundings of the subject and the variability of the noise all play a part in affecting noise measurements. Measuring noise is not like measuring length or volume because it is constantly fluctating and is affected by its environment. The measurements we make should be read as averages over time (like vRMS) rather than absolute values. Quantification (and ease of understanding) requires picking a specific number, but the reality is that there is a certain amount of variation in the noise itself that makes very precise measurement an impossible illusion.