Samsung HD501LJ

Silencing hard drives, optical drives and other storage devices

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jimmyzaas
Posts: 145
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2005 2:40 pm
Location: Toronto, CANADA

Post by jimmyzaas » Fri Dec 22, 2006 6:46 pm

omfg.. that sequential read thing looks HOT! .. my WD only does 60 MB/s max i think.

Anyone knows where I can get one in Canada? Man.. seems we are always behind on the goods.. so unfair.

alfred
Posts: 127
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2006 8:32 pm

Post by alfred » Sat Dec 23, 2006 9:10 am

Spent the last days using 2*HD501LJ in a PC that had 2*HD401LJ before, installed the same way (Scythe Quiet Drive enclosures vertically with deep foam below and partly on the sides). I'd say the T166 is about 3°C cooler than the T133 (3-platter models). I'm now switching to RAID-0 in order to get better HDD performance for some heavy video editing, so I won't be able to check temps from now on, but I'm confident there's no need to worry about HD501LJ's temps.

My only concern with the T166 is long-term reliability 'cause I've read several DOA stories about this model line; mine are fine but it doesn't mean they can't break down after a few weeks. Samsung's PMR technology seems to give fast, silent and cool drives, however we can't say anything about reliability.

biatche
Posts: 33
Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2006 3:18 pm

Post by biatche » Wed Dec 27, 2006 8:07 am

i'd be interested to know, where did you read bout samsung's t166 doa stories? i wanna see people tell me dead stories bout their t166's.... as im planning to get one myself. now... are they reliable or not.

alfred
Posts: 127
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2006 8:32 pm

Post by alfred » Wed Dec 27, 2006 3:51 pm

There is the post by MikeMcr
viewtopic.php?p=302129#302129
(edit/ Now there is this post by biatche too)
I also found several posts a french forum http://forum.hardware.fr but the search engine isn't quite useful to find the urls again; I also remember a long T166 topic on a german forum, I don't have the url anymore.

We often see much talk about DOA on the forums; I don't know if we can conclude anything from it. People having reliability problems are much more prone to post their stories than people having bought hard drives that work as intended. But my point was : PMR is new technology for Samsung, so I think there is a greater risk to get bad drives. Anyway, even with a 10% DOA rate, you still can buy several drives and get 0% failure rate.
Last edited by alfred on Wed Jan 24, 2007 10:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

OlivierMDVY
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Post by OlivierMDVY » Tue Jan 02, 2007 5:57 am

I confirm, this drive is the quietest drive I've ever had before :)

I hope it will be reliable because I'm about to replace my current Raid 0 Raptors by a Raid 0 Samsung T166 320 gb ! 8)

jedster
Posts: 118
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Location: Las Vegas, NV

Sammy!

Post by jedster » Tue Jan 02, 2007 1:59 pm

Add my voice to the 501LJ fans.

I am turning in a fleet of WD5000KS and YS drives which I had previously thought were the quietest things since sliced bread.

For HTPC usage, I cannot tell a noise difference between a naked 501LJ and a WD5000KS encased in a Scythe enclosure. Moreover, as I replace my YS drives with the 501LJs (thank god for 30-day return), I suspect the fact that I will be able to mount the drives w/o using enclosures will pay off handsomely in both temps and vibration. We'll see -- more on that later when I get the drives.

Obviously not enough data to speak on reliability. I'll be probably be running them in a RAID5 and a RAID1 so I am not as concerned.

I will say that when you are close to the drives, my impression was that the Samsung's seeks had the potential to cause more vibration than the WD's. Forgive me if that is a a dumb observation as I am a bit of a newbie to silent computing. The Samsung's seeks seemed duller and lower in frequency than the higher pitched WD's. Sitting right next to the drive I'd probably prefer a soft-mounted WD inside a Scythe. But for HTPC usage or in a good case (Solo/P150/P180) I'd go for the Sammy.

Final note: I did enable AAM in both the WD and the Samsung drives. My impression was that AAM made more of an acoustic difference in the WD unit. Can't speak to performance. Interestingly, the recommended AAM for Samsung was OFF and for WD it was ON (at 128), at least according to Hitachi.

I'll be posting more about this drive when I build out my RAID, but these are my initial impressions.

Also, this is my first post, and I want to take a second to thank everybody at SPCR for making this website and forum. It has been invaluable to me as I begin learning about building boxes and quieting them. Just six weeks ago I'd never built a computer and now I feel like I know a little bit about it, all thanks to SPCR. (In fact, I didn't even know you could make a computer quieter until late November. How annoying these buzzing beasts can be!)

don9999
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Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2007 9:47 am

Post by don9999 » Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:12 am

I've just bought the HD501LJ (took ages to choose a HDD, as there are SO many conflicting views on which drive is better, whether SATA II is better than SATA I etc. etc...)

Anyway, have a lot of film editing to do, so have decided to upgrade my disks (bearing in mind capacity, speed and noise). Phew! Not easy!

I currently have 2 x 200Gb Maxtor Diamond Max 10 SATA-150.
Set up as RAID-0 (for performance, not bothered about safety, since I backup regularly, to a separate HDD).

Am planning to use the HD501LJ alone, and 'may' consider buying another, either to use separately OR to build another RAID0 (again, there are strong views on either side as to whether RAID0 is worthwhile).

Not really sure how to measure the performance of the HDDs.
Used SiSoft2007, and it quotes for read performance:
RAID - drive index = 116MB/s, random access time = 18ms
HD501LJ - drive index = 116MB/s, random access time = 13ms

So on the face of it the new drive is better than my existing RAID.
I now need to consider whether building a RAID0 with another HD501LJ will show any performance gain over non-RAID drives.
Any comments?

Also.....

SiSoft2007 comments that th HD501LJ has a 'Current Active Mode' of UDMA-6, whilst the 'Max UDMA Mode supported' is 7. Does this have any effect?

Finally.....

My motherboard P5B Deluxe can use SATA-II drives. Do I need to do anything to enable this? I'm assuming it is automatic when I plug in my new HD501LJ.

Thanks for any comments.

Cheers,
Don

don9999
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Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2007 9:47 am

Post by don9999 » Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:25 am

Oh dear......

Have just used Performance Test 6.1 to measure performance of the HDDs.

For the RAID I get:
Sequential read = 117 Mb/sec
Sequential write = 113.1 Mb/sec
Random seek + RW = 11.3 Mb/sec

For the HD501LJ:
Sequential read = 65.7 Mb/sec
Sequential write = 74.1 Mb/sec
Random seek + RW = 2.95 Mb/sec

I've run these tests about 6 or 7 times each, and the results are roughly the same each time.

But WHY the significant difference....?
And who/what do I trust?

I guess the only 'real' way of telling is to use both and see which one 'feels' better. But I'm not sure if I can be bothered operating BOTH for a week or so, duplicating activities etc. to find out which feels the faster.

HELP......

Cheers,
Don

jedster
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Location: Las Vegas, NV

Post by jedster » Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:28 am

How's the noise withe 501LJ?

As for the SataII issue I'm not an expert. Which SATA connector are you using? The ICH8R (Intel) ones? (IIRC, the Asus board uses Intel for some of its SATA.)

As long as you've set the BIOS for Intel IDE interface to RAID or AHCI I think you'll be getting the max from the mobo. The only potential issue is that if when you installed XP if you left the Intel interface on just IDE you might not be able to boot unless you did an F6 install of XP.

Someone else may have more definitive answers...

alfred
Posts: 127
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2006 8:32 pm

Post by alfred » Thu Jan 04, 2007 11:51 am

jedster, don9999 :
As I posted on Nov 29, 2006, you can find my benchmarks (including RAID-0) and noise recordings on http://idlenoise.ifrance.com/HD501LJ/ and http://idlenoise.ifrance.com/HD501LJcomp/

jedster
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Location: Las Vegas, NV

Post by jedster » Thu Jan 04, 2007 11:57 am

alfred wrote:jedster, don9999 :
As I posted on Nov 29, 2006, you can find my benchmarks (including RAID-0) and noise recordings on http://idlenoise.ifrance.com/HD501LJ/ and http://idlenoise.ifrance.com/HD501LJcomp/
Thank you. I noticed that for some of the tests you had partitioned the RAID. And it seems like there was a difference in performance, especially access times. Without asking you to write a disseration, why is this? What's a good rule of thumb for partitions on RAID 0?

alfred
Posts: 127
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Post by alfred » Thu Jan 04, 2007 12:45 pm

Prior to running these benchmarks I was using two HD401LJ in RAID-0 on a rig where I needed a small partition for Windows and software, and a big (and fast) one for very large audio & video files I'm editing for my job. I would have been better to transfer my data to other hard disks and then run the benchmarks on freshly reformatted drives but unfortunately I had none available at that time.

jedster
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Location: Las Vegas, NV

Post by jedster » Thu Jan 04, 2007 12:50 pm

alfred wrote:Prior to running these benchmarks I was using two HD401LJ in RAID-0 on a rig where I needed a small partition for Windows and software, and a big (and fast) one for very large audio & video files I'm editing for my job. I would have been better to transfer my data to other hard disks and then run the benchmarks on freshly reformatted drives but unfortunately I had none available at that time.
I just read this: http://www.ocforums.com/showthread.php?t=467848

Seems their claim is that setting up 2 raid 0s on the intel matrix raid controller gives optimal performance for the OS by creating a smaller slice of the disk. Makes some sense but I would suspect a partition would do the same thing (though you'd lose the ability to have 2 different types of raids on the same disk).

The fact that you got better performance on your first partition than your second would seem to back up the general idea of partitioning a raid, but not necessarily doing it exclusively with intel's matrix raid.

alfred
Posts: 127
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2006 8:32 pm

Post by alfred » Fri Jan 05, 2007 12:16 am

Wow. Jedster : thank you !
'cause you made me see that write back cache was disabled in my intel raid matrix storage manager ! Too bad it isn't enabled by default.

Let's have a look at updated 2 HD401LJ RAID-0 benchmarks : http://idlenoise.ifrance.com/write_cache_enabled/

My setup with these HD401LJ drives is two RAID-0 arrays under BIOS; the ones that you see in the Everest benchmark screen captures. The 40 GB array is further splitted under WinXP, C: (boot drive) and F: (6GB logical partition). The 705 GB array is used by a single WinXP logical partition.

Now I need to test RAID-0 HD501LJ with write back cache enabled too ;)

alfred
Posts: 127
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Post by alfred » Fri Jan 05, 2007 3:00 am

Comparing my 2-drives RAID-0 (HD501LJ, first 32GB array) to the best saved benchmark from the HDtach's database :
Image

Benchmarks and storage system information : http://idlenoise.ifrance.com/write_cache_enabled/

PaulRivers
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Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2006 10:24 pm

Post by PaulRivers » Fri Jan 05, 2007 12:39 pm

Tom's Hardware has the Samsung listed pretty high on their drive comparison chart:
http://www23.tomshardware.com/storage.html

eldoctor.Sylvain
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2007 4:59 am

Post by eldoctor.Sylvain » Sat Jan 13, 2007 5:09 am

Hello.

I'm pretty confused while choosing a new silent drive (I have a fanless PC).

The last winner in the "official" articles on silentpcreview.com is the HD400LJ drive, with 133GB plates.
I can today buy this drive, but also the HD401LJ or HD501LJ.
Has anyone an idea about the difference in noise level (performance do not concern me a lot)?

Other disturbing thing, the HD401LJ I can buy is a T166 (see here), while everybody here speaks of HD401LJ T133. Does T133/T166 mean 133/166 GB per plate? And 00J/01J 8MB/16MB buffer?

I can also by a 2 platter 320GB T166, but it is referenced as HD321KJ, not the same product line?

Thanks (it's very hard to find good hard disk noise comparisons around)... ;)

alfred
Posts: 127
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2006 8:32 pm

Post by alfred » Sat Jan 13, 2007 9:05 am

Hi Sylvain,

The web page you're linking to contains several errors; all HD401LJ drives are T133. By the way, if you're in France or Northern Europe feel free to PM me (in english or french), I could give you some hints on where to buy Samsung drives.

Last month I compared the new HD501LJ to HD401LJ and SP2504C; you'll find my results here. You can listen to the wav files to get an idea on what these drives sound like in free air. Make sure you view the PNG pictures at 100% zoom level; maybe it's easier to first download the RAR archive, it contains all WAV and PNG files.

I'm using 2*HD501LJ and 2*HD401LJ as my main drives in my main computer; there's no question the HD501LJ is the winner noise-wise (and by the way, benchmarks are better, too).

eldoctor.Sylvain
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2007 4:59 am

Post by eldoctor.Sylvain » Sat Jan 13, 2007 9:39 am

Thanks... Since I'm in France, I'll PM you.

I've listened to your samples. No doubt, between the 3 I would choose the HD501LJ.

But I could also buy a HD400LJ. Would it be the same noise level as the HD401LJ? If the only difference is cache, then in idle, it would be the same... ;)

Is the HD321KJ the same model as the HD501LJ, but with only 2 platters, and therefore probably more silent? I'm not sure, because reading there, it's a T166, but it doesn't end with "LJ"... ;)

whiic
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Location: Finland

Post by whiic » Sat Jan 13, 2007 12:06 pm

Sylvain: "Is the HD321KJ the same model as the HD501LJ, but with only 2 platters, and therefore probably more silent? I'm not sure, because reading there, it's a T166, but it doesn't end with "LJ"..."

There was some discussion at SR about the letters of T166 320GB. Previously Samsung has used the second last letter to describe the number of heads used.

L = 6 heads => 3 platters
K = 5 heads => 3 platters
J = 4 heads => 2 platters
I = 3 heads => 2 platters
H = 2 heads => 1 platter
G = 1 head => 1 platter

If this is indeed the case some of the 320GB Samsungs sold might be 500GB drives that have been repaired by clipping a bad R/W head off. This would also mean those 320GB units are no quieter than 500GB units of T166 or 300/400GB units of T133.

If you find a HD321JJ, is should be with 2 platters.

T166 160GB variants are fortunately HD160HJ and thus have only one platter.

OlivierMDVY
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2007 5:53 am

Post by OlivierMDVY » Sat Jan 13, 2007 1:38 pm

Hello,

don't have more informations about the 321KJ but I can say that this HDD is as quiet as my 501LJ... :)

eldoctor.Sylvain
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2007 4:59 am

Post by eldoctor.Sylvain » Sun Jan 14, 2007 4:59 am

Thanks everybody.
I just ordered the 501LJ.

don9999
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2007 9:47 am

Post by don9999 » Mon Jan 15, 2007 2:16 pm

For those of you who are interested, I have bought a second 501LJ, and set two of them up in a RAID 0 array.

Good news is that they are very quiet! Am rather pleased with my new rig - VERY pleased with the Core 2 Duo and Artic Freezer Pro. The fan never appears to run very fast and is hence very quiet - I need to put the CPU under more pressure next..... The only thing letting my rig down at the moment is the Radeon X800 GTO2 - the fan noise drowns out everything else! I bought an Arctic Cooling ATI Silencer 5 some time ago, but never got around to fitting it - can't be bothered now, as I plan to upgrade the card shortly anyhow.

Anyway......for those that are interested...some performance results of my 2 x 501LJ's.
I have the RAID0 volume divided into 5 partitions as follows:
C: 24 Gb
D: 24 Gb
E: 819 Gb
F: 28 Gb
G: 34 Gb

I showed my results in an earlier post, from using 2x Diamond Max 10 200Gb SATA I drives in a RAID0 array (similar partitions), and a lone Samsung 501LJ, repeated here (Using Performance Test 6.1):

Maxtor RAID Lone 501LJ
C:Partition

Sequential read = 117.0 Mb/sec 65.7
Sequential write = 113.1 Mb/sec 74.1
Random seek + RW = 11.3 Mb/sec 2.95


Results for each partition on the new Samsung 2 x 501LJ RAID0 array are as follows (these are averages of three tests each):

C: D: E: F: G:

Sequential read = 123.5 125.4 120.5 87.9 82.8
Sequential write = 141.2 143.4 138.8 85.1 80.7
Random seek + RW = 5.5 5.4 5.7 4.4 4.4

Looks like I have benefitted for Sequential read/write, but have been hit badly for Random Seek (which I'm guessing is much of a typical PC use). So am a little disappointed.

Anyone got any ideas on what I can do to improve things?

I think the results support previous comments about performance deteriorating across a disk surface. Not sure why D: is slightly better than C:, but results drop significantly for the latter F: and G: partitions. I suspect if the E: partition (which is a whopping 819 Gb) were further divided into more partitions, I would see the deterioration more clearly.

Finally, I have seen recommendations to turn off the 'Write-Back Cache' in the Intel Matrix Storage Console (I'm using an Asus P5B motherboard). Why? After turning it off, I get the following results for the C: partition:

C:

Sequential read = 113.3
Sequential write = 3.24
Random seek + RW = 3.72

Write performance appears to be decimated! So what are the benefits of turning the write cache off? (It may be that this action is only recommended for RAID 5 arrays, but I'm still not sure why.)

Cheers,
Don

don9999
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Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2007 9:47 am

Post by don9999 » Mon Jan 15, 2007 2:24 pm

PS. I should have also posted results from another Benchmark program - I also used SiSoft Sandra 2007.

The original Maxtor 2 x 200Gb RAID 0 gave the results:
Drive Index = 116 Mb/s
Random Access Time 18ms

My new Samsung 2 x 501LJ RAID 0 gave the following results:
Drive Index = 146 Mb/s
Random Access Time 15ms

Th composite 'Drive Index' suggests that my new RAID 0 array is better.
With a better random access time, 'finding' information should be quicker too.
Unfortunately from the results in my previous post, the combination of random seek +RW appears to be slower :-(

Cheers,
Don

alfred
Posts: 127
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Post by alfred » Tue Jan 16, 2007 4:25 am

don9999 /
But WHY the significant difference....?
You were comparing a two-drives RAID-0 array against a single hard drive. A two-drives RAID-0 array basically doubles your transfer rates compared to a single hard drive; that is, unless the RAID hardware/software puts too much stress on your system (CPU power, etc). I guess this is why whe often see flat results on the left part of transfer rates graphs in the benchmarks : the transfer rate is limited to some value because of the system's capabilities not fully coping with the transfer rate the RAID subsystem could provide.
And who/what do I trust?
There was something wrong with your first Sandra result : a single HD501LJ won't give a 116MB/s average transfer rate. This was the result for your Maxtor RAID-0 array.
I guess the only 'real' way of telling is to use both and see which one 'feels' better. But I'm not sure if I can be bothered operating BOTH for a week or so, duplicating activities etc. to find out which feels the faster.
There's no chance a single HD501LJ drive could give as much performance as a two-HD501LJ RAID-0 array on your system :) You said you were doing some heavy video editing; this will highly benefit from much higher read & write linear transfer rates from a RAID-0 array.
My motherboard P5B Deluxe can use SATA-II drives. Do I need to do anything to enable this?
Well I never saw this motherboard's bios; SATA-II was enabled by default on my Gigabyte DQ6 motherboard. Using HDtach I think you could determine if sata2's higher max transfer rate is working by looking at the burst speed result, when benchmarking a single drive.
I think the results support previous comments about performance deteriorating across a disk surface.
Sure; look at the blue curve here and at the begin/middle/end values here. On this one we can even see the transitions (at ±33% and ±67%) between the 3 platters.
Finally, I have seen recommendations to turn off the 'Write-Back Cache' in the Intel Matrix Storage Console (I'm using an Asus P5B motherboard). Why?
There is a greater risk of losing data when the write-back cache is enabled, if you loose power while all wasn't transferred from the cache to the hard disk(s). (italics are from intel Matrix Storage Manager's documentation)

1/ Hard disk write-back cache :

Hard Drive Write Cache is a performance-enhancing feature supported by some hard drives. Enabling the write cache improves performance by temporarily storing data before it is written to the hard drive. The disadvantage of enabling the write cache is that the cached data may be lost if the system loses power. To enable or disable the Write Cache [in intel Maxtrix Storage Console], right-click on the RAID array and then select Enable or Disable Hard Drive Write Cache. Restart the computer to apply the changes.

This was enabled by default on my HD501LJ drives when I bought them.

2/ RAID Volume write-back cache :

The ICH8R volume write-back cache feature groups multiple I/O requests from the host into fewer requests and writes from the cache to the volumes at defined intervals. This feature enhances the read and write latency of an array.

While the Volume Write-Back Cache is enabled, multiple write requests can be combined. Writing the data from the cache to the RAID volume is more efficient. The Volume Write-Back Cache can be enabled or disabled [in intel Maxtrix Storage Console] at any time without the need to restart the computer.


This was disabled by default when I installed intel Matrix Storage software.

Enabling WBC on my ICH8R system (dual HD501LJ RAID-0 single 931.5GB array) gives me much better benchmark results :
129.8MB/s against 109.3MB/s average random write transfer rate (Everest benchmark); all other results here.
Unfortunately from the results in my previous post, the combination of random seek +RW appears to be slower.
I never used this benchmark so I don't know for sure how to explain these results; provided your hardware is able to sustain the transfer rates from your RAID-0, it should score higher in all storage benchmarks. Maybe your OS config/drivers/partitioning is at fault. What benchmark results do you get from HDtach (long bench) ?

eldoctor.Sylvain
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Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2007 4:59 am

Post by eldoctor.Sylvain » Wed Jan 17, 2007 6:31 am

So I just received my HD501LJ.

It is pretty silent, but not as much as my previous DM+9 160GB: a litte high frequency noise can be heard. Anyway I think it's a good value.

I have a formatted capacity (NTFS with block size 512) of 465.76GB? Does it seem correct to you?

Do you know a good tool to check the disk for bad blocks?
And to copy a partition from IDE to SATA?

Thanks. ;)

whiic
Posts: 575
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Location: Finland

Post by whiic » Thu Jan 18, 2007 1:05 am

"I have a formatted capacity (NTFS with block size 512) of 465.76GB? Does it seem correct to you?"

Yep. 500 GB (decimal) = 456 GiB (binary).

"Do you know a good tool to check the disk for bad blocks?"

HDDScan. Perform one (or several of the following):
- verify scan
- read scan
- write scan (only if the drive is empty - will erase all data)
- SMART Self tests: SMART extended self-test in offline mode

There's also "SMART offline data collection routine" and "SMART short selftest in offline mode" but they won't necessarily scan all the sectors. Especially the short test won't do it and the data collection routine is merely inteded to be run as a background operation.

Verify, read and write scans are performed by your computer issuing verify, read and write command to the HDD. The time required to complete the command is recorded and HDDScan draws a benchmark graph of it. It also lists any slow or bad sectors if such exists.

"And to copy a partition from IDE to SATA?"

Depending on the content to be transfered. For documents, video, music, etc., just copy them using utilities your operating system provides. If you want to make sure the copies are intact, you may want to make a .SFV or .MD5 file to check the files that they are not corrupted during transfer.

If you need to copy OS partition to another drive, I'd suggest using proper cloning/imaging software. Ultimate Boot CD (freeware) should have some but I don't know which one is the best or easiest to use.

eldoctor.Sylvain
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Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2007 4:59 am

Post by eldoctor.Sylvain » Fri Jan 19, 2007 12:13 pm

Hello. I couldn't find any usable tool for ide to sata in UBCD. It works well for ide to ide, but in my case... ;)

I found a tool called HDClone, there is a free version, and it does the job.
I just had to resize the partition with qt_parted and it was done... :)

blunden
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Location: Sweden

Post by blunden » Sat Jan 20, 2007 1:11 pm

Just ordered one of these. Can't wait...

EDIT: Formatting now... Seems very nice and quiet to me.
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biatche
Posts: 33
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Post by biatche » Wed Jan 24, 2007 1:33 pm

Well, I own two of these disks now, and one of them is DoA.. initially it didn't power up, i thought it was my problem. then while copying data, it kept unpowering and repowering itself.

seem like one of the platters isn't functioning properly the way it seems... anyone still confident with this drive? 500gb is a lot of space, i really hope im not gonna lose my data.....

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