Can 1TB storage be quiet?

Silencing hard drives, optical drives and other storage devices

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johnsby
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Can 1TB storage be quiet?

Post by johnsby » Tue May 15, 2007 4:26 pm

Hi all,

In my next new build in an Antec case (P182) I need to have 1TB storage available avg. 6 hrs/day. My intuitive first choise would be 3 x Samsung SpinPoint T133 HD401LJ in a suspended setup (no grommets) - very basic and 1.2TB is even better.

Will this be somewhat quite or can I improve it?

Can an external drive solution be more quite?

Erssa
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Post by Erssa » Tue May 15, 2007 5:55 pm

Yes it can. There is a single hard drive solution out there. Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.
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johnsby
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Post by johnsby » Wed May 16, 2007 7:01 am

So you would anytime prefer (any) 1 big harddisk instead of 2-3 smaller but well-knowned for silence? If I had to go for a 1TB drive I probadly would end up with a raid1 setup. I'm simply too worried about beeing dependent on one big disk. I would probadly also put 2 of the 3 SpinPoint drives in raid1 as well.

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Post by Lawrence Lee » Wed May 16, 2007 7:11 am

Fewer drives is definitely better. A suspended WD5000AAKS with AAM set to quiet is pretty silent. I would have no problem with having 2 or 3 of them in a single case.

Mr Evil
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Post by Mr Evil » Wed May 16, 2007 7:16 am

johnsby wrote:...I'm simply too worried about beeing dependent on one big disk...
But that's not a problem for you, because you're backing up all your important files anyway, right?

Erssa
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Post by Erssa » Wed May 16, 2007 7:39 am

johnsby wrote:So you would anytime prefer (any) 1 big harddisk instead of 2-3 smaller but well-knowned for silence?.
Not any, but yes. I would gladly take for example 500gb T166 Samsung over 2 proven 250gb Samsung P120s, or over 3 160gb T166 Samsung drives.

Not only would the Hitachi be more likely quieter, then 2 500gb drives combined, but it would be much faster. I'm very sceptical about anandtech tests, but they said:

"Our Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000 is the quietest drive that we have ever tested. We basically could not hear the drive and at times wondered if it was operating with AAM turned on. Even with AAM turned off, the drive was extremely quiet at idle and under load where it still scored better than our other test units. Our subjective opinion with AAM turned off is that the seek requests are muted greatly but still noticeable when compared to the other drives. The only other significant audible noise is a slight whirling sound as the drive spins up on a cold start or after a reboot. We just cannot emphasize enough how quiet this drive is in our test configuration with AAM enabled at the 128 setting. We even removed the rubber mounting grommets in our drive cage and did not notice any differences in acoustics or vibration levels."

Anandtech also said:
"The overall performance of this drive has been phenomenal and is close enough to the WD1500ADFD Raptor drive that we consider it a worthy adversary. The Raptors are still the drives to own for benchmarking but this drive is a better overall performance value. In fact, based upon subjective testing we could seriously consider tossing this drive into the same performance sector as the WD Raptor when utilized in the typical gaming or enthusiast level machine where this drive will likely find a home."
I'm simply too worried about beeing dependent on one big disk.
So instead of having 1 drive that can break, you would rather have 3 drives that could break? The more drives you have, the more likely you are to experience a hard drive failure.
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johnsby
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Post by johnsby » Wed May 16, 2007 8:31 am

So instead of having 1 drive that can break, you would rather have 3 drives that could break? The more drives you have, the more likely you are to experience a hard drive failure.
Yes I would. Rather lose 400GB from on of the 3 drives than 1TB if I had only one drive. Even better, I would put 2 of those drives in raid1, and put more critical data here.

Thanks for all your input. More suggestions are welcomed.

johnsby
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Post by johnsby » Wed May 16, 2007 8:36 am

But that's not a problem for you, because you're backing up all your important files anyway, right?
Some but not all. Approx. 4-500GB would not be critical data (dvd backups etc.).

unmake
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Post by unmake » Fri May 18, 2007 10:32 pm

Would 4x250GB drives served as individual shares, and set to spin-down when inactive, be quieter than the same four drives shared as a RAID1 array? - or a dual 500GB set?

Michael Sandstrom
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Post by Michael Sandstrom » Sat May 19, 2007 1:22 am

My two 500GB Samsung HD501LJ drives suspended in an Antec Solo are extremely quiet and cool running with no front fan. I prefer the 500GB Samsung over the 400GB.

Derfel
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Post by Derfel » Mon May 21, 2007 12:55 am

Erssa wrote: Not only would the Hitachi be more likely quieter, then 2 500gb drives combined, but it would be much faster.
Well if you were using 2 500gb drives you would raid stripe them which would make them almost twice as fast as the 1tb drive, wouldn't you?
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Erssa
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Post by Erssa » Mon May 21, 2007 2:38 am

Derfel wrote:Well if you were using 2 500gb drives you would raid stripe them which would make them almost twice as fast as the 1tb drive, wouldn't you?
Nope. First of all raid-0 doesn't double performance and second, the Hitachi with it's 32mb cache has a big lead on the 500gb drives, the raid-0 might be faster in some things, hitachi would probably still be faster at some things.
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Post by klankymen » Mon May 21, 2007 4:24 am

Michael Sandstrom wrote:My two 500GB Samsung HD501LJ drives suspended in an Antec Solo are extremely quiet and cool running with no front fan. I prefer the 500GB Samsung over the 400GB.
Agreed. I too have this combo, and it's excellent.
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Post by IsaacKuo » Mon May 21, 2007 7:05 am

Erssa wrote:
Derfel wrote:Well if you were using 2 500gb drives you would raid stripe them which would make them almost twice as fast as the 1tb drive, wouldn't you?
Nope. First of all raid-0 doesn't double performance and second, the Hitachi with it's 32mb cache has a big lead on the 500gb drives, the raid-0 might be faster in some things, hitachi would probably still be faster at some things.
I don't believe it.

Raid-0 doesn't quite double performance, true, but it does improve performance by a lot. It's a lot more of a performance boost than having somewhat denser platters--speed roughly scales with the square root of platter space.

A 32MB cache isn't going to make sustained reads/writes any faster, and unless you're strapped for RAM the OS disk cache is going to be an order of magnitude bigger than 32MB.

Besides, what's the difference between 32MB of cache in one drive vs 16MB+16MB of cache in two RAID0 drives?
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cienislaw
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Post by cienislaw » Mon May 21, 2007 7:38 am

why anyone didnt point that 1TB in single hdd solution is expensive? new hitachi monster cost $449 (new egg), when for $480 you can have 4x WD5000AAKS. this wd drive is pretty silent, with softmount its almost unaudible in my setup (i cant turn AAM yet, hitachi tool doesnt recognize my SATA controller). i would definetly go for multiple discs solution.

Erssa
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Post by Erssa » Mon May 21, 2007 7:50 am

IsaacKuo wrote:I don't believe it.

Raid-0 doesn't quite double performance, true, but it does improve performance by a lot. It's a lot more of a performance boost than having somewhat denser platters--speed roughly scales with the square root of platter space.

A 32MB cache isn't going to make sustained reads/writes any faster, and unless you're strapped for RAM the OS disk cache is going to be an order of magnitude bigger than 32MB.

Besides, what's the difference between 32MB of cache in one drive vs 16MB+16MB of cache in two RAID0 drives?
Storagereview.com wrote:3. RAID helps multi-user applications far more than it does single-user scenarios. The enthusiasm of the power user community combined with the marketing apparatus of firms catering to such crowds has led to an extraordinarily erroneous belief that striping data across two or more drives yields significant performance benefits for the majority of non-server uses. This could not be farther from the truth! Non-server use, even in heavy multitasking situations, generates lower-depth, highly-localized access patterns where read-ahead and write-back strategies dominate. Theory has told those willing to listen that striping does not yield significant performance benefits. Some time ago, a controlled, empirical test backed what theory suggested. Doubts still lingered- irrationally, many believed that results would somehow be different if the array was based off of an SATA or SCSI interface. As shown above, the results are the same. Save your time, money and data- leave RAID for the servers!
Anandtech wrote:If you haven't gotten the hint by now, we'll spell it out for you: there is no place, and no need for a RAID-0 array on a desktop computer. The real world performance increases are negligible at best and the reduction in reliability, thanks to a halving of the mean time between failure, makes RAID-0 far from worth it on the desktop.

There are some exceptions, especially if you are running a particular application that itself benefits considerably from a striped array, and obviously, our comments do not apply to server-class IO of any sort. But for the vast majority of desktop users and gamers alike, save your money and stay away from RAID-0.
Anandtech wrote:In our last article the only meaningful application performance improvement with RAID 0 came in the Nero Recode tests where the improved write performance reduced our encoding process by about 5%. Now that we have basically removed the CPU from being a factor in these tests, we see a 30% difference with RAID 0 during encoding, a 21% difference in file extraction, and a 45% difference when doing file copy or move operations on the RAID volume.

All of those results sound very impressive but in the balance of our application and game tests we only noticed a 2%~3% performance difference between RAID 0 and single drive configurations. Unless you extract files, copy or move them on the same drive, and encode all day long then the benefits of RAID 0 on the typical consumer desktop is not worth the price of admission. What is the price? In this case, $399 for a second 7K1000, a halving of the mean time between failure rates on each drive, a data backup nightmare, and increases in noise, thermals, and power consumption.
Anandtech wrote:RAID 0 can provide some impressive performance results in synthetic benchmarks and certain applications that are write speed starved as we have shown. In fact, with the new test bed the test results where RAID 0 shines are even more impressive now. However, we still do not think RAID 0 is worth the trouble or cost for the average desktop user or gamer, especially with the software RAID capabilities included on most motherboards. If you must run RAID on the desktop, then we highly recommend the use of RAID 1, 5, or 10 (0+1) in order to protect your data and probably a hardware controller if you can afford one. We are going to delve into the world of RAID in the coming weeks with additional tests, system configurations, and hardware controllers. At this time we still do not recommend RAID 0 for most desktop users due to the lack of widespread performance improvements and potential data integrity concerns with it.
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IsaacKuo
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Re: Can 1TB storage be quiet?

Post by IsaacKuo » Mon May 21, 2007 7:53 am

Erssa, reread the first post:
johnsby wrote:...I need to have 1TB storage available avg. 6 hrs/day...
He needs 1TB of storage available around 6hrs/day. If that's not for a SERVER, what is it for?
Isaac Kuo

Erssa
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Post by Erssa » Mon May 21, 2007 8:07 am

cienislaw wrote:why anyone didnt point that 1TB in single hdd solution is expensive? new hitachi monster cost $449 (new egg), when for $480 you can have 4x WD5000AAKS. this wd drive is pretty silent, with softmount its almost unaudible in my setup (i cant turn AAM yet, hitachi tool doesnt recognize my SATA controller). i would definetly go for multiple discs solution.
I think the price is the only real negative point here. Well availability is second, but the prices should drop when the availability increases. Listed retail price is 399$, but less then a week ago newegg was robbing people and asking 599$ a piece, not they have shaved 150$ from the price it seems.

Yes. 2x WD5000AAKS would cost 240$ compared to a 399$. Which means you could get one extra drive for the same price. I'd probably still go for a single drive for the extra performance, lower noise and power consumption and the practicality.
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Erssa
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Re: Can 1TB storage be quiet?

Post by Erssa » Mon May 21, 2007 8:18 am

IsaacKuo wrote:Erssa, reread the first post:
johnsby wrote:...I need to have 1TB storage available avg. 6 hrs/day...
He needs 1TB of storage available around 6hrs/day. If that's not for a SERVER, what is it for?
Well if we are purely talking of johnsbys interests, haven't you read that he wouldn't go for a raid-0, but rather for raid-1, because he's afraid of losing data.

I don't know what he needs it for, I'm sure he will explain it better soon, but I don't think it has to be a server. Some apps could easily need monstrous amounts of space, for example video editing. I'd figure servers are normally on for more then 6h/d... besides he mentioned external drives, how many servers with external drives do you know?

Besides I have been answering the original questions here
Will this be somewhat quite or can I improve it?

Can an external drive solution be more quite?
I still believe one drive is quieter then 2.
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Post by alfred » Mon May 21, 2007 8:32 am

I wouldn't consider AnandTech as a RAID-0 specialist. When they first tried a 2*7K1000 RAID-0, they built it on an nForce4 chipset, thereby limiting it to ±115 MB/sec, and wrote as a conclusion that RAID-0 doesn't give any more performance than a single drive. It seems many people complained by email 'cause 4 days later they were publishing the test again but based on a properly working ICH8R this time.

Here's a synthetic benchmark of my own :
4 * HD501LJ RAID-0 (128KB) on ICH8R, 2 stripes (40GB + 1823GB) :

Image Image
Image Image

This is the kind of linear r/w transfer rates everybody editing 1080p video footage in uncompressed codec simply needs. RAID-0 is the only way to get it at a low cost.

cienislaw
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Post by cienislaw » Mon May 21, 2007 8:40 am

Erssa wrote:Yes. 2x WD5000AAKS would cost 240$ compared to a 399$. Which means you could get one extra drive for the same price. I'd probably still go for a single drive for the extra performance, lower noise and power consumption and the practicality.
depens. for me with my solo, where i can soft mount 3 hdds, 3x500 is plenty of space. lower noise is not strong argument - yes, 2 hdds are 2 separate noise sources, they can be noiser together, but not so high to disclassyfi such solution. power consumption? about twice higher, something about extra 10W, doesnt count for me. practicality? i remember my setup with one big hdd and i remeber day when it crashed - i had to buy another drive imidietly to keep my hardware running. also for windows is nice to have page file on second hdd. price is also significant - 65% extra for one piece? (i know, we can now count extra power consumption and in longer run it will eat up this 65%).

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Re: Can 1TB storage be quiet?

Post by IsaacKuo » Mon May 21, 2007 9:34 am

Erssa wrote:Well if we are purely talking of johnsbys interests, haven't you read that he wouldn't go for a raid-0, but rather for raid-1, because he's afraid of losing data.
It depends on the situation. RAID1 is good for uptime, but it can be bad for losing data--anyone or anything that erases data on one drive erases it on all the drives. A backup procedure is typically better than any sort of RAID for preventing data loss. RAID is not a substitute for regular backups!
I'd figure servers are normally on for more then 6h/d... besides he mentioned external drives, how many servers with external drives do you know?
The requirement of 6h/d average availability is typical for a home LAN file server. You don't need to leave the drives spinning during the day when everyone's at work or school.
I still believe one drive is quieter then 2.
It really depends on the drives in question. There's a huge variation in drive noise. Generally, drives with more platters will be noisier than ones with fewer platters--at least within the same drive family. That's why we had hoped the perpendicular recording 500gig Seagates would be quieter than the existing 500gig drives and that's why we were disappointed by them.

The Hitachi Deskstar you recommended has a LOT of platters, and you don't have direct experience about its noise level. Personally, I wouldn't recommend a hard drive I hadn't tried out myself. There are enough people on SPCR that anyone curious about any particular model can get advice from someone who has first hand experience.
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Erssa
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Re: Can 1TB storage be quiet?

Post by Erssa » Mon May 21, 2007 10:37 am

IsaacKuo wrote:The Hitachi Deskstar you recommended has a LOT of platters, and you don't have direct experience about its noise level.
I don't have personal experience and to be honest, even if I had, it would be purely anecdotal. I have been around here long enough to see some people claim, that 150gb raptors seeks are inaudible inside SQD (which of course is bs). Personally, I only trust the proven judgement of the SPCR staff.
Personally, I wouldn't recommend a hard drive I hadn't tried out myself. There are enough people on SPCR that anyone curious about any particular model can get advice from someone who has first hand experience.
Why is Anandtechs first hand experience any worse? In objective measurements it's the best drive they have ever tested and I'm going to quote the subjective evaluation again.
Anandtech wrote:Our Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000 is the quietest drive that we have ever tested. We basically could not hear the drive and at times wondered if it was operating with AAM turned on. Even with AAM turned off, the drive was extremely quiet at idle and under load where it still scored better than our other test units. Our subjective opinion with AAM turned off is that the seek requests are muted greatly but still noticeable when compared to the other drives. The only other significant audible noise is a slight whirling sound as the drive spins up on a cold start or after a reboot. We just cannot emphasize enough how quiet this drive is in our test configuration with AAM enabled at the 128 setting. We even removed the rubber mounting grommets in our drive cage and did not notice any differences in acoustics or vibration levels.
I remain a bit sceptical, but to me Anandtechs subjective evaluation is as good as pretty much anyone elses subjective opinion.
alfred wrote:I wouldn't consider AnandTech as a RAID-0 specialist.
And I guess the guys at Storagereview.com don't know what they are talking about either... :roll:
cienislaw wrote:practicality? i remember my setup with one big hdd and i remeber day when it crashed - i had to buy another drive imidietly to keep my hardware running.
If you are afraid of hard drive failure, raid-1 can help. Imo it's more practical to do it with only 2 1TB drives, then 4 500gb drives.
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Re: Can 1TB storage be quiet?

Post by IsaacKuo » Mon May 21, 2007 11:03 am

Erssa wrote:Why is Anandtechs first hand experience any worse?
Because they don't specialize in quiet computing, so their testing labs won't have a low noise floor. You have to go to some effort to remove noise sources from a testing lab--including the computer you do the testing with.

In contrast, many people here on SPCR have environments with low noise floors, and unlike a typical testing lab there may be only one significant source of noise--a single computer heavily customized for silence.
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Post by whiic » Mon May 21, 2007 4:13 pm

IsaacKuo: "Because they don't specialize in quiet computing, so their testing labs won't have a low noise floor..."

Aren't you mixing up SPCR forumists and SPCR official reviews? Surely Anandtech is at least as qualified to say that "7K1000 is quiet" than some SPCR forumist is qualified to say "Raptor seeks are inaudible".

Or other SPCR forumist who says "lower noise is not strong argument - yes, 2 hdds are 2 separate noise sources, they can be noiser together, but not so high to disclassyfi such solution. power consumption? about twice higher, something about extra 10W, doesnt count for me." Let me translate that to English:
- he doesn't care about extra noise produced about an extra HDD
- he doesn't care about extra 10W power consumption (and extra fan noise to keep it all cooled down properly).

Do these sound like better evaluators of HDD noise than Anandtech? Sure, formal SPCR reviewers (and a portion of forumists) are more aware of noise issues than Anandtech, but I would at least count Anandtech's opinion as valuable as one SPCR forumists first-hand opinion. This is because we cannot always tell who of us is a real specialst and who just pretends to be - we have to treat them equally. Or discualify some opinions, but that may also lead to denying the truth. Do we know which opinions and people to discualify?

No first-hand opinion from you guys? Then Anandtech and Tom's Hardware are pretty much only sources of information. Not quite reliable, but the only information there is non-the-less.

While I doubt the claim that 7K1000 is the quietest HDD reviewed by Anandtech, that does give a high likelyhood that 7K1000 is at least quieter than 7K400 and (E)7K500 models which also used 5-platter construction. Because no sane person would call them quietest HDDs ever reviewed. Obvious improvement.

This is in no way a personal attack toward any of you but you should really cut down the amount of prejudice toward Hitachi and it's newest product. You don't have to accept Anandtech's review as a fact, only accept it as an unlikely probablity. You didn't expect WD5000KS (with 4 platters) to overthrow (single-platter) P80, now did you? Then how come 5-platter drive cannot be quieter than 4-platter drive, if 4-platter drive can be quieter than 1-platter drive? You aren't even giving them a chance.

For everyone who thinks we need a 7K1000 review in SPCR... I completely agree with you.

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Post by Erssa » Tue May 22, 2007 8:41 am

cienislaw wrote:new hitachi monster cost $449 (new egg), when for $480 you can have 4x WD5000AAKS.
Btw, I just checked the biggest retailer here in Finland, they are selling those WDs for 130.90€ and the 1TB hitachi is sold for 352.90€, not that bad imo, but still expensive compared to 500GB Samsungs which cost 110.90€.

Fellow SPCR member told in another thread, that these Hitachis are priced at 315 euros in Germany.
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