Problem with SPCR's top recommended HDD

Silencing hard drives, optical drives and other storage devices

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chylld
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Problem with SPCR's top recommended HDD

Post by chylld » Tue Oct 28, 2008 2:25 am

I just bought 2 Seagate Momentus 5400.3 160GB 2.5" SATA hard drives, 1 for my laptop and 1 for my gf's. According to the SPCR recommended pages, they are the quietest HDD you can get.

I couldn't disagree more! Even though the seek noise is relatively quiet, they both exhibit a common problem: every few moments, it will make a "click-squeak" sound. It is annoying beyond what words can describe :evil:

Does anyone have any idea what this could be, and how to fix it? Both machines are running Windows XP.

FartingBob
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Post by FartingBob » Tue Oct 28, 2008 4:40 am

Its been a while since we had any 2.5" reviews, all the attention seems to be on the 3.5's. Still, most good 2.5's should be at worst the same as one of the quieter 3.5" drives.

Not sure what your clicking noise might be other than the heads parking/revving up. But i dont see why it would do that anywhere near as frequently as you have.
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Aris
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Post by Aris » Tue Oct 28, 2008 7:10 am

you have to read the reviews and not just look at the recommended section. A lot of times SPCR recommends things to specific groups of people. Like people who would mod it and make it perfect, but others wouldnt want to void their warrenty. Or it would be very good under specific conditions like suspended in a PC or enclosed in a HD Silencing enclosure, but some people like notebook users cannot do.

So you really have to read the whole articles and not just pick something randomly from the recommended list.

theres always the possibility you got a bad batch of drives. you could try to RMA them and see if the new ones exhibit the same problem as the ones you have.

As far as quietest goes. I was sure the single platter samsung 2.5" drives were the quietest. I have one and it is incredibly silent.

seagate drives have a reputation as not being very quiet. Though they tend to have a good reputation when it comes to drive lifetime

carveone
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Post by carveone » Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:53 am

Yes, the seek noise is quiet (as long as the seeks are contiguous as opposed to random). The click-squeak noise you are hearing, almost like there is a damn trapped bird cheeping inside the laptop, is the disk parking itself to save power. I found it unbearably annoying.

The time out on seagates (and 90% of others, except as far as I remember, Fujitsu) is 5 seconds which is simply insane... The whole thing makes no sense - it should be the OS which parks the disk given that the OS knows when the last access was....

You can use an APM utility like hdparm to set APM to 254 ("hdparm -B 254 hda"). Google it - there is a lot of traffic on this topic.

Setting APM to 254 will prevent the disk parking. However, the Seagates then proceed to do something else called "STIR" - seek to improve reliability. Essentially, the thing wil start seeking all the time.... It's a log better than the park noise though. Personally I've just ordered a Samsung HM121HI and I'll see how that goes....

(I'm tempted to buy a 16GB Mtron SSD at this stage. From the US of course. European prices are just stupid - €300 for that drive)

loimlo
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Post by loimlo » Tue Oct 28, 2008 10:01 am

That's the torture I'd experienced several years ago.
http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/arc ... 01326.html

The most ridiculous thing is that desktop HDD doesn't need seek to improve reliability --- OS caches, indexes, and logs in the background --- STIR should be a server/workstation (Read: ES) solution exclusive feature

chylld
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Post by chylld » Tue Oct 28, 2008 12:24 pm

thanks for the replies. i spent all last night searching around the web and found that it is indeed a head parking issue specific to seagate 2.5" hard drives :(

the good news is it's very easy to fix. used Notebook Hardware Control to set the performance mode to 254 and that fixed it, but it was a bit overkill, so thanks carveone for recommending hdparm which also seems to do the trick!

no more click-squeaking... *HUGE sigh of relief*

dan
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Post by dan » Thu Oct 30, 2008 2:15 am

FartingBob wrote:Its been a while since we had any 2.5" reviews, all the attention seems to be on the 3.5's. Still, most good 2.5's should be at worst the same as one of the quieter 3.5" drives.

Not sure what your clicking noise might be other than the heads parking/revving up. But i dont see why it would do that anywhere near as frequently as you have.
s

so what is themost quiet review there is for 2.5 hd? scropio? m6?

chylld
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Post by chylld » Thu Oct 30, 2008 2:57 am

dan wrote:so what is themost quiet review there is for 2.5 hd? scropio? m6?
i think the momentus is still very quiet once you get rid of the clicking; the seek noises are practically inaudible and the wind noise is easily masked inside a case.

carveone
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Post by carveone » Sat Nov 01, 2008 6:40 am

so what is themost quiet review there is for 2.5 hd? scropio? m6?
I'd agree with chylld that the momentus is still a quiet drive. I went back to my older Fujitsu MHV2040BH thinking that it was quieter than the Seagate. It isn't - my mind was playing tricks. The park is quieter, well, less obtrusive because the Fujitsu drive take quite some time to perform a head unload but the seeks are really rather noisy. With me it's the clicks and chirps that annoy me - intermittent sharp noises - the whoosh doesn't bother me much...

I'd say you just have to make a choice and see how it goes - Scorpio vs Momentus vs M5 - they're probably all pretty similar...

As an aside - In the Group policy console (gpedit.msc) under 'Computer Configuration\Windows Settings', you can specify scripts that are to run when the computer starts up or shuts down. (These scripts under Local System account). This might be useful for those who wish to run hdparm or similar programs on startup and don't necessarily log in as admin. I put the hdparm command in a batch file and added it and it worked just fine.

Oh, I'm currently wondering how many times I can swap a drive out of my Dell D520 before the Sata connector breaks! It always used to be a bad plan with 3.5" IDE cables to do too much swapping but the SATA connector seems more robust. Anyone have any ideas on this?

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