Suggestion for a quiet speedy small OS drive (not SSD)

Silencing hard drives, optical drives and other storage devices

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ficod
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Suggestion for a quiet speedy small OS drive (not SSD)

Post by ficod » Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:30 am

Any suggestion for a OS drive (2,5"-3,5") which must be (in specified order)
- small (just for the OS... about 100GB would be enough)
- speedy
- silent (as much as a speedy drive can be! not a priority)
- much cheaper than SSD (I cant afford one...)!

Here's a list, it is a w.i.p., to some of the most interesting harddrives I've found.

Some considerations:
1) sometimes 3,5" hd are just a bit cheaper than 1TB drives. I don't need that extra space; I prefer having a sigle platter drive.
2) To my knowledge: All current 500GB 3,5" drives are single platters; All 2,5" 500GB are 2 platters
3) The drives with highest areal density:
-- 3,5": New Samsung F4EG; 667GB per platter; unfortunately available only >1,5TB
-- 2,5": New Hitachi Z7K320; 320GB per platter;

-------------------------------------------------------------------
2,5" • 500GB • 7200rpm
-------------------------------------------------------------------
- Hitachi Travelstar 7K500 -- HTS725050A9A364 -- 70€
- Western Digital Scorpio Black -- WD5000BEKT -- 72€
- Seagate Momentus 7200.4 -- ST9500420AS -- 0763649021743 -- 60€
- Seagate Momentus 7200.4 -- ST9500420ASG -- 0763649021514 -- 67€
- Toshiba MK5056GSY -- 72€

-------------------------------------------------------------------
3,5" • 500GB • 7200rpm
-------------------------------------------------------------------
- Western Digital Caviar Black -- WD5001AALS -- 44€
- Western Digital Caviar Blue -- WD5000AAKS -- 32€
- Samsung Spinpoint F3 -- HD502HJ -- 34,5€

-------------------------------------------------------------------
3,5" • 500GB • 5400rpm
-------------------------------------------------------------------
- Western Digital Caviar Green -- WD5000AADS -- 32€
- Western Digital Caviar Green -- WD3200AACS -- non trovato
- Samsung Ecogreen F3 -- HD503HI -- 33€
- Samsung Ecogreen F2 -- HD502HI -- 40€ (difficile)
Last edited by ficod on Mon Oct 18, 2010 2:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

dhanson865
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Post by dhanson865 » Wed Sep 01, 2010 9:53 am

look for the cheapest Samsung ecogreen 3.5" if you want cheap, quiet and reasonably fast for a hard drive. Buying 2.5" will be more expensive and you might as well go SSD if you get above $100 US.

SAMSUNG HD502HI 500GB (F2) is available for about $36 US.

SAMSUNG HD503HI 500GB (F3) is newer and faster and is available for about $51 US.

If you don't mind slightly more noise look at the Western Digital Blue WD5000AAKS but it performs about the same as the F2 ecogreen. The seek times will be ever so slightly lower but the transfer rate is about the same.

The ecogreen F2 is a better bargain on price alone and the F3 is a better bargain on performance.
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Parappaman
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Post by Parappaman » Wed Sep 01, 2010 2:28 pm

Velociraptor! The ultimate speed in mechanical HDDs. Also extremely reliable and quiet. Used ones go for dirt cheap. 8)
Just make sure to get either the BLFS ("naked") one or the HLFS (backplane-ready) one. GLFS means bad for noise.
[url=http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=57275]Corsair HX750W - My personal experience[/url]
[quote="xan_user"]Nothing thermaltake makes is ever quiet. If they could figure out how to make a flash drive noisy, they would.[/quote]

ficod
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Post by ficod » Thu Sep 02, 2010 1:12 am

Thanks a lot for the replies.

dhanson865: thank for the suggestion... I have heard that "green" drives were not so good for OS drives but I think that if the performance loss (against normal 3,5" drives like caviar blue or black) is not that big... I think I'll go for the silent solution

Parappaman: velociraptor aren't a kind of a bit outdated solution, said that I need small capacity (let's say around 100GB) and appriciate silence, too?
It seems to me that the price for GB of velociraptor drives is not THAT competitive compared to SSD, am I right?!?

Parappaman
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Post by Parappaman » Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:35 am

I got a used 150 GB unit for 70 euros shipped on eBay, that's competitive enough for me. At this price you could get a 1 TB drive, either "green" or regular 7200 RPM, but if you are looking for performance, this drive is a few orders of magnitude faster than those... You should first consider how much you value waiting a little bit more for your PC/app/whatever to load, then make your choice.
[url=http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=57275]Corsair HX750W - My personal experience[/url]
[quote="xan_user"]Nothing thermaltake makes is ever quiet. If they could figure out how to make a flash drive noisy, they would.[/quote]

CA_Steve
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Post by CA_Steve » Thu Sep 02, 2010 7:11 am

Since your storage need is only 100GB...How about buying a single platter 5400 rpm 3.5" drive (~500GB) like the WD or Samsung and short stroke it to 100GB? Get the silence of the 5400rpm drive and the speed of the 7200rpm drive.

Wikipedia entry:

""Short Stroking", which aims to minimize performance-eating head repositioning delays by reducing the number of tracks used per hard drive. The basic idea is that you make one partition approx. 20-25% of the total size of the drive. This partition is expected to: occupy the outer tracks of the hard drive, and offer more than double the throughput — less than half the access time. If you limit capacity with short stroking, the minimum throughput stays much closer to the maximum."
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Cryoburner
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Post by Cryoburner » Thu Sep 02, 2010 6:47 pm

Going out of your way to short stroke a drive when only using a small portion of its capacity is kind of pointless though. If you have less than 100GB of data on the drive, it should automatically be located at the outer tracks anyway, whether short stroked or not. Seek times will be just as fast whether the drive is partitioned to 100GB or 500GB, since you won't be spreading data across the drive either way. Sure, average seek times might 'appear' faster in synthetic benchmarks performing random seeks across all accessible space, but if you aren't filling the drive, that shouldn't make any difference in real world performance. Likewise, you can't say that short stroking a 5400rpm drive will make it perform like a 7200rpm drive, since the access times and transfer rates will still be faster in the first 100GB of the 7200rpm drive no matter what you do.

I'd say the only way 'short stroking' makes sense is when you intend to use the majority of a drive's capacity, and divide the space into multiple partitions, each serving different purposes. For example, you could put your OS in the first 30GB partition, install applications in a second 30GB partition, then devote all the remaining space to data storage. In that case, even if the drive becomes full of data, the OS and applications will all be located at the start of the drive no matter what, keeping load times down and the system responsive. The drive might have to perform an occasional long seek when jumping to a data file, but it generally won't have to constantly seek back and forth between distant parts of the disk when loading things, which is what tends to hurt performance.

More on topic, if you're using the boot drive "just for the OS", do you even need 100GB? If you're only using around half that space, it might be possible to find a relatively fast SSD that's reasonably priced. Hard drive prices tend to start at around US $50 (for modern drives with higher platter densities) while a good performing SSD like the 40GB Intel is priced around $100 now. The price per gigabyte might be a lot higher, but if you're only using a small portion of the hard disk, its price per gigabyte could be considered fairly high as well. I guess it really just comes down to whether one's willing to pay extra for the performance of an SSD as an OS/Applications drive at this point. Perhaps within the next year or so, decent performing SSDs will be available closer to the $50 price point, making them an easier choice when capacity isn't needed.

dhanson865
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Post by dhanson865 » Fri Sep 03, 2010 6:53 am

Cryoburner wrote:Going out of your way to short stroke a drive when only using a small portion of its capacity is kind of pointless though. If you have less than 100GB of data on the drive, it should automatically be located at the outer tracks anyway, whether short stroked or not.
You have apparently never used Windows XP defrag on a wide variety of PCs and watched the placement of data. After a few weeks or months of use data spreads out across the drive. XP defrag (and presumably Vista/Win 7 as well) defragments the files but most of the time does not move them to the beginning of the partition.

If your data looks like (forgive the ascii art)

Code: Select all

|XXXXX     XXX          MMMMMMMMMM                                               |500GB

instead of

|X x XX         |100GB                                                           |500GB
you are losing something on the order of 30MB/s read speed on the portion windows decided to put in the middle of the drive (and that is ignoring the random access time issue). It's stupid knowing that drive speeds vary wildly for Windows to not keep data on the faster part of the drive but that is how it works.

Just do a search for hdtune or hdtach and the model of drive you are using and pay attention to how quick the read speed drops off. I've seen drives that are flat fast out to 30% and I've seen drives that drop off around 10% capacity.

http://www.hdtune.com/hdtune_benchmark.jpg This drive only keeps full speed to about 15% capacity.

The only case where short stroking has minor effects on this is RAID. SSDs need to be underfilled for a different reason but the attitude is the same. Don't format the drive to the advertised capacity if you want absolute best performance (think overprovisioning).
Last edited by dhanson865 on Fri Sep 03, 2010 7:04 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Shamgar
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Re: Suggestion for a quiet speedy small OS drive (not SSD)

Post by Shamgar » Fri Sep 03, 2010 6:57 am

It's difficult to get a (new) low capacity mechanical drive now. There is little point economically to buy less than 500GB... even 1TB drives are very cheap.. some are even cheaper than the 500GB models.

I use less than 50GB total across all my storage mediums. I have 160, 500, 640 GB and 1 TB drives. They were what were available to me at the time from local retailers. I just use what I need to and don't worry about the excessive amount of storage space that the drives have.

The point is that the better and best HDDs are the newer, higher capacity ones. For low capacity, you will have to revert to older drives from a few years ago, which I think is mostly a retrograde step as the newer drives have made many good improvements in noise, performance and obviously price. Older, lower capacity drives are now in short supply and you will find that the asking price may be higher because sellers know there is always a handful of people who just need the older hardware for some reason or another.

Of course, the other way to ensure a good low capacity drive is to look to SSD, where there are now reasonably priced entry level models. Eventually, even SSDs will become high capacity just like current HDDs: they are already at 256GB +. This was considered fairly high capacity about three years ago.

My recommendation would be to go for a 500GB 3.5" 7500RPM HDD such as a Samsung F3 or Western Digital Caviar Blue/Black for your OS drive. Or you can try the notebook sized models which are at 500GB capacity now for very little difference in cost to their desktop counterparts. It is not really worth it economically to get the 320GB and lower drives. As I mentioned earlier, you may find that they even cost more than the 500GB. Also, the 7200RPM 2.5" drives are mostly very good now. Noise and power impact is negligible and sometimes better than previous generation 5400RPM 2.5" drives.

Cryoburner
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Post by Cryoburner » Fri Sep 03, 2010 7:23 pm

dhanson865 wrote: You have apparently never used Windows XP defrag on a wide variety of PCs and watched the placement of data. After a few weeks or months of use data spreads out across the drive. XP defrag (and presumably Vista/Win 7 as well) defragments the files but most of the time does not move them to the beginning of the partition.
I do, of course, use Windows Disk Defragmenter, and I know about it moving some files further out on the disk. However, I'm rather sure that it's doing this logically. These are almost certainly all files that Windows deems unimportant in terms of performance. For example, every time you update Windows or install a service pack, backups of the installers and replaced files are stored on your hard drive, for the rare event that you ever need to revert a Windows update for some reason. Over the course of a few years, these can potentially add up to consume gigabytes of space unless you manually remove them. If they remained near the beginning of the disk, they might just be getting in the way and spreading out other files that would benefit from being located there instead. In the uncommon scenario that you ever do need to access them, the disk performance won't matter much anyway, since Windows automatically compresses those files to save space. The files are likely all compressed backups, and not anything that needs to be cluttering up the beginning of the drive. I suppose that allowing Windows to spread these out further on the disk during defragmentation could increase defrag times a bit, but otherwise I don't see them significantly affecting performance.

SleepyBum
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Post by SleepyBum » Fri Sep 03, 2010 11:22 pm

I don't know why everyone is recommending him 3.5" HDs, when he even thought about 2.5" 7200rpm HDs, which I think fits all his needs rather well.

- the smallest 2.5" HD these days would be around 160GB.
- 7200rpm 2.5" would probably be fairly speedy and probably faster than a desktop 3.5" 5400rpm drive. (don't know the platter density of 2.5" vs 3.5")
- I use 2.5" 5400rpm (HTPC), and these are about close to silent as any mechanical drive can get. Even quieter than 3.5" green drives, less vibration, less seek noise, etc...
a 160GB 2.5" drive these days would be a 1-platter, 1-head drive. About as quiet as you can get for mechanical drive.
- The cost of 2.5" 7200rpm isn't that bad... definitely a lot cheaper than SSD
Example... Seagate Momentus 7200.4 ST9160412AS 160GB 7200 RPM 2.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s Internal Notebook Hard Drive is going for $42 @ newegg.
Western Digital Scorpio Black 160GB 2.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s Internal Notebook Hard Drive is $50. This is probably the fastest 2.5" HD.

I have no first hand experience with 2.5" 7200rpm HDs, so I can't comment on the loudness of them. But there's always a trade off of silence vs speed for mechanical drives.

dhanson865
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Post by dhanson865 » Sat Sep 04, 2010 8:32 am

SleepyBum wrote:I don't know why everyone is recommending him 3.5" HDs, when he even thought about 2.5" 7200rpm HDs, which I think fits all his needs rather well.
Price/performance.

The OP wanted a cheap boot drive and performance wise apples to apples a 2.5" drive will be more than the cost of a cheap 3.5" drive that I'd recommend.

Take ST9250410AS 7200.4 for example it is single platter 250G 2.5" drive and would be a good choice if not for price it runs about $50.


ST9250410AS does about 105 MB/s max on HDtune
HD502HI does about 107 MB/s max on HDtune at 30% less cost ($36).

I didn't find hdtune for WD1600BEKT but specs say it does about 108 MB/s and a quick price check has it at around $50.

As to your other points 160GB or 250GB 2.5" both use 2 heads one platter the same as a 500GB 3.5".

The 2.5" drive will be quieter but not by much. So long as he short strokes the 500GB drive it will be just as fast as the 2.5" drive.
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farns
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Post by farns » Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:35 am

My Samsung F3 1TB is not as quiet as either of my WD Blue 640gbs, its temp reads about 4c lower though .

For a 3.5" drive I would recommend Velociraptor minus its heatsink or a WD6400AAKS (WD Blue), WD has good seeks also
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ficod
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Post by ficod » Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:27 am

Thanks a lot for your replies.

According to what I've read, since this drive should be both silent and cheap, it's best to look at drives with higher areal density, so I'm trying to find infos on JUST single platters drives:

1) SINGLE PLATTER // 2,5" // 7200rpm
- Seagate MOMENTUS 7200.4 (ST9250410AS) -- 250 GB
- Hitachi Z7K320 -- 320 GB
- Western Digital Scorpio Black (WD2500BEKT) -- 250 GB
[...]

2) SINGLE PLATTER // 3,5"
[... to be continued]

Can you help me finding those single platter drives?

porkchop
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Post by porkchop » Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:51 am

i'm looking at a 320gb wd blue(single platter, wd3200bevt-00a0rt0) and short stroking to maybe 80gb.
00a0rt0 means 320gb platters i believe.

scorpio black is about +30% in price.

the seagate xt 250gb is about 2x the price.


my kingston 64gb ssd has slowed to a crawl thanks to no trim and a jmicron controller, imo the user experience even when new wasn't worth the cost.

dhanson865
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Post by dhanson865 » Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:19 am

SAMSUNG HD502HI 500GB (F2)

SAMSUNG HD503HI 500GB (F3)

Both are single platter
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ficod
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Re: Suggestion for a quiet speedy small OS drive (not SSD)

Post by ficod » Mon Oct 18, 2010 2:31 am

first post updated.
Thanks everyone for your suggestions...

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