Seagate Momentus 7200.4 & Hitach Travelstar 5K500.B

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MikeC
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Seagate Momentus 7200.4 & Hitach Travelstar 5K500.B

Post by MikeC » Thu Nov 05, 2009 2:42 pm

Mike Chin, SPCR Editor/Publisher
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ilovejedd
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Post by ilovejedd » Thu Nov 05, 2009 6:57 pm

Thanks for this! I had been considering the Seagate Momentus 7200.4 for use as a recording and scratch drive for my Mini-ITX builds. Your review has made me more confident in my choice. :)

whispercat
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Post by whispercat » Fri Nov 06, 2009 12:54 pm

Nice review, and great to have a side by side comparison with the other recently reviewed notebook and similar drives regarding noise, power, speed, etc.

Do you think the 250gb single platter version of this model would bump up the vibration rating to, say, maybe an 8 instead of a 7? Also, would the single platter version be any faster?

Thanks.

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Post by MikeC » Fri Nov 06, 2009 12:58 pm

whispercat wrote:Do you think the 250gb single platter version of this model would bump up the vibration rating to, say, maybe an 8 instead of a 7? Also, would the single platter version be any faster?
1. Maybe
2. No.
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Jordan
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Post by Jordan » Mon Nov 09, 2009 3:16 am

Any high pitch whine in the upper hearing frequencies reported by the SPL meter?

I remember discussing with you in the past, Mike, after I'd had a few problems with 7200RPM 2.5" drives whining while your experiences with the same drive models didn't show up any such noise. We agreed it could have come down to simply sample variance or because you're a little older than me and might not be hearing that very high frequency any more (don't want to insult your legendary hearing! :oops: ).

I think I'm through with 2.5" drives for desktop use though. After the whining of the 7200RPM ones I went to a 5400RPM Samsung. It was inaudible suspended in my P180 but when I decided to upgrade to Vista I decided to try a Samsung F1 500GB and the speed increase was very noticeable. The barely audible seeking noise of the F1 is a small price to pay for the performance boost.

My storage requirements are quite modest (~250GB should give me plenty of headroom) so as soon as I can get a ~250GB SSD for under £200 I'll go to SSD.
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Post by MikeC » Mon Nov 09, 2009 7:18 am

Jordan wrote:Any high pitch whine in the upper hearing frequencies reported by the SPL meter?

I remember discussing with you in the past, Mike, after I'd had a few problems with 7200RPM 2.5" drives whining while your experiences with the same drive models didn't show up any such noise. We agreed it could have come down to simply sample variance or because you're a little older than me and might not be hearing that very high frequency any more (don't want to insult your legendary hearing! :oops: ).
No whine heard by either my "legendary hearing" or Larry's <30yr still wet ears. :lol: Besides, it would show up in the idle spectrum screen capture as a spike somewhere up past 10khz. No such spike.
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kaotikfunk
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Post by kaotikfunk » Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:44 am

Any chance you have a Samsung Spinpoint M7 (HM500JI) for comparison? I like the noise & performance of the desktop F2, but have not found good reviews of the Spinpoint M7 other than performance numbers @ tomshardware.com
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Post by Lawrence Lee » Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:08 am

kaotikfunk wrote:Any chance you have a Samsung Spinpoint M7 (HM500JI) for comparison? I like the noise & performance of the desktop F2, but have not found good reviews of the Spinpoint M7 other than performance numbers @ tomshardware.com
Nope. Samsung does not provide HDDs for reviewers, and their distribution is quite limited in Canada. Haven't seen many of the laptop drives in recent years. But their own spec says 2.4 bels idle. The reviewed drives were self-spec'd at 2.3 bels for the Seagate and 2.4 bels for the Hitachi. I'd expect the 5400rpm Samsung to be quiet -- in the same ballpark as the ones reviewed.

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Post by Ksanderash » Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:22 am

kaotikfunk wrote:I like the noise & performance of the desktop F2, but have not found good reviews of the Spinpoint M7
Not all yogurts [Samsung] are healing, I'm afraid :(

(citing THG)
Less obvious advantages—such as increased shock resistance, decreased drive weight, reduced drive ready time (4 seconds instead of 5 seconds), and slightly reduced noise—are beneficial for notebook builders.
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Post by robertjsharp » Thu Nov 19, 2009 7:50 am

Sorry if I missed it, but you don't seem to have mentioned that higher spindle speeds usually translate into shorter life. And shorter life means not only increased risk of a system crash but also increased through-life costs and, as important today as anything else, a larger carbon footprint. In fact, your measure of power is pretty meaningless without being balanced by life expectancy and incorporated carbon. Generally things that are smaller tend to be more ordered and therefore have more incorporated carbon?

Is it safe to assume that the 100,000 hours MTTF or so that can be expected from a typical 5400rpm 2.5inch drive is likely to diminish to the same level as a standard 7200rpm 3.5inch drive or does the lower inertial mass of the 2.5inch offset some of this reduction? It would be interesting to know.

Kind of touches on a bigger issue that I often grapple with when considering an upgrade: if I buy something new just because it has lower power do I offset this benefit with the incorporated carbon I am buying into and the waste of replacing an otherwise still functional unit?

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Post by MikeC » Thu Nov 19, 2009 8:25 am

robertjsharp --

Your comments are interesting & apropos, and I'm sure you and I are not the only ones to ponder such issues as we try to make intelligent & ethical buying choices. However, afaik, the particular question of HDD longevity and spindle speed has never been addressed specifically and publicly by anyone in a position to answer -- HDD makers and big HDD users. There is no definitive answer, imo, because there are too many other factors that affect HDD failure/longevity.

In the past, higher heat in the ball bearings caused by higher spindle speed might have been a significant factor, but this is no longer the case with HDB (self-lubricating hydrodynamic) bearings -- which also transformed their acoustic character.

Google's study in 2007 - Failure Trends in a Large Disk Drive Population (http://research.google.com/archive/disk_failures.pdf) -- did not uncover any significant failure differences between 5400 & 7200rpm drives in a mix of over 100,000 drives deployed since 2001. This is a very interesting study, well worth reading for anyone interested in HDD logevity factors.

My short answer, in the end, is no -- there is no indication of any longevity difference between drives based solely on spindle speed, at least not with drives made since ~2001.
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robertjsharp
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Post by robertjsharp » Thu Nov 19, 2009 9:06 am

Thanks for your reply and interesting reading. I should perhaps have revised my own research before putting finger to keyboard. However, a shortcoming in the Google report is the lack of power-up/spin-up information, as they admit the disks are all operating 24/7. Am I right in assuming that most domestic computers spend much of their time doing little and therefore exercise this aspect of disk reliability more often? I need to dig it out, but I am sure I found a paper or something that showed how faster disks are more likely to fail during spin-up. I have certainly assumed this to be the case - moving towards 5400rpm disks where performance allows and avoiding 10,000 or even 15,000 rpm despite the advantages they would offer for gaming. If 15,000 rpm disks are as likely to fail as 7,200 then I need to revisit my assumptions.

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Post by MikeC » Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:22 am

robertjsharp wrote:I need to dig it out, but I am sure I found a paper or something that showed how faster disks are more likely to fail during spin-up.
This sounds reasonable enough, assuming all other faxtors are equal. The acceleration forces would be higher spinning up to a higher speed... tho it's probably less significant in 2.5" drives w/ lower mass than 3.5" ones. Still, the real question is how much difference? I mean if it's a factor of 5%, I'd consider it moot. If it is 20% or more, perhaps this is worth paying attention to. But in reality, I think either 5400 oor 7200rpm drives would last well beyond their practical usability if treated with normal care -- ie, they'll be considered too small/slow before they die.

With many home computers set up for sleep these days (for lowest power consumption) there's probably more HDD spin up/down than there was a few years ago when they tended to be left on at least all through the day (w/o sleep because it was pretty unreliable in a lot of computers) turned on onely once in the morn and turn off at night. Again, there's a question of tradeoffs between higher risk of failure with more on/off vs. lower electricity consumption. I don't think any of us have a clear way of assessing these difference. I can say however, that I have drives 10+ years old that are still in working condition despite all the abuse I tend to throw at gear...
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Post by middleton » Sat Dec 19, 2009 9:09 am

Hello Mike.

I've found an error in your article "More 500GB notebook drives: Seagate 7200.4 & Hitachi 5K500.B". There is a link on page 7 leading to mp3 file for Hitachi Travelstar 5K500.B 500GB noise recording. But instead of Hitachi's recording this link leads to recording of Seagate HDD which is placed in Scythe Quiet Drive 2.5.
Correct the link please. I very much wish to hear Hitachi's 5K500.B noise.

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Post by MikeC » Sat Dec 19, 2009 10:22 am

middleton wrote:Hello Mike.

I've found an error in your article "More 500GB notebook drives: Seagate 7200.4 & Hitachi 5K500.B". There is a link on page 7 leading to mp3 file for Hitachi Travelstar 5K500.B 500GB noise recording. But instead of Hitachi's recording this link leads to recording of Seagate HDD which is placed in Scythe Quiet Drive 2.5.
Correct the link please. I very much wish to hear Hitachi's 5K500.B noise.
Corrected.
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middleton
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Post by middleton » Sat Dec 19, 2009 4:02 pm

Thank you.

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Post by HFat » Sat Oct 02, 2010 5:32 am

I'm in the market for 2.5'' drives and SPCR is, so far as I know, the only reliable source for the noise they make. So I bought the single-platter version of the two models measured in this review (manufacturers take note!). They might not be the most quiet drives on the market but at least I was confident they weren't going to be terrible.
I ended up more impressed with the noise characteristics of the 5K500.B (HTS545025B9A300) so I'm planning to buy a small bunch of them to build some workstations. Please do tell if anyone has experienced issues with them or has heard stories about many of them failing in the wild.

The 7200.4 (ST950410AS) was if anything slightly less offensive to the ear when it was not mounted and held close to my ear but the picture changed after I hard-mounted the drives in the case I will be using. I know subjective impressions are not reliable and I don't know if it's due to the vibration or because some frequencies were attenuated but, after closing the case, I could hear the 7200.4 spinning from farther away. I could barely hear the 5K500.B spinning from 60cm away when ambient noise was low (but obviously much higher than in SPCR's testing ground). I doubt someone who did not know what to listen for could have guessed that the drive was spinning. The 7200.4's seeks also seemed louder.
So, if anyone is looking for a cheap and quiet single-platter, I can recommend the 5K500.B. My sample size was 1, mind you so manybe I'll post an unpdate afer having listened to more of these drives.

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Post by Ralf Hutter » Sun Oct 03, 2010 2:22 pm

HFat wrote: I ended up more impressed with the noise characteristics of the 5K500.B (HTS545025B9A300) so I'm planning to buy a small bunch of them to build some workstations. Please do tell if anyone has experienced issues with them or has heard stories about many of them failing in the wild.
I'm using the 2 platter version (500GB) of this drive and they're my favorite 2.5" drive. I'm currently running 5 of them (2 in laptops and 3 as external storage/backup) and they've all been 100% fine for me. Course this certainly isn't a representative sample size, but ya takes what ya can get, right?
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Post by HFat » Mon Oct 04, 2010 5:11 am

Thanks.
I didn't expect to hear an obvious difference between the 5K500.B and the 7200.4. The Hitachi was able to elicit a "but I don't hear anything!" from a naive subject while the faster Seagate couldn't pull that off. So I was wondering if I had scored a particularily quiet unit somehow.

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