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Quiet...and Reliable Hard Drives??

Discussion in 'Recording' started by razor_usmc, Oct 17, 2004.

  1. razor_usmc

    razor_usmc Guest

    Howdy All,

    Building a PC system for my DAW. Want to go with 2 ata serial HDs to go with my AMD 3000+ sysetem with asus MOBO. Randomly picked two Western Digital HDs with buffer of 8. I have read almost all HDs are equally reliable, the key is gentle shipping from factory, to dealer, to my door. I am recording in a smallish room. 10'x12' or so. Therfore the quieter anything can be, the better. Any thoughts on very quiet hard drives? One more question. why 2 hard drives instead of one? I have been advised to get like a 40 gig HD for my OS and software for my DAW and like a 160 gig or more for all my music. I was told that 2 HDs makes it easier to clean up and run checks than 1. Since there is no definitive way to tell when a HD will die, basically a crapshoot...why not just buy one 200 gig HD (quieter and cooler due to less fans and more room inside the case for air to circulate) and then just partition the HD into what you need to speed up whatever utility applications are needed.

    Thanks in advance for taking the time to respond.


  2. johnthemiracle

    johnthemiracle Active Member

    hi! i recently heard that samsung is supposed to built very quiet harddrives. i do own a maxtor drive and it's not overly loud either. (especially since it's mounted in a fanless enclosure)

    you should definitely use two drives to avoid system calls interrupt your audio stream and degrade performance. however if you won't record too many tracks (and only then) one drive might be just fine.
  3. dabmeister music

    dabmeister music Active Member

    The answer to your question on using a single HD for both OS & Apps is, "been there, done that". There's a noticable difference in performance when the OS and applications reside on different HD's as opposed to a single partitioned HD.
  4. razor_usmc

    razor_usmc Guest

    thanks for the info, people. I appreciate it.

  5. Steve Halko

    Steve Halko Guest

    The quietest hard drive I've ever found is the Seagate Barracuda - when I first installed one (3 years ago), it was so quiet, I thought the drive wasn't even working!
  6. thbears

    thbears Guest

    I second that on the Barracudas- great and quiet drives. Maxtors and WD has more noise and WD's also run a lot hotter that Seagates.
  7. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    I find the Barracudas to be awesomely quiet, but only in idle. I have two Barracuda SATA drives in my DAW and I had to put them in shock mounts to prevent the access noises from conducting through the case. This helped quite a bit, bit I wonder if there are drives out there that are silent in both idle and access modes. Big_D? BladeSG? Randyman? Anybody?
  8. thbears

    thbears Guest

    Most of the vibrations is the rattles caused by the case. The only other drives that I find are really quiet are the external firewire drives like the ones made by LaCie. But they are more $$$. :cry:
  9. gambit

    gambit Active Member

    I would have sworn by Maxtor until last month when mine died. Completely. Totally. Reading around on 'the net' this is happening to other people too.

    So I replaced with a Samsung SpinPoint drive - without doubt the quietest drive I have ever heard. They have fluid bearings and the 'chatter' from read/write operations is barely noticable. I paid just over 50GBP for 120GB SATA drive - so get two! I use two - one for Audio data and one for program - that way when a program is being accessed by one (such as a plugin) its not going to affect the i/o of the other.

  10. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Nice tip, gambit. Looks like the prices are pretty good, too.
  11. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    I like Maxtor, I have 9 running in my house right now 10 to 200 GB without a single failure. I haven't heard the buzz Gambit is speaking of so I can't confirm. My former favorite was Seagate but their product began to suffer when they made Conner drives for Packard Bell. They made so many drives for PB that their own line began to suffer quality problems. Since the death of PB :cool: Seagate once again is making a top notch product. I think WD makes a very nice drive also. I don't think you can go wrong with any of the big 3. Almost all SATA drives have FDB motors now so most are very quiet when idle. I can barely hear my heads reading on the Maxtors so IMO they're quiet. My mics don't pick it up. I would suggest anyone with noisy drives try what David suggested and use isolation mounts not just for your drives but fans as well.

    As far as Samsung drives I would be leery of buying one. Who knows this could be a gem, but going by their track record I doubt it. This company has created some of the biggest piles of electronic crap known to man. I hope I'm wrong but to be on the safe side I would either backup everything you value or buy another drive and copy your data to that as a backup.

    One last note on HDD's. The biggest enemies of HDD's are shock and heat. I know we all want to keep the noise down from fans but DAW's almost constantly read and write to our drives. If your not keeping the drives cool the failure has already started. It's the thermal cycling that kills PC components. If you shutdown your PC, quickly open the case and can't comfortably rest your hand on the drive, it's too hot. My DAW is rackmounted and in a closet so noise isn't an issue but if you need to add more fans but don't want the noise, get a speed controller for the fans. That way you can turn them way down when recording and then turn them up to cool the PC. You can also set them higher when mixing as your monitors should overcome the fan noise and this is when your DAW is working hardest. As far as shock, don't put your DAW on the floor close enough that you can kick it. HDD's don't like to be jarred when reading or writing. Move it far enough away that you can't kick it.

    Hope this helps! :D
  12. Randyman...

    Randyman... Well-Known Member

    I'm not up on the "quietest" drives, but so far Maxtor Diamond Max 9's and WD Caviar's have done right by me. I also have a WD Raptor that is nice for an OS drive (very fast access times, and not loud!). (For the record, I have 5 Maxtor's; 3 WD's; 1 IBM). I'd say go SATA if you can.

    Others mentioned isolating the drive, and this can be a fantastic idea. Just make sure you still have the HD's chassis tied to ground somewhere...

    Also, the "Acoustic Management" utility that is "ON" by default on many HD's WILL quiet the drive's head activity, but WILL show performance losses in access times. I leave mine "OFF" for quicker seek times...


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