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April 7, 2006, 2:51 am
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Consider the characteristics of the enclosure for a moment. If it is
aluminum, it is light as a feather. Any vibration in the drive can make
the aluminum case shake as well. And the aluminum can function as an
acoustic amplifier if it resonates, making the sound worse instead
There are some external cases that have rubber feet, and a soft plastic
shell. If the assembly is heavy enough, you'd get some damping of
the vibration. But, for the direct acoustic output from the drive
itself, you might not get any relief by using a new enclosure.
(There should be some air holes for cooling.)
With respect to drive construction itself, you can find disk drive
mechanisms where the rotating platters are close to silent, but when
the disk does a seek, it is constrained to do that quickly. You will
still hear seek noise, and if you use the "find" command on your
computer, there will be an unmistakable chattering sound from the
drive. So, you should have some reasonable expectations about what
parts of the noise you can improve and what parts will continue to
be higher than the ambient noise level.
I have several old IBM 9GB SCSI drives, and the bearing noise has
increased with age. If I had to use a drive like that regularly,
I would replace it (and that is why the lot of them have been
retired - I only dig them out for "clean-install" experiments).
If your drive was like my old SCSI drives, I'd stop using it :-)
You can look here, at the Storagereview database, to find a quiet
drive to put in a new enclosure. Select "Idle Noise" from the menu.
The Seagate 7200.9 has a good rating.
So perhaps a new enclosure and a new disk will make a better
solution. Shopping for the enclosure will be the hard part,
and it is difficult to pick a winner based on the typical info
you get on the web sites.