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27 vs 36 decibel HDD

Lei

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Hello,
I currently have a western digital blue which makes 27db while seek. it's 5400rpm.
Planning to upgrade, but all HDD above 14TB capacity are 7200rpm and Ultrastar makes 36db

is 36 too loud? My PC is so quiet when the monitor is off there's no way to say pc is on or off.
Also if you know any 18tb @5400rpm let me know. Thanks

I'm a bit skeptical, because increasing fan speed from 800 to 1000 makes them significantly louder

WD Blue
Ultrastar
 

eidairaman1

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If you call a whisper noisy I'd say you're **** of ***** matter.


Hello,
I currently have a western digital blue which makes 27db while seek. it's 5400rpm.
Planning to upgrade, but all HDD above 14TB capacity are 7200rpm and Ultrastar makes 36db

is 36 too loud? My PC is so quiet when the monitor is off there's no way to say pc is on or off.
Also if you know any 18tb @5400rpm let me know. Thanks

I'm a bit skeptical, because increasing fan speed from 800 to 1000 makes them significantly louder

WD Blue
Ultrastar

Not even my VelociRaptor drive is as loud as a normal conversation

Who makes ultrastar? Never heard of that brand.
 
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With all respect to the user above, I’d ignore their advice. Everyone perceives noise differently, and some are more sensitive to it than others. Personally, I’d kill myself if I had a velociraptor in my desktop. I ended up giving mine away back in the day because of the noise.

The general rule of thumb is that a 3dB increase is perceived as twice the noise. So yes, you will definitely notice the difference if your 5400rpm drive is bothering you now.

Unfortunately, once you get past 8TB there aren’t many “quiet” options on the market. If you can, I’d recommend picking up or building a NAS so that you can keep the noise away from you (that’s what I did :)), or get two lower capacity drives to offset the increase in noise.

If you’re set on a single, high capacity drive, and happen to have a spare 5” bay, I’d get some thick rubber bands to suspend the drive. It won’t solve the seek noise, but it will help with noise overall.
 

Lei

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5400 is not bothering me.

about decibels : WD blue 27db is much quieter than Phanteks F140XP @1150rpm which supposedly reports to make 19db (on the box)
Also Velociraptor is 37 whereas an Ultrastar both from WD is 36 - not much considering it spins 39% faster
I currently use a shock absorbing bracket, picture below.
Currently the only sound I hear is the hard disk, I used to think it's the sound of coolant flow, but I used HDDSpin.exe to turn off my hdd and that sound was gone. not bothering, sounds like a low light gas furnace. like a stove... imagine making tea on a gas oven before bubbles emerge. huuuuum



With all respect to the user above, I’d ignore their advice. Everyone perceives noise differently, and some are more sensitive to it than others. Personally, I’d kill myself if I had a velociraptor in my desktop. I ended up giving mine away back in the day because of the noise.

The general rule of thumb is that a 3dB increase is perceived as twice the noise. So yes, you will definitely notice the difference if your 5400rpm drive is bothering you now.

Unfortunately, once you get past 8TB there aren’t many “quiet” options on the market. If you can, I’d recommend picking up or building a NAS so that you can keep the noise away from you (that’s what I did :)), or get two lower capacity drives to offset the increase in noise.

If you’re set on a single, high capacity drive, and happen to have a spare 5” bay, I’d get some thick rubber bands to suspend the drive. It won’t solve the seek noise, but it will help with noise overall.
 
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Who makes ultrastar? Never heard of that brand.
Western Digital bought out Hitachi, which was originally IBM. So the Ultrastar is a line of HDD models owned by WD.

Hello,
I currently have a western digital blue which makes 27db while seek. it's 5400rpm.
Planning to upgrade, but all HDD above 14TB capacity are 7200rpm and Ultrastar makes 36db

is 36 too loud? My PC is so quiet when the monitor is off there's no way to say pc is on or off.
Also if you know any 18tb @5400rpm let me know. Thanks

I'm a bit skeptical, because increasing fan speed from 800 to 1000 makes them significantly louder
36db is almost nothing. In a completely silent room, you might hear it over the fans of your system and GPU, but not by much. And honestly, if you don't let noise bother you, even 46db is fine.
 
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The noise due to the RPM of the drive (7200 RPM drives) isn't that big of a problem. The higher noise will come from the head when it's seeking.
Ultrastars are geared towards enterprise so noise is not a concern.

The noise from the RPM is much more noticeable if you use 15k RPM drives. YMMV
 

Lei

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36db is almost nothing. In a completely silent room, you might hear it over the fans of your system and GPU, but not by much. And honestly, if you don't let noise bother you, even 46db is fine.
My system only has two fans on the radiator at 750rpm. As I mentioned earlier, the only audible sound is the 5400rpm hard drive which is 27db
Are you saying 36db is louder than gpu fans in a silent room?

The noise due to the RPM of the drive (7200 RPM drives) isn't that big of a problem. The higher noise will come from the head when it's seeking.
Ultrastars are geared towards enterprise so noise is not a concern.

The noise from the RPM is much more noticeable if you use 15k RPM drives. YMMV
spinning at idle for Ultrastar is 20
Seeking is 36
Actually WD Blue is 3db higher at idle, which I think is because Ultrastar is filled with helium. I'm much concerned about the seek noise of 7200rpm drives. I can hear my 5400 pretty well.
 
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Are you saying 36db is louder than gpu fans in a silent room?
At 750rpm, generally no. But what I am saying is that 36db is not going to annoy anyone unless they are super-finiky.

I can hear my 5400 pretty well.
But does it bother you? If so, the Ultrastar might annoy you, but then ANY performance or high capacity drive will also.
 
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Lei

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But does it bother you? If so, the Ultrastar might annoy you, but then ANY performance or high capacity drive will also.
It doesn't bother.

Wait a minute. I realized that what I'm hearing all this time is 23db noise of my hard drive. The sound I'm hearing is from the idle mode. And Ultrastar idles even quieter.
This might mean that with Ultrastar I may not hear the constant non-bothering huuuuum

From now on, I should inspect how much of the time my hdd is idle. I wasn't thinking about idle/seek until repman244 mentioned it. I was only thinking about max decibel.

Yes my ear can hear 23db, even it's quieter than when my neighbor opens his sink :)
I think if the huuuum goes away, I can forgive the louder seek noise if I'm just seeking 10% of time.
 
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I’d just order the disk and see how it sounds. You can always return it.

Personally, I’ll never have a HDD in my desktop again, but if you don’t mind your 5400rpm drive you may not mind a 18TB 7200rpm drive.

If the hum is the problem I’d consider replacing your bracket with a bungee system. It makes a world of difference, IMO. Then, I’m the kind of user who mostly runs my system with all of the fans off.


 
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I wouldn't compare HDD noise and fan noise by the numbers on the box.
Noise from fans are measured when the fan is standing free from other components.
Once installed in a case, the noise will be greater because of airflow hitting fan-grille , PC-components , etc. but of course will be somewhat shielded when the PC case is closed.
 

Lei

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I’d just order the disk and see how it sounds. You can always return it.

Personally, I’ll never have a HDD in my desktop again, but if you don’t mind your 5400rpm drive you may not mind a 18TB 7200rpm drive.

If the hum is the problem I’d consider replacing your bracket with a bungee system. It makes a world of difference, IMO. Then, I’m the kind of user who mostly runs my system with all of the fans off.
The thing about 18TB Ultrastar is that it's 10.6% cheaper per terabyte than 5400rpm
I need a software to monitor my hdd activity over hours of work. Task Manager only shows 4 minutes. it's 0% as far as I can see.

Imagine you'd only hear few seconds of 36 decibel and then hours of 20db. What can be bad about that? and it reads faster too. Thank you Helium. I appreciate every atom of you

The Velociraptor that you sent back, idles at 30db. Ok that's like listening to my neighbor showering all day

I wouldn't compare HDD noise and fan noise by the numbers on the box.
Noise from fans are measured when the fan is standing free from other components.
Once installed in a case, the noise will be greater because of airflow hitting fan-grille , PC-components , etc. but of course will be somewhat shielded when the PC case is closed.
True, I like to compare decibels of products across Western Digital hard drives.
I don't have an Ultrastar, but I suppose it is quieter than WD blue at idle. They're apples from the same tree.
 

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is 36 too loud? My PC is so quiet when the monitor is off there's no way to say pc is on or off.
If the monitor is off, the PC is idle, and the hard drive has likely parked its heads and spun down. So it they will be completely silent in that situation.
 
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monitor goes off after 3~5 minutes. But hdd is not parked. When I press a key, monitor comes back, I don't hear any spinning up.

But now I can look at my radiator fans and say the PC is on. Before the rad fans were in place, I'd reach out for the power button only to discover my pc was already on. happened many times.
Why not just turn it off
 
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Who makes ultrastar? Never heard of that brand.

Really? Never heard of Hitachi? I know it's been a while since Hitachi exited the hdd business and and sold those assets to WD but at their peak they were the drive to get when it came to performance in the mid to late 2000s. Too bad for them SSDs happened where they were priced nearly the same as an average ssd but even the cheapest ssd blew them away.
 

Lei

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Velociraptor's high idle acoustics can be explained by its higher spin.

Let's compare Ultrastar with WD blue
Ultra spins 33% faster
Helium density is 0.17 kg per cubic meter
Air density is 1.27 kg/m3

Ultrastar is 3db quieter at idle, that's 15%
Air is 7 times denser than Helium. Probably air inside WD Blue is dry and has little pressure.
Ok, I'm convinced 1800 extra revolutions per minute can possibly make less noise if you use Helium.


Air - Density, Specific Weight and Thermal Expansion Coefficient vs. Temperature and Pressure (engineeringtoolbox.com)

From above link, you can enter temperature and see air density lowers as temp goes up.
Even at 1600°C it is still denser than Helium
 
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Keep in mind that dB isn’t measured linearly — they’re logarithmic. 3dB will still be perceived as twice the noise, which is great when the disk is idling, but not so much when it’s seeking.
 
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And as OP stated : "I currently have a western digital blue which makes 27db while seek. it's 5400rpm."

While seek, meaning the actuator arm moving, this will be noisier than just the platters spinning by itself.
 
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Western Digital bought out Hitachi, which was originally IBM. So the Ultrastar is a line of HDD models owned by WD.

IBM's Ultrastar name was actually changed from Deskstar. Back in the Nineties, IBM HDDs frequently failed due to disk stiction issues and people started calling the drives 'Deathstars'.

Good times!

:p

Anyhow going back to the OP, remember that decibels is a logarithmic scale. A 36 dB drive is about nine times louder than a 27 dB drive. One would definitely hear a difference between the two.
 

Lei

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And to see how Helium helps reducing the noise, we can see WD Black. It has same rpm as Ultrastar, but is not filled with Helium.
WD Black Datasheet

29~34 at idle and 36~38 seeking. So if Velociraptor is Arthur Morgan, then WD black is his horse in RDR terms.

Let's have a look at gold, it spins like Ultrastar and has Helioseal. upto 10TB it idles very bad, but after 10TB it idles at sweet 20db. So WD gold becomes quieter at higher capacities!
WD Gold datasheet

I think we can say that : don't be afraid of higher rpm if the disk is filled with Helium and you're coupled with ssd so you won't be seeking at all times.

And as OP stated : "I currently have a western digital blue which makes 27db while seek. it's 5400rpm."

While seek, meaning the actuator arm moving, this will be noisier than just the platters spinning by itself.

But the point is the sound you hear from WD blue is 23db whereas it is 20db from Ultrastar, until arms and heads get to work and make Ultrastar several times louder which is a fair tradeoff, because we're mostly idle. I think they wouldn't collect and trap helium into their disk only to make an already quiet disk quieter, so they increased the rpm
 
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I wouldn't compare HDD noise and fan noise by the numbers on the box.
Noise from fans are measured when the fan is standing free from other components.
Noise levels are also measured at a specific distance away from the device - and typically, that distance is just few inches. And the "perceived" noise level (sound pressure level or SPL) decreases as that distance increases.

Yes, 36db is significantly louder than 27db. But 36db is still pretty quiet.

Also a big factor is the case. A quality case will significantly suppress drive (and fan) noise. I note much of the noise from drives is really caused by vibration "reverberating" through the case. And you can help suppress that with special mounting devices like this screw kit.

As far as I am concerned, @lexluthermiester touched on one of the most significant factors; room or "ambient" noise. It is almost impossible to be in a totally silent room. Just the other night the power went off in my neighborhood and it was the silence that woke me. No hum from the refrigerator in the kitchen or freezer in basement. No AC. No anything.

I had the opportunity once to experience what it was like to be in a sonic anechoic chamber. This is a room specifically designed to absorb all sounds (no echoes or sounds bouncing off walls) as well as to isolate the room from any exterior sounds. The silence was deafening! I could hear my heartbeat. I could hear blood flowing in my arteries. In fact, after I was in it for about 5 minutes, it was a bit unnerving. I wanted out - now.

That said, if noise is your top priority, in addition to a quality case, quality case fans, and quality CPU fan, maybe you should look into SSDs. If you really need 14TBs, maybe put them in a NAS located in a different room.

And of course the absolute best suppressor of fan noise is Rock through Pandora via Pandorian! ;)

Once installed in a case, the noise will be greater because of airflow hitting fan-grille
Not in a quality case that is designed with noise suppression in mind - at least not unless the fan is running at full speed and that should rarely ever happen. I recommend Fractal Design cases - the R6 or R7 would be great choices. They only way I can tell if my case fans are running is to put my hand by the exhaust vent and then I can feel the warm air coming our.
 
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But the point is the sound you hear from WD blue is 23db whereas it is 20db from Ultrastar, until arms and heads get to work and make Ultrastar several times louder which is a fair tradeoff, because we're mostly idle. I think they wouldn't collect and trap helium into their disk only to make an already quiet disk quieter, so they increased the rpm

I believe helium is used in higher RPM drives to reduce the drag of the spinning platters.
This means less opposing force , and less power needed to spin the platters.
 

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Western Digital bought out Hitachi, which was originally IBM. So the Ultrastar is a line of HDD models owned by WD.


36db is almost nothing. In a completely silent room, you might hear it over the fans of your system and GPU, but not by much. And honestly, if you don't let noise bother you, even 46db is fine.
Ok so UltraStar is the Top end of the Hitachi DeskStar, didnt know they Fleged out.

And I know Hitachi bought out IBM DeathStar...

I believe helium is used in higher RPM drives to reduce the drag of the spinning platters.
This means less opposing force , and less power needed to spin the platters.
Probably for the platter elements to reduce corrosion by using Gas Encapsulation.
 

Lei

Joined
Jul 3, 2021
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Sound can not propagate in empty space. it travels faster in a denser medium. So if Helium is less dense than air, it should muffle the noise.
See this video, the guy inhales a balloon filled with Helium and his voice becomes what we need from a quiet pc:


I believe helium is used in higher RPM drives to reduce the drag of the spinning platters.
This means less opposing force , and less power needed to spin the platters.
 
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