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noisy new HDDs

Posted on 2003-03-21
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i would add more pts but i'm kinda out :$

i have this P4 system i got in april-may 2002.  it came with a 40GB Maxtor D740X-6L, and was bloody quiet.  then after a few months it became viciously loud with a whirring noise very audible within 20 feet from another room.  Just this monday i replaced it with a 80GB Western Digital Caviar SE (!!!), and it became nice and quiet again.  But then today i noticed that it's developing the exact same noise as the maxtor drive.  Don't get me wrong, but i dont' think two relatively high quality drives would instantly go out like that; my friend has a 100GB WD Caviar SE and an identical 40GB drive and they've been pushed much harder than mine, and they're silent.  No rattling; this is internal to the drive by using my ears and an open case.  Could the 320W PSU be dead, or even my home's electric power be faulty (both disks still work like normal except their dB is not the advertised 35 or so)?  I noticed that my PC builder bundled up all the power cables in a big bunch, and the one connected to the disk also has an extra set of wires connected to the hard drive cooling fan.

of course i'm using a powerstrip.

i've been trying to fix this problem for months and i still have no clue what is wrong; i moved the 40GB into another system, and the disk is actually beginning to get quieter.

DJ
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Question by:DeJimbo
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26 Comments
 
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by:SunBow
SunBow earned 60 total points
ID: 8184484
>Could the 320W PSU be dead
does it work?

> or even my home's electric power be faulty

Yes, that can burn out power supply etc. and your power strip will only replicate the mismatched lines.

To check that, simply move it to sockets of better know reliability. Friends?

> the one connected to the disk also has an extra set of wires connected to the hard drive cooling fan.

This is unclear, unless you mean the power lines are similar, sharing copper paths.

Possibly, this is the drive in-use spinning vs. the power-save option, but it shouldn't be that loud. If the system is otherwise behving, for the time being, then I suggest you raise the issue in the hardware topic area, the experts there are more familiar.
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by:DeJimbo
ID: 8184524
i think it might be a little late to test because i can't unloudify a disk.  but nothing else except the disk has been acting up.  the monitor is fine (and that uses alot of power), my printers work, as do the dvd and cd-rw drives.

i suppose that the PSU is not dead if i'm typing this as we speak.

and speaking of the wires:

PSU----[M][F]------[F][hard disk]
                    \
                     \disk fan

my power supply has a short cable with pins (male) plugging into a cable with a female plug at both ends.  however on one end, an extra two wires stick out of the power plug and connect directly to a fan.
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by:DeJimbo
ID: 8184526
and dont' mind the variable spacing; the disk fan should be attached further right.
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msa2003 earned 60 total points
ID: 8186031
It looks like a case resonance. Just remove HDD from your computer case, link it to motherboard and check the results. If the nois will disappear you should replace the case or manually improve it to exclude resonance. I experienced the same problem with CPU fan. I mounted a Super Orb fan on my Athlon CPU and this had produced a very laud noice. I replaced the fan with Titan which is very quiet working out of the case. But mounted in case after a few days the problem appeared again. Another reason for resonance may be your furniture.
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Expert Comment

by:migit03
ID: 8186561
What yo u have described could be sympotms of HD thrashing which means your HD is so fragmented it is constantly moving the reader head., Just defragment it to fix.
I don't quite understand how resonance would affect it.
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by:msa2003
ID: 8186673
migit03: if the computer case resonates with HDD the sound will be lauder and it creates the additional resistance for HDD heads moving which potentially could damage the plate surface. So if the HDD produces a laud noise after placing into the case (and the disk was qiueter outside the case) it is a good reason to upgrade the case to somewhat like AOpen ;)
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by:DeJimbo
ID: 8188749
i tried dismounting the drive and placed it on an antistatic bag next to my case, but it sounds just as loud.  the actual soft clicking transfer noise (when it spins) is nearly silent and has stayed the same.

could you possibly explain more about this "resonance"?

when i put my ear to the drive (directly with case side off), i hear the whirring which wasnt' there before.  how can you tell if a case is "bad"?  also, what do you mean by "furniture"?  right now, the case is under my desk and to the right, on carpet.
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by:DeJimbo
ID: 8188890
i noticed that if i grip both sides of the hard drive cage (it is about 6 bays high from the bottom of the case all the way to the floppy) firmly, the high pitched vibration is reduced.  any ways i can do this by adding some kinda shock protection?  it would be a pretty tight fit.
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by:migit03
ID: 8189958
How about surrounding your HDs with foam or out it in a bag with a fan. Try Dampering it but don't forget the heat. What is the case made of? Metal? Try putting cloth in the Case to damper the sound.
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by:msa2003
ID: 8190284
Never use cloth to damper the sound!!! It will lead to overheat of the drive. Note that during the HDD works some of it's parts may heat up to 70 degreez!
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by:DeJimbo
ID: 8191266
i don't exactly want to wrap my hardware in stuff like that, as normally i should not have problems like this.  since my PSU appears to work (my motherboard is not fried, my cpu works fine, and my optical drives have worked) and my friend has had no problems, i'm guessing that maybe my case is a pile of crap, or i'm just really really unlucky.  is there anything that pinpoints a bad case?

http://members.shaw.ca/lfwing/stuff/front.jpg
http://members.shaw.ca/lfwing/stuff/back.jpg
http://members.shaw.ca/lfwing/stuff/psu.jpg
http://members.shaw.ca/lfwing/stuff/inside.jpg
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by:DeJimbo
ID: 8191288
here are some things i tried:

plugged powerstrip into 2nd of three outlets in my room, and same thing happens

tried every drive bay (of the 5 below the two floppy ones)

tried different power connectors

tried anotehr ide cable (80 conductor)

tried placing pc on desk

i also notice that this gets progressively worse; every time i bootup it did its spinup noise, but that spinup noise begins to remain as opposed to settle back down.  the level of noise also fluctuates from low high pitched noise to a loud whine, as it did with the old drive.  my pc builder (well known as a reliable business) diagnosed my maxtor drive as ok and said it was normal, even though a side to side comparison (with a brand new drive) said otherwise.
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Expert Comment

by:pratigan
ID: 8195651
you mention that a friend has a similar configuration and his drives are working without a problem.  It sounds like a powersupply intermittant problem where you may either have the drives receiving intermittant surges from the power supply or an overheating problem.  You may want to try replacing the powersupply.  Although this may not correct the existing problem with the harddrives, as the damage may already be permanent, but it would avoid potential problems.  One way to truely verify a power problem, test the output surges using a power meter and testing each power output plug from the power supply.  Also, using the meter, check multiple connection points on the motherboard as well as the harddrive.  Ths will help you identify a truely power feed problem.
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by:SunBow
ID: 8196327
>  placed it on an antistatic bag next to my case, but it sounds just as loud.
> i noticed that if i grip both sides of the hard drive cage ... firmly, the high pitched vibration is reduced.  

this is rather contradictory, unless you're dealing with twi different sounds.

> any ways i can do this by adding some kinda shock protection?

You can try screws with rubber washers, that'll fit. First try loosening screws, get it to seat better. This sounds like somethings rather warped. Like something needs to be screwed in better.  Try again taking it out of case. Try holding at different angles.

Before giving up on case, try higher slot. try lower slot.

Nice Pix btw. Say, the real problem is the system is too clean, no little pieces of rug hairs or nothin clinging anywhere. (just kidding).

The case is not giving the HD much balance for tie-downs, much of HD weight is outside the rack. Another screw would be nice. Try loosening screws, and see if you can get HD to slide a smidgeon forward and more level.

Concerning power, I don't think it issue, but the you should be able to swap out the line temporarily from your (good) optical storage for a quick test. Possibly (?) the fan's oscillation is dumping feedback on the power leads, and the HD don't appreciate it. So of course, for debug, try running HD with alternative power lead.
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by:msa2003
ID: 8197331
This is an easy way how to determine if the problem is really in your power supply. Try to unplug all another devices (such as optical drives) and try it with motherboard/video/CPU and HDD only. If the problem will disappear the reason is power supply. But I don't think that power supply could be the reason.

I watched your photos. A very default case. Looks like KME series. HDD rack is very big. I don't understand for what purpose there are so many space for HDD's (the case doesn't look like server case) but the rack walls may produce additional sound if there is no other HDD's.
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by:DeJimbo
ID: 8198788
i'm kinda at work now, but i've been reading your suggestions, and i am getting the disk replaced (thank god they'll ghost my hdd).

i really have never seen a PSU go out; my 8088 still works, as does my Pentium 133.  and i never get power spikes in my area (powerstrip used too).  likewise, my optical drives have worked fine for two years (excetp for a dvd rom which spun but didnt' read some cds), and you'd think that my motherboard (and boxed P4 :D) would go out before a hard disk.

i have a good feeling that the giant 5-drive rack is causing the problem, so i'm requesting a 3.5" mount on a 5.25" bay.

clean cases are cool
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by:migit03
ID: 8199801
>  placed it on an antistatic bag next to my case, but it sounds just as loud

Never Place eqipment on anti-static baggs!
All the static collect on the outside so it's worse than just sitting on a desk. Keep it in the bag to keep it safe.
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by:DeJimbo
ID: 8199980
it's hard to tell whether or not difft drive bays help because as i've said, it's already loud (i'd need 4 new drives to test each one and see which ones went noisy!)

>>  placed it on an antistatic bag next to my case, but it sounds just as loud.
>> i noticed that if i grip both sides of the hard drive cage ... firmly, the high pitched vibration is reduced.  

>this is rather contradictory, unless you're dealing with twi different sounds.

the drive was still noisy on socks and bags otuside the case, but when i remounted it inside, and firmly gripped the two sides of the rack, it dampened the noise.

i wish i could have used the last two mounting holes, but it's about 5mm too far, as my hard dirve hits the case before i reach them.

anyway, the guy should arrive any moment.  hopefully he'll replace it and transfer my stuff and mount it in a 5.25" bay where it willbe happy.

speaking of 5.25", my friend's 100GB (the one which i said was fine) is mounted ON ONE SIDE OF A 5.25" DRIVE BAY and still has no problems.
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by:msa2003
ID: 8200915
Argee to miquit03. Never place the WORKING HDD on the anti-static surface. It could probably short some drive's circuits and affect the drive work and/or even damage the drive. Also if your HDD is already connected to PC it had been grounded to (suppose that you have normal 3-pin power socket your power supply is connected to). If you afraid of static discharge mounting drive it is better to touch the computer case. This will discharge your body and/or equelize your and computer case potentials.

You coult try the following: move FDD to the lower position and place HDD instead (higher). This could help you decrease the sound. Typically there is a hole in the case closed by the metal plate. Just remove the plate and place your HDD.
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Expert Comment

by:Speedbuggy
ID: 8204540
Cool, a fellow Canuck in here, replacing the drive may help the issue, but it sounds like a heat problem. Which may re-occur in the future. Have seen this problem before with drives and certain cases ( we see alot of crappy ones in Canada ). Heat from a HDD can warp those tall HDD racks. One thing I have made in the past is a spacer plate for them to give a little more rigidity. But to cure the problem from happening you may want to invest in a case fan in the front to draw or push cool air around the drive. Also if your moving it into the 5.25 bay I would suggest moving your CDRW up a slot and putting the drive in the lowest as its heat can mess with the opticals.
Just my 2 cents, scratch that 5 cents due to inflation and low Canuck dollar.
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by:SunBow
ID: 8206980
> the drive was still noisy on socks and bags otuside the case, but when i remounted it inside, and firmly gripped the two sides of the rack, it dampened the noise.

sheesh, sounds like drive itself ain't all that solid, like a few extra, long screws to squeze it would help. Maybe if rack was tighter? Or the slides?

> Never place the WORKING HDD on the anti-static surface

Thanks, now you tell me!   :(
I'd done that cushion between the case myself (not the bubble kind tho') - never had a prob. <phew>
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by:DeJimbo
ID: 8207510
ok, the guy said it was fien, so i'm just paranoid.  probably as loud as my friends, just that he uses a need-very loud fan-because-it-runs-hot AMD Athlon XP :P and i use an ultra-quiet P4 :D.

i added a drive fan (just below the drive cage, and now my hdd is in the very top 3.5" bay), and the deeper fan sound is more pleasant than the whirring of the hdd.

i also put masking tape on the inside of the drive rack and just screwed screws thru the tape.  it works pretty well, plus i added the two foam pads from the hdd's shipping box on each side of the drive rack to help muffle sound.  and it's fairly cool; i have two 9cm fans going.

just one more thing; is the fan supposed to blow air out or into the case?  the default when i purchased the computer was blowing out, but i think blowing in gives more circulation and will help add some dust into my superclean case :D.

thx for all your help

DJ
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by:pratigan
ID: 8210071
Your correct... blowing air into the case will incorporate more dust potential, however it will not add much more than the fan blowing out, which actually draws air in from other places, therefore its a give an take.  As long as the area around the case is clean and fairly dust free, its not going to matter.  You may want to open the case more often and air blow it out.  I do that regularly anyways.
Good Luck !!
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by:DeJimbo
ID: 8215195
well, i think i have solved th eproblem somewhat.  i just noticed at work that on some opened demo hard drives, the spindle is in the back (closest to the interface and power), and the unbalancing might have caused this.  so i took sunbow's advice to balance it, and it appears to be working for a day or so.

the foam pads are also helping, as is the masking tape.  now my beige box is a little less beige.
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by:LucF
ID: 10304451
DeJimbo,
No comment has been added lately (318 days), so it's time to clean up this TA.
I will leave a recommendation in the Cleanup topic area for this question:

RECOMMENDATION: split points between msa2003 http:#8186031 and SunBow http:#8206980

Please leave any comments here within 4 days.

-- Please DO NOT accept this comment as an answer ! --

Thanks,

LucF
EE Cleanup Volunteer
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by:SunBow
ID: 10311150
Thanx.  'B'?  Maybe next time, get some beige masking tape and foam.           ;-)
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