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Silent PC guide

Hard drives


Hard drives cause two types of noise, a high pitch noise from the rotation of the platters, and a clicking noise from moving the heads. While the noise might not seem like a big deal compared to the fans in your average computer, it becomes apparent that something needs to be done once you've replaced the fans in your computer with quiet ones. Unfortunately, the options for hard drives are somewhat limited, and I don't know of any one solution that works all the time.

One of the most effective solutions, is to get a Molex SilentDrive enclosure. It is very efficient at dampening all the noise your hard drive makes. However, this solution does not work with some newer drives, because they become too hot when enclosed in plastic with no airflow around them. If you order them from Quietpc.com, you can send it back if it does not work with your hard drive. If you live in the US, you might want to order them from New England Digital Computers, Inc. instead to save on shipping.

Another way is to simply get a more quiet hard drive. Fujitsu makes a series of drives that are supposedly very very quiet, but they seem hard to find. The IBM GXP75, and the upcoming IBM GXP60 drives are also very quiet. I personally recommend getting the IBM drives. IBM also makes a program which allows you to tune how much noise the drive makes by changing how fast the drive heads move, this only affects the click-clack noise though, not the whining. You can find this software here.

Update: The new Seagate Barracuda IV series of hard drives are supposed to be more quiet than any previous high-end hard drive. I will post more info after I order one. :)

If none of the above seems like a good option, you might be able to make your drive a little bit more quiet by mounting it in a vibration-absorbing cradle, such as the S-bracket available from Megahaus (go to webstore, brackets, drive brackets, SBRACKET to find it.) or the drive mounts available from noisecontrol.de. You can also make one yourself as described here. I don't know how much difference this makes though.

If your drive still is noisy, you can at least make it quiet when you're not using it by making it spin down. How you do this is operating system dependandt, but here are some useful hints:

  • In windows, you can set the spin-down time in the control panel under power management. Usually something between 10 minutes and one hour is good.
  • Exit programs when you're not using the computer, some programs may be accessing the drive even if you're not using them, and thus prevent the drive from spinning down. This goes for programs in your system tray as well. In particular, you may want to disable the RealPlayer startcenter, since it will prevent the C: drive from spinning down indefinitely.
  • If you're using linux, you can set the spin-down time with Hdparm. You may also want to install Noflushd to make linux cache disk writes in memory instead of spinning up the drive all the time.

Even if none of the above works to your satisfaction, there is still hope. There are various methods of making your entire computer more silent, and those methods are described here.

Ok, now that we have a quiet HD, let's move on to the other peripherals >>>


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Last modified: March 25th, 2002 - Design by Monica & Fredrik Hübinette