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Extremely quiet harddisk for laptops?

Discussion in 'Laptops' started by Michael Birke, Feb 28, 2004.

  1. Hello,

    I am looking for a very quiet harddisk (60-80 GB size).

    Performance is not of importance, but the drive should be very quiet
    when idle.

    What do you recommend?
    Michael Birke, Feb 28, 2004
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  2. Michael Birke

    Dan Koren Guest

    Flash disk.

    Check www.bitmicro.com.

    Dan Koren, Feb 29, 2004
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  3. Michael Birke

    plated metal Guest

    Any idea on prices for these things Dan? The specs look amazing (esp
    seek time). A 35 GByte solid state 2.5" drive (like the E-disk 2A133)
    would be really something.

    plated metal, Feb 29, 2004
  4. Michael Birke

    Ian Stirling Guest

    Not having looked for prices on the things, the price is going to
    be around the price for the flash.
    Somewhere around a hundred times the price of a hard drive would be in
    the ballpark.

    If you can spin the drive down, it'll be silent.
    Ian Stirling, Feb 29, 2004
  5. Michael Birke

    Dan Koren Guest

    The prices are in the "... if you have to ask... " range.

    Dan Koren, Feb 29, 2004
  6. I'm puzzled by the "very quiet when idle".

    o Most laptop hard drives are essentially silent *when idle*
    ---- by that I mean spinning but not accessing
    o However, HD do their own sporadic housekeeping
    ---- and the O/S will do some of its own (turn off file indexing)
    ---- that will create an audible click/scratching sound

    4200rpm drives will be quietest, the Seagate 5400rpm is a little
    noisier and I suspect the 7200rpm drives a little noisier still. That
    is re rpm noise - not so much seek noise which is relatively similar.

    Many laptops have fans that run continually albeit at a low noise level,
    but a noise level none-the-less which is comparable if not louder than
    the HD seeking noise, and certainly louder than HD rpm.

    Powering down a laptop drive will mean "no seek", however the
    actual noise of a laptop drive will depend on the application. Apps
    like mail/usenet expire/clean/housekeep data in the background, and
    so a regular disk access noise is likely to be heard.

    1.8" drives will probably get serious uptake as replacements of 2.5" HD,
    perhaps in dual RAID form (either redundancy or performance) by about
    2007-2008. They are likely to be quieter than present 2.5" disk technology.
    Dorothy Bradbury, Mar 1, 2004
  7. Michael Birke

    plated metal Guest

    Yup. Sounds about right ;)

    plated metal, Mar 1, 2004
  8. Hello.

    I am a little bit disappointed because nobody pointed out some normal
    2.5 HDs besides Flash ROM drives.

    So you think they are all the same essentially?

    I found Toshibas MK6021GAS to produce a silent rustle e.g.

    Fujitsu's drive are said to be the most silent among those with fluid
    ball gearing.

    I have an Acer 291 LMi and the fan is not spinning at all except when
    powering up - the only thing I can hear at all is the faint rustle of
    the Toshiba HD.

    I have now decided for a MHT2040AT 80GB drive from Fujitsu.


    /> Michael Birke
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    The Power of Metal, Rock and Gothic
    Michael Birke, Mar 1, 2004
  9. Yes I think the Fujitsu are quiet.
    The rustle may be as much the head movement profile in terms of
    managing the acceleration/deceleration re noise.

    Fan noise is something you have to watch depending on application:
    o Some laptops have continually operating fans
    o However fan noise is as much a function of the application
    --- some fans have multi-stepping and aren't noisy at <30% load
    --- some others have raucous fans on say *.pdf processing - *loud*
    ----- if your work is mostly downloadinng *.pdfs, get earplugs
    o The flip side is high performance can be self-defeating
    --- to keep noise under control some laptops heavily CPU throttle
    --- bizarre buying a P4-M of 2.4Ghz and any hard load sees 1.1Ghz

    One can argue (rightly!) laptops aren't compute nodes.
    However, a lot of people end up using them virtually as that re applications:
    o Applications once required data-centres/mainframes
    o Applications (& skills) perpetually move down the uptake chain
    o As computing power similarly moves down the availability chain

    Laptops are nearing a Cray-1 in compute terms also offer multi-hour
    UPS, mobile, integral display, compactness, wireless connectivity, stable
    O/S. All no longer in dedicated environments, but environments where
    thought & knowledge working are king - *and so is low noise*.

    P-M relies as much on 50% of the CPU-power requires 15% of the heat,
    and Intel thus far are happy to price accordingly - somewhat irritatingly :)

    Wonder when someone will stick the CPU in the lid, with heatpipes to an
    aluminium-or-magnesium fascia. Could be a weight balance issue there.
    Dorothy Bradbury, Mar 2, 2004
  10. Michael Birke

    Ian Stirling Guest

    Also a big problem with solar gain.
    Working with the sun shining on the back of the display, and it gets hot.

    Maybe some way could be found to dump the heat out the screen.
    That's by definition with current displays going to be out of the sun.

    I have used a laptop cooled by evaporation of water from a little
    plastercine dam round the top of the processor, kept topped up occasionally,
    but this isn't really practical for general use :)
    Ian Stirling, Mar 3, 2004
  11. Also a big problem with solar gain.
    Yes, solar gain is often underestimated -- it is a high wattage/m^2 :)
    o You can polish the enclosure -- bit lame for a laptop
    o You can add vents -- rely on convective cooling
    Most seem to use the HSF & the keyboard to get rid of heat.

    The packaging of laptops hasn't changed that much:
    o 2007-2008 will see 1.8" hard drives replacing 2.5"
    o Some shrinkage in memory & power-density is possible

    So we might see more use of convective cooling, altho a problem
    is the closing of laptops - perhaps at best we get better airflow.

    Perhaps a false bottom on laptops, a couple of mm off the real
    one would help improve cooling particularly on laps / desks etc.

    I guess it comes back to "headline depth", altho there's a lot of
    real-estate on a laptop which could easily be made in aluminium.
    The "C shape" above the keyboard is one such area - it may give
    enough thermal mass combined with a heatpipe to minimise some
    of the near neurotic cooling fan low-roar-low-roar so prevalent.
    Dorothy Bradbury, Mar 4, 2004
  12. Michael Birke

    Ian Stirling Guest

    Bare metal has low visible absorbtion, but it also emits poorly in the
    IR, which means that it can get quite warm indeed.
    And create holes for bugs to crawl in.
    I've already had one "bug" in my screen, that got between the diffuser
    and the display, that made me think I had some sort of wierd virus.
    I ended up having to completely dissasemble the display to get to it.
    Comparing a 1995 subnotebook with a 1999 one:
    (486/75 CT475, and PII/300 3110CT)

    There is little difference on the face of it.

    On the older laptop, the motherboard is a fraction of a mm thicker,
    and the chips on it are a fraction thicker and there are less of them.
    There are more connectors, and the case has an extra layer (a plastic
    outer frame outside a magnisium chassis).

    The major difference is the fan, which the 486/75 laptop gets away without.
    (it has a battery life of around the same time) and the modern one has
    a heat pipe to spread the heat over the case.

    There are more modules connected by flexible wiring, in the 'modern'
    laptop, it's almost all built into the motherboard.

    (donations of modern subnotebooks for me to take apart and report on will
    be gratefully accepted :) )
    It depends on the size of the laptop too a bit.
    For example, the laptop I'm typing this on has no space there.

    Thermal mass doesn't really help.
    It's the steady state that's the problem.
    Having said that, 25g of water heated by 30C will absorb 10W for around
    5 minutes. (500g of water heated by 40C would absorb all the energy in
    my laptop battery pack) (water is lots, lots better than most anything

    Software can also help.

    Simply turning on the fan when it exceeds a temperature and turning it
    off when it's lower than another can be annoying.
    My laptop used to do this.

    I've added a little program to (in software) look at the processor usage,
    as well as the temperature.

    A significant temperature rise only happens some seconds after the processor
    hits 100% load.
    You can spend this time ramping up the speed of the fan, rather than waiting
    for it to hit the limit, and turning it on with a bang.

    Then slowing it down very gradually means that you'r less likely to need
    to turn it on in a hurry in the future.
    Ian Stirling, Mar 5, 2004
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