A homemade solution for undesirable HDD noise

Description and results

The golden era of HDDs is already gone, and we still haven’t seen any real solution for one of their basic problems. A mounting system that would absorbs undesirable vibrations. The difference in noise levels can be significant. We’ve created just the thing to find out whether it’s even possible to get rid of those vibrations completely.

It used to be simpler to partially deal with this problem with available accessory in a non-destructive way (ie, without reducing AAM). There were a few silent boxes on the market, but they are not sold anymore, and they’ve never been very efficient anyway. The closed structure absorbed the noise of the disk, but the vibrations kept spreading over the whole case. These accessories used a hard rubber or silicone, similarly to modern mounting system in better cases. We’re not saying that it’s totally useless, just that the effectiveness is quite low.

An excellent solution was the HDD Vibration Killer from TichéPC. You might remember two racks that were installed in a 5.25 “shaft. The vibrations were absorbed in the foam that was between the clamping parts. However, this is also not sold anymore.

Mounting your HDDs with the help of some classic rubber bands gives no chance to any vibrations. Many people have always been aware of this solution, but none of the PC cases manufacturers have decided to implement something like it. But don’t let that stop you from building your own homemade mounting system. For testing purposes, we‘ve designed simple rubber band stands, and compared the resulting noise level differences with in-case-like default situation. Tests were done in our soundproof box, the sensor of the noise level meter (Reed R8080) was 10 cm from the disk.

Like always, you can find all measured values in the charts where you can see the impact on the noise level for all current WD single platter HDDs. In idle mode, only the platters were spinning, and the arm was not moving at all. The platters themselves don’t cause that much noise (just +2 dBA). But look at the difference with the Gold (seeking while writing small blocks), -12 dBA, that’s not bad for a homemade feature.

Results

Note: For a better orientation in charts, you can edit the order of items according to selected criteria. For example, choosing the same model (HDD) creates a direct comparison of noise levels of the default and the anti-vibrations feature.



The first scenario, disks being tested on metal boxes

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