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I was planning to buy a new 10k rpm harddisk for my PC to speed up my daily work (SW development) - I guess this could lead to noticable speed improvement compared to my current 7200 rpm drive.

What I'm a bit worried though, is the increased noise level such a drive might produce. Are 10k drives noticably louder standard desktop drives and could this noise level be too much for an office environment?

I know these questions are quite subjective, but I'd still like to hear your opinions.

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Although this doesn't answer your question specifically. I would highly recommend an SSD, it will be faster than a 10k RPM drive, completely silent and they are coming down in price nearly every day. Good luck. –  tbenz9 Jul 25 '13 at 21:32
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9 Answers

There are ways to suspend those 10k RPM hard disks so it makes very little noise. A good place to start would be to check SilentPCReview for tips on minimizing noise.

I currently suspend my 2 Velociraptors using thick rubber bands in the 5.25" bays - almost silent (then again, I'm quite hard of hearing). For a more professional approach to doing this, you can check this out.

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Currently the second generation (G2) Intel X25-M SSDs are about the same price as two smaller velociraptors and give about the same overall I/O performance imo - at the cost of some storage and the gain of being silent...

(80 GB should be plenty for a system drive with OS and development tools and sdks, keep your working copy on a separate and bigger drive/spindle)

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If check the specifications sheet for the drive, the noise levels are listed and you can compare those to your current 7200RPM drives. I currently use WD Velociraptor's for development and they are very quiet, 15K Utlra SCSI's on the other hand can be a little noise when seeking. For instance:

http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.asp?DriveID=459

Acoustics
    Idle Mode	29 dBA (average)
    Seek Mode 0	36 dBA (average)
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I love the speed of my 15K Ultra 320 SCSI drives at home, but they sure are loud! –  Brian Knoblauch Sep 11 '09 at 13:47
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The noise difference between 7k2 and 10k hard drive is not that much. Sure you'll maybe ear the head scratching a bit more but that's about all the difference you'll see.

You won't go crazy earing it all day long :P


After some digging, it appear that if you can't stand the sound, you can't reduce it by getting sound isolation kit that make your drive fit in a 5 1/4 bay with ruber pad each side of it. But this is a bit xtreme to me :P

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The hard drives are not going to compete with the cpu/gpu fans. Especially if you're doing the sort of coding that is going to stand some improvement from 10k drives.

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Some brands and models of 10K RPM drives (Seagates) can be "clicky" when seeking. In the server room, this is vastly outweighed by the sound of the 10,000 RPM 1-inch fans. I can see it being a little annoying in a quiet office or home theater environment.

Many manufacturers offer disk utilities to place the drive in different seek modes- performance versus quiet. If you are concerned about noise, buy a drive that offers this feature.

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you want speed a 10k RPM platter hard drive can on only dream of and zero noise pollution? then think SSD

my recommendation: Intel® X25-E Extreme SATA Solid-State Drive

still not cheap but prices have dropped significantly in Sepetember and here's a review with benchmarks:

Intel's X25-E SSD runs circles around rivals

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SilentPCReview reviewed the WD VelociRaptor WD3000GLFS and it tops the (admittedly dated) list of quietest drives so far. Note that there is a very significant increase in noise with the IcePack heatsink attached. Editor Mike Chin notes that it does very little for heat transfer.

StorageReview also samples idle noise during reviews and finds it to rank #4 in quietest drives.

Be wary of manufacturer supplied acoustics as they probably all have variant methods of measuring sound and they are not unbiased.

So to answer your question, no they are not significantly louder. If anything, they're actually quieter in general.

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I have two 160Gb 15k RPM disks in my 2 year old HP xw8600 workstation at work and the entire kit is very quiet.

You can hear the disks spin up if you put your head next to the cabinet but when they reach top speed they're very inaudible. Any head rattle is practically inaudible too.

Note that an SSD is probably a better choice for a fast and quiet workstation today, unless you really need magneto-disks.

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