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After moving two 2 WD 1TB Black drives to a hardware RAID-1 system on my GA-Z87X-UD3H Gigabyte motherboard they started making a lot of noise and rattle.

I've tested both of them separately in a non-RAID external USB/SATA case. They check out 100% fine and are extremely quiet, even under a heavy load.

After the move it sounds more like just "extremely heavy head movement". Not that the drives are physically mounted incorrectly. (The noise continues if I screw the drives in place, or use the mounting rails, or even just set the drives on a cardboard box near my computer. So I do not think it's a mounting problem.)

The RAID-1 menu says the drives are both fine and not in the middle of being rebuilt. The noise continues for days.

But when I move the drives back to their non-RAID external case, the drives are again extremely quiet. Even under extremely heavy read/write loads and testings.

Is there something in a RAID-1 that would instantly cause extreme head-movement noise? (Excluding the obvious "not physically mounted securely" and "RAID is currently being rebuilt" issues.)

I've disabled WindowsIndex and SuperFetch on all my Windows 7 systems. The only Windows software I have to monitor/configure the RAID is the Intel piece that comes on the motherboard CD. Don't see any "speed" or "acoustic" settings anywhere there either.

The WD Black 1TB is most likely one of the "modern drives". But I don't see anything in the motherboard BIOS or the RAID BIOS (ctrl-I) that mentions anything about "changing acoustic levels" or "run slower".

The only Windows software I have to monitor/configure the RAID is the Intel piece that comes on the motherboard CD. Don't see any "speed" or "acoustic" settings anywhere there either.

All I see on the WD site are: Crippled Acronis backup software. Simple diagnostics software (DOS or Windows). Formatting software for XP.

Nothing about "change options/settings for the drives or RAID controller".

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Can you check the following values using hdparm or a similar tool: Especially look at the -B option. "-B Query/set Advanced Power Management feature, if the drive supports it. A low value means aggressive power management and a high value means better performance AND THUS MORE NOISE. –  Hennes Oct 5 '13 at 17:00
    
Either register your account or stop clearing your cookies superuser.com/help/creating-accounts –  random Oct 5 '13 at 19:32

1 Answer 1

Most modern drives have as part of their power management commands one that will change acoustic levels (where quieter = slower or less power) as part of a head seek setting. It is possible the RAID chip is sending a command to set the head seek for maximum performance, as to ensure more consistent performance between the drives.

Some older drives also have a specific acoustic management setting to reduce vibration, this may or may not be supported by your drive or modified by the RAID chip.

WD offers software to manage their drives that may display the currently set parameters of the drives in order to determine what has change. There are also 3rd party applications that pull drive parameters.

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