Saturday, April 11, 2009

Hard disk

A 'resting' hard disk is generally quite quiet compared with any fan, but increases dramaticallywhen it starts 'churning', as when you open or save a file or perform a virus scan. A goodsolution is to mount it on rubber mounts. But do ensure good cooling of the hard drive: runninga hard drive moderately hot can reduce its lifespan to under a year! Some mounts are designedto provide both extra cooling and silencing, such as the heat-pipe coolers. Spinning the HDDdown when not in use will also reduce noise, but it can reduce the life of the drive by increasingthe number of landings and take-offs performed by the read/white heads.A software tool created by Maxtor exists which can adjust a hard disk's noise/performance ratioto what your system requires. The technique is called acoustic management. However, onlycertain drives currently support this feature. You can read more on this topic here and get thetool here.Completely silent computers will need to use solid state memory like flash ram or eeprom. Thisis more expensive and has less capacity than a normal hard drive, so it can't be considered amainstream solution. At the moment, hard drives are the only practical option except in veryspecialised circumstances. However, there are plenty of options for reducing the noise output ofhard disks.

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