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Which are the least noisy *large* SATA drives?

Western Digital Drives - The Preferred Drives of FreeNAS and TrueNAS CORE

thalf

Junior Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2014
Messages
16
Due to my apartment being small, and for practical reasons, my NAS is located just 3ft/90cm from my head when I sit at my desk. The NAS chassis is a Fractal Design Node 304, and for the past ~6 years I've had 6x 4TB WD Red drives in it (WD40EFRX). It's been working fine, and I haven't heard anything from the NAS when the disks have been idle.

I recently switched to 2x 18TB WD Ultrastar DC HC550 drives. Noise levels were a big concern when choosing disks, and comparing the spec sheets for the 4TB and the 18TB drives, I thought the idle noise levels would be lower. The 4TB drives are 25dBA/28dBA idle/seek, and the 18TB drives are 2.0Bels/3.6Bels idle/seek.

But now, with two 18TB drives, I can constantly hear the hum of the disk drives even when they're idle. OK, apparently 2.0Bels isn't just an alternative way of writing 20dBA but with a lower (marketing-friendly) number, as I naively believed after googling and finding a simple dBA-Bels converter. So even though I now only have two disks, my NAS is louder.

The 18TB drives are also doing some work every ~5 seconds, which means that in addition to the humming, I'm also hearing them seeking or whatever all the time.

So, my question is: are there any quieter large drives out there, suitable for NAS use, that you guys can recommend? By large, I mean 18TB or possibly 16TB.
 

Stux

Wizened Sage
Joined
Jun 2, 2016
Messages
4,231
3.6Bels = 36 deciBels...

a difference of 3 dB is often said to be twice as loud... so a 8db difference when seeking is a lot.

Sometimes drives have Automatic Accoustic Management settings which can be used to quiet them down. I don't know if this applies in your case.


It appears you can set the AAM in the TrueNAS ui. Edit the drive, change it, see if it actually makes a difference.

FWIW, maybe 10 years ago, it did work for me to quiet the seeking clicks on an overeager HD.
 
Last edited:

Etorix

Neophyte Sage
Joined
Dec 30, 2020
Messages
685
Bels would be pure sound pressure, but the A in "dB(A)" means that a weighting function is applied to take account of human sensitivity to different frequencies. So there's no simple conversion from (deci)bels to dB(A).

In my experience, 6 relatively large drives in a Node 304 always make a slight hum, with 6*12 TB WD Red EFAX possibly being a little quieter than 6*10 TB (mix of EFAX and shucked "white label" EZAZ)—whether this is acceptable is a highly personal question.
 
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