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Interesting finding regarding loud hard drives

Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by poppo, Jul 11, 2010.

  1. bobcamp1

    bobcamp1 Icon

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    Good work in this topic -- thanks to all. It is what I suspected.

    There are different model numbers for various reasons. Parts become obsolete or cheaper parts become available. Some buyers want different defaults programmed into the drive. Some companies put the lot number right into the end of the model number.

    Let's face it, you can't order 5,000 of something every month for 24 months and expect all 120,000 parts to be exactly the same. Especially when you have two or three manufacturers doing it for you.

    But the big difference here is in AAM. People should really have this set to as quiet as possible for a DVR. This is the lowest number possible. It's usually 128. All it does is slow down the head which increases seek time.

    Personally, my Samsung is so quiet in my Tivo you cannot ever hear it. The Western Digital OEM drive was way noisier in comparison.
     
  2. hdtvfan0001

    hdtvfan0001 Well-Known Member

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    Agree on all your observations and points.

    In my case...my 2 Hitachi drives are so quiet, I often question if they are actually running (of course, they are). :D

    The newer generation of "green" drives tend to run quieter and cooler...but as pointed out in the research above...all drives are not created equal.

    Thanks for your info bobcamp and poppo...this will likely help many folks reduce potential problems.
     
  3. RobertE

    RobertE New Member

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    I wonder if the Double Play update changed (or attempted to change) the AAM settings on the drives for better performance and for whatever reason failed on some drives making them more noisy than others.
     
  4. bobcamp1

    bobcamp1 Icon

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    That's WAY too much of a risk to take in the field. If they get it wrong they can instantly turn all their DVRs into doorstops. D* just did that with bad guide data a few weeks back. So they are more than capable of screwing up big time. :D

    Not only that, but I think you meant the opposite. An increase in performance means the drive gets noisier. Which would mean the update was successful.

    Personally, I don't think D* even knows or cares what the AAM setting is. But it would be trivial to pull out the drive and change it yourself if you are having this problem.
     
  5. poppo

    poppo Hall Of Fame

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    Just a final update.

    After a couple days The unit with the silver top drive is so quiet you can not hear it at all. The other unit with the black top but with AAM also set to 128 is very quiet, but you can still hear it if the room is totally quiet and it's doing it's indexing. But it's more of a faint buzzing type noise and not annoying at all. You really have to listen for it.

    After going through all of my drives, I found another silver topped one and while playing with Victoria program which lets you hear the seeking, it did not sound quiet as quiet as I expected or as even some of the black top ones (I played with all of the spare drives I had). So for now as I mentioned above, I am just going to leave well enough alone as I think swapping that one again may not help any more or might even make it a little worse.

    FWIW, all of these drives were bought just about the same time from Newegg (maybe within 6 months) and in multiples. So it's sort of amazing that I did not get the same exact models even on the same orders.

    I only wish I would have tried this stuff about 6 months ago as it would have alleviated a lot of aggravation, frustration and anger. :flaiming

    No guarantee that this will solve everyones problem, but certainly worth checking that AAM setting as it was off on all but one drive. And just because your drive is noisy, does not necessarily mean it's going bad or failing. You may just have a version of a core model that is totally different. I didn't take pictures, but the circuit board on those two drives are also totally different. The silver top one is about 2/3 the size of the other one. So there are a lot of differences besides just the case. IMO, they really should have given it a different core model number.
     
  6. bobcamp1

    bobcamp1 Icon

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    1. I'm not surprised at all. Newegg has inventory. If not, the place they order from has it. Where there is inventory, there is a cache of older hard drives.

    2. If you give something a completely different model #, then there is all kinds of expensive EN/FCC/UL testing you have to redo. If you give something the same model # or a "one-off" model #, you don't have to redo all of it. Besides, if it's a form-fit-function replacement, 99% of people don't care. We are the other 1%.
     
  7. hdtvfan0001

    hdtvfan0001 Well-Known Member

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    Both valid points.

    I'm just glad I can go to Fry's here and actually inspect any drive I want to purchase before buying.
     
  8. P Smith

    P Smith Mr. FixAnything

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    You can't inspect noise level of HDD at Fry's. ;)
     
  9. hdtvfan0001

    hdtvfan0001 Well-Known Member

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    You can inspect manufacture dates, model numbers, and other identifiers... :rolleyes:
     
  10. P Smith

    P Smith Mr. FixAnything

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    The re-read the topic.
     
  11. hdtvfan0001

    hdtvfan0001 Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps you need to read the OP and topic heading if you are confused. :rolleyes:

    Poppo generously has shared his finding,s related to the variances in models and dates in manufacturer with one manufacturer. Some of us have been following his reported frunstration with HDD noise for some time.

    His observations with specific drives point to the fact that different construction nuances show up over time, even though they appear to be the "same model from the same company". In fact, it took direct inspection of the "look" of these units to identify that this situation existed.

    I have also recently seen alike model units on a store shelf, in what appeared to be the same box and label...only to see difference in opening up the boxes and doing a physical inspection. One would have been acceptable and one would not (for purposes of HD DVR internal replacement).
     
  12. P Smith

    P Smith Mr. FixAnything

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    Neither will give to a person ability to check AAM setting and noise level during store's visual inspection, hence the method went far away from the topic - loud hard drive.
    Be honest with yourself and your posting will get some value.
     
  13. hdtvfan0001

    hdtvfan0001 Well-Known Member

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    That was just one sliver of the discussion, and not all inclusive.
     
  14. poppo

    poppo Hall Of Fame

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    True on the AAM setting. But knowing what specific version of a model to look for or to avoid could help. I have 2 spares of the silver topped ones that I can use if one of my drives fail. But if I had to go buy a new drive, I would be skeptical now of what to get (from any mfg). There is a computer store here that sells bare hard drives. So it would be a lot easier for me to look and see if I could find one that I knew 'probably' would work well, rather than one that 'might', or is known not to work well.

    In any case, things are still blissfully quiet, so I'm a happy camper. :grin: The drives I removed from the HRs are back in use in my media server (that is in a closet) so I don't care if they are loud or not. Since the media sever does not sit there doing indexing or whatever churning the HRs do, the head seeking is minimal anyway.
     
  15. hdtvfan0001

    hdtvfan0001 Well-Known Member

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    There was a time when I wouldn't have bet that would happen... :D...but I'm very glad you are now there. ;):)
     
  16. Volunteer

    Volunteer Cool Member

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    Drive connected to PC via USB on an USB/eSata drive.

    HDDScan shows AAM ON and level set to 255

    Changed level from 255 to 128.

    Does not stick after disconnect from USB and immediate reconnect or after power cycle the drive.

    Are you guys sure that your AAM changes stuck?
     
  17. prospect60

    prospect60 Legend

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    I've never seen a drive revert, but I have on (several) occasion forgotten to finalize the entry when I exited the AAM program.

    What kind of Hard Drive are you using?
     
  18. TBlazer07

    TBlazer07 Grumpy Grampy

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    All my DVR's that were very noisy at random times have completely stopped all the "indexing" noise recently without changing anything. 2 were "stock" (1 of the 2 had an eSata) and the other 2 had replaced internal drives. 3 are HR20-100's and the 4th an HR20-700. That includes the one about 8 inches from my arm. Before ripping out hard drives I would wait a couple more weeks.
     

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