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  1. #1
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    Question Will My Hard Drives Hum Themselves to Death?

    I just received a new Dell Vostro 460 computer with two 500 GB Western Digital Caviar Blue (middle-of-the-road) drives (model WD5000AAKX). These drives revolve at 7200 RPM. Some of the time the drives make a substantial hum at a (low) frequency of 120 Hz, which is 7200 divided by 60 (seconds in a minute). I can change the hum by pushing gently on the drives or on the drive cage or even on other parts of the computer. I think the hum MAY be associated with the design of the computer case or the drive rails, which may resonate (although everything in the case seems tightly secured). The hum may also relate to the fact that I have TWO drives, and they may somehow interact to cause the hum.

    I donít mind the actual noise of the hum much because itís easy to ignore. And if I touch the drives while theyíre humming, they donít seem to be vibrating. However, Iím worried that the hum may be a symptom that the drives may vibrate themselves to an early death, which would be undesirable.

    Here are some questions:

    1. If you have one or more 7200 RPM drives in your computer, how many do you have?
    2. Do your drives hum? Note that the best way to answer this question is to listen carefully for changes in sound the next time you turn off your computer.
    3. Do you have any knowledge about humming drives that others might find interesting?

    Thanks for your help,

    Don Macnaughton

  2. #2
    4 Star Lounger
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    Just check drive health with something like CrystalDiskInfo and call it a day. All mechanical drives are going to hum or whine at least a little and as you mentioned, that can be intensified with some resonance with an non-baffled case.
    If there actually is more drag and a louder hum than normal, that probably means there's more friction than there should be and friction generates more heat and heat kills drives, so monitoring the temperature of a drive with CrystalDiskInfo may be but one of the better measures of drive health.

    I've had drives (circa 1998-2000; probably only 5400 rpms too) that started with a high whine, almost a whistle, from day one and they've been running strong for more than a decade so I don't think a non-obvious range of humming is very useful.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    VIBRATION?
    Sounds like you could use some dampening (rubber whashers) to the drive's cage, or whatever/however setup they are installed to.
    I have 5 mechanical drives installed and I can barely hear them.

  4. #4
    4 Star Lounger
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    Yeah, I can't hear any of mine above the exhaust fan noise...well, maybe the one whiny one; not sure. Just had a thought though...switch over to SSDs pronto so you can stop worrying about the vibrations; and start worrying about read/writing them to death!!!

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