ApprenticeX

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Howdy,

Perhaps someone can shed some light on a curiosity of mine.

I have a HD that's just developed bad sectors.

In my neighborhood there are lots of folks who drive by in cars with VERY LOUD stereos. The sounds literally vibrate ME as the cars go by.

Now I know that there are gamers who have very capable sound systems and who like to crank up the sounds quite high.

Basically I'm wondering if its possible that vibrations from very loud music or sound fx could do damage to a HD.

I don't game myself, nor do I have a stereo that can put out very loud music.

But these cars that drive by quite often put out a rolling bass note that lasts for several seconds. (That bugs me no end, but I let it slide, having myself been in a RnR band when I was in HS. The neighbors complained about every other weekend and I vowed that I would never be like them when I got older! :( )

I realize that HDs are made to withstand shock, but in my mind, that's something different than a sustained low frequency vibration strong enough to shake my walls. Then again, since people do like to "blast" their tunes and games, I would think that any disk problems associated with loud sounds would have come to light by now.

That's why I'd like to hear from anyone who does use a loud system along with their computer. If people typically don't have a problem with that, I'll have to look elsewhere for an explanation.

I realize that HDs spontaneously just malfunction now and then.

Thanks for any feedback or theories.

Even the experience of someone who's drive gave out in the middle of a virtual battlefield would be helpful.

ApprenticeX

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Shock

  Operating 20 G, 2 ms (read, write) 

  Non-operating 250 G, 2 ms

Vibration

  Operating

Linear: 20-300 Hz, 0.75 G (0 to peak)

Random: 10-300 Hz, 0.004 g^2/Hz

  Non-operating

5-20 Hz, 0.195 inches (double amplitude)

20-500 Hz, 4.0 G (0 to peak)

  Sweep Rate 0.5 octave/minute minimum

Drives have specified limits for continouos vibration. Frankly, I don't know what sort of physical vibration heavy bass from a passing car/nearby subwoofer would subject a drive to, in quantitative terms. From what I understand of HDD mechanical sensitivities, unless the whole case was bouncing off the floor, the worst effect you'd be likely to encounter would be increased seek times to account for the additional vibration.

Certainly, I've never seen a report of a gamer killing his HDD with a particularly loud explosion coming through the speakers, and there are plenty of gamers out there with loud sound systems. My guess is that you'll be fine, and any problems you experience are far more likely to come from other sources (e.g. handling, installation, power issues, software glitches, viruses, user error).

Bad sectors aren't really a problem unless they start popping up more and more frequently. Most drives are designed to seamlessly remap any bad sectors, and have a few sectors spare for this very purpose. That said, you can try an RMA if you want play it safe.

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If loud noise was a problem for hard drives, then my workstation would have failed along time ago. I have my Hercules GTXP 7.1 sound adapter plugged into my Harman Kardon AVR-325 7.1 receiver. When I play games the entire house vibrates. My sub is under my desk. I have the other 7 speakers around the room for watching DVDs in DTS 6.1ES. The sound comes in from all sides.

A good power supply and line conditioner can help your problem. Cheap IDE drives will fail fast. I switched to SCSI and then SCSI RAID. If you want your drives to last, get a good power supply (PC Power and Cooling) and a Tripp Lite Line Conditioner. Also, put fans on them to keep them cool. If you use your computer more than 6 hours a day, get SCSI. IDE will not last.

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Thanks Spod and mckennma,

I did think my theory was somewhat farfetched.

The HD in question is a 30 GB Quantum Fireball AS, in use for almost two years. Actually, it's more than a problem of bad sectors that I'm having. I got the SMART warning about a probable imminent failure. The drive is still under warranty since I bought it before the mfgr's cut most of them all down to one year.

Powermax software gave me an error code that I put into the Maxtor online RMA service, and it was accepted.

Ironically, the Fireball was a drive I bought to take the place of a 30 GB IBM "Deathstar" that started in with the clicking noises two years ago. Using the IBM as a backup/data drive, I haven't had any further problems with it!

Well... I have to call Maxtor now and check out a couple of things about RMAing the drive before I send it back.

But thanks for your comments - the car stereos are irritating enough without thinking that they're liable to be destroying my hard drives.

ApprenticeX

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Back up the data on the drive (take an image if you can), and RMA it. If it's two years old, it could well be failing, and you might as well get a (probably newer, better) replacement.

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For a while I was listening to music on a piecemeal computer in my car. The hard drive sat unsecured in the passenger footwell, bouncing around as I drove WITH very loud music to boot. I wouldn't reccomend doing this, but the drive still works fine.

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Multiple reply>>>

ddrueding1: That's the first I've heard of that type of "mobile" computing.

Spod: I did the best I could before I reformatted the drive. Actually I did lose quite a bit. But I've also learned a bunch from this experience, including mistakes about how I had my partitions setup. What I lost is fortunately not stuff that I'm going to be shedding many tears about - at least until I try to find something I don't have anymore. The bulk of what I lost consists of images that I do based on fractals. I have a program (Silicon Mirror and Kaleidoscope) that runs as a screensaver and I used an automatic screen capture program to save images that were created by it. I had about 7 GB of images that I lost, but I still have thousands of these images, and I don't really have much use for them anyway. I show them to my friends, but that's about it. They don't have any commercial value, at least not that I can figure out how to capitalize on.

...I hope I get a nicer drive, but according to the Maxtor site, I'll probably get a reconditioned unit of the same model.

mckennma: I really don't want to get the cops involved - I think they consider it trivial up here anyway. The city I live in in Northern CA does have a municipal code about noise that's a "nuisance". But I doubt that it's enforced at all, even if people complain. There was a woman who used to live in the apartment upstairs and she used to call the cops on the young girls across the street, because they typically turn their tunes way up. But t it hasn't stopped them from blasting away.

...btw, you seem to have fairly good taste in audio equipment. You may be interested in looking at a "home" theater system at the following link: it costs more than some houses!

Check out the "Hercules" system at this JBL (now apparently part of "Harman") site:

http://www.jbl.com/home/synthesis/SYNTHESIS_product_page.asp

Oh yeah... that system, costing over 100 thousand bucks, is audio *only* - it doesn't even include video components!

I don't want to feed fantasies, it's just such an overwhelming system I like to point it out to people now and then.

Thanks again folks.

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I purchased the HK AVR-325 so I could watch DTS 6.1 ES DVDs. I have a 32" Toshiba TV. I am waiting for a decent theaterwide 36" for under $1000 to be released.

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