Noisey SATA Seagate

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Here is a tricky one....

4 months ago I bought a 200GB SATA Seagate 7200.7, model number ST3200822AS. I was already booting off my 120GB SATA Seagate so just created 1 whole 200GB partition on my new HD and used it for storage. Fairly soon I noticed a strange ticking noise coming from my PC. Opened up my PC sticking my ear next to various objects until I worked out it was my new HD making the noise.

It didn't do it all the time, so didn't really think it was anything to worry about so ignored it. Few months later, and that intermittent noise is starting to really get on my nerves. First thing, I run a defrag job. I do this about three times, no difference. Run scandisk, inc sector scan, everything reports back OK. Download the latest Seatools and run that.

Here is the log:

SeaTools Desktop v3.00.06
Copyright (c) 2004 Kroll Ontrack Inc.

11/1/2004 @ 7:10 PM

The following information has been generated by SeaTools Desktop.  Use
this information to help you recognize and resolve potential data access

System Information:
BIOS Date                 10/06/03
Conventional Memory size   639 K
Extended Memory size      58532 K
IO Channel type            PCI

Drive Information:
SIZE         MODEL
---------    ---------------------
200 GB       ST3200822AS                             

Serial Number = 3LJ16CLD
Int13 Num = 81, PHYS CHS = 16383x16x63.
ParmTable CHS, Rsvd = 24321x255x63

----------      ------------      ----
#   Type       Start    End      MB
1   NTFS       0        24320    200059 

Diagnostic Results:

Seagate DiagATA Quick Test Result:  Passed
   The "Quick Test" is adequate for most situations.
   Consider running the "Full Test" which
   verifies each sector on the drive if you need to run a more
   comprehensive diagnostic.

Results from Seagate's DiagATA/SCSI:

             DIAGATA.EXE Version 3.07.40526ML
Copyright (c) 2002 by Seagate Technology, LLC.  All rights reserved.

Timer Resolution: 0.000122
Short Test Begin: 01-Nov-2004 19:09:22
Cable Test - 0 Errors
Buffer Test - 0 Errors
Identify Data
  Model Number: ST3200822AS
  Serial Number: 3LJ16CLD
  Firmware Revision: 3.01
  Default CHS: 16383-16-63
  Current CHS: 16383-16-63
  Current Capacity: 16514064 Sectors
  Total Capacity: 390721968 Sectors
  ID Method: Unknown
SMART Check: Passed
DST - Passed
PIO/DMA Data Compare
  Total Bytes = 428544
  Estimated PIO Transfer Rates
     Min: 1.25MB/s Max: 1.26MB/s Avg: 1.25MB/s
  Estimated DMA Transfer Rates
     Min: 78.02MB/s Max: 97.53MB/s Avg: 94.89MB/s
SMART Check: Passed
Short Test Passed: 01-Nov-2004 19:10:17

End results from Seagate's DiagATA/SCSI

 File Structure Test Result:   

   Partition 1 (NTFS (200 GB) Storage)    Result: Failed with critical Errors

   NOTE:  Any report of possible errors in the file system tests are for
   informational purposes only.  We suggest you should consider testing with 
   the official file system diagnostic utilities for your operating system.
   Seagate is not able to assist with troubleshooting or reviewing
   file system test results.


All selected physical diagnostics passed.

If you are not experiencing data loss and SeaTools reports File 
System Structure errors, they may be caused by a lock-up or 
failure to shutdown Windows correctly. Many times, these errors
may be repaired through normal system maintenance which
includes using the Windows provided "Defrag" and
"Scandisk / Chkdsk / Error Checking" utilities.

If you are experiencing a hardware error, you should isolate
the cause and replace the failing component. If you are unsure how
to proceed with repairs, contact a computer professional. After
completing any maintenance tasks, run SeaTools again to
verify that all errors have been repaired. If errors continue to
occur, the system may not be stable. Again, contact a computer 


As you can see it fails the file system part of the test, yet XP reports that everything is fine. This is about where I gave up and decided to email the shop from where I bought the HD. I send the Seatools log too. They reply to update my SATA controller, mobo BIOS and try turning off USB in BIOS (??).

My mobo is ASUS A7N8X Deluxe and the built in SATA controller is the Silicon Image Sil3112. The Sil3112 drivers I'm using are old so I get the latest ones from Silicon Image. The mobo BIOS I'm using is 1007, fairly new, but install 1008 anyway. I also turn off USB (this isn't really an option as my mouse is USB but try it anyway), no difference at all.

All this mucking around in BIOS I did note that the HD still plays up even when just in BIOS, which rules out a Windows service/spyware app running in the background causing my hard drive to play up.

I also got out the stop watch, to see how regular this noise making was. It started making the noise about 30 secs after turning PC on, and continues constantly for aobut 70 seconds. Then all is normal for almost exactly 6 mins. Then again 70 seconds of noise, and again 6 mins of normal. Repeat ad nausem.

The noise that it makes is a bit strange, it isn’t the *grind* of R/W access, and not exactly a *ticking* noise either. It is like a 1 second operation that it just repeats over and over. Self matainence would be a guess, moving the read arm back and forth, I don't know....

Apart from the noise the HD operate fully normally, otherwise I am happy with it. But since I have spent money on a quiet PSU and Zalman CPU cooler I would like to get to the bottom of what is causing the noise. I did a wee bit of searching in these forums and on Google but didn't really get much.

Any info at all would be greatly appreciated.

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This is a normal characteristic of that drive model. It is to avoid any situations like the infamous IBM Deskstar 75GXP. Just be happy it's not as intrusive as the Hitachi "meow".

Elastic drive suspension can help reduce the transmission of this noise (as well as other vibrational noises, such as idle vibration and seek noise). Take a look at for more info on drive suspension.

If it still bothers you, other people have had good luck with Samsung drives in quite-computer applications. Especially if you get a sample with a Nidec motor, as opposed to a JVC.

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I just bought 6 of the very same drive and one of them will tick and sort of seek around for about 30 seconds every 5 minutes. I can't wait to get them closed up and the machine in the server room.

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Dang, I hate not being able to edit. When I say "one of them" I mean any one of the six, not that there's only one drive that behaves like this. They all do.

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The 80 GB 7200.7 SATA in my new PowerMac G5 seems completely silent when idle. The 160 GB 7200.7 SATA I use in my Windows PC makes the noise once every few minutes, however.

Maybe Apple has convinced Seagate to develop a 'silent' firmware? But I think it's more likely that Seagate now ships all 7200.7 models with a new firmware that eliminates the noise.

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Are you sure like all of them make that sound.  That is a bad in my book! Maybe if you can RMA it, andd see what the new one does.  Mind you, they have the NEW and ONLY 5 year warranty.  (;)


Well the supplier offered me a forward replacement if I try in another machine. I did, exactly the same results. So forward replacement arrives today, plug it on exactly the same problem.

Taking 'Riven' advice from here I will run Linux and change the firmware settings. Can't belive more people haven't complained about the noise though, I read a few reviews of this HD before buying, none mentioned this.

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I was going to buy a 200GB 7200.7. So, do all 7200.7 have this annoying noise? I really can't stand noise, I'm looking for a quite HD.

Yes any more information on this please guys?

I hate noise and bought seagate specifically because they had the "low noise title" for the last 3 or 4 years..

i just got 2 of their new 400gb PATA models - ihope they are mostly quiet.

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I was going to buy a 200GB 7200.7. So, do all 7200.7 have this annoying noise? I really can't stand noise, I'm looking for a quite HD.

Follup: Anyone got the 400gb now? my buddy in the states hasn't confirmed if mine have arrived so i dno't know if they are loud or not :(

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I have had a SATA 200GB Drive for a few months and havent noticed any such noises, in my "pretty quiet" PC (guessing about 25-28 Db).

I will take the side off tomorrow and see if i notice.

Also note 2 things, I have 2 x 200GB Seagates Mirrored, one SATA and one PATA (NF3 feature), and the SATA has always been noisier when seeking than the PATA.

I dont think that being mirrored would make any difference, as the feature (similar to the Hitachi MEOW) that moves the accuator arm from time to time when idle is drive firmware based.

If someone could confirm this, or add any input if they have used both of these drives.

One more point, do you have SMART enabled in your BIOS.

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i think i should just add that i read the RMA info at seagates site and i believe it states "you Must use approved packaging" so if you want to send 1 drive in thats about 13 dollars for the packaging alone and they send you a replacement refurbished drive in most cases

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