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6TB WD Red drives make squealing noise at power off?

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I just bought 2 WD Red 6 TB (WD60EFRX) drives and noticed something odd while doing some testing on my usual test system.


When I power off the system using the PC's power button (i.e., because I've just finished doing some DOS-based tests), the drives emit a noticeable squeal/screech noise for about 2-3 seconds. If I shut down from Windows (not using the power button), the drives shut down quietly like one would expect.


I have over a dozen WD Reds (3 TB and 4 TB) and none of them have ever made this noise. In fact, I've never heard a noise like this out of a drive.


Is this normal for the newer WD Reds? I tried the WD Red support line and the very friendly support person wasn't sure.

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We haven't seen this in NAS, but haven't tried your use case. I sent this note to WD to see what they say. Will report back.

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Thanks! Much appreciated!

For what its worth, one of the two drives has gone through the full WD Lifeguard set of tests and came out fine. That said, the noise sounds like its going to damage something.

(As an aside, the very friendly WD Red tech originally thought it might have something to do with IntelliPower varying the drive speeds between 5400 and 7200 RPM. I thought it was already proven conclusively that the WD Red/Green drives only have one speed and that IntelliPower is just Marketing silliness. Or did something change with NASware 3.0 that I missed?)

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The drives themselves have one operating speed when actively reading/writing, but when the heads are parked it's quite possible (and probable) that the disks are spun down to some slower speed or even off completely. It's not technically feasible to have multiple operating speeds when reading/writing, though.

When using Windows to shutdown the drive, it's possible the drive is using a more elegant spin-down mode than when power is yanked. The latter will result in the heads quickly parking before the back EMF from the spinning-down disks runs out, lest the heads end up stuck on the disks.

Maybe the different spin-down modes are coupling with a resonance in the case?

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Windows 8 has a new hybrid shutdown mode now to aid in faster boot time. It's possible the drive goes into a hybrid sleep mode when using windows shutdown as opposed to doing a cold shutdown with the power button. Are you using windows 8/8.1 ?

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The drives themselves have one operating speed when actively reading/writing, but when the heads are parked it's quite possible (and probable) that the disks are spun down to some slower speed or even off completely. It's not technically feasible to have multiple operating speeds when reading/writing, though.

When using Windows to shutdown the drive, it's possible the drive is using a more elegant spin-down mode than when power is yanked. The latter will result in the heads quickly parking before the back EMF from the spinning-down disks runs out, lest the heads end up stuck on the disks.

Maybe the different spin-down modes are coupling with a resonance in the case?

I agree about the drives not having different speeds while reading/writing. And it certainly wouldn't make sense for a 5400 RPM drive to go to 7200 RPM (if you believe the tech) if its not reading/writing. So the tech clearly has been hanging out in the Marketing Dept too much. :)

It make sense that Windows would have an opportunity to send a signal that triggers a more elegant spin-down.

I tried both drives in 2 different systems including one situation where I had the bare drive outside of the system and all combinations exhibited the problem. So, it doesn't appear to be specific to a single mobo or case.

Windows 8 has a new hybrid shutdown mode now to aid in faster boot time. It's possible the drive goes into a hybrid sleep mode when using windows shutdown as opposed to doing a cold shutdown with the power button. Are you using windows 8/8.1 ?

No. The easiest way for me to reproduce this is to turn on the system with one of these drives connected and no others. Since the drives have no data yet, the system BIOS POSTs and then stops because there's no OS. At this point, if I power off the system, I get the squeal.

I'll try to find a way to record the sound....it is quite unique. Does anyone know if there is a way on this forum to upload audio clips?

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Sorry for the delay....I finally got some decent audio recordings tonight.

I recorded a WD60EFRX unit and then a WD30EFRX to compare. In each case, I powered up the drive by itself outside of the cage with no OS or other drives connected, then hit the power button to spin the drive down.

In the WD60EFRX recording, you can hear the drive spin up at the 7 sec mark and the spin down squeal starting at 32 sec.

In the WD30EFRX recording, you can hear the drive spin up at the 5 sec mark and the quiet spin down starting at 26 sec.

I've never attached files on this forum so if someone could please let me know that they could access the attachments, I'd greatly appreciate it. Thanks!

WD60EFRX.mp3

WD30EFRX.mp3

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In case anyone is interested, I spoke with my contact at WD and he didn't seem to think this was normal.

I got two more new WD60EFRX units and they not make the squealing noise. These new ones sound very similar to the WD30EFRX but the single click sound made at power down is a bit louder on the new WD60EFRX units (probably due to the increased platter count) but it still sounds totally normal.

I'm definitely returning the original set of drives.

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Definitely not normal. I've heard that type of thing before with code bugs that manage to excite a mechanical resonance. Once had a drive sing when reading on a particular track.

Edited by Mickey

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