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jwells

WDC Red Pro 8TB Too Quiet

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Western Digital is coming out with a Red Pro 7200 8TB soon. I've looked at the stats here:

http://www.wdc.com/wdproducts/library/SpecSheet/ENG/2879-800022.pdf

If find it interesting that the idle noise on this beast is 20 dBA. Idle noise on all other 7200 Red Pro and Blacks are in a narrow range of 29-31 dBA, irrespective of size. The weight on the new 8TB is 1.43 lbs, vs. 1.56 lbs for the 6TB, 5TB, 4TB and 3TB Red Pro's.

What could possibly account for these disparities, especially the much lower noise, other than a misprint?

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IANAHDE (I am not a harddrive engineer), but helium means less drag on the platters and heads despite the more dense platter stack they permit, so less noise. To spin a more dense platter stack (maximum of 7 platters rather than 5), even with helium, probably requires a higher quality motor along with more attention to its design and mounting (i,e. spindle anchored at both ends rather than just one), which could (but do not necessarily) improve noise.

Weight, despite the extra platter, is probably somewhat offset by the fact that the casing for the drive is now forged aluminum rather than cast or billet-- I suspect some or much of this comes from the mechanical design improvements that the better metallurgy offers, as well as the necessity in creating a leak-proof environment for the helium, which is nasty stuff-- it escapes through many other "solid" materials very easily. The motor, actuator arms, etc. may also be lighter due to less drag they have to deal with. (again, speculation)

And last but not least, AFAIK, harddisk makers are notorious for publishing the maximum weight in many specifications, frequently the drives are actually lighter than the published weight.

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Great answer. Appreciate it. I know helium hdd's haven't been around all that long, but is their reliability/longevity on par, worse or better than non-helium, all other factors constant? It seems that the possibility of a leak would just be one more mechanical thing that can go wrong. Sorry, I just realized this was posted to an ssd forum, should have posted to hdd forum. Is it possible to move to the correct forum?

Edited by jwells

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I dunno, to be honest. HGST probably has the most data as they've had helium-filled drives in production the longest, but traditionally harddisk makers and even big resellers and major OEM users have all held reliability data very, very close and it almost never leaks.

The possibility of a leak is definitely a risk but HGST released Ultrastar He6's first to enterprise consumers, who are the most demanding of reliability-- or perhaps least tolerant of failures-- sometime near the end of 2013, so I would suspect it's actually not an issue in actual use.

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It must be a helium-filled drive. Moving that much air means it's well-nigh impossible to achieve those acoustics numbers (unless it's a typo ^_^ ). Spinning in helium results in much less fluid drag, a major contributor to noise.

Not sure about the weight. The gap between the 8TB and all the other capacities lead me to believe they are at least 2 distinct platforms.

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Of all the helium failures I've heard about, none have been due to a leak, just standard mechanical or head/platter failures. Anecdotally we hear the He drives are more reliable than standard. HGST has had them in the field for two years now, I think we'd be hearing about it if they stunk.

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I just got hands on my first He drive by buying a WD My Book 8TB (WD80EZZX). It's surprisingly light for its huge capacity and it's the most silent 3.5" drive I ever had.

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