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Hard drive ringing noise

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Sep 23, 2001
I've noticed my Quantum Fireball LCT making this really high pitched ringing noise, at the very edge of hearing. I'm not sure if it was there before or not, but now that I've noticed and isolated it, I cannot stop hearing it and its really annoying. It's not loud but it's very piercing, cutting above all other sounds. The other sound I hear from the drive is this pulsing hum, kind of like an air turbine - it fades in and out at regular intervals. It's not really noticable unless you listen in. In comparison, my other drive makes only a steady, beefy hum.
Do you think it's normal or is my hard drive failing? I've backed up the essential data that I'd hate to lose, but now I don't know if I can trust that drive anymore. What do you think? :confused:

Oh and I tried remounting the drive making sure it's secured fast and tired different IDE channels and S/M configurations and found none of that to be an issue. Ran full diagnostics on it too and they show no sign of abnormal operation or corruption.
So, if the drive is OK, is there anything I can do to get rid of the noise or at least decrease or mask it?
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If it wasn't doing it before, and suddenly is, that's a good indicator that the drive could be on the way out. Periodically run the diagnostics, and make a habit of backing up often. It could last for a while, or crap out at any time.

As to quieting it down, I have seen pics of drives wrapped in foam, but I wouldn't recommend it. This holds in heat and would hasten the failure of the drive. You perhaps could put some nylon washers between the drive and cage, and try soundproofing the drive cage's exterior.
Couple questions to help you out...

1. Does it make that hum at normal intervals or when idle or when at full load?
2. Does it make that high pitched noise all the time? Or in and out...?
3. Have you noticed any change in access times or maybe benchmarks?
4. Has it ever had any trouble recognizing or "coming back"?
5. Do you hear any other noises from the drive?

That should be about it...I'll check back when you repost...
What you may be hearing is the drive "harmonics"..all drives have it, that very faint almost unoticable "ringing" which is actually the minute vibrations being passed from the running servo to the platters withing the drive.

Heh heh, once you notice it, it is a pain to stop hearing it, sort of like that one cricket in the dead of the night that stands out above the rest. once you hear it, all the others seem to dissappear, leaving that one annoying one ringing in your ears, keeping you awake all night.

I doubt you have to worry about the reliability with the drive, if it's passed whatever diagnostics you ran on it without a hiccup, then the sound is just something you may have just recently "tuned" into hearing. All my drives have that sound, but not one of my friends that come over can hear it.....LOL....it's just one of those 'things".....:D
AntiHeiss, both noises are audible all the time even when idle and apparently are coming from the spinning of the platters. No other noises are coming from the drive. I haven't noticed any problems with access time or any other abnormality in benchmarks.
This hdd is a fairly slow 5400rpm drive. The manual says it's a CE compliant drive that is build with special consideration for low noise. The access noise is indeed very muted. I've never heard any similar noises from my other HDDs, although they're all pretty slow, none above 5400rpm.
Qunatums have a very distinct ringing noise to them and used to be widely known for it.

Since you just noticed it, did you do anything to eliminate any other noise that would have swallowed it out before?
Yeah, I had this really noisy little fan cooling my cpu before. It's entirely probable it was masking the noise the hdd was making.
I changed my cpu recently and now it has a much quiter fan cooling it. Maybe that's why I'm hearing my hdd all of a sudden.
Maybe I'll get a case fan (I don't have one) and hopefully it'll mask the hdd noise.