SilenX Luxurae Hard Drive Silencer

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Like it says – Tom Akita

Title

“Today’s high-performance hard drives are among the noisiest components in personal computers, and they’ve been one of the most difficult components to silence-until now.”

This caption on the Luxurae HDSS’s (Hard Drive Silencing Solution) box sums up the situation of low noise enthusiasts when it comes to hard drives.

Features

Title

The Luxurae works by sandwiching the hard drive between two pieces of dense, acoustic foam which are attached to pieces of metal.

OV

The entire sandwich is meant to be installed into a 5.25″ drive bay, but it silences just as well if it’s sitting on the floor of the case. Vibrations weren’t an issue for me, but just place a piece of included packing foam underneath the sandwich to eliminate vibrations if they occur.

Title

Aluminum heatsinks

Attached to the right and left sides of the HD are long, black, aluminum heatsinks that help keep the hard drive stay cool while sandwiched between the foam.

Foam

Assembled

Putting the Luxurae together was very easy and only took about 5 minutes, including the time it took to screw the unit into the drive bay, which was the most difficult part of assembly and installation.

Performance

Silencer Temperatures

Silencer

Idle ºC

Load ºC¹

Top

37.1

37.5

Bottom

40.4

40.8

Side

37.5

39.9

Front

39.8

40.6

Heatsink

36.5

39.7

Outside

25.2

25.7

Without Silencer

22.3

26.6

¹Load temperatures taken after 3 cycles of HD Tune’s Benchmark utility.

Temp probe locations:

  • Top Sensor attached to the center of the top of the drive
  • Bottom Sensor attached to the metal hub on the bottom of the drive
  • Side Sensor placed between one of the side-mounted heatsinks and the drive
  • Front Sensor attached to the front of the drive, which is open to air
  • Heatsink Sensor placed between the fins of one of the side-mounted heatsinks
  • Outside Sensor attached to the top of the outside of the entire unit

Observations

Under load, the drive is just under 11 degrees warmer while sandwiched inside the Luxurae than it is inside a 3.5″ drive bay. Even the drive’s highest recorded temperature is about 14 degrees under its maximum operating temperature of 55ºC.

The Luxurae HDSS does an excellent job of muting low to midrange noise, and it even muffled the high-pitched whine from my Western Digital 1200JB somewhat. It nearly silences the hard drive, especially when the unit is inside the case where it’s supposed to be. My only complaint is that a faint, high pitched whine is still audible from the bearings of the hard drive, but that’s easily forgivable since Western Digital hard drives are seriously loud pieces of equipment. The Luxurae is supposed to reduce noise by 3 to 8 dBa, and it easily reduced noise by 8dBA considering that I’m using one of the loudest drives available.

The HDSS can be used with drive speeds of up to 15,000 RPM, which means that the thermal-tape attached aluminum drivesinks do a great job of dissipating heat. This is probably due to the fact that both ends of the Luxurae are open, which allows air to pass over the heatsinks for effective cooling.

Conclusion

The Luxurae is indeed a silencing solution for all of the noise produced by high performance hard drives. The initial “post-Luxurae installation” boot-up was quite a relief since my ears weren’t bombarded with unpleasant, metallic hard drive noise as soon as I pushed the power button.

At $39.95, the Luxurae is a literal steal when compared to other HD silencers, such as GUP’s Smart Drive 2002c, which performs worse than the Luxurae but costs twice as much. If the noise from your hard drive(s) is breaking your heart, seriously consider SilenX’s Luxurae HDSS – it’s the best hard drive enclosure ever.

Thanks to..

  • Peter Kim at SilenX for providing me with this excellent unit for review
  • Joe Citarella at Overclockers.com for hosting this review

Photography by Eric Lowe

Tom Akita

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Discussion
  1. Agreed. I also would like to point out quite an inaccuracy:
    In fact, before SilenX released their Luxurae HDSS, the only real way to
    make hard drives quieter was to buy a new, quieter model.

    Fortunately, this isn't true. The "Smart Drive" he mentioned has been on
    the market for at least 3 years. Also, there have been similar DIY
    methods proposed and tested, which can be found on www.silentpcreview.com.
    Here are some excellent examples:
    Hard Drive Silencing: Sandwiches & Suspensions
    http://www.silentpcreview.com/article8-page1.html (From March 2002)
    Effective Passive Hard Drive Cooling
    http://www.silentpcreview.com/article22-page1.html (June 2001)
    Ron's Water Cooled HDD Silencing Enclosure
    http://www.silentpcreview.com/article96-page1.html (July 2003)
    Still, it was interesting to see another available potential solution. -- Paul
    Hi, never posted here before, just lurked in the dark. I'm more into low noise than performance at all costs, hence my interest in the HDD silencer. It's quite hard to put across my point without it sounding like a personal attack, but here goes.
    Peter Kim from silenx.com has in the past spent a lot of time in the www.silentpcreview.com forums, under several different aliases applauding the greatness of silenx products. Once the site admin discovered his ploy, he and his company were discredited. Full details are on the spcr site: http://forums.silentpcreview.com/viewtopic.php?t=4551&highlight=peter+kim.
    There are certain points in the Luxurae review that are blatantly false ("before SilenX released their Luxurae HDSS, the only real way to make hard drives quieter was to buy a new, quieter model."), and the sytle and syntax of the writing bring back memories of Peter Kim and his various aliases. I apologise unreservedly if I am wrong, but I strongly suspect that Tom Akita is in fact Peter Kim, owner of silenx.
    Hi, never posted here before, just lurked in the dark. I'm more into low noise than performance at all costs, hence my interest in the HDD silencer. It's quite hard to put across my point without it sounding like a personal attack, but here goes.
    Peter Kim from silenx.com has in the past spent a lot of time in the www.silentpcreview.com forums, under several different aliases applauding the greatness of silenx products. Once the site admin discovered his ploy, he and his company were discredited. Full details are on the spcr site: http://forums.silentpcreview.com/viewtopic.php?t=4551&highlight=peter+kim.
    There are certain points in the Luxurae review that are blatantly false ("before SilenX released their Luxurae HDSS, the only real way to make hard drives quieter was to buy a new, quieter model."), and the sytle and syntax of the writing bring back memories of Peter Kim and his various aliases. I apologise unreservedly if I am wrong, but I strongly suspect that Tom Akita is in fact Peter Kim, owner of silenx.

    I am Tom Akita. Yes, there are a few mistakes in this article, but it still gets the point across: The Luxurae does significantly muffle HD noise. It is called a Hard Drive Silencer, and while it does not completely silence the drive, it does make it much quieter than it would be without the use of some kind of silencing mechanism.
    Radical, thanks for the post and explanation. Also, I appreciate your email. (It just popped into my inbox.) I'll look forward to reading that over more.
    It would be nice of you if you were to submit some of those corrections to Joe for your article. We should always strive for accuracy to the utmost of our ability.
    Take care. -- Paul
    Tom Akita aka Radical,
    I'm interested in more info such as how many decibles of quieting you actually got and what your before and after under load temps were on the hard drives. I have a couple of SATA drives, one being a 10,000 RPM drive and I want some data so I can make an informed choice.
    I read this article and also thought it 'read' in a strange way... :-/
    Tom Akita aka Radical,.... Why have you not answered the 'other' questions by macklin01, Big Pimp Daddy & Audioaficionado ???
    It strikes me as very 'strange' that you didn't react to the posts/questions by macklin01 & Big Pimp Daddy.
    The fact that you have not answered Audioaficionado's technical questions 'seems' to add weight to the queries in the posts by macklin01 & Big Pimp Daddy.
    If you are 'legit' and not 'performing', why did you 'ignore' these points?
    If I was totally 'above board', I'd have been moved to react to these comments in some way. (I would have wanted to 'defend'/explain myself.) The fact that you 'ignored these comments is ... not the 'expected' way.
    Could you explain this and clear it up Please ?? .....
    At the moment it seems like you are 'evading' some of what has been asked.....
    Is this then, just an 'endosement' by a fanboy/employee ?
    Can you enlighten us to your connection with the product and company you have been praising please .....
    Petieyboy.
    I read this article and also thought it 'read' in a strange way... :-/
    Tom Akita aka Radical,.... Why have you not answered the 'other' questions by macklin01, Big Pimp Daddy & Audioaficionado ???
    It strikes me as very 'strange' that you didn't react to the posts/questions by macklin01 & Big Pimp Daddy.
    The fact that you have not answered Audioaficionado's technical questions 'seems' to add weight to the queries in the posts by macklin01 & Big Pimp Daddy.
    If you are 'legit' and not 'performing', why did you 'ignore' these points?
    If I was totally 'above board', I'd have been moved to react to these comments in some way. (I would have wanted to 'defend'/explain myself.) The fact that you 'ignored these comments is ... not the 'expected' way.
    Could you explain this and clear it up Please ?? .....
    At the moment it seems like you are 'evading' some of what has been asked.....

    I will take some temperature readings on the weekend since I will not have time this week. Unfortunately I will not be able to take any SPL readings because I don't have the equipment to do so. Once I take the temperature readings I will send them in along with the revision to the paragraph about the history of hard drive silencers to Joe.
    Is this then, just an 'endosement' by a fanboy/employee ?

    I do not work for SilenX, but I see nothing wrong with being a fan of a good product.
    Can you enlighten us to your connection with the product and company you have been praising please .....
    Petieyboy.

    My connection with the product? I reviewed it! My connection with the company? It sent me the product so I could review it!
    -Tom
    Over the past two years ive seen numerous HDD coolers / silencers pass by. Even the most cheap models are always 15$+. Im seeing zalman ones of 40$+
    What on earth makes these things so expensive??
    I will take some temperature readings on the weekend since I will not have time this week. Unfortunately I will not be able to take any SPL readings because I don't have the equipment to do so. Once I take the temperature readings I will send them in along with the revision to the paragraph about the history of hard drive silencers to Joe.
    -Tom

    Thanx I'd appreciate that :thup:
    Over the past two years ive seen numerous HDD coolers / silencers pass by. Even the most cheap models are always 15$+. Im seeing zalman ones of 40$+
    What on earth makes these things so expensive??

    Can you link to the models you're referring to? I may be able to answer your question.
    Can you link to the models you're referring to? I may be able to answer your question.

    Of course. Lets see:
    http://www.tweakend.nl/?ArtDetail=1001005442
    Its coolermaster, so probably decent. Looks fancy as well and has alu enclosure. but 58€??? thats almost 70 dollar! and its the cheapest pricewatch link i could find, others are selling it for 80€ (95$), like here:
    http://shop.freezinghardware.nl/index.asp?Pagina=00003&ItemID=1798
    http://www.tweakend.nl/?ArtDetail=1001004507
    Ok, its zalman but what about two alu blocks and a bunch of heatpipes? 22€ / 26$
    http://www.tweakend.nl/?ArtDetail=1001002773
    Thats 8,35€ / 11$ for a piece of plastic and two ugly 40mm fans
    This are examples from a tweaker-oriented store, and about the lowest in the pricewatch. Others are selling the last one (plastic + two fans) for well over 15€
    Sorry for sounding pessimistic, but to me the prices stated above are insane. The zalman one was priced 40€ initially, but has dropped alot since.
    Well the Cooler Master unit looks like it's much more than just a hard drive cooler. It comes with software to monitor the transfer rates and space available in the HD, it has an LCD in the front, it has one 40mm fan built in, it monitors 4 fans, and it's made of more aluminum than the other two HD coolers that you linked to.
    The Zalman is basically just a bunch of aluminum and heatpiping, so it makes sense that it's much cheaper than th Cooler Master.
    Finally, the Akasa unit is made out of plastic which is cheaper than aluminum and its much smaller than the other two HD coolers. Also, the two fans on this thing are probably very irritating, as is probably the case with the single 40mm fan on the Cooler Master.
    Alright, I sent the amendment in to Joe, here are the temperature readings:


    Explanation:
    Top- Sensor attached to the center of the top of the drive
    Bottom- Sensor attached to the metal hub on the bottom of the drive
    Side- Sensor placed between one of the side-mounted heatsinks and the drive
    Front- Sensor attached to the front of the drive, which is open to air
    Heatsink- Sensor placed between the fins of one of the side-mounted heatsinks
    Outside- Sensor attached to the top of the outside of the entire unit
    Max operating temperature for this drive is 55 degrees.
    Let me know if you guys have any other questions.
    I would expect it to cool as well, considering it has pretty large heatsinks on both sides of the drive. A little airflow should do.
    Well then that would depend entirely on the case cooling setup. And besides, with all that foam sandwiched in there, its kinda hard to get any airflow onto the heatsinks and drive itself.
    oh and wtf is this?
    "My only complaint is that a faint, high pitched whine is still audible from the bearings of the hard drive, but that's easily forgivable since Western Digital hard drives are seriously loud pieces of equipment"
    since when are WD drives any louder than other manufacturers? I have two raptors and they're just as quiet as any other drive.
    i personally dont see how those side fins could give such cooling since when i touch my HD all of the heat is coming off the top plate - which has now been "insulated" with foam.
    Would silentX be willing to send a sample - or even yourself send your over to a Ocforums admin to test?