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Tired of USB enclosure fan noise. Recommendations please.

Posted by PhantomsDad 
Tired of USB enclosure fan noise. Recommendations please.
September 27, 2010 08:14PM
I'd like some recommendations from folks on what kind of usb hard drive to hook up to my Dockstar Debian.

So far, all the drives I've tried are 3.5-inch drives in external enclosures that have fans. Every one of them makes unacceptably high levels of noise. I had a ByteCC enclosure that was pretty quiet, but one day after about 9 months, the fan started making a terrible racket. Presumably a bearing failure. I recently purchased a StarTech InfoSafe enclosure specifically because reviews on Newegg said it was quiet. Well, it is not. I've tried a Metal Gear Box II. Also loud.

So I'm thinking I should go with a 2.5-inch usb drive because 1) it would not require a fan, and 2) would not require a separate power brick (usb powered). But what kind of performance degradation would I experience? I know that 2.5-inch drives typically rotate at 5400 versus 7200 for the 3.5-inch, so they are slower. But in the usb/debian dockstar (or Pogoplug) environment, how much impact will that really make? My lan is currently 100 Mbps, not gigabit, but I'll probably upgrade in the future, if that makes any difference.

Anyone done any real-world performance comparisons? I use my dockstar to serve videos, music, pictures, and podcasts, mostly via samba, although I'm also playing around with UPnP AV. I'm not currently having any performance problems whatsoever with the 3.5-inch drives, but fear I might have problems with the 2.5-inch drives.

I've thought about the green drives that spin down when not in use, but that seems like more aggravation than it is worth. Delays when accessing in order to spin up the drive, start and stop wear, boot problems, etc.. And they still make noise when they are spinning.

If I go with a 2.5-inch drive, maybe I should just get a Seagate Go drive, since that plugs nicely right into the dockstar without a separate cable.

I need a minimum of 320 GB. 500 GB is better. 1 TB or more would be nice.

Recommendations please. Thanks.
Don't know if this will help or not, but here goes:

I've kept my dockstar running with the original pogoplug software. I've been using it as a NAS with only a 2.5 hard drive. It consistently has read speeds at about 70-80Mbps, running on a 100Mbit network. So if there are any performance decreases, it will be because of debian and not because of the drive speed.
Re: Tired of USB enclosure fan noise. Recommendations please.
September 28, 2010 06:05AM
I just started using a WD Elements drive for my Dockstar Debian. For me, it has the advantage of being silent, unlike the external enclosure I'd been using until recently. It was also dirt cheap ($25 for a 120GB model, but now it's back up to $30). Now, I have the hard drive, Dockstar, DSL modem, and wifi modem all in the same space acting as our home's network center, and it's completely quiet and very compact; not one fan running. If I put my ear up to the drive I can hear it humming, but I don't do that often.... We also have the 1TB model attached to our Mac, and it's also extremely quiet.

I do believe that the WD is 5400rpm. My reasoning, though, is if the data's going over USB anyway, I'm not sure how much the speed of the drive is going to slow things down; the USB protocol is loads slower anyway. For an internal drive I wouldn't go slower than 7200rpm, but for this purpose, over USB and already on a "slower" computer, I figured it wouldn't matter that much to me. I personally can't tell the difference, but someone else might be able to.

Link to newegg's page: click here

On the other hand, I agree with you; if you're going to go that route, consider the Seagate drive that docks on the top. You won't be wasting a USB port that way, and its performance and noise level is probably the same. I don't own any, though, so I can't vouch for it.
Re: Tired of USB enclosure fan noise. Recommendations please.
September 30, 2010 08:17AM
Yeah the WD Elements is great. It has no fan, is quiet and knows how to spin the drive down when not in use.

I also have the smaller 2.5 Freeagent as well. It's the smallest external laptop hard drive I've used yet. This one can spin down too.
Re: Tired of USB enclosure fan noise. Recommendations please.
September 30, 2010 12:19PM
Found this review of the Seagate FreeAgent Go drive


which says it is very quiet, especially the 1TB model. $119 at amazon is a bit pricey, but I'm going to pull the trigger. Wish me luck and thanks for the recommendations.
Re: Tired of USB enclosure fan noise. Recommendations please.
September 30, 2010 09:09PM
Smallest? I should have said quietest. It can be docked to the usb port on top too so it's pretty convenient.

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