Silencing your hard drives

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 12, 2008
Updated • Mar 2, 2011

I just read an article over at Lifehacker that was called Silence Your Hard Drive with Elastic Suspenders and I thought I weigh in my 2 cents on the topic because I had tried lots of methods to silence the hard drives in my PC. The first thing that people have to understand is that there are two types of noises that hard drives make. The first is their running noise and the second the noise that their vibration is causing.

The article explained how to take care of the vibration but it did not tell that you would still hear the hard drive if it was noisy when reading, writing or seeking. The easiest way to take care of vibrations without paying money at all is to use some foam rubber that is placed beneath the hard drive. I'm using this technique for years with great success. This does not take care of the normal noises of the hard drive though.

The only thing that is really helping here is to either buy hard drives that have very low running noises or silence the hard drive, meaning putting it into a noise reduction case or the complete PC tower. If you do that you need to take care of a problem that is arising: heat. If you put the hard drive in a case that is reducing noises you will notice that it will run at a higher temperature which can lead to data loss and errors over time.

This means that if you silence the hard drive or the PC tower you need to make sure that everything is staying cool inside. Here is what I did. I first bought a hard drive that was making a high pitching sound whenever it was running. This was not endurable at all and I decided to trade it in for a almost silent hard drive which was causing vibration in my PC case. I placed the hard drive on the rubber foam which got rid of that problem.

That's one reason why I really like the Flash SSD drives. They don't produce such noises. It will take some time before they become affordable enough but it will be a great relief for everyone who likes silent PCs.


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  1. Justblair said on October 11, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    I have a technique for silencing a hard drive, ingrediants are, a hammond alu case, some elasticac and some medical cooling pads.

    Its not perfect, but it comes close!

  2. Tobey said on April 12, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    Silent PC <3

    Why do u think I got myself a passively cooled GPU & water cooling system ;)

    Concerning HDD, I partly silenced it by putting small rubber-foam squares with a hole punched thru them between the case holding HDD and the HDD itself. I’d say it does help a bit, at least weakens some vibration shocks interacting with the construction of the case.

  3. Angelo R said on April 12, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    @Rarst – I suppose that has to do with the fact that once it’s suspended in the air, it’s easier for the drive itself to get damaged. Imagine your drive suspended and then you decided to put your tower on it’s side to check something. The drive will most definitely move, or if done incorrectly fall out, of your suspension rig.

  4. Jojo said on April 12, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    My hard drives mount and slide in on plastic rails, so no vibration noises for me. I am using a CM690 case.

  5. Rarst said on April 12, 2008 at 11:51 am

    I am not really DIY person so I just bought best HDD enclosure I know from Scythe:

    It’s really solid and works (ehm… encloses? :) ) good. In open case it actually lowers drive temperature by increasing heat dissipation (just don’t stuff it in small case without air movement).

    btw people are really too scared of temperatures. It’s valid for electronics which can just melt on overheating :) but much less for HDD. Think about it – when your start your computer HDD rapidly heated from room temperature to it’s working temperature – around 20C jump… Back to room temperature – another jump. People don’t think about those huge thermal spikes but are worried that HDD is over 40C ?.. Drives are made to live through temperature spikes and constant highish temperature. I had seen plenty of drives dead mechanically or electronically, but none that died from overheating only.

    PS SSD=stupid hype. They are many years away from proving that they are able to replace HDD both in cost and reliability.

    PPS forgot to mention that hanging drive in the air is not recommended by HDD manufacturers… No real data is it realyl harmful but still – by the book drive must be fixed to something.

  6. Angelo R said on April 12, 2008 at 4:18 am

    SSD will also make things a little more reliable as far as your data goes. No more spinning disks = less heat + less noise.

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