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j7n

Seagate NAS HDD (VN) - Do they "chirp"?

7 posts in this topic

I'm considering getting a Seagate hard drive for a tower system that is operating 24/7. The new "NAS HDD" model line (STx000VN000) looks appealing since it was built for reliability.

However, there was this issue with head parking after short periods of inactivity, which produced a relatively loud scraping noise, much like that of a floppy loading ("chirp"). In the current SV35 series (VX), head parking could be disabled by forcing the drive to remember the Advanced Power Management mode, and recent drives even came without this function at all.

Seagate states that for the new NAS HDD:

"NASWorks provides 24×7 operation profiles and advanced power management modes to help drives go into the appropriate sleep or standby mode; this maximizes power conservation, minimizes time-to-data and improves overall reliability and performance."

So I fear that APM might be back. Can any owners of a NAS HDD report if the drive does head parking?

(Loading "drivers" for a HDD to get rid of APM is not an option. It must be able to remember the APM mode, or lack of it.)

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Hello j7n, I registered just to answer your question because your question is what I should have probably asked before buying. I just learned about APM with this hard disk and I found this thread while searching for information about it.

Here is my experience after 2 days of use. The drive is very silent even in my computer case, which is the classic metallic type that resonates with vibration. I can slightly hear the drive only if I move very close to my computer, and it's not the chirping or annoying type of noise even at that distance. Even when reading or writing data it is pretty much silent.

About APM, the drive does have it, but it remembers when you change the setting so you can disable it permanently with Hard Disk Sentinel (even the evaluation version) or other software. Use 4.40 or newer though, or it won't show you the real current value after restarting.

Anyway the time it was enabled, APM didn't have an impact on performance or acoustics at all. The comeback from the power saving state was seamless. So besides seeing the S.M.A.R.T. values (Load/Unload and the like, that did increase in those first hours) I don't even know if the heads were parked or if something else changed during that time. So I only changed it for -possible- durability, though according to Seagate the drive has a rating of 600,000 Load/Unload cycles, so even that wouldn't be much of a concern if you want to try the feature.

Anything else, just ask.

Edited by LilPeter
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Welcome to the forums, and thank you for following the signup process to describe your experience.

The drive must be capable to store the power configuration, probably on the platters themselves. Current models are indeed quiet in operation. I'm not concerned about noise part of normal operation, which can even complement activity LEDs (in which case a hdd can be too quiet), but only if it becomes signal of a problem.

According to this manual, APM is not supported, and the drive would enter standby mode only if the host had set the standby timer. The problem experienced earlier occurred even without a host.

I have ordered a NAS HDD and will see how it performs.

Edited by j7n
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Good luck with your drive j7n. You won't be disappointed.

Interesting that the manual says that. I wonder what the advertised "advanced power profiles" would be then. Or how to select them.

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I have tested the drive. It comes with APM preset to 0xC0, which does nothing. The drive does not enter a standby mode by itself, and load/unload cycles are equal to power cycles. APM can still be disabled or set to an arbitrary value by restoring/editing the DCO. I have disabled APM on my unit, even though it was not necessary.

On the table the NAS HDD is 4-5 °C cooler than an SV35 of the same configuration. Read speeds on my system are in range of 170 MB/s - 80 MB/s, or 20% slower than the other drive spinning at 7200 rpm. The NAS HDD is compatible with Intel SATA/150, where read speeds cap at 120 MB/s. Both drives are practically inaudible.

With the "chirping" it was almost ridiculous. I had booted a fresh OS from a boot CD, browsed the web with it. And while I was reading an article, the drive would park the heads, alerting me and taking attention away from what I was reading. When I moused over something or clicked a link, the drive would chirp again, to allow the browser to write to the cache.

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I'm glad your drive works as expected. Strange that it comes with a different default APM preset than mine. By the way, how do you access the DCO? I myself have only been able to change the APM through Sentinel and nothing else.

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My drive was manufactured in June 2013 (Date: 13496) and has firmware SC42. I have had a VX (SV35), which didn't have the APM function at all (instead of it being set to an inactive value).

I change the APM setting using any available tool. In my case, HDAT2. The Device Configuration Overlay, also editable by HDAT2, can be used to selectively disable features of the drive, such as shrink its capacity, or prevent a Host Protected Area to be set, which is useful for some BIOSes that copy data into this locked area. APM cannot be disabled in DCO on Seagate drives. But I discovered that as a side effect, editing the DCO also saves the current APM value, as I described in my linked thread on Seagate forums. Otherwise this value was lost for me (and many other people), requiring that it is reset after a power cycle. I am unsure of the exact steps needed to save the APM value, but the method so far worked on 2 drives.

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