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Last post Author Topic: Samsung hard drives - don't buy them unless you like subliminal mental torture  (Read 12297 times)

nudone

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For years I've stuck with Samsung hard drives, bought several (still using them), recommended them to people and believed you couldn't go wrong with a Samsung.

Not so. I bought a 1TB Samsung drive a couple of weeks ago and now feel like I cannot take listening to it's annoying "hum" any longer.

The drive produces a low humming sound that whirs in and out every few seconds. It's like it has been carefully designed to create the most annoying almost subliminal noise a human can hear. It's driving me insane.

I wouldn't have bothered mentioning this but I've found I'm not the only one with this complaint. There are several posts online about this very same annoying hum - all from Samsung drives.

Samsung's response? "It's normal behaviour." How strange that this is "normal" and yet all my previous Samsung drives are perfectly quiet - even the ones that are of identical size to the new annoying drive. Does Samsung consider the older quiet drives "abnormal" perhaps.

I've tried repositioning the drive, placing it on foam padding, placing it at different angles - nothing matters. The Samsung Hard Drive Tool doesn't help either - the "accoustic" settings make zero difference to the noise.

Honestly, I'm just amazed. Samsung have clearly changed their drive manufacturing process and it stinks.

So, that's it. I used to champion the Samsung Hard Drive. Now, I'll never buy another one and I'll be sure to tell everyone else to never buy one either.

Samsung, I absolutely hate you.

worstje

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I am usually the last person to jump to the defense of a company, even in the face of faulty hardware... but in this case, I feel I need to defend Samsung just a little. Like you, I have had tons of Samsung harddrives, even sent two (or was it three?) in for RMA after they got bad sectors after a few years (there isn't much anyone can do about that!) and have had all around good customer service. Even for that typical customer who had his drive go AWOL two months past the warranty. :)

The problem with something like an 'annoying noise' that is at the edge of ones hearing is that it is nigh impossile to diagnose. If you send it back, you just have to hope the technician(s) can hear it, or you'll get it returned with an 'it works as advertized'. Similarly, some harddrives are created for performance, and as such are put to less demanding silencing tests. Companies simply have to accept the fact not all products coming from the assembly line are perfect, no matter how much QA they throw at it. Thus, when you have such a problem, you should be able to return it to the shop within a week or so of your purchase date and get the frustration over with, or get another drive - possible from another manufacturer. (I assume that the USA has some sort of laws about returning goods within some period since purchase.)

The last thing I want to touch upon is that I consider it a bit short-sighted to blame a whole company for one defective product. You say tons of people have the problems you experience, which is allright. The problem is that if you'd look, I bet you could find similar complaints about every hard drive manufacturer. Google makes it pretty easy to find the dissatisfied <0.01% of customers that has your disapproval, after all. (Sadly, I speak from first-hand experience there; I was in a rather similar situation to you a year ago with another product.) Hard drives spin at 5400/7200/10000RPM: that is bound to generate noise. With everything getting smaller-faster-bigger-better, hardware simply becomes more sensitive. Maybe your drive was jostled a bit in its shipping; who knows!

I don't discount your experience. But especially given your good history with them, I'd either have given them another try or simply returned it. I absolutely hate you is a strong statement for something that the customer service concept was invented for.

(Btw, I know you are a usually totally relaxed person, so I'll blame the noise for driving you batty and upset. :))

nosh

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So, sam sunging is normal behavior?

nudone

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Very true, worstje. I just feel so let down by a brand and piece of hardware I thought I could rely upon.

Here's the thread I found with similar complaints: http://www.tomshardw...-consitent-vibration

And, I'm sure you are right. Many, if not most drives will function perfectly well - I hope. But that thread mentions Samsung's reply to a returned drive, i.e. it's "normal" behaviour for such annoying noise. Replacement drives produced the exact same horrible humming. So, it obviously is "normal" in Samsung's opinion otherwise their replacement drives would be better.

The real problem is that I used to dread buying hard drives (years ago). As they always produced very annoying noises of some type or another. Then Samsung started to get positive reviews everywhere, saying how quiet their hard drives were - and they were. But now they aren't. Not 100% it seems.

I guess the real, real problem is that Samsung don't consider the low humming noise an issue. That means they aren't doing anything about the problem. That means I can't risk buying another drive made by them ever again. They don't believe their is a difference between their older drives that produced no annoying hum and thier new drives that do - they are either clearly deaf or just lying.

So, I can't trust them. Can't trust what they produce. Can't trust their standards of quality. In other words, I think I really do hate them because they've decided to become liers.


worstje

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Fair enough. :)

That is why I still advocate trying the drive, and if it makes those noises, send it back immediately. It is your right. (At least, over here it is your right to return it if it is not to your satisfaction.)

app103

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Some people can pick up sounds that others can't, and sometimes those sounds can drive a person insane. It could be that you are very sensitive to that particular sound frequency. Kind of like a "Nudone dog whistle", perhaps.

Oh, I know quite well about this...I have a PC that makes a high pitched squealing sound that makes me want to rip my hair out. It's either the CPU fan or the PSU that's doing it, and I can't replace either of them because the machine is too old to consider investing a dime in it. It's constant, and the only thing I can do about it is blast music to mask it. Being a night person really made life difficult when I couldn't mask that sound at night.  :'(

And only two other people I know could hear that sound. One of them was one of my daughter's friends that was living with us for awhile, and not until I made her listen very carefully for it. Then she wanted to kill me because life was bliss for her when she couldn't hear it, and once I pointed it out she couldn't stop hearing it. She moved out a week later.

My daughter could hear it when she was about 12 and she said it was bad enough that she could hear it on the other end of the house, through a closed door. Back then I must have been immune to it because I thought she was the crazy one. I think right about the time she became immune to it, must have been when I started hearing it.  :o

nudone

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I'm now going to attempt some kind of suspended drive setup using whatever rubber bands I can find. If that fails I'm going to do what I've been dreaming of doing for several years...

...drill a hole in the wall and put the computer in the adjacent room with all the cables fed through to this room. If I can hear any annoying noises after that then I will likely have a nervous breakdown.



As for sending the drive back. At the moment I'm just so stick of dealing with returns and hardware issues that I can't bare the thought of being questioned about the drive's faults. And I certainly don't want to get my hopes up and they send a replacement drive that has the exact same issues. I'd rather just chuck the drive in a cupboard and buy another - providing it's a brand with zero noise issues.

Which is good point: Anyone got recommendations for a brand that doesn't suck with hard drive noise issues.




App, I know I'm a bit sensitive to noises - but simply because I know there's no need for them. Ever since my first computer, I was aware of other people's machines being quieter or louder. So, I just knew it was possible to have hardware that was quiet(er) - there simply was no need to sit next to a box with an screaming hard drive inside it (nor screaming fans).

Edvard

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So, sam sunging is normal behavior?

(with a thousand apologies to Neil Diamond...)

Sam Sung Blue, everybody loathes one
Sam Sung Blue, every write a low hum

Hard drive screws
Are subject to a little noise now and then
But when you hear that noise and it's a hum
You take it back again...
They'll send it back again

Sam Sung Blue, weeping like a willow
Sam Sung Blue, head under my pillow

Funny thing, but if you fling it with a cry of rejoice
A bitter crack then it's silenced for good
You simply got no choice...
You simply got no choice

Sam Sung Blue, I'll never buy another one
Sam Sung Blue, 'cause I just can't trust 'em...

:P

app103

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If you really want to eliminate hard drive noise, then go for the most reliable SSD you can get (read all the reviews and pick the best drive you can find), since they are all silent, no vibrations, and run cool, so they won't need any additional noisy fans near them.

But I wouldn't waste the noisy Samsung drive you already have. I'd stick that in an enclosure and use it for backup storage purposes, running it only when needed.


(with a thousand apologies to Neil Diamond...)

Awesome!  ;D

nudone

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So, sam sunging is normal behavior?

(with a thousand apologies to Neil Diamond...)

Sam Sung Blue, everybody loathes one
Sam Sung Blue, every write a low hum

Hard drive screws
Are subject to a little noise now and then
But when you hear that noise and it's a hum
You take it back again...
They'll send it back again

Sam Sung Blue, weeping like a willow
Sam Sung Blue, head under my pillow

Funny thing, but if you fling it with a cry of rejoice
A bitter crack then it's silenced for good
You simply got no choice...
You simply got no choice

Sam Sung Blue, I'll never buy another one
Sam Sung Blue, 'cause I just can't trust 'em...

:P


Brilliant. Though the drive really doesn't deserve such song writing creativity wasted upon it.

The problem is with SSD is that they are very expensive, aren't 1TB (or have they reached that now) and, worse, seem to have a high RMA rate. I've already been stung by one that I had to return. Having said that, I do intend to purchase an modest sized SSD in the near future - for data storage though, I wouldn't trust an SSD.

nudone

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I've now placed the two 1TB Samsung drives are a nice cosy bed of foam rubber - which I "believe" has reduced the noise.

I'm not entirely sure if the noise has gone completely as I think I can hear something but I honestly don't know if I'm imagining it - or kind of exaggerating it as I strain my ears to detect any kind of annoying sound.

Anyway, next mission. Drill holes in wall and remove all annoying hardware sounds completely.

vlastimil

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I am a long time advocate of silent computers, but it is pretty hard to actually build one. In the hard disk department, SSD is the obvious way to go. In the past, the Seagate drives were the most quiet. Maybe they still are - I stopped watching, because I am never going to buy another spinning hard drive. BTW the external USB drives are pretty silent these days. Fast SSD + large portable USB hard disk is a neat combo.

app103

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Maybe this might be of some help: http://www.silentpcr...ommended_Hard_Drives

They have a list of the quietest drives in 2.5, 3.5, and at various speeds. Also some recommendations for other stuff for reducing drive noise.

Seems they recommend 2.5" notebook drives for desktop systems, if you really want to reduce noise without using SSD. Seems the smaller size makes them much quieter. Might be something to that. I have a USB WD Passport drive (500G), and I never hear it. I would have to literally stick my ear against it to hear any sound coming from it.

nudone

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Interesting point. Never thought about using 2.5 inch drives. I think the speed would put me off using them.

Am going in a different direction now anyway. I'm going to order the cables I need to put the machine in the room next door. I've a friend that has already put their pc tower in another room to where the monitor and keyboard/mouse are situated and it's so quiet it seems unnatural or wrong. That is what a really want, absolute dead quiet (except for the noise from the monitor). So, if I do that, the machine can make as much noise as it likes - problem solved once and for all.

tomos

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I've just recently gotten an Samsung F3 1TB drive and is being used for the os drive (also got an F4 2TB one too)

It does *not* have a hum that comes and goes - it quite possibly has a constant hum - my machine is not loud but does hum.
No vibrations but could this depend on the case?

What bothered me about it at first was a loud "seek" or write noise - a noise like I would associate with older computers. This was especially loud inititally when installing stuff and I thought I wouldnt be able to cope with it, but it is quite bearable I find in everyday use.

FWIW, since my last machine (which also had two samsung drives) I've tried to use only one drive/partition per hard drive at any one time. This reduces those seek/write noises a lot I found. So, I have roughly a setup like this:
  • HD#1 has an OS partition and a partition for backing stuff up from second HD.
  • Then HD#2 has my working files and a partition for images of the OS drive
Tom

nudone

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I've not noticed any loud seeking type noise - BUT I do have two Raptor drives (RAID0) which I think are the noisiest seeking drives I've heard (maybe old scsi drives are louder), so maybe I've just not realised where the noise is really coming from.

To be truly honest. I'm not even sure if the old Samsung drive is any less annoying than the new one. It seems that since I've had to rebuild my machine a couple of weeks back, the drives are now annoying no matter where I put them in the case.


Edvard

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I just had a thought...

Knowing what I do about acoustics (just enough to get me into trouble...), I'm thinking what you might be hearing is the harmonic content from intermod distortion.
That is, normally sub-audible noise naturally produced by hardware in your computer case can go from "barely-noticeable" to "dear God, make it stop" because the  frequencies can mix together in such a way as to generate very-audible harmonics that, due to phasing effects and other factors, seem to come and go.

http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Intermodulation
http://en.wikipedia....Beat_%28acoustics%29
http://en.wikipedia....i/Additive_synthesis

This would also explain why others have similar symptoms and some don't, and why Samsung can't find a problem.
I'd be curious if those who did have these symptoms also have similar hardware configurations (SCSI or other drives sharing the box, number and rotational speed of cooling fans, etc.)
If this is the case, why just the new drives? Maybe it has something to do with new Samsung drives in the way they radiate vibrational energy that is conducive to the generation of these types of noise under certain real-world conditions.
I have personally experienced something like this with my wife's computer, which is normally very quiet but can sometimes wake me up at night with a pulsing "WUB WUB WUB" type noise that fades up over the course of a few minutes, then back into silence again for a few days.
I know it's just the cooling fans' frequencies drifting around until it creates an audible "beat" overtone.
I dunno, just a thought...

Anyway, I agree that putting your box in another room is probably your best bet, with hanging the drives on string being my suggestion for a close second. :p

40hz

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@Edvard - that's an interesting thought, intermod distortion. Especially when you get a 'beat modulation' (ex: a note simultaneously sounding with the flat immediately beneath it) on many very close frequencies. Which is a potential scenario with multiple disk drives.

That wuh-wuh-wuh-wuh sound would be enough to drive anybody crazy.  :tellme:

 8)

« Last Edit: August 13, 2011, 03:56:39 PM by 40hz »

nudone

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Intermod distortion makes perfect sense to me. I've become slightly perplexed by what's going on between the old and the new drives - I "believe" it could be a combination of them both spinning at the same time.

The annoying noise occurs with either drive placed outside of the case (the cables are just long enough to try this). Placing a single drive on foam rubber does not reduce the noise enough - and it seems not to matter which drive is on the foam bed. Placing both drives on a soft surface does reduce the noise by a significant amount (as I mentioned above, I believe the noise has gone).

So, in conclusion, it appears that the noise comes from having both drives powered on and at least one touching a hard surface connected to the case (even if that hard surface is the floor under the case). It also explains why either drive seems to cause the problem AND/OR not cause the problem - like some kind of weird quantum mechanical connection across spacetime. Maybe the machine is about to fall into a Worm Hole that is on the verge of forming between the two drives - gyroscopes are funny things aren't they and I think the disks could be behaving similar to that giant machine from Sagan's Contact (in the film, at least).



Epilogue:
The machine used to be very quiet. But its hardware contents were slightly different back then. I was using controllers to make four internal fans spin slower than normal and the newest 1TB drive used to be a 250GB Samsung drive. In other words, the hardware seems similar now to what it was but there are lots of rotating (vibrating) elements that are spinning differently since I put the new drive in - and no doubt creating a whole new range of waves of possible harmonic distortion.

I am beginning to feel a lot less angry with Samsung now. It is the machine itself that is annoying - I confess. I may still dangle the drives from string though; I'd already considered this but the little foam beds I've used instead were the quickest option (and are working quite well).

Edvard, thank you for making sense of the problem and giving it a name.

Carol Haynes

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The biggest problem I find is that fans get noisier over time (and it doesn't seem to take that long).

I was SO impressed with how quiet my new computer was when I built it that my old one sounded rather like a washing machine on spin cycle.

Now my new machine has entered my consciousness - esp. the case fans!

cranioscopical

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I'm going to order the cables I need to put the machine in the room next door.
But... won't your neighbour mind having all that stuff in his bathroom?

nudone

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I'm going to order the cables I need to put the machine in the room next door.
But... won't your neighbour mind having all that stuff in his bathroom?

Good point. Never thought of that. Probably not a good idea to go drilling holes through the wall and into his bath either.

Perhaps, with a bit of persuasion, I can use his bath to provide water cooling for the pc.

app103

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Perhaps, with a bit of persuasion, I can use his bath to provide water cooling for the pc.

Build it in his toilet tank and he might not even notice it's there.  :P

nudone

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Perhaps, with a bit of persuasion, I can use his bath to provide water cooling for the pc.

Build it in his toilet tank and he might not even notice it's there.  :P

Heheh. Now that would be a custom pc I'd like to see.

Carol Haynes

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Ulimate water cooling (complete with ball-cock)  :-*

There must be a market for PCs that combine lavatory cistern!