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Q: reduce hard drive spin from 7200RPM to 5400RPM ( Answered,   3 Comments )
Subject: reduce hard drive spin from 7200RPM to 5400RPM
Category: Computers > Hardware
Asked by: mxnmatch-ga
List Price: $3.00
Posted: 05 Jul 2003 14:33 PDT
Expires: 04 Aug 2003 14:33 PDT
Question ID: 225450
Is there a way to modify my Maxtor 6Y200P0 hard drives so that they
spin at 5400RPM instead of 7200RPM? I also have a Maxtor 6Y120PO that
I'd like to reduce the spin from 7200RPM to 5400RPM. I have plenty of
fans in my case, but I don't have air conditioning, so on hot days my
drive temps jump from 30C to 50C. I don't need the performance, so I'd
like to just reduce the RPM of the drives. Yes, I know I could get
hard drive coolers for all of them, but I'd rather not waste the money
and time to get and install them.
Subject: Re: reduce hard drive spin from 7200RPM to 5400RPM
Answered By: haversian-ga on 06 Jul 2003 02:57 PDT
Hello again mxnmatch,

With the video card taken care of, you're noticing your hard drives
more, eh?  Let me warn you, trying to make your computer quiet is a
vicious game that will drive you mad with the tiniest whisper of

All kidding aside, there is no way to modify the speed of your hard
drive.  At least, not one that will result in a functional drive.

The read/write heads on hard drives do not actually touch the platters
(except when the drive is off, and sometimes not even then, depending
on the drive model).  Instead, they "fly" on a cushion of air ever so
slightly off the platter surface.  The cushion of air that the heads
float on depends on the speed of the platters.  Slowing down the
platters would result in a thinner cushion, and the drive heads would
actually contact the surface of the platter in what is known as a head
crash.  The outer tracks of the platters on modern hard drives are
moving at about 50-100MPH depending on the drive, and any contact with
the heads is understandably catastrophic.

Hard drive platters are very precisely machined (the individual tracks
on which data are stored are less than 1/40,000th of an inch wide),
and vibrate more due to the fans in your case than due to their own
movement.  I suspect the vibration techtor speaks of is actually due
to the drive seeking rather than to the platters spinning.  Vibration
due to the platters spinning is a sign of worn bearings is a warning
that the drive is wearing out and should be replaced soon.

Your DM+9 is a fairly hot drive, running about 20C above ambient
temperature.  Moving to a Samsung Spinpoint or Seagate U-series drive
will cost you in terms of performance, due to the 5400 RPM spindle
speed, but will easily shave 5 degrees off the drive temperature.

For more information on specific drives' heat characteristics, you may
want to visit Storage Review, at which
provides superb reviews and knowledgeable forums.

You know how the clarification mechanisim works; don't hesitate to use
it.  I'm always happy to wax loquatious on matters of engineering.

Subject: Re: reduce hard drive spin from 7200RPM to 5400RPM
From: techtor-ga on 05 Jul 2003 21:46 PDT
I doubt there is any way to do this aside from buying a new drive.
However I would really love to have a 7200 rpm drive. 5400 drives in
my experience tend to get bad sectors very easily (my current Fujitsu
has a lot of them). The lower rpm causes greater vibration. The shake
may be enough to make the platter strike a read head, and cause a bad
sector. This happens much less with 7200 rpms HDs. The the faster
something spins, the less vibration is caused.
Subject: drive heat
From: mxnmatch-ga on 11 Jul 2003 12:02 PDT
Actually, it was the heat of my drives that I was worried about. On
one really hot day I actually had my computer give a drive i/o error
on bootup. That freaked me out! I shut it off and waited until
nighttime before starting up again and it worked fine.

I downloaded a program that monitors SMART attributes of some of my
drives called "Active SMART". It's always showing me SMART attributes
that have changed like the error rate and the spin up time. This does
not make me happy.

Yesterday one of my drives wouldn't allow itself to be written to. I
was able to view data on it, but not write data to it. I shut down my
system for the night and swapped some fans around today and started it
up again and everything is fine now. I pointed some fans in a
different direction and it appears to have brought the temps down on
some of my drives.

My case is split into left and right halves with a hole in the middle
for cables to go from one side to the other. There are fans in the
front left and back right, so my guess is that the air was travelling
through without even hitting the drives much in the front right part.
(I have drives in the front right and back right).

I put a fan holder in the middle part on the right side and pointed
the fans toward the front so that air is blowing into the front left
and out the front right and back right.

Still, my drives are running between 30C and 38C which does not thrill

My drives ran at a lower temp when I used to have my Athlon 1200, but
since I've upgraded to my Athlon 2500 my drives are much hotter. That
makes little sense to me because the fans should just be blowing that
heat out the back. Actually, the Athlon 2500 was causing all kinds of
crashes so I actually had to underclock it to be an Athlon 1800 before
it would work fine!!! Heat sucks!

I may just have to hurry up and install air conditioning in my
apartment. It would be easier if my stupid windows were of a
traditional style that air conditioners fit into. I need to saw up
some plywood and mount the AC in that board before I'll have AC.
Subject: reduced heat
From: mxnmatch-ga on 23 Jul 2003 12:07 PDT
I took my drives out of the removeable 5.25" hard drive boxes that I
had them in. That reduced their temp to about 30C to 35C and I suppose
that's good enough. It's not as good as it used to be with my old CPU
(which still makes no sense to me), but I guess it's good enough.

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