Samsung launches new quiet hard drives

— 2:00 AM on April 5, 2007

Hard drive manufacturers are usually busy increasing platter densities and drive capacities, but Samsung has taken a short break from that race to introduce a pair of purportedly "ultra-silent" hard drives. The new SpinPoint S166 hard drives are regular desktop models with 3.5" form factors, but they have capacities of only 80GB and 160GB. Samsung claims that the drives generate 24dB of noise in idle mode and 27.5dB while seeking. Those noise levels are significantly lower than those of competing drives, the company adds, because its tests suggest that competing models "generate on average 2.8 bel (1 bel = 10 decibels) in idle mode and 3.2 bel in seek mode."

Aside from low noise levels, the SpinPoint S166 hard drives have 7,200 RPM spindle speeds, 8MB of cache, and support for both 300MB/s Serial ATA transfer rates as well as Native Command Queuing. Samsung says it intends to make the drives available later this month. The two new SpinPoints might not be the best choices for the latest enthusiast systems, but if they're as quiet as Samsung says, they could be interesting options for users building quiet machines like media center PCs.

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