Noise levels were measured with an Extech 407727 Digital Sound Level meter 1" from the side of the drives at idle and under an HD Tach seek load. Drives were run with the PCB facing up.
The last few generations of Barracuda hard drives haven't delivered exceptionally low noise levels, but the 7200.11 is a huge improvement, particularly under seek loads, where it's nearly four decibels quieter than its predecessor. The new 'cuda isn't just quieter than the old one, though; it also makes less noise than most of its high-capacity competition. Only the Caviar GP is quieter at both idle and when seeking.
For our power consumption tests, we measured the voltage drop across a 0.1-ohm resistor placed in line with the 5V and 12V lines connected to each drive. Through the magic of Ohm's Law, we were able to calculate the power draw from each voltage rail and add them together for the total power draw of the drive.
Considering its terabyte capacity, the 7200.11's power consumption is actually quite reasonable. Sure, it pulls more watts than Western Digital's GreenPower Caviar GP, but that drive owes much of its energy efficiency to a slower spindle speed. Among high-capacity 7,200-RPM drives, the new 'cuda draws the fewest watts at idle. Under a seek load, only 750GB drives from Western Digital are more frugal.
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