Remember what I said about spindle motors having to work harder to rotate the weight of additional platters? The 7K3000's power consumption is pretty high overall, likely because it's saddled with a fifth platter (the other mechanical drives we tested have four or fewer platters). More troubling is the fact that the Deskstar's idle power draw is only 1W lower than under load.
I've consolidated the solid-state drives here because they're all completely silent. The SSD noise level depicted below is a reflection of the noise generated by the rest of the test system, which has a passively-cooled graphics card, a very quiet PSU, and a nearly silent CPU cooler.
The Deskstar is quieter than I'd expected. At idle, it's only 1.5 decibels louder than a low-power Caviar Green with the same capacity. There's a clearly audible chatter when the Deskstar is seeking, resulting in a noise level 3 decibels higher than the like-sized Caviar Green. To its credit, the 7K3000's seek noise is substantially quieter than the Caviar Black 2TB and only a little bit louder than the old Caviar Green 2TB.
Normally, we'd do another round of testing with our mechanical drives to evaluate the impact of different Automatic Acoustic Management (AAM) settings on seek noise and performance. The Deskstar didn't respond to HD Tune's attempts to change its default AAM setting, though. HD Tune listed the drive's AAM default as 0 (AAM values are typically between 128 and 254), and no amount of fiddling managed to make another value stick.
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