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robd999
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T130 - Noisy Disk Access

New T130 PowerEdge running Server Essentials 2012 R2 - No RAID just came with single SATA (Toshiba MG03ACA100) 1TB HDD.

This was bought on recommendation as replacement for Windows Home Server. I need not have worried about fan noise as this is perfectly acceptable - just a bit loud on start up / reboot which is not an issue. However - the hard Drive access sound is amplified / resonates through the case and at night in the home is enough to be heard in adjoining room! This is not a faulty hard drive or any sound of impending doom - just normal read write type sounds which in other systems are normally unnoticeable. Its as if the entire case is acting as an amplifier for the tiny mechanical noises of the drive. In contrast a self built system housing 12 Hard drives in an Antec Case in the same room is completely inaudible - at least as far as HDD activity is concerned.

Does anyone have this same issue or any comments on this - it doesn't look to be a common issue - though it could be that any such issues are hidden beneath huge numbers of posts on failing drive sounds, noisy fans etc.

The sound is hard to describe - it is 100% a result of HDD access however, ranging from the odd blip here and there to a huge cacophony of notchy clicky noise when the drive is doing any work. Sorry, as I said its hard to describe the sound - but being all to familiar with all sorts of failing hard drive sounds I am sure this is not the sound of anything abut to fail just a normal sound but being amplified to a crazy level.

I cant see anything obvious regarding the mounts - drive is in the fixed bay. I removed and re-seated it and no difference.

I'm thinking of replacing this system drive with an SSD - at least as a temporary measure to be 100% the problem will go. But any comments / ideas / similar experiences welcome. Even would be interesting to hear from anyone who has same server but without the issue.

Thanks,

Rob

11 Replies

RE: T130 - Noisy Disk Access

Robd999,

Grinding noise from the the hard drive is usually indicative of predictive failure. I would suggest that you review the system hard ware logs and then run diagnostics on the drive from within the LifeCycle Controller just to be sure. You may also apply system firmware updates again via the LifeCycle Controller or create a bootable DVD or USB from the ISO on this link: https://dell.app.box.com/bootableT130 

Robert Alakara

Dell EMC | Enterprise Services

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robd999
1 Nickel

RE: T130 - Noisy Disk Access

Robert,

As I stated this is not any kind of sound indicative of hard drive failure and certainly not a grinding - logs show fine as does SMART for this brand new drive.

I think the problem I face is the same as when searching the web - any mention of noisy servers and people assume its fan noise (NOT an  issue with this server for me) and any mention of hard drive noise brings floods of results / suggestions that the hard drive is failing. I've dealt with literally hundreds of failed / failing hard drives over the years and this is not a sound of anything wrong with the actual drive - but the normal mechanical sounds produced by all non solid state drives are being massively amplified throughout the case which is acting as a huge resonance chamber.

As a test I put this drive in another system and accessed it - totally silent. Back in the T130 case and its bubbling away (sorry, as I said its hard to describe the sound, sort of like a mechanical flickering or maybe a distant machine gun in a computer game - varying in speed / amplitude in direct proportion to the disk activity), but loudly.

So, I'm convinced its either the case or an interaction between case and HDD. I was expecting to hear loads of others say either "Yes mine is same...." or  "Yours must be faulty as my identical server makes no HDD access sounds".

Anyway, my next job is to try to isolate the disk away from making any kind of contact as far as possible - although in the caddy already I will try to suspend it with vibration proof material somehow.

After that, depending on results, either replace system HDD with an SSD or look at other options.......

Thanks in advance to anyone who has any further comments / ideas.

RE: T130 - Noisy Disk Access

Your direction sounds fine. Also depending on your system configuration, you might have to check for and re-seat the hard drive cables or controller cable. I have known bad cables to cause such worrisome hard drive noise.

Robert Alakara

Dell EMC | Enterprise Services

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Benks
1 Copper

RE: T130 - Noisy Disk Access

Hi,

I have exactly the same problem with my T130 and 1TB drive model MG03ACA100.

I have updated all the firmware but still the drive seems excessively noisy to me

alces
1 Copper

RE: T130 - Noisy Disk Access

I also have the exact same issue on a 5 months old T130. Since day one, it's the typical hard drive access noise amplified what feels like 100 times, and it sounds like the whole case is vibrating. Raid 1 array with 2 disks, so I am double punished.

Horrible design by Dell.

I can luckily just ignore it as this sits in a server room away far enough from other offices, but that's still not something a Dell engineer should be proud of.

robd999
1 Nickel

RE: T130 - Noisy Disk Access

By way of an update to my original post. I swapped out the Dell supplied drive  putting in a Samsung Evo 500GB SSD and problem solved. This system is now super quiet. That's the solution for anyone with this problem who cannot have the noise. Anyone want to buy a 1TB 7200 enterprise HDD?

SDM_DellUC
1 Copper

RE: T130 - Noisy Disk Access

Same issue with a T130 and the Toshiba drives.  I've been through tens of entry-level Dell servers and this is the noisiest I've ever heard.  When bench-prepping this, it's about 5' from my head, so I got a serious earful.  What was Dell thinking?.....

wlibert
1 Copper

RE: T130 - Noisy Disk Access

I have a T130 but mine has a PERC9 H330 in it with 4 Western Digital drives in it.  My situation may be a little different but I have a strange noise issue and on top of that I didn't buy Dell drives because the ones that would fit my need were on back order to point I couldn't wait.  The drives just kept getting delayed over and over so I bought straight from Western Digital based on information given to me stating the all I needed to buy was enterprise class drives. I had to upgrade from those drives maybe a month or so from when I got them to 4 tb drives. So I went to their site found the drives that I needed but they had a huge span of time before they would ship so back I went to WD to get prices and availability. The pricing was a little higher than I could afford so I looked at local computer superstore and they had them for a great price and I picked them up immediately.

So the actual issue is that the drives start being polled by something as soon as the server is powered on.  The noise sounds like a normal read or write sound coming from an enterprise class drive but the noise occurs like a heartbeat ever 3 to 5 seconds.  I didn't hear it when a friend who does server work set it up because the server was on a stand under a computer table. About a week or so ago I had to move three servers around including the T130 up on to a thick computer table and that is when I started hearing the noise so I opened a case. The server sits about three feet from my left ear.

I won't say much more than there appears to be an issue because they weren't purchased from them.  I've search all over the internet looking for something that documents this issue but the only thing i found is in the T130 Owners Manual and that states that Enterprise class drives are required for raid use but nothing definitive in regard to a specific brand or model.

I posted up an MP3 file below that is a short 3 minute sound clip of the noise.  It was made with my iPhone being held up next to the upper hard drive cage.  Just after the louder polling occurs there is a lighter sound of the drives in the lower cage being polled.

I am at a loss about this.  I have a friend that as of the technical stuff to the 3 servers we use and he is baffled.

The drives have been hammered with diagnostic testing with the raid controller set to raid mode and then with the raid controller in HBA mode and all tests passed.  These tests were done using Dell's pr-OS diagnostics built into the server.  I think they are in the Lifecycle controller but I am no techie.  The drives have also been tested in Windows 2016 Server using Western Digital LifeGuard Diagnostics and with HDTune diagnostic software and they the pass tests.  The only thing that visually kicks off a flag is in OpenManage and it's a yellow symbol with an exclamation point in the middle.  If you hover that symbol you get a tip box stating that the warning is non-Critical error for non-Certified drives.

If anyone knows of any kind of document that has hard drive restrictions in it could you please post a link.  I would really appreciate any help I can get especially if someone has seen this else where.  I have a call into Western Digital as well to try and find out if this behavior is normal or not.

I hope the sound clip is in line with the rules here and that people can hear it.  I had to compress the MP3 a lot so it would upload.  The rotational noise in the clip is the front case fan.  We bumped it up 15% to get the 4 tb drives a little more cooling.

[View:/cfs-file/__key/communityserver-discussions-components-files/956/Dell-T130-PERC9-WD-Gold-HD-Noise-while-idle-comp.mp3:550:0]

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yoda009
1 Copper

RE: T130 - Noisy Disk Access

Same Problem.  Really annoying sound.