Quietest 500GB Firewire drive?

I'm researching external drives for my music room (Firewire drive > PowerBook G4 > [USB DAC when I have more $] > Arcam FMJ). I want it to be as quiet as possible. (I would be very happy if it were as quiet as the PowerBook.) I have an older Lacie Big Disk in my office and, even though it is fanless, it isn't sufficiently quiet for my music room (I can hear the disks spinning and electrical hum).

Here are the drives I'm comparing so far:

- LaCie d2 Quadra Hard Disk
- Western Digital My Book Studio Edition
- Seagate FreeAgent Go for Mac

Can anyone speak about their relative noise levels? Lacie tells me the Quadra is much quieter than my older Big Disk, but I would like to hear from actual users.

correction: the Seagate option should say Seagate FreeAgent "Desk" for Mac (the "Go" version doesn't come in a 500GB size).
if your collection is that big you really need a Raid system with multiple drives, or what is actually easier is a Drobo with multiple drives that make it nearly impossible to lose your data, and can give you up to 3TB of storage with backup.

I've already got a 1TB LaCie drive for backup so, unless both drives fail simultaneously, I'm not too concerned about data loss.
Lacie makes a 500GB USB powered drive and a 1TB FireWire powered drive that are quiet and don't use fans. :)
Yes, I know -- I listed the LaCie d2 Quadra among my choices! The question is: how quiet is it? For example, if I'm listening to a quiet classical or jazz piece, I don't want to be reminded of a humming silver metal brick during the silent passages. Has anyone actually used one in their music room?
Lacey does not make drives. . . they package third party drives in their own enclosures. major Drive manufacturers are Seagate, Western Digital, Samsung, Hitachi, Fujitsu, Toshiba. Packagers of external drives tend not to source the newest/quietest/fastest drives on the market. . . but the most attractively priced. There are now 500GB drives available in 2.5 inch format from several major manufacturers, including Seagate, Western Digital, Samsung, Hitachi. Seagate even sells a FreeAgent Go external that uses its 500GB 2.5 inch internal drive. I personally prefer to source naked OEM internal drives and mount them myself in external enclosures of my choice. . . I like Vantech/NexStar enclosures for fanless solidity and looks. I have recently purchased a Seagate Momentus 2.5 inch 7200 RPM 250GB internal drive and put it in a Vantech enclosure. . . I use it in my very quiet office for backup. . . and I can't hear it spinning while it sits 14 inches from my left ear. Seagate Momentus 2.5 currently has the lowest latency on the market for this category, at 4.17ms. I have just ordered the 320Gb version. . . and I expect we may see a 500Gb Momentus 7200 version in the next several months. The current Seagate 2.5 inch 500Gb drive has a lower rotational speed of 5400 RPM and a latency of 5.6ms.
sells most of these wonderous critters. a set of 3 sorbitane feet under the enclosure would quiet things down even further. G.
Simpletech Pro Drive, 1TB. Use it with my IMac, quiet, beautiful, efficient, inexpensive.

Don't like it? Take it back to Best Buy.
If you are looking at SATA drives, I like Western Digital Caviar drives and put them in ICY DOCK Firewire enclosures. These WD drives are very quiet because they have variable rotational speed. The drive should be more than sufficient for an audio bitrate. The ICY DOCK enclosures seem to be very good and you can get Firewire 800 and USB2 and eSATA.

I recommend several full low level format of any new drive. This will cause every block on the drive to be read and written, sparing out any bad blocks. Also helps as a "burn-in" process, to make sure your drive does not die on you when you reach a certain spot on the drive. Anything you can do that will cause repeated reads and writes to the entire drive over an extended period of time (a few days to a month), will tend to weed out bad drives.

Western Digital Caviar Link.
Another vote for 2.5" drives in external enclosures. They are dead silent, use very little electricity and produce virtually no heat. I use a couple of 500GB drives hanging off of my music server. I like them so much, I'm in the process of swapping out the 3.5" drives in my desktop machine.
Prpixel, which 2.5 inch 500Gb drive do you use? G.

I use Western Digital Scorpio Blue drives with my music server. Music server consists of a Vulcan Flipstart UMPC running Vista business. The Flipstart and two external drives only draw about 15 watts in low power mode which is fine for serving music. Cost pennies a day to run.
I just ordered a 2TB WD my book studio to replace a stack of 6 Lacie drives I am using now. I have been searching all over the net trying to decide what to get. From the data I gathered the Drobo looked very interesting, but was to noisy to consider. I don't really hear my 6 stacked drives at all in my system now and I'm hoping with fingers crossed that the WD drive will be as good in that regard and hopefully better in the reliability.
For Drobo, if you get the Droboshare and make it a network storage resource, as I have done, you have redundant storage and backup, no worries about failing drives, and you don't need it in the same room as your audio gear. No noise, no data loss, an near infinite expandibilty.

BTW, when I bought Drobo, I bought 4 Western Digital 500MB Caviar drives, 2 of which failed right out of the plastic and had to be replaced, at no cost. So...
I use very quiet NEPTUNE 500GB Firewire from OWC.
It appears Lacie may have released a 1Tb external drive in the 2.5 inch format. The device actually contains 2 500Gb hard drives in a single box package weighing 1.4Lbs. It is sold by NewEgg for $575.

That's about $200 more than buying 2 500GB drives and mounting them in the case of your choice. Of course, that Lacie case is very sexy and it has USB, FW and Esata interfaces.
I agree. . . prices are usually high upon release. It's just the novelty/convenience factor. . . I also do not know if the Lacie 2X500Gb 2.5 inch external package is quiet or not. G.
Why bother with building external disk when you can get Firewire Neptune 500GB for $114 with high quality (braid shield) Firewire cable included and 2 year warranty for the whole thing. Similar 1TB Firewire Neptune is $159 now with the cable (after $30 Hitachi rebate). My 500GB Neptune is Western Digital based and is very quiet (no fan, no spin noise at all) but I'm not sure about 1TB Hitachi.
Hi Kijanki. You mention 1Tb Hitachi drive. . . is that a 2.5 inch drive? Do you have the part number or a link to its description? Thanks, G.
Guidocorona - I'm not sure if it's 2.5". The web site of the Other World Computing is www.macsales.com

OWC is the one of the best stores for mac - very helpful and customer oriented. Everything is high quality - they don't sell junk. I bought many things there. Look for Neptune external drive. I bought the Firewire only 500GB with Western Digital drive inside (now $114). I'm not big fan of Western Digital but this one is very quiet. You might ask them about Hitachi. Right now they have $30 rebate from Hitachi.

I also bought pocket 250GB USB drive for the laptop backup and it is dead quiet.

Initially all drives are formated for MAC but they accept NTFS - at least this pocket drive (case is clear plastic). Ask them since NTFS format is sometimes fishy and FAT32 is garbage.
I just installed a Lacie D2 Quadra on my Mac Mini. Although it is fanless, I can hear the drive startup and spin when playing music. I transferred my files onto the mini for now while I use the Lacie for backup purposes
Merlocpm, I believe Quadra contains 2 physical 3.5 inch drives. Such arrangement will always yield a little more than twice the noise/vibration of a single drive. That is because it is unlikely that the two drives are perfectly aligned on the same rotational plane. In addition there may be microscopic rotational speed differences between the drives. . . all of this will cause. . . mechanical intermodulation, which will translate into a little additional noise and vibration. Try to place the quadra on top of a sheet of sorbithane. The lower mass of 2.5 inch drives is likely to yield less vibrations. The largest 2.5 inch drives on the general market today seem to be 500GB with 5400RPM rotational speed, with prices as low as $109 for the Hitachi offering. See:
The drives are sold unformatted and can be fitted into an external SATA 2.5 inch USB or Firewire enclosure for use on Mac, Windows, and LINUX variants. On Windows the only file system supported for large partitions is NTFS
Actually on the 550GB drive it's just the one hard drive. After the lacie, I did try the Studio II edition but that was more noisier due to the many vents and the plastic enclosure. For an external, the Lacie was more quiet. For me though, I decided to upgrade my mini's internal drive to a WD Scorpio. Much better
Western digital offers now 500GB 2.5 inch Scorpio internal drives at just over $100. . . and so do Samsung and Seagate. See Newegg.com at:
I would be inclined to put something together myself. The last time I did, I purchased an Icy Dock enclosure. They are a little more expensive, but they are very quiet, good for the drive, and have solid chip sets for USB, Firewire, and E-Sata. Taking this route will allow you to then choose the most reliable drive.