Chia Firm - High frequency ringing ? Now in my ears…?

Hey y’all

I have a 16 drive farm with Exos drives racked in a large Fractal Design case. Recently, I noticed a noise - not really a “whine” but more a high pitched ringing. After combing through the case and testing components, I’m sure this noise comes from the drives. And it seems to be all of them. It’s just en masse that I hear them - and possibly now I’m more aware of it that I’m not plotting like crazy and so other fan background noise has died down.

But I’m finding this high pitching ringing is biting my ears. And it leaves me with something like tinnitus. This is becoming a real issue. I can’t be within a few meters of the farm without triggering this ringing in my ears.

Has anyone else experience this and ideally found any fixes (other than ear plugs)?


That’s just the sound of :moneybag: :moneybag: :moneybag: :moneybag: :moneybag: being made.

Noise-cancelling headphones?
Don’t most fractal cases come with sound dampening?
Or put it in a cupboard.

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Are you using a raid/hba/Adaptec type of card to connect the drives? Could be the alarm whine going off if you don’t have active cooling blowing on it.

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Hey @legcramp

I am using an HBA. I am pretty certain it is not producing a sound. This noise is (to me) very identifiably coming from the drives. But what you say is interesting and I’ll go over the machine again to verify.

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Yeah I had it happen to me… I am using a couple of these Adaptec 71605 16-Ports cards and after a few minutes of start-up the card without active cooling will make this really loud high pitch sound because it’s overheating due to the lack of server fans blowing at it. (I am using an ATX case)

So the fix was to add a side-panel fan or stick a small one on the heatsink, I thought it was coming from somewhere in the case… drives… motherboard too but it ended up being the card itself. A nice fan on my side panel and changing out the thermal paste to a fresh application fixed the issue.

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Enterprise drives (like Exos) don’t really prioritise consumer comfort features like quietness - similar to 1U/2U servers, they just are loud and unpleasant to be around.

For mitigation - you don’t want to sacrifice airflow for comfort so I wouldn’t suggest totally sealing them in a case, but adding some kind of rubber damping between the drives and any metal will help to mechanically decouple the drives and prevent the case turning into a big speaker cone.

Otherwise, just deal with it the way an enterprise conforming to OSHA or similar regulations would - have an (ideally sealed and air-conditioned) dedicated room or cupboard for the servers, limit your time around them to what’s necessary, and if really bad then wear ear protection.

It’s funny I had read about the nose Exos drives make versus IronWolf etc. I was fine with that . They make a few clunks here and there but it’s almost reassuring as you know the machine is alive. But this pitch noise is something else.

Still checking out this cooling of the HBA. Hope that is a solution. @legcramp

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I dont hear what you experience.
But after years of living with grow fans and asics I like the noise, and my setup is so quiet in comparison.

Last resort, buy an asic, you won’t hear the chia ( jokes ).

You don’t have to buy an ASIC or anything like that. Moral of this story is to do research on drives. If maximum DB per drive is a concern, then specs like the Seagate specs listed below become useful. I know and have an example below that Seagate will post each series’ specs including rated DB levels.

For me, I am stuck with 4 salvage HGST (pre Toshiba branding) drives internally to my server. They are extremely noisy and they click often when they are seeking heavily. If I didn’t have noise dampening on my server, I would probably have purchased quieter drives by now.

Do you not get jokes?

To verify if it’s a mechanical whine, you could rent a mechanics stethoscope from an auto parts store and touch it to the housings of your drives, fans, and power supply, the noise will likely resonate through all devices, but should be noticably louder when the probe is in contact with the offending device. As others have said, it’s also possible for electrical devices to make a high pitched whine, but I wouldn’t go touching the stethoscope probe to electrical components ;).

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Yes, a couple of my (new) Exos drives exhibited this unusual high pitch “squeal” every few minutes. However, after farming for a couple of weeks they no longer make this sound. I did add more cooling during the initial weeks which may have helped.

Out of curiosity, are the Exos drives experiencing noise issues the Helium drives or the regular? I always thought Helium drives are quieter but I don’t have much experience with them.

One of my 12T Exos makes this high pitch sound occasionally, will last about 1 or 2 s, then gone. But I never heard this sound from any others. Could be overheat, but unlikely as I know the temp is less than 45 by reading out smartctl data.

Anyway, so far, I just ignore it, if the HDD dies, still have 5 year warranty

Just FYI, I had researched the drives and their noise beforehand. This is not a case of “it’s loud”. It’s about a frequency which I can hear above everything else. My wife, incidentally, can’t hear any of it.

The noise is still there weeks later. My solution was ultimately to run away. The chia rig is now behind a glass wall in a display case. Not good for ventilation but temperatures are still low enough, and my ears are safe.

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