Quantum's Quiet Drive Technology (QDT) was designed to combine lowest possible noise levels with best overall sound quality. Because the HD and cooling fan are mechanical devices, they typically are the loudest components in any system and have the greatest influence on system noise.
From a user's point of view, low noise levels are frequently associated with high quality. The lack of noise from a product indicates that all the mechanical parts are smoothly aligned and functioning properly. This concept has been used extensively in such areas as the luxury automobile and home appliance markets. The most perfectly crafted automobiles not only are quiet themselves, but also isolate their passengers from external noise. The same principle can easily be applied to HDs in desktop computers and consumer electronic devices.
The sound level generated by any device is generally measured in terms of sound pressure or sound power, with the unit of measure expressed in decibels (dB). The decibel scale is not linear but logarithmic, with 3-dB for each doubling of physical sound energy. A 2 to 3 decibel difference is very noticeable and a 9-decibel difference is perceived as being twice as loud. The human ear senses sound by the energy or power emitted from the source, the actual sound pressure. This sound pressure is highly dependent on the distance from the source as well as the acoustical characteristics of the space surrounding the source.
Although the overall sound output of a particular device might be low, if certain frequencies are disproportionately high, the result can be pronounced and annoying, especially if the tones are of a high frequency. A good example is the high pitched hum of spinning harddisk platters. However, human ears do not hear all frequencies or tones in the same manner. Even though the sound pressure level of two different noises may be the same, one may be judged louder if its sound power is concentrated in a frequency to which the ear is more sensitive. In this equation, background noise is an important variable; a moderately quiet device will be perceived as virtually silent in a noisy environment, and vice versa.
The main noise contributors in an HD are the spindle motor and actuator arm. Quantum's Quiet Drive Technology works by tuning not only the spindle motor and the actuator but also any other sound generating components, to eliminate distinctive, pronounced and annoying sounds. On top of that, their HDs with QDT are designed with extra care and attention to minimizing noise levels.
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