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The world's quietest drive is given the silent treatment

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Last week's announcement from Quantum that it had developed the world's quietest hard drive has had cold water poured on it by a number of industry watchers. The Fireball lct was heralded as a breakthrough by Quantum, with a resting noise level of 27.8 decibels reaching just 32.5 decibels in read/write mode. Quantum is hoping the quieter drive will become the HHD of choice for set-top boxes and other home electronics devices where noise levels are considered more important. But this breakthrough is now being given the "so what" treatment by analysts and rival manufacturers. One of drives the Fireball was compared with in the tests that revealed it be the quietest HHD on the block was the IBM Deskstar 25. The Fireball was found to almost half as quiet as the Deskstar. But while the Deskstar is a three-platter 15.2GB drive, the Fireball is a single platter 10GB drive. According to Electronic Buyers News (EBN), this prompted IBM representatives to say: "The test sponsored by Quantum compares apples to oranges." Big Blue claimed that any drive of the same size as the Deskstar 25 would produce similar noise levels. Anthony Nash, vice president of Charles M Salter –- the analysts that carried out testing of HHD noise levels -– told EBN that there was more that PC manufacturers could be doing if HHD noise reduction really was a priority. Existing PC assembly has drives mounted on metal rails, which make production processes easier and quicker. If they were installed on rubber mountings, this would bring down noise levels, he said. Nash admitted that the initial test that gave the Fireball a glowing report were "non real world tests" as each drive was tested in isolation in a hemi-anechoic chamber. ® Related story Fireball lct -- world's quietest desktop HDD

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