Strange noise coming from 10TB drives (WD100EFAX)


#1

Hi

I recently bought 5 WD Red 10TB drives. Occasionally the drive(s) makes a strange sound, I’m not 100% sure it’s the 10TB drive(s), I have 3 WD Red 4TB drives too and they are right next to the other drives in my Synology (8 slots) NAS. Therefore it’s hard to pinpoint exactly which drive or drives that the sound is coming from. The sound can suddenly disappear and reappear many hours later, it seem to be pretty random. As I’m writing this the sound is gone again, but I managed to make a short recording of the sound.

Listen to it here. The first thing you hear is the sound in question, and it repeats during the recording.

I have never heard this sound before, I have owned a lot of WD drives over the past 20 years but none have made this sound to my knowledge, so I need help to identify it. Is it a normal sound(for the helium filled drives) or is there something wrong with the drive(s).
The S.M.A.R.T data does not indicate there is any problems with the drives and everything is working just fine.

Thanks for all the help :slight_smile:


#2

It’s seems like it is a noise which 10 TB drives make which is a standard noise.

You should refer to the link


#3

Hi

Yes, that might be the case, but I have yet to get it confirmed that the sound is part of normal operation.
The support page is of no use because the sound in question doesn’t fit any of the descriptions.

Does anyone have the same drive and can confirm the sound?


#4

I recently got the exact same drives (4x10TB WD100EFAX) for a Qnap 451+ NAS. I also hear an identical sound like the one you have recorded on irregular intervals. I have not been able to identify whether the sounds are due to resonance in the NAS box or directly related to one (or more) drives. However, I have checked the drive mount screws carefully and all seem to be properly mounted. It should also be mentioned that two of the four drives were DOA and had to be replaced. The sound was not there before I added the fourth drive, so I suspect that drive to be at fault (if this is indeed an indication of problems). Keep us posted about anything you figure out regarding this matter. Thanks.

Kind Regards


#5

I’m 100% sure it’s not due to resonance.
I contacted WD support, and I got this answer:

Following the reply of the escalation of your case to our Engineering Department where both audios provided were carefully examined, it has been determined that the noise that the WD Red 10TB hard drives are making is normal.

So they claim the noise is normal. So they probably will refuse to give us new drives.
I recently tried to place the NAS vertically to see if that makes any difference. It did change the sound profile somewhat, but the noise is still there.
If in fact the noise is normal, as WD claims, then my current theory is that the noise we are hearing are the result of the PMR technology. Which writes/moves bits into the deeper parts of the platter.
But WD have been using it for many years, the sound should have been more known by now. Unless this only becomes an issue with large drives, like the Red 10 TB drives.

The noise is driving me mad, but no good explanation nor any solution has been presented yet.
I only have an issue with the drives when this noise is being made, other than that the noise from the drives are perfectly acceptable.


#6

Thank you for responding and for posting the feedback from WD. I can confirm that I have had four 3TB Red disks in the same NAS for two years without hearing this sound. Also, I kept having two of the 10tb disks along with two 3TB Red disks in the NAS while waiting for the RMA-case of the two DOA 10tb disks. This sound did not emerge at any stage during these conditions. The noise is far from pleasant, but similar to you I do not thus far experience any other issues with the drives. SMART tests etc. are all fine, but these tests might not tell the entire story.


#7

I got another response from WD support:

I would like to inform you that the noise that the hard drives are making is indeed attributed to the read and write function, which mean that the hard drive is operating.

So they are still claiming that the sound is normal.
I think the next HDD won’t be from WD. I don’t want to risk getting another drive like this.


#8

I have the same model of drive. I had the same noises coming from them. For me the problem was software, not hardware. I have mine installed on a synology nas. I recently installed a lot of new server software on it and that’s when the drives started making these noises. After removing much of the software - the culprit in my case being Tatulli - the noise went away, it just stopped! Check and see if you have any recent software updates or if you installed any database/server querying software. It sounded like the drive was going through a ‘constant querying’ process and that’s what tipped me off. Anyway, hope this helps.


#9

Thanks for your reply :smiley:

That’s very interesting, I’m using Tautulli as well, not installed on the Synology, but it’s accessing a shared folder on the NAS.
Recently the drives has quieted down, haven’t heard the noise in a while. I haven’t made any big changes to the software accessing the drives, but maybe I made a change or a update changed something that made a difference?
Anyway, thanks for putting me onto the database issue. I was suspecting it might have to to with the load bittorrent puts on the drives, but it didn’t occur to me that one of the server software that was running on my server could be the culprit.

Thanks for the help, it’s really appreciated.


#10

After one of the last couple of updates to QTS the sound seems to have disappeared at my system (not heard it for several weeks). This enforces the assumption that this was software related. Do anyone know whether there were any substantial changes to anything that might be attributed to this? Loosly from memory I cannot remember seeing anything in the change logs except a minor fix for large RAID Arrays, might have been the one? At least I start to hope that this never was a hardware issue and hope not to be proven wrong anytime soon. For the record I have never used Tautulli at my system.


#11

It’s probably software related. In my case I think I have narrowed it down to the bittorrent client “qBittorrent”. The last 2-3 times the drives started making this sound, I restart the program and the sound goes away.
I think that means that the problem lies in software that access the raid, maybe it reads the drives in a certain way that in combination with the software raid on the synology nas, triggers something?

I’m still none the wiser to what is actually happening, I just hope that restarting qBittorrent once and a while is enough to keep the noise away.


#12

Thanks for the reply again. I use a QNAP and QTS. If this also appeared on Synology (sorry did not catch that from your earlier posts) it was a bit premature of me to assume that updates to the QNAP OS fixed this. QBittorrent is not installed here. I will monitor this in between the next couple of weeks and shout out in this thread if this crazy sound re-appears at some point. It should be noted that I have not used bittorrent clients (Download Station) much the last couple of weeks. I have never encountered discs that make these kind of sounds due to bittorrent activity though. BT just causes the discs to be more active in terms of read/write operations.


#13

I have used WD and drives from other manufactures in combination with bittorrent for like 10+ years. Never been an issue before I bought the 10 TB drives and exchanged my Synology NAS for a newer model. Before that I had never heard a sound like that, only normal sounds you would excpect to hear when the drives read and writes.
I’m not sure it’s qBittorrent, but that is my current theory.

How do you use your NAS, do you have a separate computer that runs software and access the NAS through shared folders, like in my case, or do you only use software that are installed on the QNAP?


#14

I have one laptop that runs a Plex server and accesses the NAS for files. I run samba out to other computers in the same home network, phones that backup their data to the NAS, ftp-server, cloud link, squeezebox server etc. I am quite sure that these do not constitute any issues. The sound appeared after I added the 4x10 TB setup I have now. Think I first heard it when the NAS was running a virus scan after adding the drives, but have heard it numerous times without the virus scanning. Ran the same system with 4x3tb Red discs earlier without hearing anything else than normal operation sounds. I will stay off torrents till monday and start some next week and see if the sound re-appears.


#15

Thanks for the reply. Very interesting. I also have a plex server, but shutting it down when the noise appeared had no effect, so like you said it’s unlikely plex or any of the other software you listed are related to the sound.

I’m still flabbergasted that WD claims this sound to be a normal operational sound for a HDD.
You would think they would know what produces the sound? Normal read/writes does not generate sounds like that, at least not any other drives I have ever owned.
Btw. one of the 10 TB drives dropped out of the raid monday morning, and now the NAS(unless I use all the resources) takes a week rebuilding the raid. The drive is working fine, so who knows what happened.


#16

An important question is whether the sound comes from one drive or several drives simultaneously. Personally, I suspect the drive in bay 4. It seems to take a longer time to detect during boot up than the other drives (looking at the disc activity lights) and the sounds started after I added that one. Given the liberal return-refund regulations in my country (Norway) I consider to return that drive to the store and they will most likely give me a new one. However isolating the drive that makes the sound is not an easy task as: 1. The sound does not appear anymore/at irregular intervals and 2. The NAS is basically not operating without the whole array being intact (rebuilding). Sorry to hear about the drop out, I sure hope you will save the data. I interpret it as a word of warning and if these noises are normal they sure would be widely known by now?


#17

In my case there is most definitely more than one drive that produces this sound simultaneously, whether or not all the 10 TB drives(4) are to blame, I can’t tell. My NAS has 8 bays, 4 of them are occupied by the 10 TB drives, the rest are 4 TB WD drives. I’m sure the noise comes from the first 4 bays which holds the 10 TB drives.

Hey, a fellow Norwegian :smiley:

Considering we are talking about using the drives in a raid, there must be a certain load or a activity of some kind related to the raid somehow, that brings out the sound. My drives makes this sound in unison like a choir, like they are harmonizing. Sometimes is sounds like one of them starts and more of them joins in at different times, where pitch and volume can vary.

I’m using SHR2(raid 6), so I haven’t lost anything unless two more drives drops out during the rebuild.


#18

I have exactly the same noise coming from 3 8TB Red drives in my Synology 918+ NAS. It appears to be a scheduled task or something as it always happens around the same time in the morning (10:20 or so). It is annoying as it is a resonant tone sound that is slightly different on each drive… hence when all three drives are doing it simultaneously it is an unpleasant “out of tune” sound. All drives are functioning normal otherwise.


#19

There must be a specific action that makes the drives to behave like this. In my case the noise can start at any time, no specific time frame.
If I restart the running bittorrent(by closing them down properly) clients the noise disappears.It can take up to a couple of days at the most, before the noise is back and I need to repeat the restart of the programs to make it go away. It will usually goes away on its own, but it can take hours.
It’s still a mystery what’s causing this.
Do you run any software that are accessing the drives?
Interestingly enough, the noise seem to be more prevalent when there is little activity.
When the noise have been present, I have ran defrag and the noise goes away, only to return when the task is done.
Very strange, the drives must be doing something other than just normal read/write.


#20

I’m suffering same noise coming from 2 WD RED 8TB in RAID 1, using QNAP NAS TS-673.
It started some time ago, suddenly. So maybe you’re right and it’s software related (perhaps after a QTS upgrade)
I’m adding more and more services and software to my NAS every day, so it’s going to be hard to discover which service or app is causing this noise. But I’m using containers, download station (with torrents) and some VMs as well as backup and sync tasks.
I was about to start RMA, but maybe is worth to wait and investigate a little bit as the replacement disk can still make the same sound.
In my case, it also happens when I’m not using anything. Maybe it’s related to sleep or power options.
Anyway, after all my life using computers and storage, never heard this sound as “normal”.