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  #1  
Old 12-19-2016, 02:10 PM
Steamy Williams Steamy Williams is offline
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Default Silent Thunderbolt Drive Docks

I've just returned an AKiTiO Thunder2 Duo Pro Thunderbolt 2 dual SATA drive enclosure, because it made an annoying high-pitched noise. AKiTiO advertise it as a noiseless storage solution if used with SSD's and the built-in fan turned off. However, when my dealer contacted AKiTiO about the issue, they confirmed that this noise was inherent to the design, and not due to a fault.

So I've just bought the Thunderbolt version of the OWC Drive Dock - which is fanless - to replace the AKiTiO, but I'm getting a similar high-pitched noise. I've ruled out the SSD's I'm using as the cause, as the OWC unit makes the noise even when the bays are empty. And the SSD's are silent when used in a StarTech USB dock that I have. I've just spoken to OWC tech support, and they seem adamant that the noise is due to a faulty unit, but I'm doubtful of this, given my experience with the AKiTiO.

If the noise from the OWC unit is caused by the similar components to those used in the AKiTiO, I'm wondering if there is going to be any way to avoid this sort of problem with a Thunderbolt drive enclosure/dock. Has anyone encountered a similar noise with other fanless Thunderbolt models, such as the Blackmagic MultiDock?

Last edited by Steamy Williams; 12-20-2016 at 12:45 PM.
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  #2  
Old 12-19-2016, 04:45 PM
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Seafoam_Green Seafoam_Green is offline
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Default Re: Silent Thunderbolt Drive Docks

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such as the Blackmagic MultiDock?
My Blackmagic Multidock is great , it is as quiet as the 2.5" drives you install in it
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Old 12-20-2016, 05:37 AM
musicman691 musicman691 is offline
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Default Re: Silent Thunderbolt Drive Docks

The problem could be the power supplies used in these units. To save space and power a long time ago manufacturers went to switch mode power supplies. In this design to save power and space oscillators replace the circuitry in the older linear mode units and often times the frequency and volume will change depending on the load on the unit. Sometimes it can dip down into the human hearing range. There's not a heck of a lot an end user can do about it.
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Old 12-20-2016, 08:41 AM
propower propower is offline
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Default Re: Silent Thunderbolt Drive Docks

The BM multidock is silent for me with SSDs 3 years in use so far.
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Old 12-20-2016, 12:00 PM
Steamy Williams Steamy Williams is offline
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Default Re: Silent Thunderbolt Drive Docks

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Originally Posted by musicman691 View Post
The problem could be the power supplies used in these units. To save space and power a long time ago manufacturers went to switch mode power supplies. In this design to save power and space oscillators replace the circuitry in the older linear mode units and often times the frequency and volume will change depending on the load on the unit. Sometimes it can dip down into the human hearing range. There's not a heck of a lot an end user can do about it.
Thanks for this explanation. A tech friend told me the same thing this morning.

I'd prefer to avoid a rackmounted unit, so the Blackmagic Multidock is not ideal. I'm going to try one more desktop model, but if that's not truly silent, I think I'll have just have to get the Blackmagic one.
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Old 12-20-2016, 12:34 PM
musicman691 musicman691 is offline
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Default Re: Silent Thunderbolt Drive Docks

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Thanks for this explanation. A tech friend told me the same thing this morning.

I'd prefer to avoid a rackmounted unit, so the Blackmagic Multidock is not ideal. I'm going to try one more desktop model, but if that's not truly silent, I think I'll have just have to get the Blackmagic one.
Just because a unit is rack mountable doesn't mean it has to live in one.
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Old 12-20-2016, 12:38 PM
Steamy Williams Steamy Williams is offline
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Default Re: Silent Thunderbolt Drive Docks

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Just because a unit is rack mountable doesn't mean it has to live in one.
I realise that, but I'm looking for something a little bit more portable.
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Old 12-20-2016, 12:40 PM
musicman691 musicman691 is offline
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Default Re: Silent Thunderbolt Drive Docks

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I realise that, but I'm looking for something a little bit more portable.
Okay. This is why a lot of times I write that there's no such thing as TMI when asking for help. Saves time on the back and forth.
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  #9  
Old 12-20-2016, 12:50 PM
Steamy Williams Steamy Williams is offline
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Default Re: Silent Thunderbolt Drive Docks

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Okay. This is why a lot of times I write that there's no such thing as TMI when asking for help. Saves time on the back and forth.
Point taken!
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  #10  
Old 12-23-2016, 01:28 PM
Steamy Williams Steamy Williams is offline
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Default Re: Silent Thunderbolt Drive Docks

So I've a tried a 3rd desktop Thunderbolt dual drive enclosure. This one is another AKiTiO model, although it's actually a rebranded by StarTech. I had to disconnect the internal fan (after having StarTech confirm in writing it wouldn't void the warranty), but it now it appears to be silent. It's only Thunderbolt 1, whereas the previous units I tried were Thunderbolt 2. And it doesn't take 3.5" drives either, although that also means it much smaller, which suits me better.

However, contrary to my original post, it turns out my new Angelbird SSD's also make a high pitched noise, but only when they're reading or writing. When I tested them with the other enclosures, I did so with the drives idling, so I hadn't realised they do this. This happens regardless of the enclosure they're in, and I even tested one of them with a USB 3.0 to SATA III adapter cable, so I could be sure it's coming from the SSD and not the enclosures.

Having researched the issue online, it seems quite a lot of SSD's make this kind of noise, so are any SSD's that are 100% silent in use?
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