Sign in to follow this  
RichardLee

How hot does your hard disk get?

Recommended Posts

Aside from the obvious jokes that could arise with "hot" and "hard" in the same sentence, this question is serious.

I have two IDE disks in a PC, a 7200 RPM Seagate 'Cuda V 80GB and a Western Digital 120GB 1200JB. The Seagate is the C drive with all the programs and some data. It's the primary master. The primary slave WD holds archival data. If I run the Seagate by itself, the metal housing holding the disk feels downright cool to the touch even if used or left on for days. When the WD is connected, the housing progressively gets hotter.

After 2 hours of continuous operation from a cold start, the laboratory grade thermometer read 41.5 C with the two disks running. Remember, this is on the metal housing (looks like a box with holes) around the disks, not the face of the WD disk itself (it's blocked). I'd imagine some heat would have already dissipated by then so the actual drive temperature is likely hotter. Furthermore, the WD disk is not even being accessed! The heat from the Seagate would be negligable and in fact, because it shares the housing with the WD, it aquires the heat.

And I just got another WD1200JB, still unopened for now, to be used in the same PC! Will replace the Seagate as the primary drive. If all 1200JB's are like that, I'm concerned they will mutually burn themselves out.

Has anyone taken a temperature reading of their disk? I'm wondering what is normal. From experience with many other disks, I would think cool to warm is...which in my definition is not over 40+ C from a disk not being accessed.

Any advice appreciated.

Richard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello and welcome aboard, Richard. :)

The temperature you're getting seems pretty normal for the configuration (two drives in a closed- I imagine- box) you have. IMO there is no need to worry whatsoever as long as running these drives they don't exceed specifications temperatures. These "ambience temperatures" are for most HDD manufacturers between 5° and 55°C.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fans are cheap. ;)

Not likely to hurt, either, right?

Especially given:

the laboratory grade thermometer read 41.5 C with the two disks running. Remember, this is on the metal housing (looks like a box with holes) around the disks, not the face of the WD disk itself (it's blocked)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe your temperature is a little high, but Prof.Wizard's right: you're well within the normal operating tolerances stipulated by most HDD manufacturers. Try using Speedfan to monitor your HDD temp (assuming your HDD supports this feature). I use a combination of Motherboard Monitor & Speedfan to keep track on all of my system temps. My Deskstar 180GXP runs at between 29-32C, which I'm (personally) quite happy with.

On a side note, my company has suffered something like a dozen HDD failures in the last two weeks. The drives were all Western Digital & the PCs were the very small form factor Dell GX260s. The HDDs were almost too hot to touch so I'm sure it's the heat that's killing the drives, although they could be from a faulty batch. I noticed that after booting the PCs from FDDs, the 3.5 boot disk was actually hot (not merely warm), so it looks like this model of Dell PC has serious heat dissipation problems.

In short, try to keep your drive(s) cool. I don't know what kind of case you have, but maybe you could (physically) mount the drives differently so they have a fan blowing directly over them...

B'Billy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would suggest additional cooling too. I'm a happy owner of Seagate Barracuda 72000.7 Plus and after I mounted it for the first time in my case it made 53C or so. I wrote to the seagate support and they said it's within the temp. treshholds but recommended aditional cooling, so I bought a 90mm fan for a few bucks and voala, the drive is cooled to 23-27C B)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, here's an update. I retook the thermometer reading. This time, I wrapped the mercury reservoir in aluminum foil. The thermoter is one of those cylindrical types suitable for measuring air or liquid temperature, not a flat surface. In other words, the way I did it before, the reading was an average of the drive surface and the air. The crinkled alum. foil is not the most ideal heat conductor like say, thermal grease, but better than nothing. A flat thermometer would be great but I don't have such equipment.

With the aluminum foil on, it read 47 C, up from the 41.5 C under the original test condition. Storage Review reported an operating temperature of 44.5 C for a WD JB, I think it was 2000JB model (200 GB). The 47 C is still with the heat being dissipated by the metal frame supporting the drive. So I suspect with drive could be producing much more heat. The spec page at the WD site says operating temperature up to 55 C. Mine is pretty damn close to that limit which is disconcerting; I would think there a safer margin.

However close to the limit, the temperature is within spec so the best thing to do is get a cooler as many of you have suggested. One problem. I've got an odd drive support frame (housing). This is what it looks like. My PC is a Sony VAIO RZ22. The metal housing can slide out once you release the lever. Note there is no space to mount one of those thin cooling fan or heat sinks that go on top of either drive individually. I've looked for commerically available coolers on the web but none seem appropriate for this kind of housing. I'm thinking rigging some sort of contraption like a passive heat sink I could machine out and simply lay on top of the housing. Any other suggestions? Damn these Sony PCs. :angry:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for providing the pics, it makes your problem much clearer.

After looking at them, I believe the situation is near hopeless. That case just isn't designed to accomodate two 3.5" relatively hot-running drives such as WD JB's.

The JB, from what I can see, is wedged between the Barracuda and the front of the case, with hardly a gap on either side. By far the hottest part on a WD hard drive is at the bottom of the motor housing, which isn't even contacting the HD cage. If that cage is at 47C, the motor housing is probably over 55C...

If the WD is indeed the drive closer to the front of the case, try moving it to the rear position, which from what I can see has some holes on the drive's bottom side.

If that cage is detachable, take it out, cut out the bottom, keeping some material to extend the sides (after straightening out the right angle), drill some new holes, and give proper spacing to those drives. Even without the bottom section, it should be rigid enough using the two drives as structural cross-members :)

I suppose your 5.25" bays are all full, otherwise moving the WD there would be the obvious solution.

Otherwise, I would invest in an external Firewire case for the WD. Running it in those conditions is bound to cause premature failure.

From what I have seen, in those mini-cases such as flex-ATX PC's, a number of case manufacturers seem to design the hard drive's mounting frame to make contact with the drive's cover to dissipate heat, as an alternative to airflow in larger cases. Obviously, this approach has its limits, especially if two drives are sandwitched together, and one runs hot.

Also, drives designed for operation in such confines, such as Seagate's bottom-end UX, are rated for operation up to 60C.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ALL seagate drives are rated for operation temp ecceeding 60C.

so, I would suggest getting a bigger case, they\re not sp expensive and will definitely provide better air circulation than your current case does ;)

Otherwise the solution with the external hdd kit seems a good alternative to me, but have in mind you'll sacrifice the high speed of your WD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FWIW - I agree with SMC: your case bay is a poor choice for two high performance (hot) drives. His idea of cutting the case and spacing the drives out is a good one, and eminantely practical since the drive bay is easily removable and you have room deeper in the case. I would try to get at least 1" of air space between them, more if practical.

It also just occured to me that you may not know that there are easily obtainable adapters to fit that 3 1/2" drive into a 5 1/4" bay in the front of your case. They cost a few bucks, and can easily mount the new WD in front of your case. Some kits have the adapter and a slotted grill to cover the 5 1/4" bay for airflow. If the grill doesn't match your case feel free to spray paint it or get a black grill. One thing I did notice: the molex power cables (4 wire) for your drives seem pre-spaced, so you may need some extension power cables. www.newegg.com, www.pcpowernandcooling, and www.cyberguys.com all have these parts. Heck, even CompUSA has these parts...

You may also need to get a longer IDE cable - it appears that your current cable puts the two harddrives on the same IDE channel, one as master, one as slave. Get two longer cables and put them both as masters on their own channels. Any IDE peripherals (CD, DVD, etc.) should go on those two cables as slaves. Just ask questions here if that doesn't make sense, or use the search feature of the forum to see if it has been answered before...

Again, welcome to SR.

Future Shock

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Uh, are we sure we're not making much ado about nothing?

I don't think it's the drive temperature that most specs mean when they specify "Operating Temperature" under the "Environment" specs. I think they mean ambient case temperature.

See this Seagate PDF document, page 39. The relevant section:

6.4.1 Temperature

a. Operating

With cooling designed to maintain the case temperatures, the drive meets all specifications over a 41°F to 131°F (5°C to 55°C) drive ambient temperature range with a maximum temperature gradient of 36°F (20°C) per hour. The enclosure for the drive should be designed such that the temperatures are not exceeded. Air flow may be needed to achieve these temperature values (see Section 8.3). Operation at case temperatures above these values may adversely affect the drives ability to meet specifications.

The MTBF specification for the drive is based on operating in an environment that ensures that the case temperatures are not exceeded. Occasional excursions to drive ambient temperatures of 122°F (50°C) or 41°F (5°C) may occur without impact to specified MTBF. Air flow may be needed to achieve these temperatures. Continual or sustained operation at case temperatures above these values may degrade MTBF. The maximum allowable continuous or sustained HDA case temperature for the rated MTBF is 122°F (50°C).

To confirm that the required cooling for the electronics and HDA is provided, place the drive in its final mechanical configuration, perform random write/read operations. After the temperatures stabilize, measure the HDA case temperature of the drive.

The maximum allowable HDA case temperature is 60°C. Operation of the drive at the maximum case temperature is intended for short time periods only. Continuous operation at the elevated temperatures will reduce product reliability.

I'm not sure that speculation about "actual" drive temperature is relevant. This document seems to strongly indicate that the spec is based on the operating environment (as the spec name itself might imply) rather than the drive temperature itself.

In short, I suspect this is a case of conflating the meanings of HDD and CPU temp specs.

Mickey/freeborn/MaxtorSCSI, can you shed any light on this specification?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hot drives just create problems you don't need. I biult a white box AMD 1.5 GHz system almost two years ago. Two fans, one on the CPU and one on the ANTEC power supply. I was using a 3 year old 8GB Maxtor drive. The inside case temp was about 60 C the top of the case was hot. The over a period of a year the drive became flaky, with the computer rebooting (WIN 2K) with increasing frequency. Before the drive failed completely I replaced it with a new DiamondMax +9. I was amazed at the increase in speed of common operations especially program installs. Very pleased. I did nothing about the heat in the case except to tell my self I really should spend some time and money on the problem. After a few weeks the new drive started having problems, the computer rebooting again. Then the computer died completely. Turned out that the power supply, $100 ANTEC 400 W failed. Well I could get a very nice ANTEc case and Power Supply for $125. I really liked the HDD mounting in the new case and the cable routing and airflow looked like a big improvment over the old one. Moved everything over to the new case. The Diamondmax +9 has been working like a charm since with no reboots for several months. I did not have to reinstall the OS or even scan the disk. The air in the new case is just +5°C over the room temp and the hard drives are nice and cool. If I was to add additional drives the case has mounting provissions for an additional fan to pull air over the top of the drive cage. This is not necessary for a single drive though.

While the manufacturer may spec the drive to 60°C environment, I would strongly recommend keeping the inside case temp as low as possible. This is not that hard to do. If the case you have is a piece of crap, buy a new one. Save yourself the agrivation of a fialed HDD.

Some people have been suggesting moving the WD to an external firewire or USB 2.0 case. A good suggestion but many of the cases on the market do not use a fan and the drives runs very hot.

DAFS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As others have suggested (& if you don't want to buy a new case) you could move your HDD into a 5 1/4" bay. There are a number of devices designed especially to house 3.5" disks in 5 1/4" bays & to keep them cool by either active or passive means. CoolerMaster have several products of this type & I'm sure other members can recommend similar products by other manufacturers.

Personally, I'd fork-out a bit of cash up front & get a new case. I could understand your reluctance when you've already bought a case as part of a packaged PC but it may prove to be your best option. The case is often overlooked when putting a system together, but as temperatures rise throughout the PC (CPU, HDD, GPU, etc) it's becoming increasingly important & people are starting to latch onto this.

I've just paid what most people would consider to be a lot of money for a Lian-Li case, but I have to say I'm thrilled with it & don't plan on replacing it for donkey's years (or until the ATX specification goes out of the window).

B'Billy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've just paid what most people would consider to be a lot of money for a Lian-Li case, but I have to say I'm thrilled with it & don't plan on replacing it for donkey's years (or until the ATX specification goes out of the window).

IDF (or some other exhibition thing) demo'ed a few concept PCs based on a new form factor for cases/motherboards that Intel was developing. Designed with smaller cases and better airflow in mind. Don't know when it'll be launched, but probably in the next couple of years or so.

That said, I still plan to buy an ATX watercooled case for my next PC project in 6-12 months' time (whenever I feel I can afford it). Expensive, but I don't trust myself to do a neat job cutting holes in a case. And I'll probably not upgrade for years, meaning that it doesn't matter if a new form factor comes out 6 months later.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

you know what sounds like a good idea.... a case shaped like a tube... cooler running components at the front, hotter at the rear... one fan at the rear draws air into the tube and exhausts it at the rear.

The drives would need to be placed in such a way to make then not inhibit airflow... perhaps it could be "key" shaped, or could just be made large enough for the drives and a vent infront...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hmm.. PCI/AGP card would be a problem.... I imagine you could have a flat plate on the side of the "bazooka" and could fit 2 or 3 cards in the thing... most components would have to be onboard and have leads to connect to jacks on the side of the case...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this