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How to keep the hard drives cool! RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have 6 hard drives installed in my WHS box (Dell PowerEdge 400SC) and I was concernd about the heat generated, so I placed the headless server in my detached, unheated  garage. I have a 100MB Ethernet connection to the garage and I keep a desk out there to work on my PC in the summer months. I'm taking advantage of the cold Michigan winters by locating the server out there (the garage is locked and the server is not in view). In the summer, I'll move the server to the basement, where it stays cool during the warmer weather.

     

    The WHS has helped me out greatly by giving me a place to store my MP3's (83,000 at last count) and backing up our 5 computers. Really slick solution!!!

    Tuesday, December 18, 2007 1:32 PM

Answers

  • @inlvnv:

    My interpretation of the paper is that, as long as your drives remain within their manufacturer specified operating temperature range, they will likely last for years. That range is normally something like 35° C to 55° C. So even if your drives are running at a steady 52-55° C they will last for a long time.

    @azasadny:

    A temperature of below 30° in your garage, in Michigan, is measured in degrees Farenheit. That's the equivalent of -1° C, which is far outside the operating range for any manufacturer. And I would bet that ambient drops to well below that at night, or in mid-January. Even if your drives are running 20° C above ambient (likely) they're well outside the recommended range. This is one case where commonly accepted wisdom (that high temps kill drives fast, while low temps preserve them) turns out not to be right. I would bring your server inside and out it in the basement if I were you.
    Wednesday, December 19, 2007 5:36 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Earlier this year, Google published a research paper dealing with hard drive failures. You should read it; there are some interesting conclusions. As far as temperature is concerned, though, as long as the drive is within the manufacturer's recommended operating range, there's nothing to worry about. It'll still meet the MTBF numbers, on average.

    On the other hand, the paper also shows that drives running below the manufacturer's recommended operating range have a higher failure rate than those running above that range. So if the manufacturer's range is 35° C to 55° C, running your drives at 30° C or less is worse than running them at 60° C. Possibly quite a bit worse...
    Wednesday, December 19, 2007 1:58 AM
    Moderator
  • Interesting article.  It's too early in the morning for me but, if I'm reading it right, ideal operating temperature range to minimize failure rate is 35 to 40C for drives less than 3 years old.  Is that right?  I have 3 front case fans and a side fan blowing air onto all drives and their temps range between 28C to 36C per HD Tune.  I may need to experiment with these fans(on/off) to see if I could bring the drive temps to within that "ideal" range.

     

    Wednesday, December 19, 2007 10:52 AM
  • Funny, but my old WD 80GB SYS drive just failed last night and I have to replace it and run a "reinstallation" tonight. It was about 30 degrees in the garage and that is the ambient temp, not the temp in the case, shich is quite a bit warmer. The 80GB drive is very old (about 6 years), so I'll be replacing it with a newer 160GB or 250GB drive. Hopefully, the reinstallation will go well and I won't lose any data. My disk setup "was":

     

    80GB SYS int ATA

    250GB int ATA

    250GB int ATA

    500GB int ATA

    500GB int ATA

    120GB ext USB

    160GB ext USB

     

    I'll post the results after I reinstall. So far, this is the only problem I've had and I really shouldn't have used such an old HD as the SYS disk, that's my error in hudgement.

    Wednesday, December 19, 2007 1:39 PM
  • @inlvnv:

    My interpretation of the paper is that, as long as your drives remain within their manufacturer specified operating temperature range, they will likely last for years. That range is normally something like 35° C to 55° C. So even if your drives are running at a steady 52-55° C they will last for a long time.

    @azasadny:

    A temperature of below 30° in your garage, in Michigan, is measured in degrees Farenheit. That's the equivalent of -1° C, which is far outside the operating range for any manufacturer. And I would bet that ambient drops to well below that at night, or in mid-January. Even if your drives are running 20° C above ambient (likely) they're well outside the recommended range. This is one case where commonly accepted wisdom (that high temps kill drives fast, while low temps preserve them) turns out not to be right. I would bring your server inside and out it in the basement if I were you.
    Wednesday, December 19, 2007 5:36 PM
    Moderator
  • Slightly Off-Topic, but it's recommended to install your System on the largest HDD. 

    Due to the limitations of the Drive Extender, only the free space on the second partition of the first drive can be used for copying files to the Server.
    Sunday, December 23, 2007 11:55 AM

  • Thanks for the heads-up on a GREAT article.  No one would know better about a server farm than Google!

    Based on that article, I moved MY unit out of the garage (winters in Oregon get cold, but not like Michigan!), where they were running in the teens and into a closet in the house and the temps on all of my drives went up 20 - 25 C, to settle in around 38 - 42 C.

    Thankfully the cases (2 Antec 900's w/ all fans on Low) aren't loud.

    I'm hoping that move extends the lifetime on the whole bunch!

    Thanks again!

    Sunday, December 23, 2007 8:24 PM