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4 Dec 2007

Heat and Hard Disk Drive Failure

The hard drives in our server always felt hot and I would often wonder if the heat would cause problems.

After 14 months one of the drives failed so when the server was up and running again a Tiny Temperature Recorder was placed on the top most drive to measure the operating temperature of the drives in the RAID set.

The external operating temperature of the top hard drive stabilised at 49C (120F) with an ambient room temperature of 23C.

The maximum operating temperature of the hard drive was rated to 55C but if the external temperature was close to this limit then the internal temperature of the unit had to be higher and way too close to the rated limit.

Cooling the hard drives
A - The tiny temperature recorder used to record the external hard drive temperature.
B - a 92mm SWiF Coolink double ball bearing cooling fan was orientated to blow air through the hard drives from front to back (B to A).
A 9cm cooling fan was fitted to blow air through the hard drives. The fan was supplied with a power cable and a 3 pin connector that was connected to the spare fan connector on the motherboard. The power cable had to be lengthened to reach the motherboard connector.

A temperature recorder was placed on the top most hard drive and the server was run up. After five hours the operating temperature of all hard drives were still cool to touch.

The graph below shows the top hard drive external temperature after the fan was fitted. The cooling fan reduced the operating temperature by 14C down to 33C (91F). All hard drives remained "cool to touch".


Graph of the hard drive
temperature with a cooling fan running



Install a cooling fan whenever you stack two or more hard drives together. In my opinion the cooling effect of the fan makes a significant difference and that can only help the hard drives survive longer.


The Insmart tiny temperature recorder is extremely useful and relatively cheap.

You can purchase the recorder on-line from our temperature recorder page.

Author: Rod Grasso 4 Dec 2007




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