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What happends when a hard drive over heats?

Last response: in Storage
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July 17, 2006 11:00:21 PM

I havent' been able to find anyone that knows this, has anyone had a hard drie fail and they knw for a fact it was heat related? Does it slowly die or is it just one day it doesn't work anymore, or does it stop spinning one day and just sort of lock up?
a b G Storage
July 18, 2006 1:48:24 AM

Prolonged heat exposure to the hard drive won't cause it to suddenly die, it will just decrease it's lifespan.
July 18, 2006 10:42:58 AM

slowly die if over heated by shorten its lifespan


my HD MAU is so heat that i got a fan to cool it directly
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July 18, 2006 12:00:14 PM

what kind of temperature is considered too hot ? I have two HD in close proxmity and I think they run at around 60-70 celsius (hot to the touch).
July 18, 2006 12:21:57 PM

Quote:
what kind of temperature is considered too hot
Well it depends on the make and model. If you consult your documentation you can see the rated operating temperatures. Personally I would be worried if my drives were running at 60-70 C. That is very high. I've seen a lot of drives rated for 0-60 C. I wouldn't want the drive running and near or above the rated temperature for very long. If I were you I would stick a fan on those drives or possibly a HDD cooler.
July 18, 2006 12:46:12 PM

Interesting ???? ..What about computers running in hot countries,where 70-80f would be considered rather cool ,Hmmm? :) 
Thank you..
July 18, 2006 12:48:58 PM

why do you need them so close? can you separate them?
July 18, 2006 1:31:00 PM

OK so it would be more of a mecahnial failure, as in it would still spin just not be able to recognize the drive, or would it e more of a physical failure the sectors on the disc would start to go bad?
July 18, 2006 1:59:51 PM

I didn't do anything extra, I just put the two harddisk into the desktop slot where they belong. Both harddisks are close to each other but I thought all desktops are the same ?
July 18, 2006 2:34:17 PM

Without a failure analysis lab, then it would incredibly difficult for the average consumer to know exactly why anything failed.

With that said, anything in a computer that it hot enough that you leave skin on it when you touch it should probably be cooled down a bit, and leaving it run that hot could be assumed to shorten it's typical life span.
July 22, 2006 2:24:33 AM

Quote:
I havent' been able to find anyone that knows this, has anyone had a hard drie fail and they knw for a fact it was heat related? Does it slowly die or is it just one day it doesn't work anymore, or does it stop spinning one day and just sort of lock up?


Heat can cause data corruption at best or death at worst.

Some drive, older model especially had what was called thermal calibration. the hdd itself would calibrate the head/platters position to compensate for material variation due to heat. Modern hdd dont do this anymore, as this cannot be a good thing when you need to capture video or play streamed files.. the drive simply cannot just stop sending or retriving data to calibrate itself then resume.. it has to work all the time. Back in time, the first drive without calibration were advertised as video capable hdd..

Today, with better mechanism and electronic, hdd can operate much more stable in various environnement than older hdd. But running them in extreme environnement would cause them to fail eventually. first, when they get hot, electronic part become less reliable and more prone to errors, which will cause data corruption. At first level, drive software can correct those errors but if temp keep increasing then even the hdd wont be able to made the simple correction. Then, if they are not cooled, material expansion can cause misalignement and create more errors.. And since you are creating errors, then the electronic work harder to try to correct the, creating more heat.

At the extreme, the drive may crash. Not the head, but the electronic. Normally, a computer reset will have the hdd to restart, but repetitive crash due to heat will make the hdd to fail for good.

you should leave at minimum at least half an inch of clearance between hdds and the next up or down obstacle
July 22, 2006 3:26:21 AM

Quote:

you should leave at minimum at least half an inch of clearance between hdds and the next up or down obstacle


Or use a HD Cooler.
July 22, 2006 4:02:01 AM

Platters can flex, it's so small you certainly couldn't see it, but it throws the heads off, and all the other metal parts will expand/contract throwing the whole thing out of alignment. Like pat said, the HD's will compensate, but only to a point. A physical crash (head to disk) is possible in EXTREME cases I suppose, but I've never seen it. The data surface of the platters won't be affected by heat directly unless it's VERY hot, the corruption is due to the HD not compensating for the above.

If a drive is more than just barely warm to the touch it's too hot in my opinion. The only drives I have that are warm, out of over 30 at home, are my 3 10k scsi drives and I'm not cooling them properly.
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