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Mounting a Hard Disk Upside Down

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October 16, 2006 7:37:23 PM

Is there any reason why a Hard Drive should not be mounted upside down (label side facing down)? I have 2 WD 74GB Raptors if that matters. Thanks in advance.
a b G Storage
October 16, 2006 7:53:00 PM

Nope. Make sure they are free from vibration though.
October 16, 2006 7:54:07 PM

Depends on the drive. The manufacturer's spec sheet for the drive should indicate permissible mounting orientations.
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a b G Storage
October 16, 2006 7:57:55 PM

I have yet to see a hard drive come with a sheet that shows availible mounting orintation (not saying they dont).

Since servers run 10krpn disks sideways,... thats not an issue (as proven). Sideways orinatation is common inside many smaller cases too.

Upside down is fine as long as its mounted just as secure. I do this when im working on hdd's. I place the drive upside down on the top of the case (due to IDE cable restrictions).


The real question is .... WHY?
October 16, 2006 8:06:14 PM

Quote:
I have yet to see a hard drive come with a sheet that shows availible mounting orintation (not saying they dont)....

Of course - they're all on the manufacturer's web site these days. I haven't seen any restrictions on upside down in a long while, but then again, I haven't been looking.
October 16, 2006 8:07:41 PM

There shouldn't be a problem, but I have the same question... why?

You planning on taking your comp into null gravity (AKA Outer Space)?
a b G Storage
October 16, 2006 8:08:26 PM

You mind letting me know what would be bad about mounting a drive upside down? Are you talking about a gravity held read/write arm? I guess that would do it, but cant think of anything else.
October 16, 2006 8:19:00 PM

On modern drives, I can't think of any problems. Many years ago, I remember installing a drive where the spec sheet recommended against upside-down operation; it might just have been because the manufacturer hadn't done long-term testing in that orientation.
October 16, 2006 8:42:51 PM

Quote:

You planning on taking your comp into null gravity (AKA Outer Space)?


I gotta admit that made me chuckle.

No it's a much simpler reason, really. And I admit I'm thinking ahead a little. My new case (Silverstone TJ07) does not leave much clearance between the side of the case and the back of the HDD when mounted in the removable cages. I just ordered some right angle SATA cables to help with that but I am thinking that with the orientation of the way the SATA cable plugs into the back of the drive, the cable will be going down. My SATA connectors on my mobo (A8N-SLI Deluxe) are above that position.

Being an obsessive neat freak, I was hoping to not have to run the cable down from the drive and then curl it back upwards to the mobo. I figured if the HDD was mounted upside down then the plug would go up making for a little bit neater cable run to the mobo.

Sorry my reason for wanting to know this wasn't quite as glamorous as taking my PC into space or bunjie jumping.

Regardless, thanks for the responses. I'll check my HDD manual once I get home from work.
October 16, 2006 8:47:17 PM

Should be just fine... I have one HDD that is mounted upside down. Works perfectly (Maxtor DiamondMax 10 300GB).
October 16, 2006 8:53:02 PM

The real trick would be if you were to pick up some of those 32 gig solid state drives that I believe Samsung is getting ready to release... because then you could mount them in a spinning gyroscopic case and have no worries whatsoever!

Or maybe not... but it would be neat at LAN parties.
October 16, 2006 8:53:45 PM

no worries.

back in the day you had to format in the orientation that the drive would be in but we're talking long enough ago that you would have wanted to consider RLLing your MFM drive during the same format.
October 16, 2006 9:00:03 PM

Crap, my 2yr old has thown HDs on the floor, sucked on them, and shoved USB connectors onto the SATA port...and they still worked. But I DO NOT recommend this. My attention was diverted during these times.

My kid did burn out my onboard FireWire once when he stuck the power adapter connector for my camcorder into the from FireWire port on my computer though.

Off topic, but I vote you can stick HDs any ol way. I personally believe vertical is better than horizontal - because with horizontal you have gravity trying to pull the arm into the disk. And if things get a tad worn out that clearance deteriates over time with friction, then gravity might play a part.

But it's a baseless theory.
a b G Storage
October 16, 2006 9:20:49 PM

Quote:
no worries.

back in the day you had to format in the orientation that the drive would be in but we're talking long enough ago that you would have wanted to consider RLLing your MFM drive during the same format.



Well nobody did ask him if hes has a 10MB 5 1/4in HDD.


But I was assuming reality applies here.
lol
June 2, 2009 12:09:58 AM

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June 23, 2009 9:40:32 PM

I was wondering the same question.
But mine is for a different reason. My HDD gets more hot at the underside han the upper side. And the airflow of the intake fan flows over the hdd. So i tought the hdd would be cooler if the airflow flows over the hotter downside of the hdd. Isnt this true?
August 15, 2009 3:22:46 PM

This shouldn't be a problem, I've been running four drives upside down due to similar problems with cabling for almost three years in an old Fatal1ty AN8 SLI based rig that I still run daily as a second pc. One's an old 160gb Maxtor IDE and the other are sata drives from WD and Hitachi. I simply wanted the power and sata connections on the other side of my drive bays to make cabling less congested and easier to get access to. Never had a problem at all although I once had the 500gb WD on it's side and it disappeared from time to time until it went upright again. The others coped with that just fine.
a c 415 G Storage
August 15, 2009 7:02:30 PM

Of course you can run a drive upside down. Remember, there are read/write heads on both the TOP and the BOTTOM surfaces of each platter - so they obviously work in either orientation.

The heads are spring-loaded to press lightly against the platters, and then a cushion of laminar air flow on the surface of the rapidly spinning disc counters the spring to hold the head at a predetermined "flying height". Gravity is pretty much irrelevant in this design.

In fact, drives are rated to withstand shocks while operating that are far in excess of gravity. As an example, the WD Green drive I use is rated for a shock of 30G over a duration of 2ms while operating. This is obviously way more than the 1G difference you'd get by mounting the drive in various orientations.
August 19, 2009 6:47:49 AM

It does depend almost entirely on your manufacturer; Seagate should do just fine. However, you should remeber that HDD are calibrated and set upwards, so you may have less reliability, as well as slightly decrease the longevity of the drive. If that doesn't concern you, go ahead. But why would you set one up upside down?
a b G Storage
August 19, 2009 7:10:18 AM

I doubt it would affect longevity at all, and I'd be quite surprised if any manufacturer had any issues at all.
August 19, 2009 4:53:47 PM

If dust is a concern to you, then drive orientation might need to be considered. Make sure you have good HDD ventilation and put the circuit board under the drive, not over. This will keep the dust from going on the circuit board. The top metal part of the HDD is easier to clean than the underside with circuit board.

As far as operational problems, drive orientation shouldn't matter.
September 16, 2009 11:50:16 PM

Personnaly i've been using this upside down idea for an other very simple reason over the last two years and haven't experienced any problem. Yes, the reason is i have a very poor case ventilation and i wanted my seagate 500gb to run cool(er), cheap way, that is, i fixed and old fan simply with «fun tak» over the bottom, at my opinion the most efficient way to dissipate heat. Obviously, turning the drive upside down was the best solution and it works fine, cheap, etc. Only negative, of course, is dust. But...
My last experiment was to fix that same fan, after a reconf, on an old maxtor 80gb, again upside down. This drive, running fanless, was, in that same *** case, 45-50 centigrads, now, it runs below 30 C. I'll talk to you in 10 years i bet this drive will still be running like a new one. (in ten years, it'll be runnig by itself though. lol)
My concern, although, is not about arm, it is about platters bearings. Are they irrelevant to weight orientation? Any follow up on this topic since it is two years old?

November 22, 2009 3:26:19 PM

I've been wondering several months now, ever since I purchased two Ultra ULT33053 stackable eSATA hard drive enclosures. The design of this enclosure puts the drive inside in an "up-side-down" orientation (label-down, circuit-board-up) when the rubber feet on the enclosure are pointing down and the text labels are right-side-up and readable.

http://images.tigerdirect.com/SkuImages/gallery/large/U...

If I had known this before ordering them, I probably would not have purchased these enclosures. It just doesn't seem right to me. But I decided to give them a try and see how they work out. Since the beginning, I’ve had two concerns. The first is that the ventilation fans on these enclosures are very noisy, but that's a minor thing, I think, except for the little bit of vibration that they cause. My second concern is potentially more serious. Both of the Seagate 2 TB Barracuda drives that I put in these enclosures have made intermittent clicking and knocking sounds for the last six months, ever since they were brand-new. Normally, I would conclude that a drive is on its last leg when they make this kind of noise, but I thought maybe this is just normal for Seagate. I ran CHKDSK, SpinRite, and other tools on these drives and received no errors, so again decided just to wait and see.

Now, after months of enduring frequent unnerving clicking and knocking noises, I have had enough and pretty much decided to replace both hard drives with Western Digital 2 TB “green” drives and both enclosures with an upward-oriented design, even though I have had no loss or corruption of data. I just don’t want to hear the clicking and knocking anymore and don’t want to keep wondering if it’s because of the enclosures. By the way, I have recently tried simply turning the enclosures over so that they are feet-up, with no reduction in the hard drive noise.

Can anyone offer any advice towards my decision or have you had any similar experience that might help me to deal with this? Can anyone recommend a good upward-oriented eSATA hard drive enclosure to replace what I have? Thanks!
a c 415 G Storage
November 22, 2009 6:21:59 PM

There really, really isn't any difference running a hard drive "right" side up, down, left or right. There are heads on both sides of each platter, and the heads are spring loaded to press toward the platter so that they ride on an air cushion generated by the platters' rotation. Gravity plays no real part in this.

Drive manufacturers are very careful about their reputation - if they believed that a drive needed to be run in a certain orientation then there would be large warning labels on the drives to that effect. Drive spec sheets list environmental factors that need to be met in order to allow reliable operation, including temperatures, vibration/shock, humidity and altitude. The fact that NONE of the spec sheets I've ever seen mentions orientation should be a pretty strong clue that it's irrelevant.

And "clicking" is a pretty normal sound that a lot of drives make while seeking. It may be annoying, but for the drives that make that kind sound it doesn't indicate any kind of problem.
November 22, 2009 8:13:29 PM

sminlal said:
Drive manufacturers are very careful about their reputation - if they believed that a drive needed to be run in a certain orientation then there would be large warning labels on the drives to that effect.


Good point. Thanks. I'm sure that they would.

The sound I'm complaining of is not the normal seeking sound that drives make. This noise is more of a "knock" or "thonk" sound, in addition to the seeking noise. It's quite loud. Every other time I've heard this sort of sound, is was accompanied by more serious problems, such as the drive coming and going or not being visible at all in Windows, making the data accessible only via data recovery software or sometimes not at all. I guess, except for the noisy fans, these upside-down enclosures are OK. I do believe I have hard drive problems, though. I'm going to send these back to Seagate before I do lose any data and replace them with Western Digital drives. I've been swearing by WD for more than ten years and only switched to Seagate this time because they were so much cheaper.

February 7, 2010 10:04:45 PM

I have never used the Seagate 2 TB drives yet, but from research it seems that they are often or always noisy with the clicks and such. One theory is that they are extra particular about power supply voltage; if there's a problem, try a more powerful power supply.

I just bought Hitachi Deskstar 7K2000 HDS722020ALA330 2TB HDDs, which were made in Thailand instead of China like the WD and Seagates. I currently use a dead WD to hold my window open; I don't have a high opinion of them.
February 20, 2010 3:28:41 AM

teknokratus said:
...more of a "knock" or "thonk" sound...


Good ol' Head Crash. Yep. Back up your data. Really. Your hard drive is just about on it's last leg. You will begin to hear that more and more frequently... and once it's completely crashed, the hard drive will try to spin up and at full speed will give you 3 or 4 very loud thuck thuck thuck sounds and then you'll hear it cut power and try to spin up again.

The most common reason this ever happens is when people try to hook up too many hard drives to a power supply that doesn't have enough power to the 5-Volt P5 or SATA power connectors. I had a 750-watt power supply that I was SURE would be able to handle my 6 hard drives... no. It was made to BARELY handle 4 and put all of the power to the CPU and Motherboard.

As far as mounting upside down... it's solely for better cooling. Heat rises... when a hard drive is mounted normally (horizontal) and at the bottom of a case (way to go dell), the heat gets trapped under the drive and will NEVER circulate. The top of the drive will stay very cool, but who cares?! The logic board is on the bottom... getting roasted.

So you mount a hard drive upside down when you have the potential for lack of circulation. Don't worry about the dust. I guarantee you 100% that dust will collect on the logic board just as fast upside down or not. I just bought an Antec Twelve Hundred $200 case. I am actually lowering the mounting holes for the hard drive cages to be able to mount the them upside down so my hard drives will sit upside down. This way, any of the blowing from the front fans will lift the heat right off the logic board. (This is for the 4x 1TB WD Green drives which don't even produce that much heat... but keep reading)

I have two Veloviraptor WD drives that I have to mount in as well. Those things COME with a heatsink/heat spreader and the teeth are pointing up (mounted normally). So if I mount these two updside down, I will be in essence causing the heat to trap between the teeth as there is no visible logic board on the bottom of these.

So as some people stated, I guess it would depend on the situation. But I say, any non-heatsink mounted drive should be mounted upside down in order to get the best life out of them. OH and... Raid 5. Hah!

On a side note... I still have IDE drives running from OVER 10 years ago since I started mounting them (or stacking in some cases) upside down.
Anonymous
a b G Storage
April 25, 2010 2:00:22 PM

Mount the drive in the system

Desktop Drives: The drive can be mounted in a standard 3.5"device bay. The drive can be mounted sideways, on end, or even upside down as long as the mounting screws are used properly. Use either the four bottom screws or four of the side mounting screws to support the drive. This will prevent vibration and provide additional electrical grounding.


http://wdc.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/wdc.cfg/php/enduser/std...!!&p_li=&p_topview=1#mount
a c 415 G Storage
April 25, 2010 4:23:20 PM

This is an old thread, but to hopefully stem any further debate I'll add some more quotes from the drive manufacturers themselves: (I've added the bolding):


From the Western Digital Disk installation guide at: http://www.wdc.com/en/library/legacy/scsi/2079-001007.p...
Quote:
To allow maximum performance in any orientation, the drives feature side and bottom mounting holes.


From the Seagate drive installation guide at: http://www.seagate.com/staticfiles/support/disc/iguides...
Quote:
Note. You can mount the drive in any orientation, however, the most common orientation is with the circuit board down.
a b G Storage
April 25, 2010 4:34:09 PM

I guess that's the final word!
May 28, 2010 12:57:58 AM

mounting upside down would work better for me, I have a lancool PC-K62 which uses a bottom mounted power supply. the sata power cables coming out of the PSU are meant to go down, so them going up makes the sata power bar upside don, so managing cables gets a bit stupid when it has to do a loop at each hard drive just to be able to plug into it. I think I might turn my drives around.
a b G Storage
May 28, 2010 1:34:01 AM

Sound's like a plan!
June 19, 2012 2:44:32 AM

Seagate says about Upside down installation :

Can I physically install my drive sideways, upside down or vertically?

All Seagate and Maxtor-brand hard drives can be fitted sideways or upside down. As long as they are not moved during use and get enough cooling, it is irrelevant in which direction they are mounted.


http://knowledge.seagate.com/articles/en_US/FAQ/195931e...


My observation: I had 750 GB seagate. I used it for an year, and after that I had clicking sound, and finally it dint boot. I tried to recover data and failed, I removed the harddisk and placed it on a wooden surface upside down accidentally (circuit board up). to my surprise harddisk worked perfectly. no clicking sounds or read error.

I replaced the 750 GB and got a new one but I installed it in the same position as I did earlier (circuit board down), within few moths I go the same problem, now I have turned my harddisk upside down and works perfectly.
December 8, 2012 2:55:39 PM

Upside down ... The real question is .... WHY?[/quotemsg]


I have a Dell 755 minitower and the ONLY way to mount the HDD in the caddy is upside down.
!