Hard Drives heat

Okay, So I have two drives installed. One is a 300 gb Velociraptor and the other is a 1tb WD caviar green 64 mb cache. The green one is not going to fit my needs so I am planning on getting an different one and just using the green for storage.

I am thinking of a WD black 7200prm. I am unfamiliar with having multiple drives in a single computer. (Multiple meaning more than 2) I am not at the point of using RAID configs or anything like that.

I have decent ventilation in my chasis, but I am worried that the drives all operating between 50-140 F would add too much heat. i hear the green can run at various temps. So, can assume the other two would be in the average for their range. I have space and fans in my computer, but am I just being overly concerned with three drives and a graphics card generating too much heat?

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  1. I think for a well ventilated case, a few extra HDs won't make that much of a difference, esp compared to a higher end video card and/or CPU. The Velociraptor at 10K rpm will generate more heat than the other drives, so if possible leave some space between that drive & the others.

    In my experience, heat is more a threat to hard drives, than hard drive heat is to other components.
  2. The Green disk uses 3.5W; but 7200rpm disks may use much more - up to 8W when idling (doing nothing). That is a lot of heat which will need airflow or the drive will overheat. Virtuall all cases have at least some airflow and that is already sufficient to keep the drive reasonably cool.

    Still; i wouldn't want any 7200rpm+ disks in my system anymore; due to heat. It also makes the disks much less reliable as you either need active cooling or allow it become hot; both will decrease the lifetime of the HDD and increase chance of premature failure.

    It is not the heat itself that is bad for HDDs; but temperature variations. I.e. if your HDD is 35 degrees on one side with a fan blowing, but 55 degrees on the other side because it has no ventilation there - then this is extremely bad and the drive is quite likely to fail within 3 years.

    The best treatment for HDDs is a vibration-less environment where the temperature does not vary or only very slightly.

    Having 5400rpm Green disks is also a good thing; you don't need to cool them so it is more likely that all sides of the HDD will have similar/same temperature.

    Why don't you consider buying a 40GB Intel X25-V SSD instead? And keep the rest as storage and focus on 5400rpm green disks instead.
  3. What I am working with requires speeds faster than 5400. The Green series has fluctuating speeds if you read the reviews as WD will not publish standard speeds for it. I read that it can reach heat that is the same as their black models. Of course these are all reviews so you have to take some with a grain of salt. I think the drive, but the reality is that I need something faster than 5400-6400 for the work I am doing.

    I looked at some SSD drives but they were out of my price range. The 40gb is a decent price for a SD drive.

    I will consider it if you think that the extra heat will cause too much uneven heating in the system. I know little about SSD drives. They are sata with the 3pgs transfer?
  4. Can you point me to those reviews? If you still have the URL, of course.

    Often it is said that the Green drives have a varying rpm; i.e. they throttle up and down. That is not the case; they have an "invariant" (static) spindle speed.

    Green drives at ~5400rpm consume almost half that of 7200rpm drives; if you compare same class (platter count). Since 5400rpm is still very fast for sequential transfers; it makes an excellent disk for storing large files (i.e. a 'download' drive). But performs significantly worse with random I/O which is important for your system drive or server I/O.

    Anyway for your system disk the SSD is the preferred choice; and for storing large files 5400rpm HDDs. So 7200rpm+ HDDs are kind of dying out. Still they can be useful, for example for gamers who really need more space than affordable SSDs can provide.
  5. http://techreport.com/articles.x/15769

    Here is the link. It tells you a lot about the drives.

    Yes, you make good points. I am working with HD footage (use it for business creating multimedia) sometimes and I may need more space than an affordable SSD has From what I understand one needs to have at least 7200 rpm to work well with it.

    I have external drives, but the transfer rates are a bit slower even if one uses firewire or eSata. I am also considering getting a graid external drive, but I hear setting it to a raid 0 means higher failure rates. though, raid 0 are less stable overall no matter what.
  6. 7200 rpm drives have been standard on desktop computers for years - I don't see the heat from them as being that much of an issue. If an HD takes 8W, compare that to what the rest of your system uses if you have a few hundred watt power supply.
  7. My power supply and chipset can handle another drive. I was more concerned about the heat of the drive itself causing uneven heating or something.
  8. @gtvr: you are missing the point. 1W is enough to overheat a chip if it had no way to dissipate that heat. That's why Velociraptor drives need the cooling tray; they would seriously overheat in a laptop even though they are 'only' 4W.

    While 3,5" disks have more dissipation surface and thus can transfer heat much faster to the surroundings, it is still an important issue. You won't have heat issues with Green drives; but a 7200rpm drive either needs active cooling or needs some serious space around it so natural airflow causes a slight breeze upon the surface of the drive. Also the metal casing transfers heat from the HDD.

    Especially if you have alot of disks, having them Green 5400rpm drives would give you much less trouble than a battery of 7200rpm; which can kill itself if not properly cooled.
  9. @subm I believe I have space in there: essentially I should have an empty bay in between each drives if I recall. There would at least be an empty bay in between the Velociraptor. I will check later. I have to find out if my other PC's drive is a sata, if so, then I could just move the green one I suppose and have the fast ones in the better computer.

    I should know if the older one uses sata, but sadly I do not recall. my feeble mind.
  10. One personal example:

    I have 4 older 250GB SATA 7200rpm disks, fitted in two 5,25" bays which is equivalent to 4 CD-ROMs; so one drive per 5.25" bay. That means the drives had at least a few centimeters of space between the others. Still they were getting quite hot; 55 degrees with 18 degrees ambient temperature. I had to use the built-in fans so keep them from heating up too much. It's important the fan blows air across all surfaces of the HDD; not just the top or the bottom.

    The other Green 5400rpm drives are not directly cooled, and alot closer to eachother than the 7200rpm ones. Still they are a steady 38 degrees, which is fine. Due to there being no fan, the drives heat up very simultaniously so the drive is (almost) equally hot across the surface. This is best to prevent contraction/expansion by metal as the temperature changes.

    However, if this concerns just a few drives; do what seems logical. Feel with your hand how warm the drive is. If after 10-20 seconds you feel pain, then the drive is too hot. It may be 'warm' but not 'hot' in the sense that it causes even light pain when touching it for a period of time.

    HDDs don't use much more power when reading/writing; their power consumption is pretty much the same. So you don't need to stress them to find out if you cooled them properly, such as is the case with GPUs and CPUs.
  11. I will check it out and see. I get overly concerned, but for what I do there are render times which can take a while. I have a lot of fans in the computer already. May I ask what you use to check the temperature?
  12. Well i have a laser temp reader, very useful, over at the office. But really all you need is your hand. :)

    Oh and temperature can also be read via the drive's SMART data: Temperature_Celsius and look at the RAW VALUE.
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