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Airflow: Hard Drive Cooling

How To: Properly Plan And Pick Parts For An Air-Cooled PC, Part 1
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Front Ventilation and Hard Drive Cooling

This is the most common arrangement. Air is sucked in from the enclosure's front panel and immediately used for direct cooling of installed storage. This configuration is efficient, and it's only problematic if all of your bays are populated.

Because hard drive temperatures much higher than 30°C should be avoided in the interest of data security and drive durability, we'll look at a couple of practical examples.

Here's the classic setup: a hard drive in a 3.5" bay, placed behind a 12-cm front fan.

Here's a front-mounted SATA drive with hot-swap accessibility. The fan above it achieves cooling indirectly. This arrangement is less common, but it's still a functionally sound solution.

This you don't see every day: side loading. Here, the airflow is limited, and additional floor and hard drive fans should be considered.

Optimization Options

If you come to the realization that your hard drive temperatures are too high, you could consider a standard hard drive cooler. They're usually available in well-stocked computer hardware stores, but are more bandages for poor planning than anything else.

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