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Hard Drive Heat Damage

One of many reasons a hard drive can get damaged or outright fail is from heat. Since hard drive failure is the last thing you want, it is important that you are aware of what effect temperature has and the measures you can take to make sure you don’t end up with lost data.

Manufacturers will list the ideal temperature that the hard drive should operate at, which could be anything from 0 to 60 °C. Generally the higher the figure then the more at risk your hard drive becomes. Components like processors and video cards run to higher temperatures, but it is debatably the hard drive that is the most important component. After all, it is the part that stores all your data, like pictures, films and documents. If you don’t have anything backed up and the hard drive breaks then you’ve potentially lost all that information forever.

If you exceed the ideal temperature listed by the manufacturer then you risk damaging the hard drive. According to research carried out by IXBT Labs, each degree under the limit will add 10% to the life of the drive. They also say that increasing by 5°C is the same as increasing the workload of the drive from 10% to 100%.

Cooling of hard drives is paid a lot of attention in enterprises where there are servers or extensive storage systems. The drives will be installed in metal cages that help diffuse temperature and are cooled down by a lot of fans. This allows a lot of drives to run in close proximity to one another while still maintaining good health.

Hard drive heat should still be given close attention at home too. The majority of drives will spin at 7200 revolutions per minute. Some computer manufacturers will pad the hard drive (with rubber holders, for example) in order to keep the drive quiet. However, this means that the drive isn’t able to benefit from the cooling effects that having it up against a metal bracket would offer.

There are a number of steps you can take to ensure that your hard drive is properly cooled. The first of these is to check that your system has an adequate number of fans that are channelling the air properly. This will vary from system to system depending on how it is built. Often extra fans are left out of cheaper builds in order to keep costs and noise levels down, but they are a vital part in keeping the hard drive temperature safe. You should also place your computer in a place where it isn’t going to generate a lot of heat. This means keeping it out of direct sunlight and also avoiding placing it in enclosed spaces like cabinets where the computer cannot ventilate properly.

You can get programs that will monitor the heat levels of your hard drive. If you find that they are too high then it is recommended that you install some more fans in your computer (although this isn’t possible in laptops).


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