Curtail computer use during the current heatwave?
July 28, 2009 5:18 PM   Subscribe

West Coast Heatwave! I'm worried about my computer's hard drives, should I curtail my downloads and turn some drives off for the next few days until things cool down?'s 105 degrees Fahrenheit outside today - with a repeat performance set for tomorrow and thursday. In my non-air conditioned apartment, (with several fans running) it feels at least that hot.

How worried should I be about my computer and its hard drives?
I've got a well ventilated case with plenty of internal fans, but it's record-breaking hot...

Should I turn off the external drives for the next few days? Stop running torrents and video/music downloads? When I poll my internal drives with SpeedFan, they range from 48C to 56C; it worries me, especially since a 2.5" portable drive I was using for back-up sang its click of death swan song yesterday (I've since created a new back-up)... anyway.

posted by Auden to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Given that ambient temperatures in a computer case regularly and sometimes greatly exceed 40 degrees (that's one hundred and five of your illogically calibrated units), and that external harddrives are pretty much just internal drives in a fancy little case, you should be perfectly fine to be using external drives, at least.

Aside from that, odinsdream provides some good advice. Chances are the information is avaliable from harddrive manufacturers' websites, and doesn't vary much between models (meaning you won't need much more than the make) or even makes, for that matter.
posted by Dysk at 8:32 PM on July 28, 2009

Here is a spec sheet for a modern Seagate Barracuda, for example, which specifies a safe operating range of 0-60 degrees centigrade (32-140 of your illogically calibrated units). As far as I can ascertain (from here), this pertains to the environmental temperature in which the drives can safely be operated, rather than the temperature of the drive itself. That is to say, the ambient temperature of your case should not top 60C/140F (or 55C/131F for older drives).
posted by Dysk at 8:42 PM on July 28, 2009

Response by poster: Odinsdream, Brother Dysk, thanks - I've got a mix of Seagates and WDs in ranges from 500GB to 1.5 TB, installed internally and externally. I'll check out the manufacturer's sites, although I'll add that Brother Dysk has put my mind more somewhat at ease for now.
posted by Auden at 11:13 PM on July 28, 2009

If you find anything like a definitive answer (or at least some definitive data), please do post it on here - I've gotten really rather curious (though not quite to the point of doing any more substantial research myself...)
posted by Dysk at 2:42 AM on July 29, 2009

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