UPS next to hard drive?
September 26, 2011 6:08 AM   Subscribe

Is it a terribile idea to put my small UPS next to my hard drives?

I have a small UPS to deal with voltage fluctuations that were rebooting my system this summer. I would like to put the UPS on top of the case of my MacPro for space and plug access reasons. This would put it directly above the hard drives in the system. The documentation doesn't say anything about proximity to drives but it's still sketching me out a little. Is this a bad idea?
posted by nathancaswell to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
It'll be just fine.
posted by Static Vagabond at 6:16 AM on September 26, 2011

Probably not. You'd need a powerful magnet very close to the hard drive to cause any significant problems.
posted by empath at 6:16 AM on September 26, 2011

My only concern would be ventilation and heat build up. If the drives or the UPS are too hot to touch then find a different layout.
posted by dgran at 6:34 AM on September 26, 2011

For a real-life example-- I've got a business-critical server directly sandwiched between two 100+lb UPS's on a rack. I'm sure a great number of server racks in the world have a server touching a UPS that far exceeds the power capabilities of your one. So if a problem existed, it'd be common knowledge by now.
posted by Static Vagabond at 6:38 AM on September 26, 2011

Yes, heat is your only concern. A UPS isn't going to put out all that much EMI, and hard drive platters have very high coercivity (how strong of a magnetic field it requires to mess them up).

The myths of magnetized screwdrivers and sticking magnets to the case of a computer messing them up are just that: myths. You might mess up an old floppy disk that way, but not a hard drive.
posted by gjc at 7:27 AM on September 26, 2011

We have lots and lots of servers set up in very close proximity to various sizes of UPSes and have never had a problem with that.

gjc is right, and it takes quite a substantial magnetic field to corrupt the data on a hard drive. I managed to do it once by moving a large floor-standing loudspeaker right next to my computer, and even that only affected the drive's outer tracks that were presumably closest to the massive magnet inside the speaker.
posted by FishBike at 7:54 AM on September 26, 2011

You're cool, I've got a small UPS immediately next to my file server with 6 harddrives in it. No problems for the past year.
posted by Brian Puccio at 5:23 PM on September 26, 2011

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