My MadDog enclosure should be called HotDog
December 10, 2007 2:48 PM   Subscribe

My new HD enclosure gets really hot. Should I worry?

I just got one of these and although it's just what I wanted, it's still really HOT after copying 40gb onto it two hours ago.

Not having an IR thermometer handy I'd say it's holding-hot-coffee-in-a-paper-cup hot.
Uncomfortable in the hand; wouldn't want it in my lap.

It says it's anodized metal, but it feels like plastic.
There doesn't seem to be any venting; but does a HD in a box need to be vented?
I've got it oriented vertically on its stand for maximum heat dissipation, but I can't see that making much difference.

I'm worried that I'm going to bake my data right off the thing. It has to be plugged in and turned on 24/7.

Should I just take the drive out and drill some air holes in the enclosure? Will that let the magic out?

Or is it b0rken and I should send it back as the Ford Pinto of HD enclosures?
posted by penciltopper to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have that case (specifically, that case, except an older ATA-only version); it gets hot, but the 300GB Maxtor that's in it is still plugging away fine (it's about 2 years old now). it is actually made out of metal, so it dissipates heat pretty well (afaik the last time I swapped out the drive, the drive was cooler than the case was - not by much, though). you might point a fan at it if your room gets hot in the summer though.
posted by mrg at 3:05 PM on December 10, 2007

If your HD enclosure is metal and it doesn't have a fan, the outside being hot is A Good Thing™. The metal enclosure is drawing heat away from your drive and into the outside air. I have an aluminum fanless enclosure that gets hot enough that I can't hold it for more than a few seconds, and its been running fine 24/7 for the past few years.
posted by burnmp3s at 3:08 PM on December 10, 2007

I had extensive harddrive troubles until I zip-tied a fan onto each one. Were my problems heat-related? I don't know, but without making any other changes, I now have no more troubles.

So anecdotally, yeah, if your drives are getting much over 50'-60', you should worry.
posted by J-Train at 3:10 PM on December 10, 2007

I don't think drilling holes in the case will cause any problems per se, as long as you clean up the holes, remove any burrs, etc before reinserting the drive and the electronics board. However, you may be able to achieve the same cooling via other methods. I've got a couple of those and the heat they put out did make me worry as well. I went to an old electronics supplier and got some massive surplus heatsinks which I just put on top of the enclosure with a bit of thermal goo, and that dropped the temperature of the whole works by a good 10-15 C. And being big passive sinks, it's a silent mod. That being said, they're not so much "portable like throw into a large pocket" as "can be taken places if you have to with a bag" after the mod.
posted by barc0001 at 6:01 PM on December 10, 2007

Maxtor has always made fast drives that run hot.
posted by flabdablet at 6:08 PM on December 10, 2007

You need to make sure that it's got breathing space all around it so it can cool convectively.

On average, running hot shortens the life of a hard drive.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 6:39 PM on December 10, 2007

Samsung, on the other hand, makes fast reliable drives that run quite cool.
posted by flabdablet at 12:10 AM on December 11, 2007

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