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 Post subject: The ultimate hard drive suspension photo tutorial!
PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 6:45 am 
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Location: UK
Background
I hope this tutorial will be of interest and benefit to those who have at any point considered suspending their hard drives in order to achieve optimum silence and cooling performance.

Hard drive suspension is not a new idea; it has been covered on these forums before. However, there has not as yet, to my knowledge, been a comprehensive guide on the subject. So I hope that this humble article may be a source of reference for those who are thinking of embarking on their own super-value project.

I refer to this project 'super-value', because for 99p, and an hour of time, you will find that your previously whirring and ticking hard drives are no longer even audible. Now that is value for money!

The system which you will see in the photos below is my own Antec Sonata. I was thinking of calling this guide 'How to make your Sonata (almost) as good as a Solo...!, but I think that may have to be the title of my next guide, once I have finished off my further Sonata case modifications.

Nonetheless, I believe this guide should be relevant to many cases other than the Sonata. Why not take a look at the layout of your own case, and let us all know whether this approach would appear likely to succeed.

So without further delay onwards, to the guide...

Level of skill required: Suitable for the total n00b! An ideal introductory case-modification mini-project for the uninitiated.

Total time required: Approximately 1 hour.

Total cost: 99p.

Materials:
1.8mm by 1.5m roll of 'Stretch Magic'.
A good-quality rubber band.
Six or twelve of the 16 rubber hard-drive-tray grommets that originally came with your Sonata case.

Tools: A pair of scissors is essential for the stretch-magic cutting
A pair of thin-nosed pliers is also very useful, for the threading.
As with any case-modding work, a rubber mat to guard against static build-up and to protect your work-table, is essential.

Preparation:
For suspending two 3.5" HDs, remove all but your top CD-ROM drive.
For installing one 3.5" HD, remove all but your top two CD-ROM drives.

Work steps:
1.Take out your stock Antec Sonata 3.5â€


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 7:02 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2009 9:11 am
Posts: 540
Location: Massachusetts, USA
this is a good, quick way of suspending the hdds. Im a fan...and nice guide btw. It will probably be very useful for suspension noobs lol

the only gripe I have with suspending them in the 5.25 bays is the lack of cool air blowing over them.

Image

a little more time consuming, but extremely secure, and keeps my drives hovering around 30C plus/minus 3C

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 7:12 am 
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Your hard drives don't need half the air-flow that you might think.

Here is my SpeedFan stats with my system running idle for an hour:

Image

I will post the output after the system has performed a 2-hour gaming session, later. Though I can say in advance that the drive temperatures increase by only 2-3 degrees.

So I see no drawbacks to mounting hard drives in the 5.25" bays! :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 7:39 am 
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well still, assuming those temps represent average idle temperatures, were talkin about an 7-8C difference between our drives. Now sure, thats really not something to worry about, ill give you that. However, it's been proven that temperature does affect the overall lifetime and reliablilty of a drive, and the lower, the better.

That said, I realize I'm splitting hairs here >.< lol

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 7:48 am 
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Your point here is good in theory, but in reality does not pan out quite as might be expected.

Hard drives of this nature will happily operate at temperatures of up to 60'.

Indeed, running one at anything below 30' will most likely cause a significant reduction in performance.

Hard drives are not supposed to be too cool.

Within safe operating limits, it is a case of 'the warmer the better'. :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 8:01 am 
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PSHhhhH what if I like my hdds cold?!?! lol

and 60C is an exaggeration..but I get your point. drives these days are more than capable of running fanless. /agreed

in fact, assuming SSD's dont come WAY down in price in the next year, I will probably be mounting my next build's hdds in a similar way as your guide details. Its just cleaner, and they are out of the way, like you said, which improves airflow to the important stuff like gpu and cpu and fun stuff like that!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 8:04 am 
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Sixty degrees! 8)

Edit: Or 140'F - whichever you prefer! :lol:


Last edited by Pipps on Wed Jul 08, 2009 8:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 8:06 am 
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RoGuE wrote:
...I will probably be mounting my next build's hdds in a similar way as your guide details. Its just cleaner, and they are out of the way, like you said, which improves airflow to the important stuff like gpu and cpu and fun stuff like that!

Thank you, kind Sir! My sentiments entirely!

This is, after all, the very purpose of this approach! :D

After all, as my machine demonstrates, you will never have a problem when mounting your hard drives next to your CD-ROM. :!:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 8:40 am 
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RoGuE wrote:
However, it's been proven that temperature does affect the overall lifetime and reliablilty of a drive, and the lower, the better.


Actually, that's not correct. The one large-scale study widely released shows that the situation is at best complex (though like most things these folks seem to want a single-line take-home answer, and certain tech sites seem to be happy to oblige).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 1:25 pm 
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As a mechanical engineer, my job happens to be working with permanent magnet motor design and testing.

See, you can basically think of your hard drives, as motors. That's all they really are physically. Over a few years at work and in school getting my degree, I've learned a lot about how temperature affects motors adversely. In lamens terms, the higher the temperature of any electric motor, the LOWER the efficiency. This ultimately means more current must be sent into the motor to see the same output of torque/horsepower. and what does this mean for hdds? you want the drive as close to room temperature as possible to minimize drive in-efficency and stress on the motor spinning the platter(s). The same goes for the servo that moves the heads back and forth. When components heat up, they expand ("pou-saans" ratio). Get too much expansion, and that can also cause drive in-efficiency (primarily in the form of friction) and even failure if it cooks hot enough.

So, to sum it up, the ideal situation is to have your hdds at or slightly above (inevitably) room temp. Is this attainable? of course not, but that didn't stop me from making an effort. I dont know where you got you're information from, nutball, but you sure as hell didn't spend a long time gathering.

My whole point is, you want them to be cool, but that's not necessarily a configuration changing design requirement. And that's why I finnally agreed with pipps in that it is a fine way to suspend your drives, and the temp change doesn't make enough of a difference to outweigh the inconvenience of mounting them in front of a fan.


Did I drill this one into the ground enough yet? if not I can keep going :P

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The Rig: Asus P5Q, e8400 O.C.'d to 3.6 Ghz w/ Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro, MSI GTX460 768MB, 4x1gb G.Skill@1066Mhz, 320gb WD & 500gb Samsung suspended, Corsair 520W PSU, Windows 7 Professional x64


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 1:37 pm 
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Pop quiz: what lubrication material do major hard drive manufacturers use, and what are its properties, notably design operational temperature?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 2:56 pm 
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I believe the "latest and greatest" is the Fluid Dynamic Bearing, which is the short way of saying, "rides on a thin film of fluid bearing". As to what these fluids are, I'm sure changes on a monthly basis, but it is some type of lubricant that resists evaporation.

Furthermore, everything I've read about them says 30-55C is the temp range you want to be in, or rather, the drive wants to be in to maintain it's rated life expectancy.

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The Rig: Asus P5Q, e8400 O.C.'d to 3.6 Ghz w/ Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro, MSI GTX460 768MB, 4x1gb G.Skill@1066Mhz, 320gb WD & 500gb Samsung suspended, Corsair 520W PSU, Windows 7 Professional x64


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 1:23 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2009 3:06 am
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Here is a recent email conversation between me and Western Digital Customer Support:

Quote:
Dear Sir. I note from the product specification page on your website for this hard drive, that the safe operating temperature is stated as a maximum of 60' centigrade. I would like to ask if it is safe to run this hard drive at an operating temperature of 50' (fifty degrees) centigrade for 14 hours a day, 365 days a year, or whether prolonged operation at this temperature would reduce the life of the device? I look forward to your reply, and am grateful for your assistance. Regards, Pipps.


And here is the reply which I received:
Quote:
Dear Pipps,

Thank you for contacting Western Digital Customer Service and Support. My name is Hector A.

Working in the range of the operating temperatures will never harm the hard drive, however as with any other electronic device there is a direct relationship with the use of the device and its lifecycle, the most you use the device shorter will be its life. Always make sure that the room in which you are using the PC is well ventilated and always check that the fans that you may have installed internally in the PC case are working properly.


If you have any further questions, please reply to this email and we will be happy to assist you further.

Sincerely,
Western Digital Service and Support


I suppose these comments suggest that WD are perfectly comfortable with customers using their hard drives at 50'C.

Though whether there comfort is derived from confidence in their device's abilities, or the thought that I would consequently need to buy a replacement hard driver sooner rather than later, is open for debate!


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