EcoGreen F2 500GB not as quiet as expected

Silencing hard drives, optical drives and other storage devices

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new2spcr
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Post by new2spcr » Sun Nov 01, 2009 3:33 am

Ksanderash wrote: ...

UPDATE Well, I've asked a data recovery guru this question, and he said, that the temperature sensor on Samsung drives is the read-write head itself. And this practice is valid for most of modern drives. There are, though, exeptions -- some WD drives have a separate temperature sensor, and sometimes even more than one(!) sensor. Data collected from such sensors go through the firmware to be translated into digital code, gets individual offset, then mirrors in the SMART.
Thanks for the insight. I thought temperature sensors always were located adjacent to hot chips but man, on the read-write head? That's cool. To me it indicates that it is the temperature on the platters that has to be kept low, more so than cooling the circuits and chips.
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new2spcr
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Post by new2spcr » Sun Nov 01, 2009 3:51 am

Shamgar wrote: I also heard about that Google paper. It was discussed on the forums a couple years ago I think. A warmer drive of which temperature is around 30-35°C appears to be a "safe zone" : not too cool nor too hot.

If choosing which side of the extreme is preferable, I would rather them be a little cooler as opposed to burning hot. A cool drive can be warmed up with some disk activity and the longer you leave it running, while an already hot drive is hard to cool down to a "safe zone" even if you direct a high airflow fan at it (it may still take some time to cool it down).

I really start to get concerned for the integrity and health of my drives when they exceed 45°C. Even though they are rated to run okay up to 50°C, you don't want to be working in the extreme end of the scale for an extended time. Then again, I could just be an overly cautious person when it comes to my drives. Thankfully, Samsung's F2 EcoGreens (and possibly their recent F3 Spinpoints) run exceptionally cool, considering they are desktop drives also.

You're from Australia, I wonder if there's any data indicating that drive failures due to extreme temperatures are more common? Do people use their laptops outside their AC homes?
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Shamgar
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Post by Shamgar » Mon Nov 02, 2009 10:12 am

new2spcr wrote:
Shamgar wrote: I also heard about that Google paper. It was discussed on the forums a couple years ago I think. A warmer drive of which temperature is around 30-35°C appears to be a "safe zone" : not too cool nor too hot.

If choosing which side of the extreme is preferable, I would rather them be a little cooler as opposed to burning hot. A cool drive can be warmed up with some disk activity and the longer you leave it running, while an already hot drive is hard to cool down to a "safe zone" even if you direct a high airflow fan at it (it may still take some time to cool it down).

I really start to get concerned for the integrity and health of my drives when they exceed 45°C. Even though they are rated to run okay up to 50°C, you don't want to be working in the extreme end of the scale for an extended time. Then again, I could just be an overly cautious person when it comes to my drives. Thankfully, Samsung's F2 EcoGreens (and possibly their recent F3 Spinpoints) run exceptionally cool, considering they are desktop drives also.

You're from Australia, I wonder if there's any data indicating that drive failures due to extreme temperatures are more common? Do people use their laptops outside their AC homes?
Don't know if there's any more drive failures in this country than anywhere else but I imagine that prolonged use in extreme temperature environments is not good for most electrical/electronic equipment. It gets pretty hot here in Summer. At least in the coastal cities, there is some air from the sea/ocean to cool things down a little.

Here, I see people use laptops everywhere outside the home. They are more popular now than ever. Most buildings are airconditioned for comfort anyway. It's not unless people are working outdoors may they expose their computers to some risk of overheating. Then again, computer equipment tends to be more rugged than we give it credit for, and also, there are people in places in the world who use laptops and the like in more extreme climatic conditions than in Australia.

I mysef have never owned a laptop since I never had a real need for one. That may change, however. If it was I, I would probably limit my use of computers outside of airconditioned environments when it gets very hot (35°C+).

new2spcr
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Post by new2spcr » Tue Nov 03, 2009 7:19 am

Shamgar wrote: Don't know if there's any more drive failures in this country than anywhere else but I imagine that prolonged use in extreme temperature environments is not good for most electrical/electronic equipment. It gets pretty hot here in Summer. At least in the coastal cities, there is some air from the sea/ocean to cool things down a little.

Here, I see people use laptops everywhere outside the home. They are more popular now than ever. Most buildings are airconditioned for comfort anyway. It's not unless people are working outdoors may they expose their computers to some risk of overheating. Then again, computer equipment tends to be more rugged than we give it credit for, and also, there are people in places in the world who use laptops and the like in more extreme climatic conditions than in Australia.

I mysef have never owned a laptop since I never had a real need for one. That may change, however. If it was I, I would probably limit my use of computers outside of airconditioned environments when it gets very hot (35°C+).
Interesting information. I wonder though how well the components manage the relatively fast switches between cold and hot (AC and outdoors use) temps.

I believe laptops are more prone to breaking than desktop PC's, so I try to avoid using them outside the office as much as possible.
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Shamgar
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Post by Shamgar » Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:01 am

new2spcr wrote:Interesting information. I wonder though how well the components manage the relatively fast switches between cold and hot (AC and outdoors use) temps.

I believe laptops are more prone to breaking than desktop PC's, so I try to avoid using them outside the office as much as possible.
Moving components between cold and hot conditions may cause condensation (and perhaps other problems). It is particularly an issue with digital cameras where it may cause damage to the CCD. I've had one camera die from this cause. It was common for cameras from the early 2000s to suffer from this problem. Things may have improved since then and components better at handling extreme conditions. But it is a good idea in humid or warm conditions to put an unused camera in a airtight bag with some silica gel (little sachets you find in shoeboxes and luggage -- usually thrown away) inside to absorb the moisture. The battery and memory card should also be taken out and stored safely. This practice can also be done for mobile phones, portable media players and GPS devices, since they are all related nowadays. I suppose if one is ultra cautious, you could do the same for a laptop.

But yes, taking a laptop from an AC'd office straight to the burning hot back seat of your car in the heat of summer is not a good idea. I suppose that's what many people do out of ignorance and lack of care.

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Post by whiic » Wed Nov 04, 2009 6:56 am

Potential condensation problems:
- You have a HDD indoors, use it normally. The relative moisture inside is well within acceptable limits of 5-95% as HDDs are typically rated. You power it down, transport it outdoors where it's 20 deg C below zero. Air may be dry as hell, but the air is pretty much trapped inside the HDD, causing the moisture to condense on the insides of HDD (platters, heads, preamplifier) and then even freeze. Then you bring it back in, and since it is all warm in there, you forget that HDDs (or laptops) are quite cold-blooded creatures (especially when powered down for transportation), and that they require a few hours to warm up properly (first melting the ice, then vaporizing the moisture inside). Powering up HDD with moisture inside is a bad thing. Powering up a HDD with ice on the platters is GRRRRRRIIIND.
- Like in previous example, you have had the HDD outdoors and cooled down noticeably. You bring it to warm and moist environment. While condensation inside may occur when you bring it from warm to cold environment, the condensation on the outside PCB (not just HDD but motherboard as well) occurs when you bring it back in to warm environment.

If you live in a hot climate with A/C, reverse indoor and outdoor.

Keeping laptop powered on while moving from one temperature to another would reduce condensation issue... probably.

If you are using your laptop in cold environment, it's not really cold enough to get condensation inside HDD because it's probably warm enough to not condense (unless it's very cold). When it's taken to warm environment it might no longer be warmer than ambient but at least it's relatively closer, reducing outside condensation quite a bit.

If you are using your laptop when you move from warm to cold environment, laptop fan will swap warm & moist air to cold & dry air, instead of letting warm & moist air cool down and condense.

There is the phenomenon of "thermal shock" if the temperature changes too rapidly. Having laptop powered on while ambient temperature chances isn't that bad. Actually the worst would be to power up a cold computer in warm environment when it was stored in cold environment just a moment ago. That way the heat of power usage adds to heat from ambient. And cooling fan would actually warm up the computer because ambient is warmer than the computer. That would be thermal shock scenario but since it's already dangerous from condensation perspective - don't do it. Instead, either power it up in cold, let warm up, transfer it to warm environment; or move it to warm environment, and let it warm up naturally for an hour. What solution is better depends just on how cold it was before. If it was stored in -30 degrees, then obviously you can't choose to warm it up and bring it to warm climate after it has warmed up.

I have never actually paid too much attention with my laptop since I have rarely subjected it to extreme temperature for longer than a few minutes. I have though about the subject a lot though, as I used to transport HDD in USB enclosures a lot. The requirement to let 3.5" HDDs warm up before powering them on after transportation in freezing weather can be a bitch... which is why I've usually up my HDD enclosures sitting on a stove that is heated to "low" temperature 60-70 deg C (too hot to keep hands on but doesn't burn the skin immediately), occasionally hand-measuring the enclosure itself that it doesn't heat too much above 40 deg C. (Putting HDD directly on stove would definitely create a thermal shock of worst kind. I rely on the fact that heat transfer between stove<->enclosure and enclosure<->HDD are far from perfect and that the enclosure warms the HDD from both sides (as compared to a HDD that only has one side in contact with stove surface). It cut's the warm up time to one fourth... but I ain't doing it to reduce thermal shock, just to remove condensation.

Obviously laptops with plastic case cannot be pre-warmed on top of a stove.
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