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Introduction to Hard Drive Cooling

Maintaining the optimal operating temperature of your computer's equipment, particularly the hard drive itself, is paramount to ensuring the longevity of your system. While the specific temperature depends on the exact type of hardware you are using, most modern hard disk drives should not exceed 86°F. Thankfully, there are a number of methods that can be used to achieve and maintain a temperature that meets these criteria.

Airflow

System fans are used to facilitate airflow to a specific area. Most high-end CPUs of today have a dedicated fan attached directly to the processor, as do many graphic cards. Hard drives, on the other hand, are not equipped with their own cooling mechanisms. Fortunately, most modern cases allow you to setup your system in a way that provides airflow to your hard disk drive. Computer fans of today are inexpensive, reliable and available from nearly any computer parts store, so there's really no excuse for failing to provide a hard drive with the proper amount of airflow in a modern system.

Ventilation

The overall amount of ventilation within your computer's case is another factor that affects the hard drive's temperature. While ventilation does not necessarily provide airflow directly to your system's hardware, the ventilation process is essential to maintaining proper operating temperature. A system that is lacking in ventilation will surely see higher operating temperatures, which could lead to the loss of data or complete failure of equipment.

Modern computer cases and systems are usually designed with ventilation in mind. If you do find that your system is lacking the proper amount of ventilation, however, there are several steps you can take to rectify the issue. Removing the metal slot covers in the rear of your machine can aide in ventilation, as does removing one or more of your case's side panels. The downside to either of these methods, however, is the increased likelihood of dust and foreign debris within the case.

Hard Drive Cooler

Peripheral devices exist that allow you to outfit your hard disk drives with dedicated cooling systems. Commonly referred to as hard drive coolers, these devices typically include one or more fans, a heat sink and wiring that connects to your system's motherboard. While these devices have been known to affect a hard drive's temperature, there are a number of inherent problems associated with the usage of hard drive coolers.

Excess power consumption is a given, especially considering the fact that you are plugging in an additional piece of hardware, and some hard drive coolers are known to use a lot more power than expected. This alone may be enough to offset any benefits gained by the hard drive cooler itself. Moreover, some systems may not have any available connectors to accommodate the addition of another piece of hardware inside the system chassis.

New Methods of Cooling

The 21st century has introduced some new and rather innovative ways of cooling a hard drive, including water or liquid cooling. With this method, water is used -- typically through a device known as an hard drive water block -- to achieve and maintain a temperature that is well below the operational limit.

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