Keeping drives & system cool while running ATI

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by Christopher_NC, Oct 7, 2006.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Christopher_NC

    Christopher_NC Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2006
    Posts:
    293
    Location:
    North Carolina USA
    Re: ATI 9.0 Home does not support SATA2 (eSATA) Drives

    This discussion has been split off from here when the discussion turned to cooling issues in general - Detox

    Hello bVolk,

    During a recent conversation with a data recovery engineer from Ontrack, I asked what sorts of common problems he sees. His number one concern is that of external hard drives overheating. He said that as soon as the HD overheats, bits fly everywhere. And, as we know, ATI Images are quite sensitive to lost bits. Do you think any of your SATA and USB external HD issues could be heat related?

    I have a small cooling fan set up next to my external USB HD (which also has its own tiny fan inside the cramped enclosure). With the 2nd cooling fan on, the top of the aluminum ADS enclosure quickly goes from hot, to cool. I also only run the external drive as needed, then power it off.

    I do sit in the warmest part of our home, a loft over the living room. So, keeping the air flowing is crucial, even with air conditioning, just as it is in rooms crammed with servers. In Chicago, I lived down the street from a brick loft building rented out to 50% server rooms, and 50% residential. The entire building needed zero heat, even in the frigid cold of Chicago winters. The sound from their AC units was deafening. Right now, the side of my PC case is open, since even heat buildup in my PC was an issue. I'm planning to install a 120mm side case fan, to give it plenty of air flow.

    There are many aspects to keeping this data stream intact.

    Regards
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2006
  2. Bruce Mahnke

    Bruce Mahnke Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2005
    Posts:
    629
    Location:
    Woodbury, MN USA
    Re: ATI 9.0 Home does not support SATA2 (eSATA) Drives

    Leaving the side panel(s) off of the PC will most likely disrupt the normal air flow necessary for the rest of the internal devices. Generally not a good plan.

    Bruce
     
  3. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2005
    Posts:
    954
    Re: ATI 9.0 Home does not support SATA2 (eSATA) Drives

    Hi Christopher,

    The possible overheating of the external drive is my concern too. My previous enclosure (one that did not work with TI), had a small fan inside the almost sealed plastic enclosure. Not a very effective solution, IMO. The new one is fanless, but the case is all-metal and the sides are densely perforated (almost mesh-like).

    It normally runs for very short spells, the CheckDisk operation of a few days ago was an exception with it's two hours' duration. Even then, the top of the enclosure was little more than luke-warm, but as for the drive proper I couldn't tell. If need be, this type of case would certainly benefit a lot from an improvised external fan. That one time I just kept the window open even wider than my pipe smoking calls for anyway. :D

    Too bad that the drive temperature sensors cannot be accessed over USB (at least not by Everest Home).
     
  4. Christopher_NC

    Christopher_NC Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2006
    Posts:
    293
    Location:
    North Carolina USA
    Re: ATI 9.0 Home does not support SATA2 (eSATA) Drives

    Bruce,

    Thanks for the tip. I suspected that leaving the side off the case might be a problem myself, but I have a background in HVAC, and, from both observation, and system, hard drive and CPU temp readings, my system runs much cooler open than closed. Seems like, on the one hand, that everything needs air flow. But, a small amount of swiftly moving warm air doesn't cool nearly as well as a large amont of slowly moving room temp air seems to.

    I've noticed that many nicer cases are featuring a side case fan as well, and even well perforated fronts, which mine lacks. Seems like it just needs better air flow, and, I intend to provide it soon. When I did have CPU overheating problems this summer, before upgrading to an even better CPU cooler, I would run a desktop fan aimed into the PC, when temps climbed, which cooled things down quite nicely. Athlon 1800+ CPUs also run very hot...my new Athlon 64 3400+ should run much cooler.

    Since the power supply has its own fan, as does the video card, and there's a fan directly in front of the 3 internal HDs, it seems that about the only fan that is not doing much with the side open is the rear 80mm case exhaust fan. Other than that, it seems to be cooler open than closed. Not a good idea with children around, but there are none here.

    I welcome further suggestions or comments, as keeping this system cool seems to be a very sound idea. This is certainly not an expert opinion. Just trying to do what works, and keenly interested in both the theory and practice of running reliable PCs.

    Regards
     
  5. Christopher_NC

    Christopher_NC Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2006
    Posts:
    293
    Location:
    North Carolina USA
    Re: ATI 9.0 Home does not support SATA2 (eSATA) Drives

    I agree. Here we have full featured drives cut off from such important features as SMART and temp sensing. I wonder if there isn't some way around this? Even a simple sensor placed inside the enclosure. Heck, with digital indoor outdoor thermometers available with remote sensors...that's not a bad idea. Might steal the one from our living room for a test.

    Regards
     
  6. foghorne

    foghorne Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2005
    Posts:
    1,389
    Location:
    Leeds, Great Britain
    Re: ATI 9.0 Home does not support SATA2 (eSATA) Drives

    Funnily enough I needed to use my USB enclosure to look at another drive yesterday and the one which was fitted was almost too hot to touch when I removed it. I got my cordless drill out last night and drilled a dozen holes in lid of the enclosure. I think enclosures should probbaly be fitted with fans as standard.

    F.
     
  7. Christopher_NC

    Christopher_NC Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2006
    Posts:
    293
    Location:
    North Carolina USA
    Re: ATI 9.0 Home does not support SATA2 (eSATA) Drives

    Agreed! I plan to drill holes, actually cut out a large enough opening in my PC case side for a 120mm fan. I tried closing the case again tonight, but within two hours the alarm was sounding...so, I'm back to violating the rules, but keeping it cool by whatever means possible.

    I think PC cooling, and particularly external hard drive cooling, is going to need to be looked at quite seriously, as we go forward into this digital age. When a byte or two can make a difference in a multi-gigabyte image being intact, everything best be cool and comfy.

    Get a good fan or two, and cool down your enclosure. If looks are not important, you could mount a heat sink and fan onto the case itself. The principle is, draw off the heat, then dissipate it into moving air. Or, find a better enclosure. I've read about those who build their own external enclosures, and can run a high RPM HD as cool as they want, and silently. With adequate heat sinks. Time will prove us right, I suspect. If global warming doesn't catch us first. ;)

    Edit: Now all this has me thinking seriously about a new case. As long as I'm rebuilding, and know that cooling is important, why continue using a case that doesn't cool well?

    Regards
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2006
  8. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2004
    Posts:
    3,710
    Re: ATI 9.0 Home does not support SATA2 (eSATA) Drives

    I've measured temps in a few PCs with sides on and off and found that, as a rule, some parts, including the pwms and the CPU tend to run hotter with the side panels off. The HDs run about the same temp in each case where fans are located directly in front of, and blowing over the HDs.

    It's actually kind of surpising how little airflow is needed to cool parts provided the airflow is constant and heated air is not drawn back into the unit. Otoh, it can be surprising how little effect a fan can have if the case (or ext., HD case) doesn't provide for a good flow of "fresh" air. Bowing heated air around in a case does little remove heat from the case but serves mainly to make everything clsoer to the same temp in the case.


    sh

     
  9. Christopher_NC

    Christopher_NC Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2006
    Posts:
    293
    Location:
    North Carolina USA
    Keeping our drives, and system cool while running ATI

    Well, lest anyone think I'm stubborn, I thought, perhaps Shieber & Bruce are right, I may have better air flow with the side closed...so, I closed the side, left the PC alone, and went downstairs. Two hours later, the over-heat alarm was screaming, and, when I came up to investigate, the system temp and CPU temp had both red-lined - during a virus scan, which runs my CPU at 100%. Shut down, removed side of case, desk fan on...in a few minutes, all was cool as a cucumber again. Strange, I agree.

    With the case open, as Shieber points out, the rear 80mm case fan is doing little to nothing. Moving air definately cools better than still air, and I agree that some parts, like the northbridge, are now out of a moving air stream -- the northbridge's heat sink is only benefitting from the adjacent airstream of the CPU cooler. Even with a new, nice CPU cooler installed with Artic Silver paste, my current case apparently doesn't have enough of an airstream to do the job. And both 80 mm case fans are newer and running.

    I've become convinced that using a properly designed, well ventilated case is sound practice, so since I am rebuilding this system, I decided to buy a new case. Here's the one I found, and brought home last night, that meets or exceeds all my criteria. Check out the Antec Performance One P-180, a case designed in a year long collaboration between Mike Chin, of Silent PC Review, and Antec.

    http://www.silentpcreview.com/article249-Antec P180: A Visual Tour

    Here's an excerpt from another review, by Bit-tech.net:
    I'll let you know how cool and quiet (and bloody) things are once I get my PC built. Thanks for the encouragement, Shieber & Bruce -- oh, and my wife thanks you too! :ouch:

    Regards
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2006
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.