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# Can a hard drive overheat a system?

Posted on 1998-01-06
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I have a 3.8GB hard drive and need more space so I was going to buy a 8.4GB hard drive.  Is it possible that this would over heat my system?
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Question by:Peterv
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Expert Comment

ID: 1122481
Hmmmmm....

Thats a good one, there may not be a definative answer, so I a posting this as a comment.

I would first look at the power consumption of the drives, expressed in watts you can consider that most of it is heat, now it won't be much but the inside if your PC isn't a very large space. Try to put it in context, a Pentium 200 disipates some 20 watts (I think this is the right number) Your power supply can supply around 200 Watts, energy in = energy out. So, if you put a 200 Watt light bulb in side your PC box,

would it get hot? and how hot is hot? does it matter?

Well the answer to the first is yes, but you have a fan to change the air in the box so what is the capacity of the fan (cubic meters per hour) and the volume of the box (cubic meters) so you can calculate how often the air is changed in the box. With this number and the known energy input you can calculate the rate of temperature rise (degrees C per hour) we will ingnore the heat disipated by the surfaces of the box it self as it is (probably) only a minor part of the equation. Now the next question is interesting, you have to obtain specs for the maximum working temperature of all the components in the system, then take the lowest and that is how hot hot is. Oh and then, "does it matter" YES get it too hot and it will fail.

Don't forget that all the heat you put into the box is on top of the ambient temperature. (if you are in the UK now, that won't be a problem)

As it is, I have never come across a domestic PC that had a over heatig problen (though I have met a few owners with one)

Does any of this help?

Stephen
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Accepted Solution

tecbuilder earned 100 total points
ID: 1122482
Your hard drive won't over heat.  The only time it functions is when you access it and the usage time is small.  Otherwise it just sits there.  It is possible to have an electrical problem going to your hard drive.  But I don't believe that would be enough to over heat your hard drive.  Most likely the cause is somewhere on your motherboard.  Most troubles have been the ram or one of the other main chips (eg. the co-processor).
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Expert Comment

ID: 1122483
Just thought of something else.  Going to the larger hard drive won't over heat, but the potential of over heating your power supply exists, although the likelihood is very very small.  Look on you power supply itself or the book that came with the pc and right down all the information about (amps, watts, volts) and take this info into where you intend to buy the hard drive.  Talk to one of the techs there to see if the hard drive you want (not all hard drives are the same) will work with your pc.

This is by far the safest solution.
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Author Comment

ID: 1122484
My question might not have been specific enough; I want to add the 8.4 GB to the 3.8 GB HD.  Will there be a problem overheating with two hard drives in the system?

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Expert Comment

ID: 1122485
I really don't believe so.  The amp draw that the 2nd drive would pull would still be very very small.  However, I would still contact the technician where you intend to buy the hard drive from just to be absolutely sure.  I have connected many dual hard drives and have never had a problem.
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Author Comment

ID: 1122486
Thanks Techman,  You get an A+ for that one. (The plus is because it's the answer I wanted to hear:)
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Expert Comment

ID: 1122487
If I got an A+ why did you give me a C?  :(  You can't change it, but in the future wait until you get your question completely resolved before grading.  Just wanted to let you know.  Because you had already given me a grade for this question, I really didn't have to respond with anything else.  Once you have given a grade, the question is considered resolved.  You lose no more points for giving an A than you do for giving a D.  However, the person receiving the grade earns quality points, which helps us move up in the expert ranks.  An A is worth 4 times the points you placed on the question, a B is 3 times, a C is 2 times, and a D is 1 times.
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