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High Humidity and Low Temp for a Computer

Posted on 2004-10-29
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-05-18
I have a client that wants to put a computer in a cold environment (60 F) it is also very humid there. Are there any components that I should consider that would do better then others such as HDD’s, fans, PS? Things that you would think would go out because of this type of environment.
Question by:typeleven
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LVL 17
ID: 12445017
I would just purchase quality components off the shelf and  you should be fine.  I spent many years on Navy ships with some compartments in the 50 degree range to keep the electronics cool and some had horrendous heat and humidity like the engine rooms.  The PC's all held up fine and took the abuse of all the shaking and pitching that ships do.  

If I was buying a box, I'd buy Dell

If I was building a box, I'd get an Antec Case and Power Supply, Some of the Double Ball Bearing case fans, a good Video card and a named brand hard drive.  I have had bad experiences over the last year with failures in the Western Digital 8mb buffer drives (Model ends in JB), so I am avoiding them, but about anything else you should be OK.
LVL 69

Expert Comment

ID: 12445458
High humidity and low temperatures promote condensation, difficult lubrication, and rust problems.  Circuit boards that are not kept dry will be prone to shorts, moving parts like fans will probably wear out faster.  On the plus side, a cooler environment is good for your hard drives and cpu.

Expert Comment

ID: 12445756
Callandor is correct about moving parts like fans will probably wear out faster. I would try and use fanless components like some that Zalman have to offer. Another bad thing about high humidity would be acellerated corrosion posiblities. To add to the plus side, reduced static.
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Expert Comment

ID: 12445861
Also note that high humidity can kill hard drives if the drive has not been sealed correctly.  

If I could run my computer at 60F all the time, I would be loving it.  
LVL 31

Accepted Solution

rid earned 1000 total points
ID: 12445919
In a "cold" high humidity environment the thermal cycling that occurs at power down - cooling - power up - heating up etc is what can be most harmful, as the HD is allowed to "breathe" and condensation could occur at a slight change in temp. Keep the machines running continuously and I guess you'll not have any problems.

Expert Comment

ID: 12447975
If they have a little extra dough to spend, this might be worth the investment...


looks like it can help with these conditions...

Expert Comment

ID: 12448988
I live in Houston texas(close to a large source of water to boot) so i know ALOT about the high Humidity, and in the winter the VERY cold. I also use my computer alot during those times And yes Texas DOES get cold in the winter and it is below 50 half the time.

First of all let me state that the first thing you will want is a western digital HDD.. all others seem to go out on me witin the first 6 months(granted i do not have the 8mb buffer) in fact maxtor once tried to accuse me of breaking the drives on purpous and stated flat out that despite my drives being be under warrenty they would no longer replace or support them.

For the cpu, USE THERMAL GREASE. you have been warned

Case fan. get one.

I also suggest that you simply leave the computer on. i find my computers live alot longer if they are on all the time.

there are supposed to be moister absorbing items avaiable for public use. some people here swear by them others think its all bull. I have never used them so i can't recommend them.. but it is somthing to think about.

Expert Comment

ID: 12449000
Oh yea forgot to mention. if your client can put it in a closed off room. businesses here always invest in dehumidfiers and but them in the same rooms as the computers.
LVL 17
ID: 12449072
Ditto on leaving the PC on.  Electronics are the happest when they are at their operating temperature with steady power applied.

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