How Critical is Hard Drive Heat

Hard drive heat is a very significant issue that most people don’t think too much about. It can cause a great deal of damage to the hard drive and can result in hard drive failure as well. The hard drive can function properly within a certain temperature limit and when its temperature exceeds this limit, it becomes unstable and can’t perform its functions properly. Therefore, it is necessary that the hard disk temperature is kept in check and it is ensured that the hard drive is not exposed to too much heat.

Part 1: Does Heat kill Hard Drives?

Heat can cause hard disks to fail as well. Although it occurs only in the most extreme cases, it is certainly an outcome that can happen if the hard disk heat is allowed to exceed a certain level. What happens is that the increasing temperature causes the intricate circuitry within the hard disk to malfunction. This, in turn, causes the hard disk to behave abnormally, making it difficult for you to access your data. Usually, the computers are equipped to handle the issue of heat and you won’t even any drop in performance because of the increasing temperature. However, if you don’t do something about it and it continues on for a consistent period of time, it can cause you to lose data and cause irreparable damage to your hard drive.

Part 2: Which Components Generate Heat?

In a computer system, heat is generated as a by-product of the electricity powering the different circuits within its hardware and also because of the resistances that are encountered in the flow of the electricity. To put it simply, the more electricity that is consumed by the system, the more heat it produces. Now, the computer system is divided into a number of components and the electrical needs of each component are different from the other. While some components like the CPU and the GPU require a large amount of electricity, others use it in a moderate quantity like the hard drive and the optical drives. Similar to the electrical usage, the generation of heat is also greater for the CPU and the GPU and a little less for hard drives and optical drives.

Aside from the electrical consumption, heat generation in a computer system is also caused because of the environment it is being operated in. For instance, if the room temperature where the PC is kept lies within a moderate range, the heat produced within the system is of a minimal nature but if the room temperature is high, its impact on heat generation and the internal workings of the circuits is significantly high.

Part 3: How temperature affects Hard Drive Life Span

Temperature changes can have a detrimental effect on the life span of a hard drive. A good hard drive is capable of remaining in use for many years. However, if it is consistently used at a temperature that is well above its acceptable temperature range then its reliability becomes diminished and the chances of its failure increase rapidly. Studies done in this regard have shown that a temperature rise of about 5 degrees can lower the life span of a hard drive by up to 2 years. The reason for this is that temperature changes can result in changes in the structure of the hardware components that make up the hard drive.

For instance, the hard drive head’s fly height can be reduced due to overheating, which can cause it to damage the media by making physical contact with it. Thus, it is necessary that hard drives are operated within their accepted temperature range. If you have to use your PC in an environment where the temperature can be below 5 degrees Celsius or above 50 degrees Celsius then you must make use of hard drives that are capable of operating within those temperature ranges because normal hard drives can’t function under such circumstance.

Part 4: How Does Computer Deal with high temperature

The computer system usually deals with the issue of heat and rising temperature with the help of heat sinks which are made using aluminum alloys. Heat sinks are made using copper as well but since it is a more expensive metal, its use is made mostly for gaming consoles where the issue of heat is more significant than PCs. These heat sinks have the ability to absorb heat and take it away from the sensitive component of the computer like the CPU. The heat sinks accomplish this task using the heat conduction, a property of the aluminum metal they are made of. These heat sinks are available in a number of sizes and their size depends on the Thermal Design Power (TDP).

The heat sinks in a computer system are paired with fans which help them in transferring the heat to the casing. These fans are positioned closer to the heat sink so that heat does not remain concentrated in a single area and gets dissipated quickly. Another task performed by these fans is that of sucking cooler air from the surroundings into the casing thus cooling down its temperature. The proper functioning of these fans is critical for the quick dispersal of heat from the heat sinks. In addition to the heat sinks and cooling fans, the materials used in the computer’s casing can also help in dissipating heat as well.

Part 5: Tips for Dealing Hard Drive Heat

In short, it is not that difficult to see that heat can cause a great deal of damage to a hard disk and can reduce its life span by various years. Although the rise in temperature can be adequately dealt with by the heat sinks that are installed in every computer, they can sometimes prove to be ineffective in keeping the temperature of the hard drive within the acceptable range. There it is necessary to ensure that the hard drive is operated at a temperature that isn’t too high or too low. The following tips can help you out if you end up losing data because of overheating of your hard drive.

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