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How many & which fans for hard drive compartment

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Noam09, Dec 15, 2010.

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  1. Noam09

    Noam09 Thread Starter

    Jan 21, 2008
    I wasn't sure whether to post this here or in the DIY forum, but I'm pretty sure this topic is more specific to this section.

    In my living room I have a media streamer which is connected to 3 Western Digital external hard drvies (2x My Book Essential, 1x Elements).
    I also have this whole wooden structure that on one half has shelves for books, and on the other half has a place for the TV and a few compartments below it.
    I want to have the 3 hard drives in one of the compartments, and I fear they might overheat, since this compartment has no openings or vents whatsoever, only its door, which is closed most of the time.
    What I had in mind is this: make 1 or 2 openings inside this compartment (going to the back, in the direction of the wall it is placed in front of, so the opening won't be seen from the outside) so that some air will get in and out.
    Then, place X amount of small (possibly PC-chassis) fans inside the wooden compartment to keep things cool.

    The hard drives' temperature min. and max., according to the Western Digital website:
    My questions are:
    1) Is this even reasonable/possible?
    2) If so, how many fans should I use to maintain a temperature where things won't be even near overheating?
    3) Which fans should I use for this setup?

    I hope everything is clear, for some reason I'm having trouble describing my living room setup.
    Thank you very very much for any help with this. I'm a total n00b when it comes to hardware, so any help is really appreciated. :)
  2. Megabite


    Apr 5, 2008
    Sounds like you describe it very well...

    You need intake fan and a exhaust fan.......I would say thou the best would be to just give them plenty of ventilation....I assume they have fan inside them already so I would forget the fan idea and just try and give the back ventilation by removing some of the back. or drilling holes
  3. Noam09

    Noam09 Thread Starter

    Jan 21, 2008
    And just ventilation would be enough? How much of an opening are we talking?
    It seems to me like 3 hard drives inside small airspace could get pretty hot.
    Even if not completely necessary, and I'm not doubting anything you said, but wouldn't fans maybe be safer?
  4. Tanis


    May 29, 2006
    First Name:
    Hard drives inside a PC case have very little room, often don't have their own cooling system (externals often have their own fans) and I would suggest the ambient temperature inside a PC case will be higher than inside the compartment due to the absence of two of the main heat sources (CPU and GPU).

    I would go with a good bit of ventilation at the back and rely on the fans in the external cases to keep air flowing around the drives. Movement of air around the drive itself is more imporant that the actual temperature of that air (unless you are in a rediculously hot area :) )

    I would put a fairly good number of drilled holes in the back of the compartment to be sure. Is the door of the compartment air tight? I would think not in the case of a TV or display case type unit, so air will get in through the front aswell.
  5. Noam09

    Noam09 Thread Starter

    Jan 21, 2008
    Megabite and Tanis, thank you very much for your help.
    I'll do like you said, drill some holes in the back (which will be especially easy since the back is a pretty thin slab wood), and hopefully enough air will get in there.
    Thanks and merry Christmas! :)
  6. Wino


    Nov 30, 2001
    Once you have it together or before doing a lot of hole drilling, use one of these instant meat thermometers to monitor internal temps (the one at link is what I have). It's handy for checking ambient temps on enclosures just by drilling a small hole. These are usually available at WalMart or about any grocery store. Just don't go poking into holes where there is the possibilty of electrical short.;)

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