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No Correlation Between Heat and Hard Drive Failure

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The folks at online backup service Backblaze have once again taken a statistical look at their hard drives to find out if they’re affected by temperature.

The results seem to counter our general recommendation to give hard drives plenty of ventilation room in “The Care and Feeding of External Hard Drives” (28 April 2014). Overall, Backblaze found no correlation between heat and failure rates, with one exception: the Seagate Barracuda 1.5 TB drives, which failed slightly more often when run at higher operating temperatures. But the Hitachi drives surveyed actually failed a bit more frequently at cooler temperatures. It’s worth noting that the drives experienced average temperatures between 22° and 30° Celsius, well below the 55° to 60° maximum operating temperature recommended by drive manufacturers.

In any case, it’s still important to run drives within their specified operating temperatures, which means giving them sufficient ventilation. As long as you don’t block cooling vents or put them in insanely hot environments, they should not be adversely affected.

 

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Comments about No Correlation Between Heat and Hard Drive Failure

Anonymous  2014-05-19 16:58
Where are they measuring temperature? These don't appear to be SMART sensor numbers as they are much too low.

For example, my Hitachi SMART reading is 38C inside an xServe with avg inlet temps of 22 and an internal ambient of 30. (Inside a server room at 21.)

The article graphs the Hitachi from 21 to 31 which suggests they are using internal ambient or something else external to the drive.

I realize SMART stats have their drawbacks but I would think that the temp would be more useful if trying to find direct correlations regarding temp.

Anyone?
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2014-05-20 06:33
They seem to be measuring ambient air temperature in their drive pods, which would likely be lower than the SMART-reported temperature within the drive itself.