FS Hard Drive and Case Cooling Guide
Hard drives are running hot nowadays! Why is this? The increases that have been made in the spindle motor, which allow hard drives to spin their platters at a good 7,200 and 10,000 RPM now (and some faster!) . These drives have become affordable enough that home users are using them to build systems. However, the problem is that inside the hard drive, when the platter is spinning so fast, there is friction between the hard drive and the air that is around it. This air friction can really cause things to heat up!
If you've ever touched your hard drive after it's been in operation for a while, then you may know what I'm talking about. If you haven't don't try. It might be very hot. Heat is bad, and properly cooling an overly hot drive may give a longer life to your drive, and will definitely reduce the chance of random crashing that is associated with an overheated hard drive.
If you have a 5,400 RPM drive, then you are sitting pretty safe unless you live in a desert, or the ambient temperature is really hot in general. These things get warm, but not nearly as hot as their faster brothers. The 7,200 and 10,000 RPM drives are the ones causing the most concern, because cases have not really been designed to have airflow over the hard drive. Unlike the CPU or motherboard, which an ATX case takes into account to move air over, the hard drive usually just sits in its bay.
Additionally, SCSI drives are of some concern, as some of them are quite hot as well. Finally, systems that have multiple hard drives and CD-ROMs mounted near each other are a concern. Since the mounting for hard drives and CD-ROMs is usually done vertically, when you have more drives the heat rises up to the next unit above it. As a result, hard drive coolers have been created to address these issues.
Living in the Bay
Most of the hard drive cooling devices that you will see utilize the fact that the hard drive sits in one of the bays of your case. What they will do, instead, is mount some sort of bracket or rack in the bay, which the hard drive then sits in. Hard drive coolers use air only to cool the hard drive, instead of physically attaching anything to the hard drive.