Wednesday, September 7, 2016


A spinning hard drive (HDD) is often the greatest source of heat in your computer. My custom-built computer has five (5!) HDDs in the case. While one is a different model, they are all 1 TB drives with similar specs.

I happened to be running with the case open recently and touched one of the drives. It was HOT! After installing Crystal Disk Info (, I discovered a couple of my HDDs had internal temperatures of 47° and 59°! (That’s 116°F and 138°F).

I moved one HDD to the empty DVD bay so that none would be sandwiched between two others. Then, with the case open, both showed running temperatures of 44° (111°F). Whether it was adjacent to another or completely in the open, both drives showed the same internal temperatures.

When I put the covers on the case, the temperatures came down another 6° to 38° (100°F). You may think having the case wide open to the air conditioned room would be good for component temperatures. Being enclosed allows the fans to pull outside air over the drives and other critical components, cooling them more efficiently.

While I was at it, I pulled out my wife’s computer which is almost 10 years old – and runs fine. However, when I opened the case the cavity and heat sink fins had an incredible amount of dust. I hit it with the compressor (I can’t afford enough canned air to keep my computers clean) and reconnected the computer after straightening out the spaghetti bowl of cables that built up under her desk.

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