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Hey guys, I'm wondering what you all think about the vertical mounting of hard drives in a computer case versus the horizontal style of mounting them? I've done lots of ...
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  1. #1
    oz
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    Hard Drives: horizontal vs vertical mounting


    Hey guys, I'm wondering what you all think about the vertical mounting of hard drives in a computer case versus the horizontal style of mounting them?

    I've done lots of googling on this a while back and the general opinion seemed to be that either method is safe enough for the hard drive, but in my new build from just a few weeks ago, the brand new WD 640 GB drive that was installed to a vertical mount bracket is already making some noises. My guess is that it's not the mounting style causing the issue but rather a faulty hard drive.

    Anyway, I'm just wondering if any of you have ever had troubles with hard drives that you believe were caused by the mounting method?

    Thanks!
    Last edited by oz; 03-01-2010 at 07:29 PM. Reason: spell
    oz

  2. #2
    Linux Newbie sdimhoff's Avatar
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    I, like you, have never been presented with any real studies that determine if the mounting style changes the lifetime of a drive, but I do have two thoughts. (This makes me want to do a bit of a lit search for some papers on the topic.)

    1.) Of the four drives that have, in recent history, gone bad for no identifiable reason, three of them were mounted vertically. Quite a small dataset...

    2.) The way that the read/write head is supported over the platter is certainly a delicate balance between forces (I want to say that the total separation is of the order of 10nm), but these things are supposed to be accounted for. My understanding is that the effect of gravity on that distance should be minimal. The head suspension bracket is built of quite ridged steel and the geometry creates "built in" forces acting perpendicular to and away from the platter, due to the wind created by the spinning platter.

    Although my empirical evidence given in point 1 has on occasion made me wonder about my notions of hdd mounting safety: I still support the idea that it is the absorption of vibration and prevention of sudden movement that are always going to be the real overriding factors.
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  3. #3
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    My thoughts and knowledge:
    On the WD-Page it's written that the HDD has to be mounted horizontal.
    I've asked them by mail ... the answer was it doesn't matter as long as it isn't mounted up-site-down, since they mount them vertical in the external drives ...

    So much about information from producers now my thoughts:
    1: Build in anti-shock systems
    As far I know the Read-Write Head in modern HDD is able to move in hight ... to avoid a crash because of shocks ...
    Problem seems that theses systems are calculated with gravaty ...

    2: Shock-producers
    Most shocks within a usual computer are caused by the vibration of:
    1. Ventilators
    2. CD-ROM
    3. HDD itself
    4... The Hammer in the hand from root
    So it would be logical for me to put the HDD rotation into the same axis as the biggest Ventilator

    3: Gravitation again...
    The bearings within the HDD ... I've no Idea how bad the influence is on them ... they sure are build for horizontal mounting ... but since the drive is spinning so fast they shouldn't have a problem.
    Still I've heard from cases where the switch from horizontal to vertical killed the HDD instantly ... but it was a old HDD with some thousand h

    I've two WD-1TB RAID Editon Drives Vertical mounted within a Server ... not one Read ERROR

    ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME FLAG VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE UPDATED WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
    1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate 0x002f 200 200 051 Pre-fail Always - 0
    3 Spin_Up_Time 0x0027 253 253 021 Pre-fail Always - 1025
    4 Start_Stop_Count 0x0032 100 100 000 Old_age Always - 30
    5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct 0x0033 200 200 140 Pre-fail Always - 0
    7 Seek_Error_Rate 0x002e 200 200 000 Old_age Always - 0
    9 Power_On_Hours 0x0032 094 094 000 Old_age Always - 4996
    10 Spin_Retry_Count 0x0032 100 253 000 Old_age Always - 0
    11 Calibration_Retry_Count 0x0032 100 253 000 Old_age Always - 0
    12 Power_Cycle_Count 0x0032 100 100 000 Old_age Always - 29
    192 Power-Off_Retract_Count 0x0032 200 200 000 Old_age Always - 7
    193 Load_Cycle_Count 0x0032 200 200 000 Old_age Always - 22
    194 Temperature_Celsius 0x0022 103 095 000 Old_age Always - 47
    196 Reallocated_Event_Count 0x0032 200 200 000 Old_age Always - 0
    197 Current_Pending_Sector 0x0032 200 200 000 Old_age Always - 0
    198 Offline_Uncorrectable 0x0030 200 200 000 Old_age Offline - 0
    199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count 0x0032 200 200 000 Old_age Always - 0
    200 Multi_Zone_Error_Rate 0x0008 200 200 000 Old_age Offline - 0
    Hope I didn't mix up vertical with horizontal ... that always haunts me ...

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  5. #4
    oz
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    My first ever solid state drive will be here tomorrow and it will be replacing the vertically mounted drive that has started making the noises, so once that's installed the mounting style won't be so important for this particular machine anymore. I hadn't really thought about that when I ordered the SSD, but it's good that it's working out this way.

    Thanks to each of you for your comments.
    oz

  6. #5
    oz
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    update

    The new solid state drive arrived this morning and it replaced the mechanical drive in just a matter of minutes. The best news is, no more hard drive noise!

    The speed of the SSD is better than that of the mechanical drive although it's not as much faster as I thought it would be, but then the SSD has not been tuned in any way, other than eliminating the SWAP partition. In addition to that, the mechanical drive that was being used was one of the fastest available, so perhaps I shouldn't expect a huge speed increase with a lower priced solid state drive such as this one.

    Some users have been purchasing 2.5" to 3.5" adapters for mounting the 2.5" SSDs into their system 3.5" bays, but since it's a desktop machine, I simply used nylon ties to secure it to the case and saved $10 to $20 plus any associated shipping costs.

    Hopefully, the new drive will last a very long time, but with all the system image restoring that I do on my hard drives, it might not. Guess we'll have to just wait and see how it goes.
    oz

  7. #6
    oz
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    quick update

    Quote Originally Posted by ozar View Post
    in my new build from just a few weeks ago, the brand new WD 640 GB drive that was installed to a vertical mount bracket is already making some noises. My guess is that it's not the mounting style causing the issue but rather a faulty hard drive.
    After deciding to take a closer look at this mechanical hard drive, it turns out the noise it was making was due to a bad data cable connection rather than a faulty hard drive.

    That said, horizontally mounted mechanical drives are still my preference.
    oz

  8. #7
    Just Joined! gnuuser's Avatar
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    in the newer drives it is no problem to mount them in any position.
    the older drives (under 2.1 gigabyte) had some problems but not often
    where you often ran into problems was when you used a floppy or zip drive written in one position and reading in another
    if the drives were a bit old the heads would be a bit out of alignment and would cause read errors.
    the bernoulli effect of the hard drive(air currents lift the read write head off of the platter) prevents damage to the heads. and the newer drive usually have error correction built in

  9. #8
    oz
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    The clicking has appeared again in the WD 640GB Black drive, so I did some digging around at the WD website and found this article in their Knowledge Base:

    How to physically install, set jumper settings, and set up a Serial ATA, EIDE, or SSD drive in Windows 7, Vista, XP, and 2000

    They indicate there that it doesn't matter if you mount the drive:

    Desktop Drives: The drive can be mounted in a standard 3.5"device bay. The drive can be mounted sideways, on end, or even upside down as long as the mounting screws are used properly. Use either the four bottom screws or four of the side mounting screws to support the drive. This will prevent vibration and provide additional electrical grounding.
    It appears that they'll not deny warranty coverage due to the mounting orientation of the drive, but it still doesn't tell me if more vertically mounted drives fail more often than those mounted horizontally.

    I'm thinking about replacing this drive with a Samsung F3 since I've never used their drives, just to see how they compare with WD Blacks.

    Thanks to all that replied.
    oz

  10. #9
    oz
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    update

    Okay, I wound up RMA'ing the bad WD Black 640GB hard drive and replaced it with another one just like it. Yippee... the new drive doesn't make the dreaded clicking noises, at least yet anyway!

    Now, something that surprised me was when I went to ship the drive to Western Digital for replacement. I used the same box that NewEgg used for shipping the drive to me, and as I tore the old UPS shipping label off the box, I noticed that the hard drive actually came to me from NewEgg's very own RMA Warehouse in California.

    So this has me wondering... have any of you ever received new parts from NewEgg's RMA Warehouse before?

    Hopefully there is some good explanation, but the whole thing has me a bit concerned because I've always been such a huge fan of NewEgg.
    oz

  11. #10
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    As someone so cogently put it once, "**** happens!". It may be that someone grabbed the wrong box to ship to you and you got one that had been returned for service/warranty replacement. I don't know about NewEgg, other than they have a decent reputation. I've been using Buy.com for a long time, and while their service has had its ups and downs over the years, generally they are pretty good, both from the price as well as the service perspective. They also keep your full purchase history online, so seeing what you got and what you paid way back in time is easy to do.
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

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