Passive HDD cooling hack

When my Thunderbolt NVMe enclosure arrived I did what most people do and plonked it on my desk, plugged it in, and started plotting. It was running quite hot @ 62ºC. It’s a solid Aluminium enclosure that acts as a heatsink. I had a heatsink lying around, so I stuck a thermal pad to the heatsink and stuck the Thunderbolt enclosure to the thermal pad vertically, and voila, instant 5ºC NVMe heat reduction!

Most of my HDDs are Seagate expansion drives in practically sealed plastic enclosures. I have them them standing vertically on a desk with a half inch air gap between them. They run a little warm at around 45-48ºC. With summer approaching I thought maybe I could shuck the drives and MacGyver some sort of heatsink solution for them too. Just buying heatsinks is of course an option, but I looked into a cheaper DIY option and found this:

The optimal setup resulted in a 9ºC HDD heat reduction!

Rather than sit or stack the drives horizontally, I’ll stick with my vertical positioning arrangement. Aluminium U channel is reasonably cheap from an Aluminium supplier. It’s $32 AUD per 6.5 metre length here. That’s around US $1.10 per foot. I figured I need 4 lengths to do 30 drives, so around 80 feet.

140mm USB fans are another option, but I like the fact that the heatsink hack is silent, uses no power (although Aluminium manufacturing uses a shit tonne of power) and the heatsinks will never break down. For supercooling, there’s always the heatsink + fan option. :thinking:

Your passive cooling is going to be as good as the stale air around those HD, so it may vary.

On the other hand, you don’t need expensive / high speed fans. You can get a $5 120mm fan that will cover 4-5 drives, and drop the voltage to 7 or 5V (as long as it starts). You can get those voltages out of your molex connector (if that is your power source). At those voltages, those fans are basically silent, and will give you a big drop in the temperatures. Really, not that much airflow is needed.

I like this. More silent is always good.
It will be a good addition to my existing hdd rack.
Not that the temps are bad, in open air they are around 38-40c but doesnt hurt to keep them cooler.


Nice. That mount looks like it would help with cooling a bit. I’m putting mine close to the floor, we don’t have air-con here :persevere: Some rubber washers between the drives and the mounting point might help dampen vibrations.

I’m looking into some bulk heatsink purchase options from China. Will post links when I find the best deals. With a roll of thermal tape, it’ll be a much faster setup than the MacGyver option.

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