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Seagate Cures PC Hot Spot
Posted Sun April 16, 2006 @03:47PM
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Application Seagateís Design Service Center enlisted Coolit thermal & flow analysis software to solve a puzzling thermal problem for a customer's PC design. Though the high density power model was shoe-horned into a small, forced air-cooled cabinet, the unit's 6 cfm fan and large front vent should have been adequate to handle the heat load. But the system's hard drive was overheating.

To pinpoint the trouble source, Seagate built a Coolit model and found that, while some cooling air was making its way to the hard drive, a significant portion was not and, instead, circulating back out the intake vent. Air around the hard drive, essentially, was forming a stagnant pocket up against the top of the enclosure.

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Next, Seagate analyzed the impact of reducing the intake vent size. It turned out, that the original vent was much larger than required, the incoming air moved slowly with some of it finding an easy path back out the intake. Reducing the intake area reduced the opportunity for cool air to escape and increased the flow directed toward the hot components.

Finally, the company modeled the impact of exhaust vent changes. The exhaust vent was relocated to behind the hard drive and near the top of the opposite side of the enclosure. This provided an exit for the normally stagnant air and created a natural path across the hard drive and components. Baffles were added to direct air toward the hotter components before it exited.

Seagate's customer was able to introduce its product on schedule. CFD modeling identified the design changes in less than half the time required by physical prototyping. And the results were impressive. Drive temperature dropped from 70 deg C to 58 C, ensuring high system reliability.

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