I have 4 hard disk drives that have temperatures which go beyond the recommended 50 degrees (Celsius). (I have several Samsung Spinpoint F3 which are 1Tb each and they do have good temps, between 32 and 35 degrees. That's normal for me. But in this case, 50+ is not normal.)

I have already read the question and answer provided here, but none of the solutions helped. What tools can I use or what terminal commands should I execute to lower the temperature of these drives?

And on a similar note, if I were to use a method similar to this one, how would I know which hard drive I am reading? Where can I check to see which HDD is related to, for example, /sys/class/scsi_host/host0/link_power_management_policy ?

I have already tested powertop, hddtemp, disks and others to check and try to lower the temp with no luck.

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    gnome-disk-utility can query S.M.A.R.T. attributes – Ringtail Feb 6 '13 at 3:02
  • Liquid nitrogen? – Mechanical snail Feb 6 '13 at 4:38
  • @Mechanicalsnail - Lol, that would fix not only the HDD temp but the whole system. ^^ – Luis Alvarado Feb 6 '13 at 4:39
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    maybe you can try hdparm -S180 /dev/sda - to put idle (low-power) mode after15 min idle time – jet Feb 6 '13 at 15:18
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    I suppose you have, but as it wasn't in the question I thought it might be confusing for newer users if they pass by. I know it's not an answer to your question (so not posted as one), but I thought it important to have this mentioned for the more general case of HDD-temperature lowering. – Nanne Feb 7 '13 at 15:37

maybe you can try hdparm -S180 /dev/sda - to put HDD idle (low-power) mode after 15 min idle time

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  • +1 buddy. This is another way of doing it. Thanks. – Luis Alvarado Feb 6 '13 at 16:50

Well found a way to lower the hard drive temperature, had to stay up all night.

(Gave a +1 to Ringtail's comment ;) )

Open Dash and type disks. You will see the Disks Utility pop up. Open it.

enter image description here

Now select the Hard Drive you wish to work with and then, in the green circle above, there is a button, click on it and select Drive Settings...

enter image description here

Depending on the hard drive you will get more settings or less settings. In this case I got Standby Timeout and Automatic Acoustic Management. So I changed the Acoustic from the Default to the lowest one which is 128 (As seen in the image above).

The temperature did not change for at least 2 to 3 minutes, but then it suddenly lowered itself by 1 degree. I then waited 5 minutes, 10 minutes, and the more I waited, the lower it went. It literally went from 53 degrees to 39 degrees. That's 14 degrees lower than the one I was used to.

I then added, just for a bonus the Standby Timeout, cause I was actually not going to use the hard drive all the time, basically only about 50% of the time I was on the computer. That lowered the temperature 2 to 3 degrees more. He is an image of hddtemp:

enter image description here

So hey, did not know Disks had this feature. The curious part is this. After searching a lot for this, I came to know that many HDDs do not have Automatic Acoustic Management (AAM), mainly because of lawsuits and patents (Go figure). But one of this is the same one I have, a Seagate Barracuda which has been mentioned to not have AAM support. So I wonder how did this option help the drive if it was not supported in this case.

Another helpful hint was found in this link which also helped.

They mention there the use of powertop, terminal commands and kernel options. It covers a lot, but the ones I took and used were:

Sata Power Management

This are mentioned in relation to the /sys/class/scsi_host/host0/link_power_management_policy line I was asking about. It just so happens the host0 part depends on which Sata motherboard connection you connected the hard drive to. For laptops, most of the time is host0. In my case with 6 sata connections I get host0 through host6. should be noted that this features will work on a newer kernel (At least 2.6.x an above, but since we are all into the 3.x then it does not matter), have an Intel AHCI compatible chipset and use a SATA drive. If you meet all of this requirements then you can use the line above in the following way:

  1. First check if you are using that host at Maximum Performance:

    sudo cat /sys/class/scsi_host/host0/link_power_management_policy

  2. if it says max_performance then do the following:

    echo min_power > /sys/class/scsi_host/host0/link_power_management_policy

    Repeat for any other HDD that has that problem (Need to double check which HDD is connected in what SATA port to know which host it is). I also do not recommend using this on an SSD because... why?.. What heat can a SSD make.. none.

This is not permanent since when you reboot you will have to do it again. You can added in some runtime file to make sure it is always activated.

Nota that adding the Standby Timeout will make your HDD take a little bit longer to mount if in standby. Also lowering the AAM a lot will lower the speed of Read/Writes by a little bit. This depends if is worth it or not. In my case it is, to lower the temperature of it.

UPDATE: After about 12 hours of testing, the HDD is normal again. In standby it stays between 33 and 35 degrees. When in use it goes to 39 degrees max. Still, it is 10 degrees less than what it had when not in used and almost 15 when it was in used. Am really happy and relief about it. Also this is without the air conditioning unit turned on. Simply on normal room temperature.

UPDATE: With air conditioning on, the HDD is finally able to get to 30 degrees. Before it simply stayed in the 50+ range. An image of how happy I am:

enter image description here

UPDATE: With exactly a month of testing I can say that the temperature has stayed under 30. Right now am in 26 degrees which is very good (50% less than the "normal" temperature it had before).

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  • I heard that, there is a danger in putting hard disk to standby too frequently. This can significantly reduce the lifetime – Anwar Jun 4 '17 at 10:17
  • @Anwar that's correct but not for all models. Some have better/updated ways of handling standby modes. In regards to doing it very frequently, yes, the spindown can wear the HDD faster since it needs to spin up (Cold start) again and again. Linux actually handles this very well. For example I had 3 Seagate Barracuda, 3TB each for I would say 4-5 years. I did apply this standby to all of them and after 4 years they were still working perfectly. The first 2 I sold to a friend but the 3rd one I gave to a neighbor and I do know that the new owner is still using it and that was almost 6 years ago. – Luis Alvarado Jun 4 '17 at 22:36

There are two ways to do this:

  1. Put the drive to sleep, for example, with hdparm -y
  2. Add more fans blowing cool air across the drive.
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  • Actually, am using the computer without a case. Is seating naked in a small table with the air conditioning unit pointing at it. I did this because I already know cases with many fans (Except cooling systems) are less efficient than having it naked on a table. For the sleep part, I want to actually use it with no problems, maybe get the performance down a bit or something that lowers the temp. – Luis Alvarado Feb 6 '13 at 2:50
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    Not true. I've found that cases do reduce temperatures - its simple physics. A naked drive can only lose heat due to natural convection and radiation. Cases pull air over the drives to cool them down. – Journeyman Geek Feb 6 '13 at 3:56
  • For me is simple. Inside case 54 degrees. Outside case 49 degrees. It's simple physics. BTW, outside case there is no limiting walls that need ventilation to cool the system down. It is already outside, can't get cooler than that except for a cooling system attached to the drive. – Luis Alvarado Feb 6 '13 at 4:35
  • @JourneymanGeek, just sitting there in the open yes, you are worse off than in a case with fans moving air over it, but he said he has an A/C blowing on it. – psusi Feb 6 '13 at 14:15

A hard drive does not produce that much heat, even under load - in this article the worst-performing models consumed under 10 watts when under load, and for "green" models the power consumption was below a watt when idle. So it is likely your four drives produce twice less heat than your CPU, even if you using your machine to do I/O intensive tasks for extensive periods.

Having said that, some time ago I used to have a system in which drives ran very hot (and failed regularly). When investigating, I found some articles which noted that a poor power supply may cause this - something along the lines "an overload on +12V line may cause the voltage on the +5V line to increase, which results in hard drives overheating" - or, maybe it was the 5V lines which was overloading, I don't remember.

Also note that cheap power supplies may have wide variations in voltage even without being overloaded.

Now I have some of the same old hard drives in another system and they're quite cool.

Sorry the answer does not include a nifty command to fix the problem :)

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    The actual HDD that is giving the most problem is the one talked in the article, the Seagate Barracuda XT (ST33000651AS). The one I have is the 3TB one which has more than 50 degrees right now. The power supply am using is a very good coolmaster one. – Luis Alvarado Feb 6 '13 at 4:31
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    Need to add that I have several Samsung Spinpoint F3 which are 1Tb each and they do have good temp, between 32 and 35 degrees. That's normal for me. But in this case, 50+ is not normal. – Luis Alvarado Feb 6 '13 at 4:38
  • @LuisAlvarado, ahh, iirc, that's a 7200 rpm drive and so is going to run a little warmer. – psusi Feb 6 '13 at 14:21
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    @Thanks psusi, the thing is, 50 degrees is WOW, hot, and so am looking for example, something that can regulate how fast the disk can spin (acoustic management) or something that tells it, hey if you are not using it, then turn it off until mounted again. – Luis Alvarado Feb 6 '13 at 14:59

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