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I thought that since the metallic chasing goes warm but a plastic one remains cool the metallic chasing will be very good for releasing heat. Is it true?

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side question: is there any risk that a badly-designed/cheaply-made metallic case may case short circuits on the controller board? – eadmaster Apr 23 at 2:04
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Metal generally conducts heat better (often much better) than plastic and will keep temperatures lower than a plastic enclosure, which can trap heat as it acts as an insulator.

I use a Rosewill RX-358-S, a metal enclosure with cooling fan, with a 1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 and I haven't had a problem with it so far. Temperatures are kept under control at about 40-45 °C during the summer and the fan can lower temperatures by about 7-10 degrees more.

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I'd agree with you on that - the fact that the metal case is warm tells you that heat has been drawn from somewhere (ie: the disk). Barring fault conditions, it's a good sign that the case is warm because it means that it's acting as a heatsink for the disk.

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It depends on the specific drive and the quality of the design. A good design will dissipate the heat, a poor design might not. The material used for the case will figure into the heat dissipation scheme, but using metal vs plastic won't "fix" a bad design.

If one drive feels warmer than another, it may be because it's generating more heat in the first place.

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I don't think you understand. The casing is custom, it's one of those common ones that are sold for USB for fitting a common drive in them. It's not a very low level question, it's about people picking up a case of USB-for-a-drive-in-it from a shop. – j riv Aug 3 '11 at 12:05
That's only slightly different. Heat dissipation ability depends on the overall design of the case (and also the suitability of a particular case for a particular drive). With two identical cases, but one metal and the other plastic, the metal case would presumably run cooler, but it's doubtful that you'd find such identical cases. With plastic, eg, it's easier to mold in vents and air duct channels. – Daniel R Hicks Aug 4 '11 at 2:16

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