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I've been considering a Mac Mini or other small form-factor computer for some lightweight server/tinkering with HPC related tasks. There's some benefit to having a faster drive in the system, but most of the cases I'm looking at only accommodate 2.5 inch drives, though they've got some headroom, and most only have SATA interfaces.

I don't feel like buying an SSD, but a Velociraptor without the large black mounting bracket, which apparently also serves as a heat sink seems to fit the bill.

The question is, without that attachment is the drive hideously noisy or hot to the point that it shouldn't be used? Any other clear drawbacks?

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WHy not take the safer route and do 2x7200RPM HDDs RAID 1? –  kobaltz Dec 31 '11 at 4:05
    
Slight speed increase, the notion that the Raptor drives are enterprise-drives to begin with and thus possibly more reliable, and the novelty of it? Also having a drive named after a dinosaur, rather than a disgusting fish product ;) –  Fomite Dec 31 '11 at 5:14

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Western Digital will void the warranty on a raptor if run without the heat sink, however from what I've read in them is that the power draw is only about 6 watts tops and 4.5 or so at idle. So they will run a little hotter than a standard single platter 7200rpm 2.5 inch drive, but not so hot that they cannot successfully run without it. I don't know that I, personally, would be comfortable running it without one unless it was in a fairly well cooled case. Not necessarily fans blowing right on it, but just properly cooled at the least.

Overly noisy? Probably not. Noisier than a standard drive? I wouldn't doubt it.

Another noteworthy bit is I think the raptors are 12mm thick, and not 9.5 like most laptop drives are.

In closing I wouldn't do it, I know you said you don't feel like getting an SSD but that would be wht I would do to keep the heat down in the case. Remember even if the heat from the drive alone isn't enough to damage the drive, combined with video and CPU heat when not normally a factor in the machine, it could have ramifications other than just the drive having issues. Especially in a machine like a mini. Its designed to vent the heat created by the system under stock conditions.

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Yeah - an SSD is the ideal solution, the problem is the $/Gb ratio for SSDs is still unfavorable enough for the capacity I need to exceed my "novelty project" budget. –  Fomite Dec 31 '11 at 5:13

Modders and gamers have peeled their raptors out of cases and run them with success. For example, check out this fellows escapades. The real problem is that the naked raptor is still thicker than most 2.5 inch drives.

enter image description here

You may not be able to pack it into the constrained space of a Mac Mini. Also, the Mac Mini has only one paltry fan so the added heat of a 10K RPM drive might not be doable.

As for noise, take a look at the decibel ratings of the Velociraptor and the RaptorX at TechReport.com. The following picture is property of TechReport (click to the article to see more information):

enter image description here

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The Mac Mini should have the headroom (there's room for 2 x 2.5 drives w/o an optical drive) but yeah, it's the heat that concerns me. –  Fomite Dec 31 '11 at 4:01
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The Mac mini is not fanless. However it is basically just a CPU fan though it can't help but move air out of the entire case being that the interior is so small. So it does help. As I said, it might be an issue because it's not DESIGNED for it, but it may work. –  Paperlantern Dec 31 '11 at 4:05
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@Paperlantern Gah! I corrected it. Thanks! =) –  Wesley Dec 31 '11 at 4:07

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