I'm creating a cheap JBOD box with ~7 IDE hard drives. However when you take into account 3 existing drives + 2 CD drives that are installed as well, I am out of mounting places inside the server.

Will I adversely affect or harm the drives if I just stack them on top of each other in the box? Before you ask if they are going to fall over, this box won't be moved and won't really be touched while its in use. Heat (should) be taken care of by the fans.

However I am worried about the vibrations that each drive will put out. Is this an actual issue?

  • To be on the safe side why not just buy a bigger case ? – user35787 Feb 26 '11 at 21:25
  • @Iain I don't have the money for a bigger case. This is a personal box, not a business box – TheLQ Feb 26 '11 at 21:29

Vibration can be an issue. Head movement does cause some, as does normal spin-up/spin-down activity. If the drives aren't held together by some process, they'll tend to slide down any incline that may be present. Depending on space and cables, that may cause the drives to slip and fall all by themselves, possibly months after installation.

Also, in my experience most of the heat dissipated by hard drives are radiated on the long sides, so stacking them long-side to long-side with no air-gap will tend to focus heat in the disk-block. Lower speed disks should be less sensitive to that than higher speed disks, of course.


Yes, heat dissipation is going to be a problem, as well as the vibration which is inherently present in the hard drives. You would want to at least fashion a bracket out of some metal to keep them at least half an inch apart from each other, and that should help with the falling over.

  • I really doubt both points from physics point of view and from personal experience. – Olli Feb 27 '11 at 10:11

vibrations has NOT been proven to be a factor concerning the length harddrive life.

According to an informal study by Google, the only sure factor concerning the likelyhood that a harddrive will fail is how old the drive is. Nothing else. Just how long ago was it manufactured.


As long as you mount your disks somehow (not in the edge of desk or something), you are just fine.

Vibration can cause problems, if you allow your disks to drop (obviously). It's not problem, when your disks stay in relatively stable surface. Use for example rubber mat to handle this.

Heat dissipation: it's not problem to mount disks with rubber noise silencers (prevents resonance). That's effectively blocking heat transfer to enclosure.

Most probably your disks will die due to age and usage, not because of vibration or heat. Already referenced Google study showed that temperature isn't that important factor for disk age.

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