View Full Version : Mount a Hard Drive Vertically?

12-09-2000, 09:36 PM
I just bought a Western Digital 20GB 7200rpm hard drive for a P133 system cuz the old hard drive died a cruel death on Friday. :( That old hard drive was mounted vertically in the front of the case, where there are some air holes that i guess allow it to dissipate some heat. Should i mount the new hard drive vertically in the same position as the last one or horizontally in one of the drive bays in my mid-tower? Do "verticalness" and gravity have bad effects on a hard drive? Could they have caused my old hard drive to last only 4 years?

Thanks a lot in advance.

12-09-2000, 09:40 PM
Vertically or horizontally are both accepted methods. :)

12-09-2000, 09:42 PM
You should be able to mount the harddrive any way you want as long as the harddrive is stabley mounted and does not move.


12-09-2000, 10:09 PM
it doesnt matter how you mount it. wd have had a recent history of hdd failure

12-09-2000, 10:12 PM
I had a WD hard drive die on me as well, never was happy with it. The only thing I can say is that I've had better luck with hard drives being mounted horizontally. Your last one died mounted vertically so why not try something new? =) Hehehe.. anyway, I'd stick with a different brand than WD, they seem to die after a number of years.


12-09-2000, 11:42 PM
Manufacturers allow any orientation within 10 degrees of vertical or horizontal, but Seagates used to forbid mounting their drives with the front facing downward.

If you don't have a cooling fan for the drive, vertical is better than horizontal because convection air currents will make the drive run about 5-10 deg. F cooler overall but a whopping 20-30F for the hottest chips.

12-09-2000, 11:48 PM
All the Dells have their primary HD vertical.

I also bought a Palo Alto Case and my 2 Raid drives are mounted both ways. 1 vertical and 1 horizontal. No problemns what so ever.. yet.

Gatsby - 24

12-09-2000, 11:54 PM
To be honest, I have noticed that drives that are mounted vertically seem more likely to fail. Just the other day a computer at school had its hard disk fail. It was a vertically mounted Seagate.

12-10-2000, 12:24 AM
MWink you have one data point. dell has every dimension they've sold since 1991. if it was costing dell more to mount the drives vertically, they wouldn't do it.

12-10-2000, 09:00 AM
For all practical purposes, mounting HDD's vertically or horizontally is "six of one, half dozen of the other." I don't believe there is any relationship to drive failure.

From my experience, vertically mounting is typical of desktop cases while you see horizontal mounts in towers. (And let's face it, desktop cases are far and few between these days!)

12-10-2000, 09:04 AM
I work with a lot of Dells, like those mentioned above. Yes, the primary drive is mounted vertically. However, you can mount a second drive horizaontally. So, I don't think there is any cost advantage for Dell either way, since they provide two ways to mount the HD in the case.

Te only advantage that Dell may see is a larger surface area for cooling along an edge of the case. But, I am only guessing here.


12-10-2000, 09:39 AM
LilRiceBoi, in my experience WD have a long, long history of bad drives, and I'll never buy one again. I'd strongly recommend anyone else to steer clear too. Ever since 20Mb hard drives were big, every few months I come across another failed WD drive, through all the interfaces and sizes. Over the same time I've never seen a failed Seagate, and only one failed IBM, and that only during burn-in.

12-10-2000, 09:46 AM
I wouldn't know how long they last but dell machines have hdds that are both vertically and horizontally and sometimes upside down mounted... I doubt they'll do that if it'll fail!

12-10-2000, 10:16 AM
Although it does not matter which way you mount it, I have heard (and this may be an old-wives tale only) that you do not want to switch a hard drive after an extended period of time. Something to do with the drive mechanism becoming adapted to one orientation. It becomes more likely to fail if you switch directions on it.


The Sauce
12-10-2000, 11:36 AM
If you are going to mount the drive vertically, then make sure that you format it vertically first. You may run into some problems if you set it up and format it horizontally and then run it vertically as slight alignment problems can result...or so i've heard.

12-10-2000, 11:51 AM
The problem i had with my dell was when i added a second HD(horizontally) the cable between the two would barely fit(almost stretching it)....now with my new case i have one vertically and since the other won't fit horizontally i just kinda attached some mounting brackets perpendicular to the other one and its just kinda proped up standing on the bottom of the case. Is this a terribly bad thing? it seems fine as long as i don't tip the computer around. Desperate times, desperate measures.

12-10-2000, 04:10 PM
ive mounted hdds vertically before and nvere had any problems...actually i drilled some holes in the mobo tray and had it hanging on by just one side and it worked fine...

for that matter ive left htem hanging from the IDE ribbon cable in the case and never had problems either...so you sohuld be fine

12-10-2000, 04:32 PM
I've heard what ERJ is talking about. I believe it has to do with the wearing of the moving parts within the drive.

12-10-2000, 09:36 PM
Snatchface: Drives don't develop a "set" for a certain position, and even if they did their head servo could automatically compensate for it, as it does for thermal expansion. However even old drives without servos (they used stepper motors instead) could be used in one position for a long time and then have their orientation changed without incident.

Bearing wear is also not a problem with orientation because the bearings are preloaded, and I was told that they actually could withstand twice as much force radially as axially.

MWink: The only reason drives would be more prone to fail vertically would be if there was much more horizontal than vertical shock, but I believe you just saw a coincidence.

DoctorBooze: I don't remember 20MB Western Digital drives, but after WD brought out their Caviar series they enjoyed probably the best reputation in the business for several years until the mid-1990s. But I haven't bought any of their drives in the past few years because their financial status worries me.

12-10-2000, 10:02 PM
I've had no issues with mounting hard drives vertically. I prefer horizontally, but I have 2 HDD's mounted vertically in the PC I am using right now. My other system has all of it's drives mounted horizontally.

I have an old Compaq 486/66 that has the hard drive mounted upside down. It's been working for over 5 years. The HD is a Western Digital Caviar 850MB, BTW.

12-10-2000, 11:10 PM
hmm dunno about that formatting thing...sounds kinda iffy. but i dunno..I like to mount horizontally

12-10-2000, 11:33 PM
just dont turn it upside down...they arent made to run that way.

12-11-2000, 12:08 AM
why is everybody bashing WD? I had a 4GB as my primary drive and it's lasted me 4 years. It's in my secondary box now still going strong.

Crystal Bay
12-11-2000, 01:47 AM
W.D. Expert 27.3 mounted Vertically . It is quiet with no signs or sounds of failure dangit...:P

12-11-2000, 02:01 AM
The vertical mounting won't change anything about the platter rotation.

The R/W head however, will have a more difficult time doing the vertical jingle because of gravity.

If this makes a difference, I don't know. It'd be interesting to get some statistics on drive failures versus age and mounting position.

12-11-2000, 02:06 AM
Actually, regarding the rotation. The bearing will be loaded differently.

In the vertical position the bearing will be subjected to a cyclic load as it moves around the axle.

In the horizontal position there is a constant load. The application of this load will move around relatively randomly with respect to the bearing.

At thousands of RPM and after years of service, this might bring up some issues.

12-11-2000, 02:22 AM
We run 4 servers out of our office (2 Dell, 2 Compaq) and all 4 of them have vertically mounted hard drives. This is the standard method of mounting drives in servers (unless you rack mount your servers) and I've seen this done on disk arrays for mainframes also. I figure if a company is willing to mount 40 4GB drives vertically in an array, it's probably safe for you to do the same. :)