Have you ever wondered if mounting a hard disk drive on its side or even upside-down affects its lifespan or reliability? According to every drive manufacturer, it’s perfectly acceptable to mount a hard disk drive in any orientation as long as it’s not tilted and has sufficient cooling. File this under “now you know”…
My new server case, the NZXT H440, has five drive sleds with mounting holes for one drive on top and another on the bottom. Although this makes power and data cable routing a little more interesting, it’s perfectly fine to mount drives like this. Especially with the H440, since there are three very large fans blowing air across them at all times!
Just to make sure, here’s what each drive manufacturer says on the subject of drive mounting:1
- Seagate: “All Seagate and Maxtor-brand hard drives can be fitted sideways or upside down. As long as they are not moved during use and get enough cooling, it is irrelevant in which direction they are mounted.”
- Western Digital: “The drive can be mounted sideways, on end, or even upside down as long as the mounting screws are used properly.”
- HGST: “Hitachi Deskstar drive can be mounted with any side or end vertical or horizontal. Do not mount the drive in a tilted position.”
So it’s perfectly fine to mount a hard disk drive upside down, vertical, or on either end as long as it’s secure from vibration and shock, not tilted at an angle, and gets enough cooling. This is no surprise since every vendor sells external USB drives with vertical or end-on mounting.2
Here’s my entire FreeNAS series so far: