Server temperature control and monitoring

Posted: 2013/07/09 in Computers and technology
Tags: , , , , , , ,

If you’re anything geek, you might have a home server setup to hold your medias, connect to the world, serve audio or video to your network, act as a proxy, ftp or whatnot. Either it has been made in a server-oriented machine, a NAS or a recycled/reused “old” PC.  More than likely this server machine is in proximity of the internet router, the WiFi router, maybe a hub or something.

Most geeks can’t have a dedicated air conditioned room for such server(s) and opt for a closet or under a staircase.

Something to consider when building the “server room closet” is ventilation. This area will likely be closed as to reduce ambient noise and will likely not have a cooling system. But adding an air vent somewhere over the computer area will let heat evacuate the room and result in significantly reduced heat accumulation inside the computer. It is easier to cool your machine with cold air than with pre-heated air. Just adding a passive vent might result in a CPU and external HDD about 10-15 degrees cooler.

airvent

Something else to take into consideration in your efforts to cool your server is to properly control the fans. For servers you might want to set them in BIOS as always on, but there are software that helps out for that. One is SpeedFan by Alfredo Milani-Comparetti. It is freeware with lots of potential. It detects what’s available on your system – heat sensors, fan speed sensor, PWM controller, voltages. You can access SMART diagnostics for all your hard drives including most USB ones. It can “auto adjust” your fans depending on sensor temperature or parameters you choose, which is mainly useful for non-server computers – servers might just want to run at full blast all the time. Nevertheless having access to monitoring the temps & fan speed and power voltages is a useful server utility.

speedfan

If weather is too warm, computers (and servers) can become quite hot. Depending on the CPU/architecture, this might lead to computer slowing down, freezing and/or rebooting. A rebooting server is an annoying server, but a cooled down server is a happy server.

Stay cool!

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