another radical concept...Re: [Beowulf] Cooling vs HW replacement

Karen Shaeffer shaeffer at
Tue Jan 18 16:50:09 PST 2005

On Tue, Jan 18, 2005 at 12:52:50PM -0800, Jim Lux wrote:
> OK.. we're all agreed that running things hot is bad practice.. BUT, it
> seems we're all talking about "office" or "computer room" environments on
> problems where a failure in a processor or component has high impact.
> Say you have an application where you don't need long life (maybe you've got
> a field site where things have to work for 3 months, and then it can die),
> but the ambient temperature is, say, 50C.  Maybe some sort of remote
> monitoring platform system.
> You've got those Seagate drives with the spec for 30C, and some small number
> will fail every month at that temp (about 0.5% will fail in the three
> months).  But, you'll have to go through all kinds of hassle to cool the 50C
> down to 30C.
> Maybe your choice is between "sealed box at 50C" and "vented box at 30C", in
> a dusty dirty environment, where the reliability impact of sucking in dust
> is far greater than the increased failure rate due to running hot.

Hi Jim,

Of course, you make excellent points here. I don't know, as I don't work on
such problems. If I did, just thinking off the top of my head, I would
probably want to examine battery backed ramdisk or NAND flash as having
far more interesting characteristics for short duty in harsh environments.
This is not my field of endeavor, so I defer to you. (smiles ;)

Thanks for your comments.
 Karen Shaeffer
 Neuralscape, Palo Alto, Ca. 94306
 shaeffer at

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