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Carnac the Magnificent!
12-04-2006, 02:08 PM
I'm designing an office wherein my Dell computer tower, modem/router and printer (the latter rarely used) will all be stored in an adjacent closet measuring 3' deep by 6' wide by 9' tall. The closet does not have an HVAC vent, but never gets more than 80 degrees F. The closet door will remain closed. A small doorway will provide room for cabling. Basically, this is about reducing visual clutter.

Is there any problem with overheating? The closet is practically empty. The house is climate controlled.

friedo
12-04-2006, 02:35 PM
That should be plenty of room for a single computer and other electronics. Just make sure it has plenty of room to breath in the back, so the internal fans can circulate enough air.

RogueRacer
12-04-2006, 02:42 PM
The closet does not have an HVAC vent, but never gets more than 80 degrees F. Remember that the computer will add heat to the equation. We have a slightly bigger room for a server room where I work. The door must remain open or the servers (two in our case) go critical.

Jake
12-04-2006, 02:44 PM
Are you going to be operating the computer inside the closet?
Sounds like a plot for Stephen King!

BarnOwl
12-04-2006, 02:52 PM
Are you going to be operating the computer inside the closet?
Sounds like a plot for Stephen King!

Only if Carnac considers himself part of the visual clutter.

Carnac the Magnificent!
12-04-2006, 03:19 PM
Are you going to be operating the computer inside the closet?
Sounds like a plot for Stephen King!



May a weird holy man light a Roman candle in your shorts.

Balthisar
12-04-2006, 04:10 PM
I've got my homebrew machine running in a closed closet with a lot tighter confines... it's just a third of the 8-foot-wide economy closet by three feet high. So... router... switch... cable modem... DirecTV box, tower with 650 watt power supply running an Intel power-hog something-or-other and five drives and four expansion cards. It gets warm in there, but not unformfortably so. I'll add that I added two fans to the case to circulate the air better; the power supply fan and processor fan weren't enough. One fan to blow air in, and one fan to blow it out.

Now there are true geeks out there that will plot the airflow and use non-flat cables and all that crap, but you just want a Dell in your closet. Make it simple -- put a thermometer in the closet for a while and if it gets too hot, take it out. Dell's specifications will list operating temperature ranges. A random Google search indicates up to 95 F for certain Dell notebooks, for example. Probably higher for a PC.

Carnac the Magnificent!
12-04-2006, 04:18 PM
I've got my homebrew machine running in a closed closet with a lot tighter confines... it's just a third of the 8-foot-wide economy closet by three feet high. So... router... switch... cable modem... DirecTV box, tower with 650 watt power supply running an Intel power-hog something-or-other and five drives and four expansion cards. It gets warm in there, but not unformfortably so. I'll add that I added two fans to the case to circulate the air better; the power supply fan and processor fan weren't enough. One fan to blow air in, and one fan to blow it out.

Now there are true geeks out there that will plot the airflow and use non-flat cables and all that crap, but you just want a Dell in your closet. Make it simple -- put a thermometer in the closet for a while and if it gets too hot, take it out. Dell's specifications will list operating temperature ranges. A random Google search indicates up to 95 F for certain Dell notebooks, for example. Probably higher for a PC.


Yep, I'm not trying to run pi out to 10 quintillion digits, just analyze spreadsheets and read/write Word documents, mainly in the evening.

I like your "give it a try" approach.

Jurph
12-04-2006, 09:41 PM
I'm designing an office wherein my Dell computer tower, modem/router and printer (the latter rarely used) will all be stored in an adjacent closet measuring 3' deep by 6' wide by 9' tall.

[...]

Is there any problem with overheating? The closet is practically empty. The house is climate controlled.

A few things you can do to reduce your machine's power consumption (and therefore, its heat output):

- Underclock the CPU if you can (easy/automatic with AMD, marginally tougher with Intel). Some chips will let you drop the clock speed when the chip is idle; this is a great option.
- Disconnect any peripherals you aren't using, or hook them up to a USB power adapter (http://www.makezine.com/blog/archive/2006/11/save_power_with.html?CMP=OTC-0D6B48984890) so that whenever the machine is inactive, all of the peripherals turn off. It's triggered by the screen-saver, or maybe by the ACPI settings - not entirely sure which.
- Keep the PC at the bottom of the closet with plenty of room to breathe, and install a fan control utility to run the fan at full speed only when the chip gets hot. Most of the hot air should rise to the top of the closet, and cool air will come in under the door.

You can install a program like Motherboard Monitor to track the ambient temperature inside the case, and save yourself the trouble of sticking a thermometer in the closet. It can also check fan speeds for you, if you're interested in tracking that sort of thing. Let us know how it works out!

Seven
12-05-2006, 02:28 AM
You should be fine. I used to run a couple of computer in a closet about the size of yours. I never had a problem. It would get a touch warm, but never close to critical.

Put your computer on the floor and make sure it has plenty of space around it for air-flow.

sturmhauke
12-05-2006, 02:52 AM
Keep an ear out for whining fans, which is a clear indication that your system is struggling to keep cool. At that point I would open the door and maybe think about getting more and/or higher airflow fans.

Mangetout
12-05-2006, 03:49 AM
Is it possible to install some kind of vents in the closet door? Two small vents (one near the top of the door and another near the bottom) would allow circulation of the air inside by convection - the vents could be covered with decorative grilles.

FRDE
12-05-2006, 05:47 AM
I agree - if not vented that closet could get very hot.

Heat has to go somewhere - otherwise you get an oven.

LouisB
12-05-2006, 06:02 AM
I used to have our computer stuff set up in a closet about the size the OP mentions. The closet has louvered doors, so air flow was great. I never had any problems that I know were heat related. I came home one day to find all the computer stuff sitting in the hallway---seems that my darling Marcie decided she needed the closet for her stuff. It was nice while it lasted, though.

minor7flat5
12-05-2006, 06:20 AM
I think LouisB must be using my machine when I am not home.

Another vote for some kind of louvered folding door on the closet. It has worked perfect for me for the past five years.

My only annoyance with this is that manufacturers these days seem to like putting blue LEDs on everything, so after awhile the closet begins to emanate a bright blue louvered glow, cool in itself, but not what I want when I'm trying to get to sleep.

Balthisar
12-05-2006, 06:57 AM
Keep an ear out for whining fans, which is a clear indication that your system is struggling to keep cool. At that point I would open the door and maybe think about getting more and/or higher airflow fans.
Really, that shouldn't be true unless you have some type of motherboard-controlled, self-regulating, sophisticated fan setup. Most cooling fans just run constantly based on a constant voltage. If you hear whining, you do have a problem, though -- the fan's bearings are probably about to give out, meaning the fan may seize, meaning you won't have any cooling at all when that happens.

UncleRojelio
12-05-2006, 07:07 AM
I've run a computer out in an unheated/unairconditioned garage for years with no problems. Gets to be 120F out there in the summertime. YMMV.

Carnac the Magnificent!
12-05-2006, 08:53 AM
Is it possible to install some kind of vents in the closet door? Two small vents (one near the top of the door and another near the bottom) would allow circulation of the air inside by convection - the vents could be covered with decorative grilles.


Actually, the main HVAC "trunk" (whatever) is located right next to that closet. Might the radiation alone keep the closet cooler than otherwise?

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