The Shuttle PC I bought sophomore year has had persistant heat problems. While it is nice to have a very small PC case, the ventilation is not great and has led to the failure of one hard drive and the almost-lost of all my data. I went and purchase a big fan and stuck it directly under the new hard drive, but it still overheats and crashes every week or two.
So last week I decided to finally deal with the problem. I bought a (supposedly) very quiet minitower case and an extra fan for it to keep it cool. The new case necessitated a new motherboard, so I got one of those as well, one with built-in RAID. RAID is a method of linking together multiple hard drives to either make one big, fast storage system or to create redundancy by “mirroring” data on multiple drives. My original thought was to do mirroring, so that if one drive failed I’d still have my data, but then it occured to me that it would probably make more sense for my purposes to just have an ultra-fast non-redundant RAID setup and then backup everything to my old (i.e. current) hard drive every night. Then my backup would be a day old, which is actually better, because if I delete something accidentally I will be able to recover it from the backup.
The new case, new motherboard, fan, and two new hard drives ended up costing about $400, which I think is a fair exchange for more storage space and, more importantly, more reliability. Now I’ll have the ability to backup my laptop onto my desktop as well, and the risk of massive loss of data is much reduced. Plus, hopefully it’ll be quieter.