Correct hard drive orientation

I came across a discussion on Technibble where someone asked which is the correct way to mount a hard drive. Can we mount it vertically or sideways, or should it always be in a flat orientation?

Obviously, this question only applies to traditional hard drives. A solid-state drive has no moving parts, but rotational hard drives have moving heads and bearings, which are affected by gravity.

Well, we can try the manufacturer's specs. They are mostly similar, and where they mention orientation, 5 degrees off any vertical is a standard. Some manufacturers include mounting orientation data, while others don't. I checked modern (2017) WD spec sheets, and these do not include orientation. Then, Seagate says in its Seagate BarraCuda Pro SATA Product Manual, Rev. D, page 23, that users can mount the drive in any orientation and does not mention any limits whatsoever. However, I recall that there were some specified limits, at least in the olden days. So I tried harder and found the IBM document dated 10 January 2002, S07N-7909-09 Publication #1530. Admittedly it is kind of old, but it explicitly specifies

The drive will operate in all axes (6 directions) and will stay within the specified error rates when tilted ±5 degrees from these positions.

This pretty much concludes it. You can mount a hard drive aligned with any axis you feel like.

Created Saturday, October 14, 2017