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Proper Computer Placement

One question many people don’t think about when they purchase a new computer system, whether it’s a workstation or server, is where to physically place the systems. Here are some tips to consider when deciding where to place the physical computer:

Location, location, location

  • Workstations – When placing a workstation, it’s most ideal to keep the workstation up on an elevated area, such as a desk or a shelf. A workstation that is stored on the floor is more likely to accumulate dirt, hair, and garbage, all of which can restrict the ventilation and reduce the life of the components. Keeping the system off the floor also reduces the risk the system will be kicked or bumped which can cause damage. Also, if your home or office is in a location that is at risk of flooding, make sure to keep the system high enough to avoid any potential water damage.
  • Servers – Servers, like workstations, should not be stored on the floor. But, when placing those systems, bear in mind that servers often weight considerably more than a workstation. Make sure to account for that extra weight if you store it on a shelf or desk. Ideally, a server should be mounted in a rack which keeps the server system off the floor to reduce dirt buildup and water damage.

Room and board

  • Workstations – Generally, there are no real stipulations as to where you should place your computer system in your office. However, furniture manufacturers will frequently create desks with cubby holes to place towers. Sometimes, those areas have no openings at the rear and they have a closing front, essentially putting your computer in an environment that may overheat. Exercise caution when you place your computer in a space such as this.
  • Servers – As already mentioned, servers generally weigh more than workstations. This is due to the redundancy of components and the amount of fans for ventilation. With extra components and extra fans, servers can be quite loud. As such, have a well-ventilated room or close available to store the server after purchase. If you are security conscious or have confidential data, make sure to have that location protected with lock and key. Keep in mind also that while the room that has the hot water heater is often an ideal spare office location where a server might fit nicely, this is often a poor choice for storage. First, a hot water heater will cause the temperature to rise in that room. Second, in the event of a breakdown of the heater or a busted pipe, your server could then suffer damage due to water. Plan out the placement of your server prior to purchase and make sure it’s stored in the best place possible.

Is it hot in here?

  • Workstations – Most workstation systems can be stored at room temperature and operate correctly. If you have additional components such as redundant hard drives or multiple video cards, you might invest in additional internal cooling for the system.
  • Servers – While workstations are generally fine operating at room temperature, servers generally require a bit more temperature control. Servers operate best in an environment where the temperature is between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit with about 45% relative humidity. So, servers should be kept in a room that can maintain those settings in a perfect world. If that’s not an option, having a separate cooling unit is advised in order to keep the equipment as cool as possible.

Though they may be common sense to many, following these tips will improve the life of your equipment.

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