With the case closed, the computer actually seems to more heat (the rear fans blow out air that is noticeably hotter than with the side door removed), hence I removed it. I might put my temperature monitor/fan control bay into it and see what it says (the wires, oh god the wires... *shakes with horror*)...
If the drives are running so hot that they are "burning" hot then most likely the spindle lubricant has failed, eg. it's partially solidified. I've had this happen with a drive from 2001 that hadn't been spun up for a while.
Interesting... this computer did sit dormant for a bit a while back (a couple years now) - it had a dead PSU and I, at the time, couldn't diagnose the issue (but I eventually learned what was wrong all by myself!
). Dunno if a span of a few months is sufficient, though.
I would think that when they say "a little hot" they don't mean "burning hot".
When I say "burning hot" I mean where I can touch it for ~.5-1 second and have to take my fingers/hand away and say "Ow!", so I would assume as much.
Having the sides off the case actually decreases airflow.
probably wouldn't make that much difference in this setup
personally I'd cut an opening in the case behind the fan, mask the openings in the case either side of the fan, and mount the fan so it's drawing rather than blowing...
I could cut the hole, but the front panel *still* won't fit on with it there. I need a more "permanent" setup than the front mounted fan. I did have a blazing fast 80mm fan there before (about 1/2cm thick, so it fit great), but it is out of balance and makes an awful noise, and then it usually hits the metal case, making more noise... horrible for sleeping
Also, replacement of the drives is absolutely out of the question - I bugged my dad about it back in January/Febuary, and the money is simply not available. Damn economy...