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How close should I put two computer towers next to each other?

Answer: If you need to place multiple workstations on a single desk, you might be wondering where to put the system units, or "towers." Should they be next to each other or should you keep them far apart? Whether your setup is for business, school, or home, it's important to make sure you don't compromise the operation of the computers by putting them to close to each other.

So how close is too close? It really depends on the computers. Some towers generate far more heat than others, so it depends on how hot the towers get. For example, a Mac mini hardly generates any heat, while a high end gaming PC can almost function as a space heater. Manufacturers often specify how much space you should leave around the front, back, and sides of the tower to allow for proper airflow and cooling. If you can find this information in your owner's manual, I would recommend doubling the required space on the sides if you have the towers side by side. This is because both towers are giving off heat to each other when the two machines are running.

If your manual does not specify how much space you should leave around your tower, I recommend keeping the towers one foot apart to be safe. While you can place the towers closer together if necessary, it may end up producing a lot of heat between the two machines. If you start hearing the fans running more than usual, it would be a good idea to put some extra distance between the towers.

Besides overheating concerns, there really is no reason to keep the system units far apart. Today's components are magnetically shielded so you shouldn't have to worry about any magnetic interference. However, power cords and audio cables can still generate other types of interference, so it's best to separate the power cords from the audio cables. Simple twisty ties or other cable management accessories are a great way to organize an unruly mass of cables. This is especially true when you set up multiple computers in a small area.

Published: April 19, 2013 — by Per Christensson

Answer from the PC Help Center