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Do all Mac drives, including external , spin down when not used for a while?

Message #1 - Posted 2012/08/02 - micky

The best feature of the WD external drive, imo, was that it had "a power-saving feature [that] turns the drive on and off with your computer. " ** That really touched a nerve. Not so much because it saves power, but because it would extend the drive life to not be spinning 24 hours a day.

But last night it occurred to me that maybe all the drives internal and external, stop spinning when they haven't been used for a (user defined) length of time.

Is that so? Especially with OSX 10.4.11, in an Imac (USB 2.0). (upgraded from Panther.) . Especially external.

OT. It turns out one of the Seagate drive families, GoFlex, requires separate purchase of a Firewire cable, and it's not the usual cable, but it's special at one end, much bigger, and connects at what would be the bottom or top end, if the drive were standing up like a book. So I guess the drive has to lie down. And it's 23 dollars. http://www.amazon.com/Seagate-FreeAgent-GoFlex-Upgrade-FireWire/dp/B003IT6PHC The second and third pictures are the best.

**Back to the original topic, The paragraph in the WD advertising said in full "My Book external drives are designed to save energy. WD GreenPower Technology˙ lowers internal drive power consumption by up to 30%, a sleep mode reduces power during idle times, and a power-saving feature turns the drive on and off with your computer. "

Message #2 - Posted 2012/08/02 - Fred Moore

Previously, micky wrote:

The best feature of the WD external drive, imo, was that it had "a power-saving feature [that] turns the drive on and off with your computer. " ** That really touched a nerve. Not so much because it saves power, but because it would extend the drive life to not be spinning 24 hours a day.

Micky, I mentioned this briefly when I responded to your other post. I'll expand here.

All internal drives should spin down when the computer is put to sleep. The 'green' drives spin down sooner if not used. Nice concept, but if reliability is most important, wait to see how this works out.

Historically, spinning a hard drive up and down was VERY bad for its longevity because of the wear and tear it put on the spindle bearings. Much worse than just letting it run. Supposedly, the 'green' drives have fixed this. However, productivity may suffer if you are frequently waiting for a spun-down drive to spin up. I'm sure you know how waiting even a few seconds for a computer to perform a task is terminally annoying.

Also, some of the 'green' drives, WD is one group, have had reliability problems related to the drive controller software. They will eventually get this right, but I'm waiting till a good track record is established.

--

Message #3 - Posted 2012/08/03 - Malcolm

On 2012-08-02 13:20:23 +0000, micky said:

The best feature of the WD external drive, imo, was that it had "a power-saving feature [that] turns the drive on and off with your computer. " ** That really touched a nerve. Not so much because it saves power, but because it would extend the drive life to not be spinning 24 hours a day.

But last night it occurred to me that maybe all the drives internal and external, stop spinning when they haven't been used for a (user defined) length of time.

Is that so? Especially with OSX 10.4.11, in an Imac (USB 2.0). (upgraded from Panther.) . Especially external.

OT. It turns out one of the Seagate drive families, GoFlex, requires separate purchase of a Firewire cable, and it's not the usual cable, but it's special at one end, much bigger, and connects at what would be the bottom or top end, if the drive were standing up like a book. So I guess the drive has to lie down. And it's 23 dollars. http://www.amazon.com/Seagate-FreeAgent-GoFlex-Upgrade-FireWire/dp/B003IT6PHC The second and third pictures are the best.

**Back to the original topic, The paragraph in the WD advertising said in full "My Book external drives are designed to save energy. WD GreenPower Technology˙ lowers internal drive power consumption by up to 30%, a sleep mode reduces power during idle times, and a power-saving feature turns the drive on and off with your computer. "

There is a setting in "Energy Saver" system preference to make internal drives spin down when they haven't been used for a while. Some external drive cases have sleep circuitry. Sometimes the manufacture has software to control this.

Message #4 - Posted 2012/08/02 - Steve Fenwick

Previously, Fred Moore wrote:

Previously, micky wrote:

The best feature of the WD external drive, imo, was that it had "a power-saving feature [that] turns the drive on and off with your computer. " ** That really touched a nerve. Not so much because it saves power, but because it would extend the drive life to not be spinning 24 hours a day.

Micky, I mentioned this briefly when I responded to your other post. I'll expand here.

All internal drives should spin down when the computer is put to sleep. The 'green' drives spin down sooner if not used. Nice concept, but if reliability is most important, wait to see how this works out.

External drives may or may not. If they're on eSATA, likelihood is high; not so on Firewire. I rarely use drives on USB so I can't comment there.

Macs also have an option (in the Energy Saver prefs) to spin down hard drives when the OS feels like it, based on usage patterns ("Put hard drive(s) to sleep when possible").

SMART data and temperature sensor data may also be unavailable unless the drive is on SATA (internal or external).

Historically, spinning a hard drive up and down was VERY bad for its longevity because of the wear and tear it put on the spindle bearings. Much worse than just letting it run. Supposedly, the 'green' drives have fixed this. However, productivity may suffer if you are frequently waiting for a spun-down drive to spin up. I'm sure you know how waiting even a few seconds for a computer to perform a task is terminally annoying.

There are stories that "green" drives are horribly unsuited to RAID arrays for just this reason.

Steve

steve <at> w0x0f <dot> com
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, sidecar in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

Message #5 - Posted 2012/08/03 - micky

On Thu, 02 Aug 2012 12:10:39 -0400, Fred Moore wrote:

Previously, micky wrote:

The best feature of the WD external drive, imo, was that it had "a power-saving feature [that] turns the drive on and off with your computer. " ** That really touched a nerve. Not so much because it saves power, but because it would extend the drive life to not be spinning 24 hours a day.

Micky, I mentioned this briefly when I responded to your other post. I'll expand here.

All internal drives should spin down when the computer is put to sleep. The 'green' drives spin down sooner if not used. Nice concept, but if reliability is most important, wait to see how this works out.

Historically, spinning a hard drive up and down was VERY bad for its longevity because of the wear and tear it put on the spindle bearings. Much worse than just letting it run.

Amazing. I would never have guessed.

What about turning off just once a day, at the end of the day?

My own question missed what I really cared about. What about when the computer itself is turned off? But the external drive has its own power supply. Will the platter keep spinning all night, even when the computer is off?

Supposedly, the 'green' drives have fixed this. However, productivity may suffer if you are frequently waiting for a spun-down drive to spin up. I'm sure you know how waiting even a few seconds for a computer to perform a task is terminally annoying.

Also, some of the 'green' drives, WD is one group, have had reliability problems related to the drive controller software. They will eventually get this right, but I'm waiting till a good track record is established.

That's a good reason to avoid them now.

Message #6 - Posted 2012/08/03 - Fred Moore

Previously, micky wrote:

On Thu, 02 Aug 2012 12:10:39 -0400, Fred Moore wrote:

Historically, spinning a hard drive up and down was VERY bad for its longevity because of the wear and tear it put on the spindle bearings. Much worse than just letting it run.

Amazing. I would never have guessed.

What about turning off just once a day, at the end of the day?

The _traditional_ rule of thumb has been, if you're not going to use the drive for 8 hours or more, shut it down. Knowledgeable HD folks claim turning today's hard drives on and off (within reason) is not too much a problem. Still, I'd avoid unnecessary spin up/downs.

My own question missed what I really cared about. What about when the computer itself is turned off? But the external drive has its own power supply. Will the platter keep spinning all night, even when the computer is off?

All my Wiebetech external enclosures allow the external HDs to spin up/down with the system sleep. The all use Oxford bridge chips (944 I think). Don't know if this behavior is standard Firewire or just good implementation by Wiebetech. USB drives do _not_ obey system sleep commands. I've never checked about whether shutdown sleeps an external because it's so easy to run off the external after shutdown. Also offers some small protection against voltage spikes it the external's switch is mechanical (rather than solid state).

As Steve points out, SMART and temperature data are not available on USB or Firewire externals. No particularly big deal. Don't know about eSATA.

'Impact' is NOT a verb!
--D.H. Smith

Message #7 - Posted 2012/08/03 - Steve Fenwick

Previously, Fred Moore wrote:

Previously, micky wrote:

On Thu, 02 Aug 2012 12:10:39 -0400, Fred Moore wrote:

Historically, spinning a hard drive up and down was VERY bad for its longevity because of the wear and tear it put on the spindle bearings. Much worse than just letting it run.

Amazing. I would never have guessed.

What about turning off just once a day, at the end of the day?

The _traditional_ rule of thumb has been, if you're not going to use the drive for 8 hours or more, shut it down. Knowledgeable HD folks claim turning today's hard drives on and off (within reason) is not too much a problem. Still, I'd avoid unnecessary spin up/downs.

My own question missed what I really cared about. What about when the computer itself is turned off? But the external drive has its own power supply. Will the platter keep spinning all night, even when the computer is off?

All my Wiebetech external enclosures allow the external HDs to spin up/down with the system sleep. The all use Oxford bridge chips (944 I think). Don't know if this behavior is standard Firewire or just good implementation by Wiebetech.

I suspect it's a feature of the 944; I have enclosures with the 924, and they don't spin down on sleep or unmount.

As Steve points out, SMART and temperature data are not available on USB or Firewire externals. No particularly big deal. Don't know about eSATA.

I get a warning message about not having temperature data from the defrag program I use occasionally.

Steve

steve <at> w0x0f <dot> com
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, sidecar in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

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