Do I need to spin down my SATA HDD to save power?

Asked by Aaron Whitehouse on 2009-06-08

I have a new HTPC that is on 24/7 running MythTV, but only used for a few hours when recording or playing back. It has a relatively modern HDD in it:
http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.asp?driveid=307
I think.

I was reading:
http://www.mythtv.co.nz/mythtv/mythtv-articles/power-saving-tips/
and it suggests spinning down HDDs. It also says that, because the HDD is SATA, this is not easy to do. I then came across this:
http://live.gnome.org/GnomePowerManager/FAQ#head-e6d48e4196eb363908fb71975a5311f11f8dd9e4
which says:
"It's was decided user-configurable powermanagement was not really required when modern hard disks have really intelligent powermanagment."

The link above (http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.asp?driveid=307) suggests that my HDD uses less than 1W on "Standby" or "Sleep", but over 8W for "Idle".

Here's my question - assuming a standard Mythbuntu install with no changes to hdparm etc., will my HDD move into those "Standby" or "Sleep" modes automatically, without any intervention from the OS, and reduce the power consumption to less than 1W? If not, is there some AHCI command or something that I should be using to make them do so?

Given that it is running constantly, I am also a little concerned about wear and tear on the disk. Are these (I hope) automatic/low-power states also low wear and tear, or should I be trying to manually power it down for this reason?

Thanks in advance for any help!

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actionparsnip (andrew-woodhead666) said :
#1

You can but if you want to access the drive it will need to spin up again.If you have all the apps you need in ram then the drive isnt really needed.
All I can say is try it. See how it performs but yes the system will use less power. Hard drives usually us about 25W

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actionparsnip (andrew-woodhead666) said :
#2

It also makes the drive work harder with all the stopping and starting. Drives running continually will last longer than ones which stop and start. They dont use much either so I wouldnt sweat it. You can set parameters to not spin the drive if it isinactive for so long but the first use of the drive will be slow as it will have to spin up again.

Could experiment, see what you think.

Just my 2p worth

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linuxrules (linuxrules) said :
#3

if the drive sleeps too often and is woke up too often: this may degraded your drive
if the drive runs 24/7: this will wear it out

so you should try to get a balance between the two

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linuxrules (linuxrules) said :
#4

hdparm should help configure this

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