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Vitoarc's picture
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Joined: 2010 Aug 15
Age old debate: Spin down drives or not?

I've heard the arguments before regarding spinning down drives, and I'm still undecided. So I thought I'd ask your opinions about this topic, and after I weigh everything out, I'm guessing I'll still be undecided. Wink

In regards to this program http://macintoshgarden.org/apps/sleeper please state your case Pro or Con for spinning down drives. I think it's a given that this program is terrific for an energy star CRT so we'll move on from static devices to that of dynamic.

On the Pro side, as far as I can tell, spinning down the drives ...

- saves energy (and therefore costs)
- helps to reduce heat buildup (of course heat is detrimental to your CPU etc)
- helps to keep noisy drives like the older 7200 RPM Barracuda's from continually assaulting your hearing (I've actually done extensive sound abatement in a rattling 7100 case and this really isn't a problem any more).
- possibly reduces wear and tear on the drive's motor, but this is the most controversial aspect of continually spinning down and back up.

In the Con camp, there's...

- the wait time while your drive spins up (a matter of 20 seconds or less really)
- the possible increase in wear in your drive's motor from continually spinning down and back up.

Considering everything, there appears to be a good compromise for spinning down, as long as it's not done excessively. Perhaps spinning down after 30 minutes of inactivity is a good compromise.

Of course there's the camp that believes that never spinning down is the way to go, if you want to save wear and tear on your drives.

Thoughts, Pro/Con? Have I failed to mention anything to consider?

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bertyboy's picture
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Joined: 2009 Jun 14

It's all down to the drive itself.

If you have a "green" drive, spin down - the drive should do this by itself - or you'll cook it.
If you have a regular drive, spin down if it doesn't bother you.
If you use an Enterprise drive (all my boot drives are Enterprise) then don't, it's built to run 24/7.

Enerprise drives retail at about twice the cost of a green drive for similar capacity.

Of course, store your files and media accordingly,
green drives and regular drives are ideal for backups, iTunes media and stuff you can live with the delay of spining up (but this puts an immense strain on the disk if you do it too frequently).
Enterprise for OS and data and scratch.

For me those 10-20 delays just got too much one day, I didn't buy the fastest desktop on the planet (my 8-core Mac Pro) to be inconvenienced by that.

Bolkonskij's picture
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Joined: 2009 Aug 3

Some years ago I used to use the RAM disk feature on my old iMac G3. I would let the HDD spin down and work just with the RAM disk. If I recall correctly, someone at lowendmac was praising it as a good thing and I wanted to try it out. I loved it because there was absolutely no noise while writing my papers. Nothing that would distract me. The iMac G3 was a very quiet computer - only my HDD was making noises, especially the old original HDD once it got older. Another advantage was the supposedly prolonged life of the HDDs. However, in the time after I followed some online discussions and articles about how this is all nonsense and stopped doing it.