Do I want a power switch on my external HD?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Busters, Jun 18, 2009.

  1. Busters macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2009
    Seems like a stupid questions, but I'm shopping for an external hard drive to network to my Airport Extreme and I've seen HDs with and without power switches.

    As a specific question do "non switched" HDs automatically turn on when I power up my mini and more generally I'm curious what the pros and cons are to each option.

    Here are some of my (semi-)educated guesses:
    I would think that with a "switched" hard drive I can save power by not turning it on when I don't need it, whereas a hard drive that automatically turns on with my Mini would always be on when my Mini is on regardless if I need it or not.

    On the other side, if I had a switched hard drive is that one more thing I have to turn on when I power up my Mini?

    Thanks for the info!
  2. wbtlevi macrumors newbie

    Mar 8, 2009
    Personally I prefer having a switch on my hard drives due to them not being on all the time with my mac (24/7) so there is less wear and tear.
  3. Busters thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2009
    That's what I was thinking was the chief benefit (and I hope someone chimes in if I'm wrong or there's more to it) but don't hard drive kinda go into standby when not being accessed for a while therefore even when "on" I would think that wear and tear would be minimal.
  4. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    if there's no switch and you go on vacation for 2 weeks, you're wasting a lot of electricity. Plus what if you want to move the device to another room? If you just unplug you risk corrupting the drive. I'd never buy an external without a power switch.
  5. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Oct 21, 2008
    External drives go to sleep when not in use, so wear and tear should be minimal. Where you will want a power switch is on a USB drive - if you just leave a USB external plugged in, your Mac will not sleep properly. Mine doesn't have a power switch, so I need to unplug it every night.

    As long as you eject the drive from your desktop it is safe. And FWIW I've yanked my USB and FW drives out without properly ejecting countless times and never had any trouble.

    As for vacation... you could just unplug your drive from the wall. :rolleyes:
  6. Busters thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2009
    That seems like a rather serious oversight somewhere in the OS. I would assume that other sorts of USB devices don't need to be unplugged for the Mac to sleep properly so why is the hard drive an issue?

    Also, would I have this same sleep problem if I plugged my HD into my Airport Extreme?

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