External HDD automaticly powering down?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by kusanagi, Jul 2, 2007.

  1. kusanagi macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2007

    I currently have a G4 Mac Mini as my media box with a couple of 500gig WD MyBook Premium hdd's attached to it (on the firewire bus) for movies etc etc.

    Now, I know that the WD MyBook range automatically power down when not in use, this is ideal as the mac mini also goes to sleep when not in use and wakes up when I want it to, so do the hdds, if i'm only accessing data off one of the drives, it doesn't wake the other.

    Anyway, after converting my whole dvd collection to h.264, and started to encode our family home movies from vhs/dvd/betamax (oh god the horror!) i've run out of space yet again, and it looks like i'll need to get at least another 2 500 gig hdds.

    I'd like to go down the route of getting more mybook premium's because of this sleep and power management features however they're a bit costly down here.

    My question(finally!) is, if I get external hdd enclosures and i set in the system preferences>energy saver to power down hdds whenever possible, does that mean it will also power down external hdds? or internal only?

    I don't want to be in the position of having to manually 'turn off' all the hdds one by one when they are not in use as this is in the family room and my parents, (75 and 66) have just managed to understand how to use frontrow and the plasma! Teaching htem to turn off individual hdds, not to mention the wear on the drives being on all the time is not really an option.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. LifeIsCheap macrumors regular

    May 3, 2004
    Sydney, Oz.

    I've got a MBP with a 1TB MyBook attached. It does the energy saving thing and powers down when not in use. Front Row will wake it up but it can take 10 secs or so.

  3. Fleetwood Mac macrumors 65816

    Fleetwood Mac

    Apr 27, 2006
    My experience is that some enclosures sleep the the drive and some don't.

    My MobilDisk does not, but my MyBook Essential does.
  4. eldino macrumors member


    Mar 8, 2007
    My Macpower Pleiades enclosure (with a Seagate 500GB inside) goes to sleep.
  5. bigus7674 macrumors member

    Jan 4, 2005
    RE: external enclosures

    Unfortunately guys, I think the question was overlooked a bit. He's not necessarily asking about specific external enclosures, but whether he can attach any external enclosure and have the Mac OS 10.x system preference / energy saver pane control the powering down of the external HD(s).

    I am not positive of this, but I believe that the energy saver pane relates to internal drives only; so, it would probably better suit you to find external HDs (or enclosures) that offer to power down on their own.

    I have a Lacie External 160GB drive that powers down on it's own, but i know that the "network drives" offered by LaCie do NOT power down - they run all the time; a co-worker of mine has one. I also bought an external enclosure for a 400GB drive that I had from my previous G5 tower, and I bought a weibetech (http://www.wiebetech.com/home2.php) enclosure and that powers down as well.

    Hopefully this information has helped you out a bit.
  6. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    As far as I'm aware, OSX won't power down an external hard drive. For an external hard drive to go to sleep, it must have the interface with that function included.

    I have 2 external hard drives, one is your average external one with its own power supply, the other is a 160GB portable drive that is powered by the USB cable. Even if I unmount this drive, the drive doesn't go into standby - but I guess that's because you can't stop the USB port from giving power?

    It would be nice if the Airport Extreme (n) allowed external drives that have the functionality to go into standby to go into standby instead of having the drive spinning 24/7.
  7. Fleetwood Mac macrumors 65816

    Fleetwood Mac

    Apr 27, 2006
    The question wasn't overlooked. The bottom line is: wether or not you set disks to sleep in your Energy Saver panel, some externals will sleep while others will not. Its dependent on the specific external and isn't related to the Mac's energy saving settings.

    My suggestion to ask here on MR once you have selected a drive.
  8. macleod199 macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2007
    I'm pretty sure the 7.1 Firmware added that feature.
  9. DoFoT9 macrumors P6


    Jun 11, 2007
    my external firewire seagate 500gb sleeps regardless of that tickbox being ticked... gets a bit annoying at times but its only 10seconds..meh
  10. kusanagi thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2007

    Nailed it!

    And you do appear to be right, I have now been able to do some testing as I borrowed a friend's generic external HDD that had a very very god awfully loud hdd inside it and it never turned off, even though I had the option ticked on the preferences, when i left the MBP on idle after 40 min or so i could hear that the internal hdd had spun down (put your ear aginst the left palm rest) but the ext hdd was still going. The attached WD "MyBook" and "MyBook Premium" both spun down after 5 min or so of being idle but this generic one just kept going.
  11. mark2288 macrumors regular

    Jan 11, 2006
    the MyBooks are programmed to spin down when idle - it's not something you set up in your system preferences.

    the drive still shows up on your desktop even if its idle - when you access it, the drive beeps, spins up and 5 seconds later you can access the files.

    although it's annoying to wait sometimes, at least i know the drive isn't running when i don't need it to.

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