Hard Drives Spinning down...

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by comda, Jun 3, 2015.

  1. comda macrumors 6502a

    comda

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    Mar 15, 2011
    #1
    Rather a highly debated question in my opinion, but does spinning down a hard drive for power saving decrease the life of a hard drive?

    I Have 2 G3 imacs i have on my top shelf and i use them both (lol more the orange ;) ) and obviously when the screen saver goes on the music continues to play but when i move the mouse the computer freezes and waits for the drive which i can hear come humming back to life. Ive read that having this setting does slowly shorten hard drive life. But its back and forth. What do you guys think?
     
  2. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #2
    My opinion(and nothing more than that) has always been that if the computer is on but not in use for any extended length of time, spinning down the disks can only help extend their life as you're saving a lot of power on time where the drive is doing nothing.

    I've not seen any convincing arguments either way, so again, the above is strictly an opinion.
     
  3. Gamer9430 macrumors 68020

    Gamer9430

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    #3
    My PowerBook G3 Wallstreet II does the same thing. After a little while of not being used, the hard drive "spins down" and stays like that until i do something on the laptop. I believe it is a feature in OS 9.2 for it to be done automatically.

    I'd say it helps your battery and possibly your hdd stay alive longer. By shutting the hdd off, it wont be using as much energy. Also, by shutting down the hard drive, the disk won't constantly be spinning even if it isn't being used. So, I'd say it helps to keep the HDDs alive longer.

    A hard drive that runs 24/7 for 3 years will last for a whole lot shorter than a HDD that is only ran once a week for 3 years.
     
  4. jbarley macrumors 68030

    jbarley

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    #4
    Can you supply a link that supports this theory?
     
  5. Gamer9430 macrumors 68020

    Gamer9430

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    #5
    Actually I don't have a link to that. The tech coordinator at my school said this to me today when I was telling him that one of the old server HDDs he gave me stopped working. He mentioned that every three years he swaps out the school's server drives for new ones because after 3 years of 24/7 uptime they begin to get worn down and are more susceptible to errors and crashing. This year over the break he said he was going to upgrade some because they were nearing the 3 year mark. He even showed me that one of them is already on the way out because it was reporting bad sectors.
     
  6. MacCubed macrumors 68000

    MacCubed

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    #6
    My Lombard does the same thing. Also, I agree that it extends the life of a drive due to it not constantly running. A good example of this is one of my old computers the I used as a media server, ran full time and the hard drive had to be replaced multiple times.
     
  7. Gamer9430 macrumors 68020

    Gamer9430

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    #7
    Yeah, I mean there is definitely evidence that not having the HDD constantly running will help to keep it alive longer.
     
  8. MacCubed macrumors 68000

    MacCubed

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    #8
    Yep there is plenty of evidence to back it up.
     
  9. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #9
    :D:D

    You know this is going to result in another 'story' right? ;)

    There's an 80GB SATA hard drive in my Mac Pro at work. I use it for burning and temporary storage (before burning). That drive is the original drive from the PowerMac G5 my boss bought in February 2005. The G5 died before this drive (since resurrected). It's still happily spinning away and has been on 24/7 (without spindown) for 10+ years.

    :D
     
  10. MacCubed macrumors 68000

    MacCubed

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    #10
    I have drives that I still use from 1997-99 and they work fine but I always put the computers to sleep or turn them off usually to keep the drives from running since they make so much noise and to prolong their lives
     
  11. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #11
    I'm not arguing the sense of this, I'm just mentioning that I happen to have one unstoppable drive.

    Both the G5 and the MacPro were/are set for full power all the time with no sleep and no drive spindown.

    Originally, this was because there was a bug in the G5 firmware that caused it to not wake whenever I put it to sleep. Apple only got around to patching it about six months or so after my boss bought the Mac. By that time, as I used that Mac every day for 8+ hours, I'd had it with losing work, network connections and anything else that might have been open when I had to force a restart. So, I set the Mac to never sleep and to run at full power.

    Since then I've just done it because it works for me. I do it on my Quicksilver at home by default though since my USB card seems to keep my Mac awake.

    But in any case, there you go…
     
  12. Gamer9430 macrumors 68020

    Gamer9430

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    #12
    I have an unstoppable drive as well. The drive from my Dell Dimension XPS T500 loaded with my childhood and Windows 98 is reaching 16th year of function. I had that thing running 24/7 with no spin down for years on end. I've never had one issue with it, and like your G5, the computer died (and came back to life with a replacement processor) before the HDD even showed a sign of dying. It is a Maxtor IDE drive, but I don't know much else off the top of my head about it.

    Every so often, I guess there will be drives that refuse to die :)
     
  13. CapnCrunch53 macrumors member

    CapnCrunch53

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    #13
    I don't pretend to have any knowledge on the subject, but I've also heard that when a hard drive spins up, it momentarily experiences a lot more stress than when it's just spinning along at speed. Much like a car engine. In normal use, letting the drive spin down when not in use is great; however, I've seen some arguments (and again I don't know how accurate they are) that in situations where a drive is very frequently being written to, say a fileserver or a NAS, allowing it to spin down and up too often can be more detrimental in the long run. Of course in those situations, ideally you also have drives engineered for that role, i.e. enterprise-class drives for servers or WD Reds for a NAS.

    I think that's actually part of the issue that WD's Green series of drives had. Those drives have (or at least had; I'm unsure what their newer ones are like) a reputation for dying prematurely, and a lot of people blamed it on the too-aggressive energy-saving firmware of the drives, which caused them to spin down much more frequently than some people thought was a good idea.

    Ultimately I guess it's a question of whether you want more hours of continual wear on the motor and bearings, or less hours of use but more startup and spindown wear. I guess I didn't really say anything of value here, but eh screw it.
     
  14. MagicBoy macrumors 68040

    MagicBoy

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    #14
    Looking at it from a server perspective older (ie 3+ year old) hard drives tend to fail when powered down and back on again rather than when continuously powered on. If we had a server room power down it wasn't unusual for a handful of servers to have degraded RAID arrays after everything was powered back up and require some drives replacing.
     
  15. Cox Orange macrumors 68000

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    #15
    Agree.

    I don't know, what side I should take in this regard, too. But to add to the discussion. I read often, that people are afraid because of a high Load Cycle Count parameter in the SMART status. It is also very common that people see this as a problem in WD Green drives and the Hitachi Disk Management. When I once looked into the SMART data for LCC in Samsung HD204UI and HD104UI I found it interesting that the number count was a lot higher than those of WD Green and Laptop drives. But the Samsung drives were always praised by users.
    The argument was that it will wear out the heads early.

    Another thing is that the more recent that HDDs are, the more likely they are to fail. It sounds like a stereotype, but it seems newer drives do not have the long lasting built quality than their older generations. But one has to bear in mind the bigger capacities and the state of technology, also the increased rolee of HDD-software may play a role.

    On the Green drives, it was the first generations, the 3rd or so didn't have the problems of dying anymore, but the bad "reputation" didn't change for these drives. Funnily the new hype is WD REDs and people don't find it curious, that they are actually of a similar purpose and a similar thought behind it. (That bad reputation thing is much like the Hitachi Deskstar Drives with IDe and 120-160GB capacity. It was only the HDDs that were produced by IBM (the 180GPX or what it was called) and sold via Hitachi, while the HDDs that came out of Hitachi's own factories didn't have the problem. But it made people in forums instantly cry "oh, go away with these deathstar drives.", when someone sugguested such a drive (in the xlr8yourmac drive database Hitachi 1TB dirves were those with the fewest problems under Mac users). Even, today people will say that, although we long have the time of SATA and +1TB drives.

    I didn't really add something, but... ;)
     
  16. MagicBoy macrumors 68040

    MagicBoy

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    #16
    The 1TB Hitachi drives appear exceptionally reliable. I bought 4, they ran 24x*7 for nearly 5 years in a firewire enclosures then got moved to a dedicated NAS. They got upgraded last year for bigger drives, so the newer two are now in an older NAS doing Time Machines duties, the older two are in my PC with the Steam library on them.

    Some SMART stats :
    [​IMG]
     
  17. Cox Orange macrumors 68000

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    #17
    @ Magicboy:
    see and the LCC and start stop count didn't hurt it as well.
     
  18. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #18
    With regard to the "deathstars" and the like-

    With as many old Macs as I have, I have a lot of 10-15 year old IDE drives in service, and have them from a bunch of different makers(some no longer with us)-IBM/Hitachi, Western Digital, Seagate, Maxtor, and Quantum off the top of my head. Even look at Maxtors, you can sit and sort them into stacks, with some being "traditional" Maxtors and some using the Quantum design.

    When I have a big stack of them, I will often sort them quickly with an external PSU by just plugging them in and listening for spin up along with a stuck head. I find bad ones from all brands. I haven't kept track, but I don't see any particular bias in good vs. bad with this quick test.

    The really problematic ones in my experience have been Maxtors, and specifically the Maxtor-designed ones(as opposed to Quantum-derived Maxtors). I have had several that would mount and appear fine until I started dumping data on them, and then I would start getting miles of(unrepairable) corruption. I had a 160gb that I tried to clone onto twice(the cloning process would slow to a crawl and never complete at about 80gb). I'd rather it just die completely than have a problem like that.
     

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