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motrek

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Sep 14, 2012
2,613
305
I bought a 27" iMac a while ago (must have been 6 years ago) and returned it almost immediately, mostly because the noise from the hard drive was driving me crazy.

The thing is, I wasn't even using the internal hard drive. I was using an SSD in an external enclosure for everything. I even had a script to unmount the internal drive if it got mounted for some reason.

But the internal drive kept spinning up for, like, no reason. And it wouldn't spin back down for several minutes even though the thing wasn't even mounted.

Now I see that prices for used 5K iMacs are trending towards $1000 and it's pretty tempting... has any progress been made over the last several years to shut up the spinning internal drives, though?

Thanks in advance for any information!
 

cwanja

macrumors 6502a
Jun 23, 2010
738
436
Texas
Just erase it and not partition it. But not sure it is going to ‘shut up’ the drive. It will likely spin up upon boot. You would likely have to unplug it internally to ‘disable’ it.
 

flyinmac

macrumors 68040
Sep 2, 2006
3,579
2,465
United States
There are commands within Unix environments to do such things as unmount and spin down.

So if you’re fine with a few commands in Terminal, you could consider something similar to what is discussed in these two Linux threads (Unix and Linux are different, but share many commonalities).

https://askubuntu.com/questions/56270/how-can-i-spin-down-external-hard-drive

https://askubuntu.com/questions/586657/is-there-any-way-to-turn-off-a-usb-hdd-manually

Once you refine the exact commands you need, you could set up a script and set your computer to automatically issue the command upon startup (with a time delay to allow the system to finish booting). And also create a shortcut to activate the script with a click.
 

maflynn

macrumors Haswell
May 3, 2009
73,425
43,325
The energy pref pane won't do it?
2018-08-31_06-56-51.png
 
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motrek

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Sep 14, 2012
2,613
305
Simples as the meerkat says.

Don't buy one with a spinner. Look for an iMac with say 512GB of Flash Drive and if you need more storage, use an external via USB3.

Problem being, all of the cheap used 5k iMacs have spinning disks. :/
[doublepost=1535751616][/doublepost]
Just erase it and not partition it. But not sure it is going to ‘shut up’ the drive. It will likely spin up upon boot. You would likely have to unplug it internally to ‘disable’ it.

Indeed, that's what happened with the one I bought in 2012, I literally didn't have any data on it, no partitions, nothing. But something in the firmware would cause it to spin up every time the computer turned on, or woke from sleep, or if the File/Open dialog box came up, etc., and then it would take several minutes to spin back down.
[doublepost=1535751666][/doublepost]
The energy pref pane won't do it?
View attachment 778850

No, that option will cause the drive to spin down eventually after it spins up (after several minutes) but doesn't prevent the drive from spinning up in the first place...
[doublepost=1535751814][/doublepost]
There are commands within Unix environments to do such things as unmount and spin down.

So if you’re fine with a few commands in Terminal, you could consider something similar to what is discussed in these two Linux threads (Unix and Linux are different, but share many commonalities).

https://askubuntu.com/questions/56270/how-can-i-spin-down-external-hard-drive

https://askubuntu.com/questions/586657/is-there-any-way-to-turn-off-a-usb-hdd-manually

Once you refine the exact commands you need, you could set up a script and set your computer to automatically issue the command upon startup (with a time delay to allow the system to finish booting). And also create a shortcut to activate the script with a click.

That's actually what I did in 2012, wrote some scripts to periodically check to see if the drive was mounted and unmount it and spin it down if so. I don't think there was an OS X equivalent to these Ubuntu functions though. I believe Apple's software for doing stuff is called diskutil and I don't think it has an option to spin down a disk manually...
 

294307

Cancelled
Mar 19, 2009
567
315
I take it setting an external Thunderbolt 2 or Thunderbolt 3 drive as the startup disk (with macOS installed on that external drive) would still result in the internal drive spinning up when you are booted into the external drive?
 
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