Questions from a newbie ...

Discussion in 'iMac' started by gwerhart0800, Apr 14, 2008.

  1. gwerhart0800 macrumors 6502

    Mar 15, 2008
    Loveland, CO
    1) Can you control the spin down of an external USB or FireWire drive?

    I have a Mac Mini and I would like to add a 750GB to 1TB external drive for my iTunes movie collection. Currently, my house itunes server is a Windows box with an external eSata 750GB drive. The external drive is set to spin down when no one has used it for 30 minutes. I am hoping that I could do the same under OS X, but I don't see a setting under system preferences other than a check mark item for putting drives to "sleep". (I am also unsure of the ability to command a drive to spin down under USB or FW ... I know this works with eSata.) The main reason is to save wear and tear on the drive and to limit the heat generation. (Is this something limited to SATA drives ... either internal or external via eSATA?)

    2) If the Mini "sleeps", can a networked iTunes client "wake" it when the shared library is accessed?

    Sleep for the Mac Mini seems to be a "deeper" state that what I get with Windows when it shuts off the display and spins down the disks. I can see settings for "waking" the system via Ethernet for administrative access, but I don't think this is what I am looking for. My experiments show that the Mini drops from the list of servers on Apple TV when it goes to sleep and nothing I do from the ATV will wake it. The other bummer is that after the Mini "wakes", it does not seem to re-establish contact with the ATV unless I stop and restart iTunes.

    3) Starting iTunes when the system boots ...

    Is there an easy way to force iTunes to start "minimized" when the Mini is booted?

  2. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    As long as the controller respects the instruction to sleep, it should be doing it automatically. I'm not aware of an easy way to adjust the amount of time before external drives are put to sleep.

    I'm not sure that you can do this... the Mac's sleep mode is similar to suspend on Windows -- which also should not be waking up in this kind of condition. Ethernet in principle supports wake on LAN, but for the most part, it's not readily possible to do it over WiFi, and I'm not sure that the Apple apps issue a WOL command. You could set it up so that, like in Windows, it doesn't sleep, but it shuts the display down and spins down the drives, if you need it consistently available. The Mini's power consumption isn't *so* bad, so it might be an option.

    Not sure why it is not auto-reacquiring into the network. It should show up again on the list without you having to do anything....

    You should be able to do this from system preferences -> accounts -> login items, Geo. :)
  3. gwerhart0800 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 15, 2008
    Loveland, CO
    Well, after 2 hours time, the external USB drive has not "spun down". I am thinking that this may be an issue of this drive (PATA) not supporting the spin down capability. I need to swap some drives around and see if it will work with a Sata drive in a USB enclosure.

    Power consumption and noise are two of the reasons I am considering dumping my Windows iTunes server box and consolidating things into my Mini. (That, and the constant whining of my eldest son about how slow his current single core AMD gaming system is.)

    This has me puzzled also. My ATV suddenly decided yesterday that it did not want to talk to my Windows iTunes anymore. That effectively broke my movie streaming capability. I changed the ATV to sync against the Mini and that still works. (I had this problem with the ATV when I first got it, but at some point in the iTunes update cycle, it started working ... now it is broken again after the last update.)

    Perfect ... that issue is solved ... I am an old Unix hack and was debating about looking for the rc.local equivalent for OS X.


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