USB external drive always spinning on macmini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by jata1, Apr 18, 2015.

  1. jata1 macrumors newbie

    Dec 14, 2010
    Hi all,

    I have a 2012 macmini running Yosemite that I use as a plex media server but also use as a computer in my bedroom.

    Plex doesn't really do wake on lan so I don't let the Mac go to sleep. All my data/media is on a 2.5 inch external usb drive and everything works great.

    My only concern is that the external drive is always spinning. If I eject the drive it stops but I need it mounted all the time for data access.

    So, is there any way I can get the drive to spin down when not in use but without having to eject?

    I guess the alternative solution is to get WOL to work with plex but I have not found a solution to this either.

    Any tips appreciated.
  2. Cloudsurfer macrumors 65816


    Apr 12, 2007
    In my experience this is controlled by the drive itself. I have 5 WD disks connected to our Mac mini and all of them stop spinning after a while (about 30 minutes after last activity).

    Would be nice to have some more control over it though. The noise of 5 spinning disks is not a pleasant one.
  3. jata1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 14, 2010
    I see. Thanks for that.

    Anyone have a view on the do nothing option? What I mean is is it an issue having the drive spinning all the time. Will it significantly impact the lifespan of the drive?
  4. Mr. Retrofire macrumors 603

    Mr. Retrofire

    Mar 2, 2010
    You need an enclosure for the HDD which uses the ASMedia ASM1053e or ASM1153e chip. The ASM1053e needs a firmware update, the ASM1153e has already the current firmware. The Plugable ASMedia firmware updates are also compatible with other enclosures, which use the same chip. You can use a Windows 7 (or newer) virtual machine (VM) + a virtual USB 2.0 port for the firmware update, if you do not have Windows on your Mac.

    See also:


    I have a 2.5" WD Blue and a 3.5" WD Green, both are inaudible.
  5. OLDCODGER, Apr 18, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2015

    OLDCODGER macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2011
    Lucky Country
  6. marclondon macrumors regular

    Aug 14, 2009
    I have several USB and Firewire externals. They often keep spinning even when all volumes are dismounted. The only way to stop them is to unplug them.

  7. Mikel30 macrumors member

    Jan 11, 2004
    This is a fine line that manufacturers try to balance. If you leave it spinning too long, it will shorten its life (however, not significantly unless the head is constantly reading / writing during that time). But if they turn off too soon, you get a performance hit. I once bought an "eco" drive that was supposed to save power. Turns out they did that by spinning down the drive after just a minute or two of inactivity. That meant if I wanted to back and write to it, I had to wait 10-15 sec for it to spin back up. Super frustrating.
  8. jata1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 14, 2010
    Thanks all. I think I will just leave the disk spinning 24/7 until plex supports WOL.

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