[Ukfreebsd] "green" HDDs

Tim Borgeaud tim at syntheticmoon.co.uk
Mon Jan 10 23:08:54 GMT 2011

Bruce Cran wrote:
> On Sun, 9 Jan 2011 17:09:51 +0000
> dgmm <freebsd01 at dgmm.net> wrote:
>> Has anyone used these drives and have some observations on their use?
> I've used both the WD EARS and Samsung F3 series. By default the WD
> drives will spin down after 8 seconds which make them useless for RAID
> but that can be disabled using a Windows utility, wdidle3.exe. Even
> then the random access performance is very poor.

I'm not certain about the WD EARS drives, but I suspect that the power 
saving features are similar to other Western Digital drives.

I have a couple of Western Digital 2.5" drives, they don't spin down every 
8 seconds, but they do park the heads after 8 seconds of inactivity.

The wdidle3.exe tool which can change this timeout is, unfortunately, not 
approved on recent drives. It apparently does a bit more than a simple ATA 
command, it adjusts some software/firmware in the drive and was created 
for older drives. It can be found, but as far as I know, it is no longer 
available on the WD web site.

However, I have used the ataidle utility to turn off the power management 
features on my drives and prevent the head parking (note that I think that 
ataidle doesn't work when ahci is used). The WD drives I have need the 
power management setting to be changed whenever power is cycled.


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