Go Back   AnandTech Forums > Hardware and Technology > Memory and Storage

Forums
· Hardware and Technology
· CPUs and Overclocking
· Motherboards
· Video Cards and Graphics
· Memory and Storage
· Power Supplies
· Cases & Cooling
· SFF, Notebooks, Pre-Built/Barebones PCs
· Networking
· Peripherals
· General Hardware
· Highly Technical
· Computer Help
· Home Theater PCs
· Consumer Electronics
· Digital and Video Cameras
· Mobile Devices & Gadgets
· Audio/Video & Home Theater
· Software
· Software for Windows
· All Things Apple
· *nix Software
· Operating Systems
· Programming
· PC Gaming
· Console Gaming
· Distributed Computing
· Security
· Social
· Off Topic
· Politics and News
· Discussion Club
· Love and Relationships
· The Garage
· Health and Fitness
· Merchandise and Shopping
· For Sale/Trade
· Hot Deals with Free Stuff/Contests
· Black Friday 2013
· Forum Issues
· Technical Forum Issues
· Personal Forum Issues
· Suggestion Box
· Moderator Resources
· Moderator Discussions
   

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 01-28-2013, 01:33 PM   #1
Special K
Diamond Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 7,033
Default auto power down of external hard drives

I want to buy an internal hard drive and an external enclosure to use for automated backups. Normally internal hard drives will automatically power down after a time interval specified in Windows' power management settings. Can something similar be configured for external hard drives and/or internal hard drives with external enclosures? It seems most of them have their own external AC power supply, but couldn't the OS theoretically send a command over USB instructing the drive to power up/down?

Because this drive will only be used for backup purposes, I see no reason to have it running all the time. Ideally it would be powered down unless the backup script was running or I was manually accessing the drive.

Is it possible to configure something like this?
Special K is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2013, 01:50 PM   #2
C1
Golden Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 1,571
Default

Actually, I have a bunch of 2.5" external drives that I set up that do exactly what you are describing. By choosing a suitable enclosure with the proper electronics will provide the result you are looking for. Presumably in your case you are looking for an enclosure for a full sized 3.5" drive. I dont have a 3.5" brand/model in mind, but check on NE along with the user reviews. You can always just buy an already integrated whole external that comes the way you want (eg, purchase out of Fry's Electronics; all my 3.5" 2TB Hitachi externals are set up to shut off after 9 minutes of no access; if you want to keep them continually active then just use "softjock's MDIS" which is free download).
C1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2013, 02:51 PM   #3
Special K
Diamond Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 7,033
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by C1 View Post
Actually, I have a bunch of 2.5" external drives that I set up that do exactly what you are describing. By choosing a suitable enclosure with the proper electronics will provide the result you are looking for. Presumably in your case you are looking for an enclosure for a full sized 3.5" drive. I dont have a 3.5" brand/model in mind, but check on NE along with the user reviews. You can always just buy an already integrated whole external that comes the way you want (eg, purchase out of Fry's Electronics; all my 3.5" 2TB Hitachi externals are set up to shut off after 9 minutes of no access; if you want to keep them continually active then just use "softjock's MDIS" which is free download).
I can't find any specific mention of this feature on Newegg.

I did some more searching on Google and Newegg and some articles/message board posts suggest Windows can automatically power down/up USB external hard drives, but nothing seems confirmed. I'm also not sure about the eSATA interface.
Special K is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2013, 07:43 PM   #4
bbhaag
Golden Member
 
bbhaag's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Illinois
Posts: 1,274
Default

I have a 500gig external FD green drive that automatically powers down after a period of no use. I didn't use any special drivers or apps that came with the hdd. I basically just plugged it in and let Windows do the rest.
It did this on both Win7 ultimate and I upgraded to Win8 pro and on both os's the drive powers down when not in use.

Edit:It uses usb 2.0.
bbhaag is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2013, 06:46 AM   #5
taltamir
Lifer
 
taltamir's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 13,523
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Special K View Post
I can't find any specific mention of this feature on Newegg.
AFAIK this is because that feature doesn't exist.
It theoretically can exist, but external enclosures are cheap POS and should be avoided.

What you should use instead is an external dock, a dock would connect the drive directly to the mobo, thus you would enjoy the superior controller that came with the mobo which would include said feature.

Personally I don't even use a dock, I use:
http://www.meritline.com/2-port-esat...FSemPAodDmUA9A
(mine came free with a mobo I once bought. this is just the first suitable bracket I found on a quick google search... might be a cheaper / better one out there if you search for brackets)
__________________
How to protect your data guide
AA Naming Guide

I do not have a superman complex; for I am God, not superman!
The internet is a source of infinite information; the vast majority of which happens to be wrong.

Last edited by taltamir; 01-29-2013 at 06:50 AM.
taltamir is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2013, 08:04 AM   #6
corkyg
Moderator
Peripherals
 
corkyg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Posts: 23,788
Default

My external HDD is always OFF unless I wish to use it. It is connected to my switchbox, and is a simple toggle on/off. I do not trust anything automatic, so when I want to back up I just turn it on. Otherwise it is OFF. That keeps things simple. BTW - it is an eSATA connection.
__________________
CorkyG - Tucson, AZ

In my view you cannot claim to have seen something until you have photographed it.... Emile Zola
corkyg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2013, 08:34 AM   #7
Special K
Diamond Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 7,033
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by taltamir View Post
AFAIK this is because that feature doesn't exist.
It theoretically can exist, but external enclosures are cheap POS and should be avoided.

What you should use instead is an external dock, a dock would connect the drive directly to the mobo, thus you would enjoy the superior controller that came with the mobo which would include said feature.

Personally I don't even use a dock, I use:
http://www.meritline.com/2-port-esat...FSemPAodDmUA9A
(mine came free with a mobo I once bought. this is just the first suitable bracket I found on a quick google search... might be a cheaper / better one out there if you search for brackets)
Wouldn't an enclosure with an eSATA port provide the same type of connection as that bracket?
Special K is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2013, 05:10 PM   #8
taltamir
Lifer
 
taltamir's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 13,523
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Special K View Post
Wouldn't an enclosure with an eSATA port provide the same type of connection as that bracket?
unfortunately not, it goes through an enclosure controller which typically sucks.
__________________
How to protect your data guide
AA Naming Guide

I do not have a superman complex; for I am God, not superman!
The internet is a source of infinite information; the vast majority of which happens to be wrong.
taltamir is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2013, 05:55 PM   #9
groberts101
Golden Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 1,390
Default

there are two variables to consider here. The host can only take som much control of the drives built in firmware algorithms.

IOW, and as some have already said, the drive will power/spin down based on it's firmware's inherent "green'ness" regardless of what the OS/bios tells it to do through APM/ACPI settings.

A happy medium is all we can ever hope to accomplish and choosing a greener drive(or performance model if you want to go in the other direction) will have more impact than the APM/ACPI settings ever will since it just overrides to what it's firmware see's as best policy for the workload it operates in at any given time. Which is why it pays to do your homework and research the best fit for your environment/power saving requirements.

Last edited by groberts101; 01-29-2013 at 06:02 PM.
groberts101 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2013, 06:10 PM   #10
C1
Golden Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 1,571
Default

Not really sure what the last post has really said or tried to state.

Just buy a good standard full sized (non-green) HDD, a green enclosure and using a utility like MDIS you can make the external system do what ever the hell you want (ie, stay running all the time or spin down after an idle/no access interval.

The advantage here is that you are not locked in if you decide to move the drive from the external enclosure to inside the case and hang it off a MB SATA controller in which case it can now be put under OS power management's control (again to run either continuous spin up or timed spin down after no access).
C1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2013, 06:38 PM   #11
kbp
Senior Member
 
kbp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Northern Lower Peninsula
Posts: 568
Default

My external dock is managed thru my USB port on my Asus N-66U router that lets me control power management/spin down time.
__________________

kbp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2013, 10:47 PM   #12
Special K
Diamond Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 7,033
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by corkyg View Post
My external HDD is always OFF unless I wish to use it. It is connected to my switchbox, and is a simple toggle on/off. I do not trust anything automatic, so when I want to back up I just turn it on. Otherwise it is OFF. That keeps things simple. BTW - it is an eSATA connection.
Unfortunately that would not work for my situation as I want my backup to be fully automated.
Special K is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2013, 10:51 PM   #13
Special K
Diamond Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 7,033
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by groberts101 View Post
there are two variables to consider here. The host can only take som much control of the drives built in firmware algorithms.

IOW, and as some have already said, the drive will power/spin down based on it's firmware's inherent "green'ness" regardless of what the OS/bios tells it to do through APM/ACPI settings.

A happy medium is all we can ever hope to accomplish and choosing a greener drive(or performance model if you want to go in the other direction) will have more impact than the APM/ACPI settings ever will since it just overrides to what it's firmware see's as best policy for the workload it operates in at any given time. Which is why it pays to do your homework and research the best fit for your environment/power saving requirements.
This is true. I could just pick a drive that has its own power down system.
Special K is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2013, 11:37 PM   #14
Special K
Diamond Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 7,033
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by C1 View Post
Not really sure what the last post has really said or tried to state.

Just buy a good standard full sized (non-green) HDD, a green enclosure and using a utility like MDIS you can make the external system do what ever the hell you want (ie, stay running all the time or spin down after an idle/no access interval.

The advantage here is that you are not locked in if you decide to move the drive from the external enclosure to inside the case and hang it off a MB SATA controller in which case it can now be put under OS power management's control (again to run either continuous spin up or timed spin down after no access).
Just for clarification, what's an example of a "green enclosure"?
Special K is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-31-2013, 08:59 AM   #15
groberts101
Golden Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 1,390
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Special K View Post
Just for clarification, what's an example of a "green enclosure"?
there is no such thing that I know of since the enclosures bridge chip only needs host drivers... not software to allow such algorithms.

However.. when you buy an external enclosure.. you will get the bloatware that often accompanies it and they will have algorthms included thier that will have similar effects as well.

Even my old 320GB WD(whatever it was called).. has built in power savings modes that over ride what I tell windows to do. You can actuallu hear the drive spool down after periods of inactivity and then start back up when accessed again. Which I always hated because it takes about 10 seconds to even wake up and read/write the info I wanted from/to it.
groberts101 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-19-2013, 06:09 AM   #16
harisv339
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 1
Default Auto power-down external hard drive via USB

Quote:
Originally Posted by kbp View Post
My external dock is managed thru my USB port on my Asus N-66U router that lets me control power management/spin down time.
Hi KBP,
Is your HDD a USB powered one (such as 2.5") or is it externally powered (enclosures with 3.5" HDD)? I would like to know if RT-N66U can spin down an externally powered HDD via USB. Thanks in advance for your insights.
harisv339 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-19-2013, 05:58 PM   #17
benwood
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 90
Default

I have several of the following USB 3.0/ESata external drive cases and they spin down after a time, at least when I've hooked them up via ESata:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817182265

They also have a real on/off switch so you can actually turn them off when not in use. A lot of the premade external hard drives don't really have one and turn on when the computer is on. They also include a 15mm fan to keep the drive cool. The only possible problem is that Rosewill may have changed this behavior in newer revisions of the case. They've done this with at least one other external hard drive cases they make.
benwood is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
external hard drive power

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:17 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.