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  #1  
Old 11-23-2010, 12:50 AM
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mayamaniac mayamaniac is offline
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Hard drive Spin down or not?

Do you guys set the hard drives to spin down after an x amount of minutes?

I always set it to "never" and have good luck with it as I haven't had a drive failure for several years. Now that the number of drives in my server has gone up quite a bit, I'm thinking of setting it to spin down to reduce power consumption.

I'm sure there's some debate whether to spin down or not and how it affects the life cycle of the drives. It's probably better not to get into that debate. I just want to know from real experience if you guys let it spin down or not and what is the average life cycle of your drives?
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  #2  
Old 11-23-2010, 01:20 AM
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Do not spin down.
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  #3  
Old 11-23-2010, 02:33 AM
Spectrum Spectrum is offline
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Spindown for power savings, and more importantly, heat. The only real downside I see is anytime a rercording is called up from a spun down drive there is a small delay while it spins up and you get a spinning circle until the drive comes online. Interestingly enough the only hard drive failures I've had in the last few years (knock on wood) have been from a bad batch of Seagates that were used in different systems in very different operating environments.
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  #4  
Old 11-23-2010, 08:07 AM
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Most drives today use liquid bearings and are quiet enough and efficient enough to not need spin-down. I personally do not use power saving techniques except shutting the server off during extended non-use periods. If you are looking for extending the longevity of drives your biggest culprit is heat and fluctuating power. So make sure you have enough air-flow to keep the drives relatively cool and that you have a power supply that is of pretty good quality. Using a UPS doesn’t hurt either. Unless you have a traumatic event overheating, jilting the drive while it is running, or power surges, flickers, and brown outs your drive should run fine for many years. Typically my drives are replaced for size issues well before failure.
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  #5  
Old 11-23-2010, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JetreL View Post
Most drives today use liquid bearings and are quiet enough and efficient enough to not need spin-down. I personally do not use power saving techniques except shutting the server off during extended non-use periods. If you are looking for extending the longevity of drives your biggest culprit is heat and fluctuating power. So make sure you have enough air-flow to keep the drives relatively cool and that you have a power supply that is of pretty good quality. Using a UPS doesn’t hurt either. Unless you have a traumatic event overheating, jilting the drive while it is running, or power surges, flickers, and brown outs your drive should run fine for many years. Typically my drives are replaced for size issues well before failure.
I don't care much about noise as the server is located in the back room. I rather keep the drives spinning too, but since I have so many drives, 7 and counting, I'm looking to reduce power consumption since the server runs 24/7. And the drives are cooled properly so I can't recall the last drive failure. I replace my drives every 2 or 3 years. I'm gonna set it to spin down after 20 minutes of inactivity and see how it reduces power consumption. Just wanted to get opinions from fellow SageTV users.
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  #6  
Old 11-23-2010, 01:30 PM
rtengvad rtengvad is offline
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I put my server to sleep. Thats a sort of spin down too And I wake it with a WOL. With win7 its up and running in no time.

Rasmus
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  #7  
Old 11-23-2010, 03:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mayamaniac View Post
Just wanted to get opinions from fellow SageTV users.
Heh, yeah sorry that was mine!
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  #8  
Old 11-23-2010, 03:57 PM
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PiX64 PiX64 is offline
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For my sage server i don't spin anything down, but on my unraid box which has 9 drives in it, i spin all drives down for the sole reason that it could be several days if not a week before someone accesses info on that server.

In my opinion (which doesn't amount to much i know :-) ) i think that from what i have read anyways it is more harmful for the drive to continuiously be spining down then back up, down then back up repeat....

`Pix64
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  #9  
Old 11-23-2010, 04:38 PM
Beefcake550 Beefcake550 is offline
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I spin my drives down after 30 minutes to save power. 2.5 years and going.
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  #10  
Old 11-23-2010, 04:53 PM
Taddeusz Taddeusz is offline
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The theory goes that there is more electrical stress put on a hard drive during spin-up than at any other time during operation. It takes more energy to spin the platters up to speed than to maintain them at their operational speed. This is the reason you hear of a server being shut down for maintenance and then when it's turned back on one or more of the drives fails.

Another theory suggests that if drives are allowed to spin up and down frequently it conditions the electronics to be less prone to failure during spin-up. I'm not sure whether this one really holds water or not.
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  #11  
Old 11-23-2010, 06:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taddeusz View Post
The theory goes that there is more electrical stress put on a hard drive during spin-up than at any other time during operation. It takes more energy to spin the platters up to speed than to maintain them at their operational speed. This is the reason you hear of a server being shut down for maintenance and then when it's turned back on one or more of the drives fails.

Another theory suggests that if drives are allowed to spin up and down frequently it conditions the electronics to be less prone to failure during spin-up. I'm not sure whether this one really holds water or not.
Google did a study on hard drives and their conclusion is pretty much inconclusive. The only drive failure cause that they can narrow down to is due certain brand/model and the age of the drive. That's why I originally said not to get into the debate.
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  #12  
Old 11-24-2010, 07:33 AM
Beefcake550 Beefcake550 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taddeusz View Post
The theory goes that there is more electrical stress put on a hard drive during spin-up than at any other time during operation. It takes more energy to spin the platters up to speed than to maintain them at their operational speed. This is the reason you hear of a server being shut down for maintenance and then when it's turned back on one or more of the drives fails.

Another theory suggests that if drives are allowed to spin up and down frequently it conditions the electronics to be less prone to failure during spin-up. I'm not sure whether this one really holds water or not.
Good points....although the statement "It takes more energy to spin the platters up to speed than to maintain them at their operational speed." Is relative. It all depends on how often the drive is being used. For an extreme example, let's say the drive is used 1 hour per day. Then, it is spinning for 1.5 hours and shutdown for 22.5 hours. I don't think that more energy is used to spin the drive up than to keep it spinning for 22.5 hours, although I could be wrong.
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  #13  
Old 11-24-2010, 10:04 AM
Taddeusz Taddeusz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beefcake550 View Post
Good points....although the statement "It takes more energy to spin the platters up to speed than to maintain them at their operational speed." Is relative. It all depends on how often the drive is being used. For an extreme example, let's say the drive is used 1 hour per day. Then, it is spinning for 1.5 hours and shutdown for 22.5 hours. I don't think that more energy is used to spin the drive up than to keep it spinning for 22.5 hours, although I could be wrong.
No, it's not really relative. It's physics. It takes more energy for a given time period to get something moving from a standing start than it takes to keep it moving over the same amount of time.
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  #14  
Old 11-24-2010, 10:33 AM
rtengvad rtengvad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taddeusz View Post
No, it's not really relative. It's physics. It takes more energy for a given time period to get something moving from a standing start than it takes to keep it moving over the same amount of time.
But what can you conclude from that? Over a given time period with several periods with rpm slow down or even sleep the power consumptions IS lower of course.
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Last edited by rtengvad; 11-24-2010 at 10:39 AM.
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  #15  
Old 11-24-2010, 10:56 AM
Taddeusz Taddeusz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtengvad View Post
But what can you conclude from that? Over a given time period with several periods with rpm slow down or even sleep the power consumptions IS lower of course.
I'm not talking about overall power consumption. I was stating that the drive's electronics are under more stress at spin-up due to higher power consumption.
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  #16  
Old 11-24-2010, 12:31 PM
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I think it depends on your particular setup and recording habits. My server is running Windows XP and spinning drives down has never worked for me. The OS will access the drives from time to time for reasons I can't determine and spins them back up. Usually within 10-20 minutes of spinning down. That's just far too much stop and go for my liking so I just let them spin 24/7. I have no idea how newer versions of Windows behave.

Even if I could keep Windows from access the drives when I don't want it to I use Dirmon2 to scan the drives every 10 minutes for new shows to process with Comskip. I would need to switch to a different method of launching Comskip and cleaning up after shows are deleted.

The next problem with spinning down the drives for me would be how often shows are recorded and watched. For some people this wouldn't be an issue because they do most of their recording and watching during specific hours of the day. In my situation the recording drives are accessed throughout the day and night. There are times where the drives might stay down for 8-9 hours and other times when they're only inactive for a couple of hours.

I'm planning on setting up a NAS strictly for backup purposes and I plan to spin the drive down because it will only be accessed for an hour or two at most then inactive for +22 hours at a time.

As for how long my drives have been running:

(2) WD 200 GB drives - purchased before 1/13/05 can't recall exactly when, but I think it was sometime in late 2004. One ran as a recording drive spinning 24/7 until March of 2009. I removed it and put it in an external enclosure to carry shows with me when I was on the road. It died late in 2009 when I knocked it off the desk while it was running.

The other one was spinning 24/7 as well and was used as the OS drive for my Sage server and to store MP3s, pictures, imported videos and software downloads until I removed it from the server and put it in the external enclosure to replace the one that died. It's still working perfectly.

Summary: One lasted 5 years and the other 6 years and counting. I believe both would still be running if I hadn't knocked one off the desk.

(2) Samsung 120 GB drives - purchased 1/13/05. They were originally used as OS drives in a Sage PC client and my primary Desktop. They've been used in various PC builds over the years ranging from systems that ran 24/7 to those shut down if they weren't going to be in use for 8 or more hours. One of the drives experienced file system corruption in 2010 and appears to be toast. This could have been due to a power supply failure. The computer began to randomly shut down from time to time and eventually failed to boot. I later determined the power supply was at fault for the shutdowns and could have damaged the drive I guess.

The other drive was in use as my Sage Server for the last year as the OS drive and to store MP3s, pictures, imported videos, etc.... I pulled it from the server a few weeks ago when I added a new drive and am not sure what I will do with it next.

Summary: One lasted 5.5 years and may have died due to a power supply issue. The other has lasted 5.5 years and counting.


(1) Seagate 400 GB drive - purchased sometime before 8/13/07. No idea when. Has been spinning 24/7 since purchased as a recording drive. Was switched from a recording drive to OS drive for my Sage Server a few weeks. It will also store MP3s, pictures, imported videos, etc....

Summary: Running 24/7 for +3 years and counting.

(2) Seagate 500 GB drives - purchased 8/13/07. These have been spinning 24/7 as recording drives since they were purchased. I removed them a few weeks ago when I upgraded to larger drives. One will be moved to my primary desktop as the OS drive and will also store videos and other files. It will run 24/7 except when I'm going out of down for several days. The other will go in a NAS for backup purposes only. I'm planning to have it spin down when not in use.

Summary: Both drives 3 years and counting.

(1) WD Green (WD10EADS) 1TB - Purchased 1/30/09 and has been running 24/7 as a recording drive. Running almost 2 years.

(1) WD Green (WD10EADS) 1TB - Purchased 3/27/09 and has been running 24/7 as a recording drive. Running over 1.5 years.

(1) WD Green (WD20EARS) 2TB - Purchased 11/5/10 running 24/7 as a recording drive. Running only a couple of weeks.

I know I included a lot of information about the usage of my drives; however, IMO if you're going to compare longevity you have to take into account how the drives were used.

Last edited by blade; 11-24-2010 at 12:36 PM.
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  #17  
Old 12-04-2010, 08:21 AM
ben_95sl1 ben_95sl1 is offline
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Always spinning.
I've been afraid of powering down the drives as spinning them up slows the system down, and for some reason I assumed my hd-pvr & pvr150 would be happier if it didnt have to wait to record...and I use IR all the time so seems like spinning them down would be a lot of on/off cycles with two tuners. Stability is king after all. Power consumption vs wife, guess who wins ;-)

Been going for ~6 years running 24/7 with Sage/WinXP and intelligent recording. All drives are still in service, I've just added more over the years. In that time I've lost a motherboard (capacitors!), and two power supplies, and they were plugged into a UPS.

2004: Maxtor diamondmax plus 9 120gb IDE drive as the OS drive and partly for recordings for first 5yrs
2005: 300 GB Seagate 7200.9 IDE
2006: 250 GB WD Caviar SE x 2 (1 IDE, 1 SATA)
2009: 1.5TB WD Caviar Green SATA
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Old 12-04-2010, 04:48 PM
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I don't spin down on either my SageTV computer or my unRAID computer. I originally setup my unRAID server to spin down, but I had spin down errors. The errors might have been caused by using WD advanced format drives without the pins 7 & 8 jumpers installed. After I rebuilt the unRAID server with the correct hard drive jumper configuration, I setup the unRAID server for no spin down. I have 20 drives between the two servers, and the power cost saving for spin down just isn't that much money. Both servers are out of the way in the basement, so the small additional noise isn't a factor either.

Dave
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Old 12-04-2010, 05:24 PM
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Spin-down at 2 hours.

95% of my recordings occur during primetime, so recordings are back-to-back. Looking at my recording schedule, any gaps between recordings are 4 to 20 hours.

So for me, makes no sense to leave disks spinning that long doing absolutely nothing. I don't remember the last time I had a drive failure.
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  #20  
Old 12-04-2010, 05:32 PM
Spectrum Spectrum is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davephan View Post
The errors might have been caused by using WD advanced format drives without the pins 7 & 8 jumpers installed. After I rebuilt the unRAID server with the correct hard drive jumper configuration, I setup the unRAID server for no spin down.
FYI I have 4 WD20EARS in my unRAID box and they spin down just fine. The jumpers make absolutely no difference in the OS's perception of the drive so I would be more inclined to believe it is a problem with the drive controller rather than the drive. unRAID has a pretty small HCL and if you stray away from it you are rolling the dice. That said, as long as you live inside its means it's great

Quote:
Originally Posted by korben_dallas View Post
I don't remember the last time I had a drive failure.
Those are dangerous words...
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