30 Oct 2007

Click click

So there's incoherent rumbling amongst the Slashchildren and elsewhere about how overenthusiastic power saving on 2.5in drives can kill them pretty damn quick. This was known about already but not explained very well. The problem isn't spindown/spinup cycles, but park/unpark cycles, which are apparently referred to as Load Cycles.

Anyway, my crappy old lappy (a Dell Latitude CP450) has a nice big new disk (Western Digital WDC WD1000UE) that has been making irritating clicks that I hadn't quite got round to investigating. So a look at smartctl tells me that this disk has notched up 32642 load cycles in four months, which isn't as bad as the Hitachis, but isn't good either. And four reallocated sectors. Tsk.

So I just changed /etc/laptop-mode/laptop-mode.conf setting CONTROL_HD_POWERMGMT to 1 (was 0) and BATT_HD_POWERMGMT to 255 (was 1). This completely disables the disk's own power management, but that's not highly significant in the overall power budget. Easy peasy. What was all the fuss about? If I ever finish doing laptop-mode-tools for slackbuilds.org I'll patch it.