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Switch on HDD?

Discussion in 'Computer Components' started by Stereo Steve, Apr 2, 2005.

  1. Stereo Steve

    Stereo Steve
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    Hi,

    Wondered if any electronically minded guys could help me. I have an ATX tower system which I use for gaming and business. I have it dual boot with a 2.5" HDD for the business side and a 120gb 3.5" drive for gaming etc. My problem is noise.

    I am looking to quiten the PC right down whilst in business mode and would like to be able to switch off the bigger hard drive when it's not in use. Would it be OK to just interrupt the power cable with a switch and leave the IDE cable plugged in? I could put a switch outside the PC and just flick it before I want to boot to the 3.5".

    Is there anything that'll do this available? I'm happy with a bit of soldering etc. I was just wondering if anyone had any ideas/ pitfalls/ recommendations before I start.

    Thanks
     
  2. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    I think the switch would probably work fine but you can always set the drive to spindown after a period of inactivity.
     
  3. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    My experience is that if the spin-down isn't controlled by either the BIOS or Windows power management then often the IDE bus will hang since since the O/S doesn't know the drive has 'gone', powering back up doesn't fix it.

    As Keith suggests, the best bet is to use power management to do this for you, ideally Windows rather than the BIOS, using the Power Options applet in Control Panel.
     
  4. SeanT

    SeanT
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    My LS120 is currently connected to the IDE bus and unpowered, no issues there.
    I wouldn't recommend putting the switch anywhere you may accidentally operate it when the computer is on though!!!!
    Are you sure the 3.5 inch drive is the noisy one of the two? ;) - I find laptop drives are often unbearably loud.
     
  5. Crocodile

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    If you have a spare 5.25" bay, you could mount the drive in a removeable cradle like this. The cradle has a key that both locks the drive in place & switches power. You may even get some additional noise reduction when it's running because the drive is enclosed.
     
  6. Stereo Steve

    Stereo Steve
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    Thanks for all the replies. Never thought of power management. Would be an idea as the PC will stay on 24/7 unless I want to boot to the other OS which is not often.

    It's definately the 3.5" that is noisy. The Hitachi 2.5" is virtually silent, even with your ear up against it. I have it in a mini-ITX sytem at the mo with fanless PSU and it's completely silent. I am one of those that cannot stand PC noise, even from so called 'silent' fans. But I plan to put the 2.5" in my ATX case and move to water cooling for the CPU.
     
  7. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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  8. mrmoo

    mrmoo
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    A switch will work fine. I've often left HDD connected via IDE with no power. Just remember that +5 and +12 go to the molex. Leave the two black negatives connected for grounding. You will need a double pole single throw DPST latching push or rocker switch. You could even use a 12v illuminated to see when its on. :smashin:
     
  9. Stereo Steve

    Stereo Steve
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    Thanks Mrmoo. Would you be so kind as to recommend a particular switch from Maplin or CPC? I'm happy to do the soldering bits etc. but don't quite understand all the issues with voltage/ wattage etc. I think a rocker switch that I could stick on the back panel of the PC would be best so I just reach around and flick it when I want to boot to that drive.
     
  10. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    Our experiences differ.
     
  11. mrmoo

    mrmoo
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    http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=2355&TabID=1&source=17&WorldID=&doy=3m4

    As I said I've often left drives attached without power. I would test it, see if it works for you. Shutdown, pull the feed, boot, see what happens, shutdown, put the feed back, reboot. A possible issue might be the bios boot sequence. Only isolate the power once the PC has shutdown, not suspended. Don't put your hands in the case if the PSU is on, switch it off at the back, there is a constant +5vsb for suspend functions.
     
  12. KraGorn

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    I didn't make myself clear, I was addressing on-the-fly spin-down. I agree if you power-cycle the whole system it's okay.
     
  13. Stereo Steve

    Stereo Steve
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    Cool, that's what I would be doing. It would be switched off 90% of the time. If I wanted to bbot to it, I would power off the PC, flick the switch and then boot up to that drive. To revert, I would power down and switch it off, then reboot.

    Cheers
     
  14. Stereo Steve

    Stereo Steve
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    By the way, when I go into power management on the Control Panel, it just gives a time limit to power down the drives. No control for each drive. If I set the time to 3 minutes will the second drive just power down, even if I am still using the main one? What I mean is, will XP control individually depending on whether they are being accessed?
     
  15. KraGorn

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    There is no per-disk control you're right, but each disk is individually controlled using that configured time.

    Depending on how you're going to use the drive on those occasion when you want running I'd suggest maybe 10 mins, there's a noticeable delay (something like 5-10 secs) when the drive has to spin-up so you don't want to be doing that very much.
     
  16. Crocodile

    Crocodile
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    Can't work out if you missed my post first time around, don't have a spare 5.25" bay or just enjoy doing things the hard way. :confused:
     

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