Reducing Hard Disk Load Cycles in Fedora 8

I had read some time ago this digg submission about hard drive wear and tear in Ubuntu, so I became interested in finding out what happens in my new laptop and Fedora. The default power management level of my hard drive was at 128. Ubuntu was setting that value to its most aggressive value (0) resulting in many Load Cycles. I was astonished when I saw the output of the smartctl command for my drive (using linked image for readability):

/usr/sbin/smartctl --all /dev/sda

hdparm output

What the above output says is that in the 62 hours that my drive was operating, it went over 21K Load Cycles! About a cycle every ten seconds. Unnecessary and definitely not good. Now, to be clear: this is not a Fedora issue. This is not a Linux issue. It’s due to the default power management value selected by the manufacturer. Anyhow, I decided to improve it a bit.

You can set that value using the hdparm utility. By issuing something like hdparm -B 210 /dev/sda you can set it to a less aggressive value (254 will disable it completely). Now the catch is that this value is reset every time you reboot. To set it automatically in every boot you can add that command in the file /etc/rc.local. This particular file is read every time your system boots and for every runlevel (text or graphics mode).

Now, after 74 hours of usage the Load Cycle Count is at 23961. The average went to 1 cycle/11 seconds – only slightly improved – but the rate of the increase has definitely gone down. yipee!

btw, my hard disk is a Seagate Momentus 7200.1 series, model: ST910021AS

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