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Agressive Power Management Features on PS3/PS4 Hard Drives - Resolved -Is there interest?


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It has irked me for quite some time that Sony use standard hard drives in the PS3/PS4 with firmware suited to that of a Laptop as opposed to a Game Console. 


What I mean by this is they have firmware on the drives that cause the HDD Heads to 'park' up if not being used. Now this is common in 2.5" drives mainly for 2 reasons. First being that if the head isn't parked and the drive is moved around a lot there is a greater chance of damage to the platter and secondly to save energy...….both features that make sense for a Laptop but in a console they really don't.

 

If you've ever been in the XMB, then tried to browse and there's been a minor delay in the XBM, it's because of this. Likewise, on some games if you've ever got a part where there is some FMV, end of level loading etc and there's a slight stutter at the start, it's because of this.  I've taken a Seagate, Hitachi and Toshiba drive (as supplied originally) tested and the APM settings have the heads parking/spinning down at 8 seconds for the Toshiba & Seagate and 15 Seconds for the Hitachi. Most manufacturers offer a solution to this if using a PC but this requires applying each time the machine is turned on, a lot of gamers also use CrystalDiskInfo to do the same thing but for consoles the only way is to effectively 'amend' the firmware. If you have a 'squeaky' drive you'll be able to hear this occurring  on your PS3/4 depending on your environment. There is also a lot of evidence to show that this causes un-necessary wear and tear to the drives if it's too aggressive. 

 

Western Digital in the past few years have also snuck this onto 2.5" Western Digital Black drives which is bonkers considering it's marketed as a performance drive and testing this particular drive in a PS3 really showed the issue as it took even longer to spin up being a 7200rpm drive.

 

So after far too many hours researching the solution (which I can't take the credit for) I have successfully been able to amend the APM settings permanently on a modern Western Digital Black to prevent this occurring. This can be amended by seconds or disabled completely but after changing it to 5 minutes it resolved all the issues I've mentioned above and unload/load cycle stats on the SMART info have been reduced accordingly as expected.

 

The process is a PITA and has to be done via Linux and slightly different for each manufacturer however now that I have cracked it with the Western Digital Black Drive below is there anyone that may be interested in this on the forum?

 

It's the drive below but I can get a steady supply of these for £35 each, all brand new removed from Lenovo Desktop's that had SSD's placed in them instead. So could sell them at £40 delivered including the amended firmware. I'd have to test but the other currently released Western Digital Black's should also take the setting the same way.

https://www.scan.co.uk/products/5500gb-wd-black-wd5000lplx-25-hdd-7mm-height-sata-iii-6gb-s-7200-rpm-32mb-cache

 

I suspect nobody else has noticed, put in SSDs, or not been bothered by it to be honest so if you've got this far hope it's been a little bit interesting!

 

 

 

 

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It's nice that there's a solution, even if there are very few practical applications. I love the fact the community is willing to discover the answer to the problem, as an intellectual and technical exercise. That kind of thought process and attention to detail is never a waste of time :)

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You might get more bites in discussion given it's also on non-retro PS4. I dunno how many people dive into the Retro Gaming sub-folder.

 

I'm with Treble though, I love the overall research, conclusion and solution though

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Thanks both, truth be told I'm not after bites or even selling the drives (unless someone wanted one). It was a side project I've been meaning to do for some time and it was strange, doing something for myself for a change :D

 

 

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