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Set Automatic Acoustic Management level on hard drives System
If you want to set the Automatic Acoustic Management (AAM) feature of your hard drives, but can't use MacAAM (it's an OS 9 only application; not Classic), OpenFirmware might be the solution.

Here's my recipe for setting the primary hard drive to silent mode:
  1. Enter OpenFirmware by holding Command-Option-o-f at startup.

  2. Enter the following line:
    0 0 0 here 428000 , ef , 4000 1 apply ata-command hd .
    
  3. Hit return and check the output (if it prints 0, it went OK)

  4. To go on booting, type mac-boot and hit return.
That's it. To apply this to another device, change the hd part of the command to the device path or alias you want (eg sd1 for the hard drive on the second SATA bus in a G5). To set a different value, change the 80 to some other dual-digit hex value in the range 80 to FE (80 = silent, FE = fast).

The bad new is that Barracuda drives don't support AAM.

[robg adds: Take care when using open firmware; you can cause some bad things to happen if you mess something up. I have not tested this hint...]
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Set Automatic Acoustic Management level on hard drives
Authored by: tsugaru on Oct 18, '04 12:37:57PM

This is an excellent hint. I can finally enable super-quiet disk mode on my drives without using OS 9.



[ Reply to This | # ]
External drives?
Authored by: andyman1080 on Oct 18, '04 02:04:24PM

Is there any way to set AAM on an external Firewire drive like a LaCie? I have an IBM 180GXP in a Lacie FW 800 enclosure.



[ Reply to This | # ]
External drives?
Authored by: alexwegel on Oct 18, '04 11:52:38PM

I'm not sure, but it might work if you can figure out the drives device path and use that instead of "hd".
It might also depend on the enclosures chipset, esp. whether it passes the relevant ata command to the disk drive.
If it wont work, it will just err out without anything bad happening.
HTH.
cheers,
Alex



[ Reply to This | # ]
Performance?
Authored by: GORDYmac on Oct 18, '04 02:08:44PM

What kind of performace hit does this measure take? If all drives can be quiter, I'd imagine that the feature would be standard [right?] unless enabling it degraded performance.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Performance?
Authored by: allanmarcus on Oct 18, '04 02:22:03PM

A Samsung paper hints that it might be 3%-5%.

The best research I can come up with is this from a Fujitsu paper <http://www.fsc-america.com/pf_silent_drives_e.pdf>:

Activating Automatic Acoustic Management:

The Automatic Acoustic Management feature is activated and configured in the BIOS setup menu of the individual drive. The following options are available for selection in the CD Silent Mode field:

Disabled: The BIOS leaves the settings to the drive itself or to a software tool.
Maximum: The drive can rotate at maximum speed (maximum noise generation)
Medium: The drive can rotate at no higher than medium speed (medium noise generation)
Minimum: The drive can rotate at minimum speed only (minimum noise generation)

Note: The slower the drive rotates, the lower is its performance. Owing to the high read error rate at high read speeds, the relationship cannot be regarded as linear.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Performance?
Authored by: alexwegel on Oct 18, '04 11:59:50PM

I read sth about a hit of the sixth part, more or less.
You can still try some value *between* hex 80..FE as a tradeoff, one maxtor here for example, has a factory setting of hex C0 (ie. kind of the middle between 80 and FE).



[ Reply to This | # ]
Set Automatic Acoustic Management level on hard drives
Authored by: CrisTUFR on Oct 18, '04 02:19:36PM

I'm not sure all Barracuda drives are exempt from this feature. The model I have in my MDD G4 (purchased last November) is covered by the following PDF.

http://www.nissho-ele.co.jp/storage/manual/seagate/hdd/cuda7200pm.pdf

That spec sheet claims that AAM is supported. I would like to turn AAM off (i.e. go for loud, if possible) since I've seen noticeable performance gains as a result of this in my past experience. I think newer Seagate models don't support the feature as a result of some patent dispute, though.

If someone's brave enough to try it with their Seagate-enabled MDD, I'd like to know the result.

HTH,

Chris



[ Reply to This | # ]
Set Automatic Acoustic Management level on hard drives
Authored by: alexwegel on Oct 19, '04 12:04:32AM

You're right - this seems to have changed:-(
The manual for my drive
http://www.seagate.com/support/disc/manuals/ata/cuda7200pm.pdf
says "AAM .. not supported".

So - it should work for yours.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Set Automatic Acoustic Management level on hard drives
Authored by: arekkusu on Oct 18, '04 05:15:02PM
Is there any similar OF command that will turn off the Seagate diagnostic which causes long bursts of head seeking after 45 seconds of idling? I have this problem on a 7200.7 80 gig Seagate Barracuda drive installed in an iMac DV, the problem is discussed here on MacNN. This drive unfortunately does not work with MacAAM or the OF hint...

[ Reply to This | # ]
Set Automatic Acoustic Management level on hard drives
Authored by: alexwegel on Oct 19, '04 01:10:44AM

After a look into the ata specs i would guess that it's the smart autosave happening when going from active to idle after a timeout.
It should be disabled in the factory settings, but a tool or the os might have enabled it - dunno.
I also don't know whether disabling the autosave feature has any adverse effects, but i don't think so...

Anyway, the commands for enabling/disabling this would be (analoguous to the original hint):

disabling attribute autosave:

0 0 0 here d20000 , 4fc200b0 , 4000 1 apply ata-command hd

enabling attribute autosave:

0 0 0 here d2F100 , 4fc200b0 , 4000 1 apply ata-command hd

Alternatively, one could turn off smart support alltogether, but maybe it gets turned on again by the os. Maybe it's not such a good idea either (need smart?..)
Here they come anyway:

smart enable operations

0 0 0 here d80000 , 4fc200b0 , 4000 1 apply ata-command hd

smart disable operations

0 0 0 here d90000 , 4fc200b0 , 4000 1 apply ata-command hd

NOTE: I DIDN'T TRY ANY OF THESE COMMANDS!
(but they should work like the AAM command - only that the os might fiddle with the smart settings later, so - who knows)

I also don't know if this helps with the original problem, but i ...
HTH

cheers,
Alex



[ Reply to This | # ]
Update: Set Automatic Acoustic Management
Authored by: alexwegel on Oct 19, '04 01:49:54AM

Update for secondary drives

After looking into the ata specs again i found that the
drive number must be encoded in the command.
That's why the command wont work for a secondary (slave) drive!

I checked it and - yes, now it works there too.

The difference is minimal, and there's no change for primary
drives (btw - s-ata drives are all primary drives, each with its
own bus).

So, to silence the example "ultra1" device, type:

0 0 0 here 428000 , 10ef , apply ata-command ultra1 .


The difference is the "10ef" for the secondary drive, where
there was a "ef" for the primary.

This error did not do any harm, only it didn't work..

Happy hacking,
Alex



[ Reply to This | # ]
Update: Set Automatic Acoustic Management
Authored by: hopkinsprinting on Oct 19, '04 10:24:17AM

Please forgive this ignorant question but what exactly does this hack do to the drive (assuming that AAM is supported on the given drive)?

Thank you :-)



[ Reply to This | # ]
Set Automatic Acoustic Management level on hard drives
Authored by: g00ner on Oct 19, '04 02:37:46PM
I've tried the inital commands and hey preston it works, and it really does make a difference, although there is definatley a performance dip, but I like the silence so I'll stick with it.

My question is though, does anyone know what the commands would be for 4x Drives? I've used the following:

0 0 0 here 428000 , ef , 4000 1 apply ata-command hd .

And it works fine, but trying the same and using the Hard Drive names in place of hd comes back with a can't apply message.

I have 4x 120gb WD drives in my MDD 2x1Ghz and have no idea what commands to use to enable the AAM on the other 3x Drives.

Can anyone help? g00er.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Set Automatic Acoustic Management level on hard drives
Authored by: roldok on Oct 20, '04 07:46:46AM

Would this be possible from Virtual PC using one of the availble apps from the hard drive maker?



[ Reply to This | # ]
Set Automatic Acoustic Management level on hard drives
Authored by: alexwegel on Oct 23, '04 11:56:50PM

Hi
Sorry for the delay..

Basically, if the drive supports the AAM feature set, and you manage to send the command to the drive, then it should work.

You should read my correction for applying the command to a slave-drive (which boil down to having to use "10ef" instead of "ef" in the command line, in addition to the changed drive address).

To get the correct address for the second drive, you could try to find the address of the first drive (the one that worked, using the "hd" alias), and either typing a modified version of it (the same path, but with "disk@1" instead of "disk@0" at the end).
There might also be an alias defined for that second drive (see below), which you could use to save most of the typing (i found one called "ultra1" here).

For the other two drives, i'm not sure - how are they connected?

To find some or all of the information needed, while being in OpenFirmware, you can use the following commands:

devalias

Shows all defined shortcuts and the paths they point to
("hd" should be among them)

dev /
show-devs
device-end

- First "change directory" to the root of the device tree
- Then dump all devices from there, recursively (use ctrl-S and ctrl-Q to
pause and continue listing)
- As the last thing, get out of the device tree, to have the normal OFW
environment available again.

Maybe this helps finding the path to drives 3 and 4.

For the drive 2, there's a chance that the line i also posted in my correction just works:


0 0 0 here 428000 , 10ef , 4000 1 apply ata-command ultra1 .

As an example how the command might look given a full path instead of an alias:

0 0 0 here 428000 , ef , 4000 1
apply ata-command /pci@f2000000/pci-bridge@D/mac-io@7/ata-4@1f000/disk@0 .

(If you enter the command on two lines, make sure you keep "apply ata-command" and the device alias/path all on the same line).

HTH
Alex



[ Reply to This | # ]
Set Automatic Acoustic Management level on hard drives
Authored by: Rxke on Oct 21, '04 05:06:14AM

I get an output of ffffff ok on a clamshell iBook ( the first one with firewire, and probably souped-up HD?) and nothing changes... Could this be because it was originally intended as a multimedia machine, so the HD maxes out whatever you do? (It *is* loud, much louder than my friend's iBook, the model before that...)



[ Reply to This | # ]
Set Automatic Acoustic Management level on hard drives
Authored by: jostein@racoo.bi on Oct 22, '04 06:30:37AM

Does this work on the Powerbook 17" 1.5 GHz too?? I have the 5400 rpm HD and it makes some noise... Don't know if it makes any more noise than the 4200, but it makes noise in my opinion.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Set Automatic Acoustic Management level on hard drives
Authored by: alexwegel on Oct 24, '04 12:01:41AM

Hi

It should work just like in other systems (see the thread for more).

That is, if the "noise" you mean is the ticking of the heads stepping - that's what this is all about.

Cheers,
Alex



[ Reply to This | # ]
Set Automatic Acoustic Management level on hard drives
Authored by: jostein@racoo.bi on Oct 26, '04 09:59:48PM

Uhm.. I thought this was about reducing the rpm of the drive... I was thinking it would be great to reduce the rpm to something which would make the drive completely noiseless. Right now it is constantly making a sizzling sound, almost like a small fan.

It does make the usual ticks when I use it, though, but that hasn't really bothered me that much. The "fan"-like noise it makes by just being on is more annoying. If I use the computer in a very quiet environment it almost starts reminding me of a stationary PC...(!!)

So this AAM is only about getting rid of the ticks? It wont make my drive just slow down (to some lower rpm)?



[ Reply to This | # ]
Set Automatic Acoustic Management level on hard drives
Authored by: alexwegel on Oct 28, '04 04:03:49AM

Sorry, no.

Never heard of a possibility to change the spindle-speed of a harddrive.

I guess with all the "head flying microns above the surface on an air-cussion"
going on, this feature would just make a cheap hd design impossible. Maybe i'm
wrong (at least what concerns high-end drives), though.

Maybe the best thing you can do is to swap the drive for one with less rpm, or one
with better psycho-acoustics:-)

Cheers,
Alex



[ Reply to This | # ]
Set Automatic Acoustic Management level on hard drives
Authored by: alexwegel on Oct 28, '04 04:05:03AM

Sorry, no.

Never heard of a possibility to change the spindle-speed of a harddrive.

I guess with all the "head flying microns above the surface on an air-cussion"
going on, this feature would just make a cheap hd design impossible. Maybe i'm
wrong (at least what concerns high-end drives), though.

Maybe the best thing you can do is to swap the drive for one with less rpm, or one
with better psycho-acoustics:-)

Cheers,
Alex



[ Reply to This | # ]
Set Automatic Acoustic Management level on hard drives
Authored by: mickangel on Dec 09, '05 08:22:37AM
sorry to ressurect this old thread, but can someone explain what the different comma delimited values do?

I presume for example that the "80" in question is part of the "428000" below? What is the 4000 for?

0 0 0 here 428000 , ef , 4000 1 apply ata-command hd


[ Reply to This | # ]
Set Automatic Acoustic Management level on hard drives
Authored by: alexwegel on Dec 10, '05 08:23:24AM
Let's try.

The original code was:


0 0 0 here 428000 , ef , 4000 1 apply ata-command hd .

" 0 0 0 " are three arguments for the "ata-command" call. IRC they were for specifying i/o-buffers that are not needed for this particular command, so they are zeros.

" here 428000 , ef , " creates a ata command buffer in memory, containing "00428000000000ef". The "here" leaves the address of that buffer on the stack as the 4th argument for ata-command.

"4000" is the timeout for the command.

The last number, "1", - i'll have to look this one up again, since i never needed to use ata-command again since my drive is silenced. Doubtlessly, it is another argument;-)

The rest of the line "apply ata-command hd" does the whole work, with "apply" digging out the device-handle of "hd" (which is one of open-firmwares aliases), and calling the ata-command method on it.

Now, to the contents of the command buffer:

I got it from a drive manual, or from the ata spec. Without digging it out again, i remember that the "80" (yes, that's the "80" in "428000") is the level to set the AAM to. Allowed values for this byte range from 01 to fe, where fe makes the drive go loud and fast (AAM=off). I don't remember what happened when using "01" as the value, but i think "80" was working, while "01" was not - not sure.

The "00" just before the final "ef" in the buffer is for the drive number, so if you want to use this command for a secondary drive on a bus, you have to change this from "ef" to "10ef" to make it work.

The final "." hust prints out the result from the ata-command.

To sum it up:

-Change the "80" in "428000" to sth between "01" and "fe" to select different levels of AAM.

-Replace "hd" by the device path or device alias of the drive you want to affect.

-Don't forget to change the "ef" to "10ef" when that drive is the second drive on a bus.

-The rest of the line should stay as it is. Maybe the timeout could be adapted ($4000 = 16384 = ca. 16sec).

Some examples:

Make the first disk go loud:


0 0 0 here 42fe00 , ef , 4000 1 apply ata-command hd .

Silence second disk:


0 0 0 here 428000 , 10ef , 4000 1 apply ata-command hd2 .

Silence a disk with no alias (example):


0 0 0 here 428000 , ef , 4000 1 
apply ata-command /ht/pci@5/k2-sata-root/k2-sata@0/disk@0 .

And don't forget that all the spaces in the line are important: eg. "ef," would be wrong.

HTH
Alex

[ Reply to This | # ]

Set Automatic Acoustic Management level on hard drives
Authored by: mickangel on Dec 10, '05 02:17:42PM
Thanks very much for the information.

I have been playing around with "APM Tuner X". This utility is abandonware but some information is still available here:

http://web.archive.org/web/20011006043108/http://www01.u-page.so-net.ne.jp/gb3/eijim/index-E.html

On my PB 15 with Seagate (ST9808211A) drive I was getting irritating park&clunk noises every 15-20 seconds. Apparently this frequent parking is common, and does help to save energy, but the constant parking/unparking reduces the life of the hard drive and the noise is extremely irritating. I was getting head parking 4 times a minute until I started using APM Tuner X.

The rated life of the hard drive says "600,000 load/unload cycles" (seagate specs) and I had already 96865 load cycle counts for 375 power on hours. Amazingly I'd reached a sixth of the expected life of the hard drive in only 375 'on-hours'. I've emailed Seagate about this but no response so far.

The APM Tuner utility allows you to manually increase a certain APM value meaning that the incessant, frequent and irritating "clunk" of the heads parking happens less often.

For more information on the clunk&park look here:

http://macosg.com/group/viewtopic.php?t=3944&sid=bd90b603bef94e2057c610b8e772f983

The reason for asking for an explanation is I wanted to try to apply a value in open firmware to the APM register of the disk's firmware. ie: replicate what APM Tuner does but using open firmware.

It seems that the following sets the APM value:

0 0 0 here 85D300 , ef , 4000 1 apply ata-command hd .

The 85 above seems to refer to the APM entry and the D3 is 211 in decimal. 211 is the value I found that stopped the park&clunk from happening in APM Tuner.

After mac-boot from open firmware the park&clunk noise is gone and smartmontools' /usr/local/sbin/smartctl disk0 -a | grep Load_Cycle_Count reports the cycle count is now static.

.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Set Automatic Acoustic Management level on hard drives
Authored by: mickangel on Dec 11, '05 01:23:52AM

[update to above]

bugger: the APM open firmware setting doesn't seem to survive across reboots. Oh well - back to having APM Tuner X in the startup group.





[ Reply to This | # ]
Set Automatic Acoustic Management level on hard drives
Authored by: mickangel on Dec 12, '05 07:48:28AM

Ok, I've managed to script the APM Tuner X so that I don't have to manually set the slider and hit "Set" everytime I reboot.

As the app is not scriptable and the slider does not seem to be selectable from applescript I changed some settings in the APM Tuner X nib file so that the default value for the slider is the value I wanted, then wrote a small applescript utility to pass a 'return' keypress (which presses the "set" button).

Finally I added the script to the startup group. It seems to work: upon bootup the script runs, it opens the APM Tuner X program with the slider set to 211 by default, the sends a 'return' keypress to set the value, finally it closes the APM Tuner app.





[ Reply to This | # ]
Set Automatic Acoustic Management level on hard drives
Authored by: uffi on Sep 07, '06 12:36:12PM

Hello. I am new to this forum, and am getting a lot of great information from it.

I have a G4 Mac Mini running Tiger, with an (unfortunately) kind of clackety Hitachi hard drive. The seek noise is distracting to me, and the head parking clink is also fairly loud, and seems to happen every fifteen or twenty seconds. I was familiar with both MacAAM and APM Tuner from my (recent) OS 9 days, but found that APX Tuner X didn't help at all in the Mini, while my old copy of MacAAM was irrelevant..

I have tried the Open Firmware suggestions for replicating the actions of MacAAM and APX Tuner X that were detailed in this forum, and found that they made a significant, positive difference in my setup. So, thank you to those who figured those things out.

I am thinking, though, of trying another hard drive altogether in the Mini, and this leads me to a couple of questions. They may seem very elemental (or even dumb) to people who are way more expert than me with things like Open Firmware, but here goes...

Question one... If you have modified the way the drive operates through Open Firmware, how can you undo those settings if you want to? In other words, how can I get the hard drive back to its original defaults? What procedures would I follow?

Question two... If you have used Open Firmware to modify the hard drive AAM settings (and the settings that APM Tuner X affects), do those settings "stick" with the hard drive if, for instance, you move it to some other computer? Or do they just evaporate if the drive is moved to another machine? And, do those modified Open Firmware settings stay with the particular computer on which they were first made?

Question three follows out of my last question. If the new Open Firmware settings stay with the computer on which they were made, will they automatically apply to a new hard drive that is placed into that machine?

Thank you very much in advance for any answers that you can give me. And, once again, please pardon me if the answers are so basic that you can barely stand to type them!



[ Reply to This | # ]
Set Automatic Acoustic Management level on hard drives
Authored by: alexwegel on Sep 14, '06 04:11:56PM
Hello

I love to hear that it did work for you.

Hated the continuous parking too, and turned it off altogether (not in OFW). Maybe the mini relies on it more for thermal reasons or so (just a thought).

Regarding your first question about restoring to factory settings:

According to the ATA (draft-)standard, the AAM is only active when it "has been enabled", which seems to imply to me that it is disabled initially (my new, unchanged drive confirms this).
This sounds a little fuzzy, but i couldn't find anything more specific so far.

Therefore, disabling AAM should do it.

A little bit of confusion comes from the presence of a "vendor recommended value" for the AAM setting, and the spurious mention of a "default value", which might be that recommended value, especially as it does not seem to be specified (even mentioned) anywhere else in the text. And then there is the value zero for "vendor specific value".
My guess is, that they all end up being the same.

Therefore, disabling AAM should still do it.

..unless the HD doesn't implement it (even if enabling is implemented, disabling might not be, according to the standard).. A possible fallback option would be setting AAM to zero, but i doubt there's a drive implementing only one of them.

Code Time!

Disable AAM for boot-disk (by its devalias "hd"):

0 0 0 here C20000 , ef , 4000 1 apply ata-command hd . 

Fallback option: Set AAM value of boot-disk to "vendor specific" (i.e. 00)

0 0 0 here 420000 , ef , 4000 1 apply ata-command hd . 


Now to question two: Do those settings "stick" with the hard drive?

The settings stick, at least the AAM stuff and other drive settings.
The AAM hack doesn't affect OFW or OS settings, but rather uses OFW as a tool to talk to the HD itself.
This could also be done later after booting, but that would be (a) much more involved, and (b) no forth -> no fun :-)

Question 3 is easy: You have to run the command on each new drive (once).

BTW: The commands can be put into text files, and be run from the OFW prompt, e.g.:

----- save following lines to file "aamoff.of" at the root dir of your boot volume

\ <- the first line must start like this to be recognized by OFW. this is a comment
\ Run this file by typing the following at the OFW prompt (without the leading "\  "):
\     boot hd:\aamoff.of
\ then type
\     mac-boot
\ to continue booting

.( Disabling AAM on boot drive) cr                     \ print a message
0 0 0 here C20000 , ef , 4000 1 apply ata-command hd   \ do it
.( Result: ) . cr                                      \ report (0=OK)

\ end of file
-------

This might be handy, because it also has the docs built in :-)

The file for turning AAM on, and doing the same for drive 2 is left as a homework ;-)


Anyway, i enjoyed the digging, and while at it, duely silenced my new hd (do you believe in coincidence? :-)

Cheers,
Alex

[ Reply to This | # ]

Set Automatic Acoustic Management level on hard drives
Authored by: uffi on Sep 15, '06 02:37:26PM

Thank you for posting the additional information. I definitely appreciate it.

Not being the biggest computer expert in the world, I did have to read your post two or three times before I felt it was really sinking in. But I think I get it now.

I did have a follow-up question, though...

Would one way to "flush out" the changed Open Firmware-induced settings on a hard drive -- for AAM and the parking of heads -- be to reset the NVRAM? I know the old trick of starting up the computer in Open Firmware and then typing "reset-nvram" followed by "reset-all." Would this accomplish the task of getting a drive back to its defaults?

Also, you mentioned that you had silenced a new drive by some method other than through Open Firmware. I'm curious about how you accomplished that, too.

Thanks again.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Set Automatic Acoustic Management level on hard drives
Authored by: alexwegel on Sep 18, '06 06:43:59AM

Hi Gary

The AAM setting is changed in the drive itself, which has its own firmware (and its own storage for such settings).

The nvram stuff on the other hand deals with the settings stored on the Macs motherboard.

So don't be confused by the fact that this hack is an OFW program - it could have been done by other means too (like the other Tools).
I decided to code it in OFW for the simplicity of doing hardware-access in that environment (OFW is not just configuration management and booting, it's allso a programming language).

I'm not sure about the head-parking, though (the OS doesn't care for AAM at all, so that's easier to predict).

Which leads to your second question: I only switched off the Energy Saver option to spin down the HD, nothing to do with AAM.

Cheers,
Alex



[ Reply to This | # ]
Set Automatic Acoustic Management level on hard drives
Authored by: eolair on Oct 13, '06 08:07:37AM
I've written an applescript to automate APM Tuner. It's been submitted here. You can change the value APM Tuner sets, and use it as a startup item. Enjoy.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Set Automatic Acoustic Management level on hard drives
Authored by: Spaztik on Dec 08, '06 12:38:40PM

How can I enable AAM on my Mac Pro since I can't boot into Open Firmware. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!



[ Reply to This | # ]