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hdparm is a command-line utility to set and view ATA and SATA hard disk drive hardware parameters.


USE flags for sys-apps/hdparm Utility to change hard drive performance parameters

static !!do not set this during bootstrap!! Causes binaries to be statically linked instead of dynamically


Install sys-apps/hdparm:

root #emerge --ask sys-apps/hdparm




To set parameters on boot, edit the /etc/conf.d/hdparm configuration file:

  • sdX_args: Set parameters for the given drive (replace sdX with the right device file name).
  • discX_args: Set parameters for the given disc drive.
  • cdromX_args: Set parameters for the given optical drive.
  • all_args: Set parameters for all drives.

For example, to disable power management for all drivers and enable the DMA feature for /dev/sda:

FILE /etc/conf.d/hdparm
all_args="-B 255"

When finished modifying the configuration file be sure to add the hdparm service to the default runlevel so that it can start at system boot:

root #rc-update add hdparm default



Show identification and feature info:

root #hdparm -I /dev/sdX

Benchmarking drives

Be sure that no other programs are stressing the drive at the time of testing:

root #hdparm -tT /dev/sdX

Get current settings

This is not consistent: for some features the current values can be found in the common info, for other features hdparm must be called with the right parameters, but without any value, like -d:

root #hdparm -d /dev/sdX

Set features by put the value directly behind the parameter (without space), e.g. to enable the DMA mode:

root #hdparm -d1 /dev/sdX
Changing the default values can harm the drive or freeze the system.

The following tables introduces the most common parameters. For a complete list see the hdparm man page.

Parameter Description
-B Set the Advanced Power Management feature. The value 1 saves the most energy, the value 255 disables the feature. The values in-between are corresponding steps. Values of 127 and below allow the spin-down of the drive.
Aggressive power management can wear the drive because of often spin-downs.
-d Set the DMA feature for IDE and PATA drives. The value 1 enables the feature, 0 disables the feature.
-E Set CD / DVD drive speed. Lower speeds can reduces the running noise.
-M Set the Automatic Acoustic Management feature. The values 0 disables the feature, 128 sets the most quiet mode, 254 is the fastest mode.
-S Set the standby (spin-down after idling) timeout. The value 0 disables the feature, the values from 1 to 240 specifies time steps of 5 seconds, 241 to 251 time steps of 30 minutes.

See also

  • HDD — describes the setup of an internal SATA or PATA (IDE) rotational hard disk drive.

External resources