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I wonder if there are a better tool than the panel at System → Preferences → Power Management to manage the power consumption for the HDD. Specifically HDD in a laptop.

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You can experiment a bit with a few options for hdparm command. Specifically:

  • -S <number> sets the idle timeout before the drive turns its spindle off.
  • -M <number> sets the Acoustic Management Mode (this parameter also helps in the power management)

I don't report here how the value should be chosen, I let you to read it from the man page.

That said, I would NOT recommend to choose timeout values too short, as still one of the most stressing times for a hard disk is the spin-up time, i.e. it's better to leave a HDD spin a little longer while idling than continuously turn it off and on, especially with modern, low-power HDDs.

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