On Linux, I can verify and change the low level parameters of my disk drive using hdparm. Is there an utility providing the same capabilities for OS X, or perhaps some other way of manipulating the parameters?
EFI and SATA
https://discussions.apple.com/message/11856660#11856660 (2010-07-07) reminds me:
(Side note: an Apple Support Communities bug may cause the wrong set of messages to appear. If that bug bites, then instead browse to the 2010-07-07 point in the topic.)
From past use of tools from Apple Developer, I set aside a copy of SpindownHD.app 4.6.2 (227.9) Copyright © 2003-2005 Apple Computer, Inc., part of the old CHUD (Computer Hardware Understanding Developer) tools – apparently OK for polling. However: as some of the KEXTs from that period are incompatible with modern versions of the OS, I don't know whether it's sane to use this app for sleep settings (for all disks).
"diskutil - A whole set of utilities like fsck, fdisk, tune2fs, and hdparm combined."
"Disk Utility functions may also be accessed from the Mac OS X command line with the diskutil and hdiutil commands."
There seems to be no port of hdparm for OSX unfortunately.
hdparm provides more features than power management/spin control. But, if you do not know the utility and are not willing to investigate the use/need then any generic response can sound intelligent to the inexperienced.