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Can I? If not is it because in the low energy mode the network card or the hard drives shutdown? If they do is there any way to prevent this (ie. with a custom low energy mode)?

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You could make a power mode where the screen turns off after 30 seconds of no activity, any keyboard back-lighting is off, and the harddrive shuts down after only a couple of minutes of no activity, which would have lower power usage then normal, but as far as I know you'd have to manually activate it, rather then replacing sleep mode. – Trezoid Oct 13 '10 at 2:43
@Trezoid but I need the hard drives working to download, don't I? – Jader Dias Oct 13 '10 at 2:47
yeah, but the hard drive will be in use if you're downloading so won't turn off until the download is finished, unless it automatically triggers a download at random times during the night. – Trezoid Oct 13 '10 at 3:18
up vote 5 down vote accepted

In full sleep mode, there is not a way to prevent this, exactly for the reason you listed.

Your best bet is to make a power profile to turn off the monitors after a certain amount of time. Just about every other component in the machine needs to stay on to keep the download going except for optical drives and such. The PSU has to keep the drives spinning, while they communicate with the motherboard (which may or may not have your Ethernet integrated, but still must stay on nonetheless), which will communicate with your memory which holds a buffer containing the program doing the downloading.

If power consumption is a big issue, you could purchase ( or build ) a small NAS device and load FreeNAS on it. You can use tools such as wget to download files to this storage device while consuming very little power.

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The worst problem is the noise that my computer makes. I used a NAS the way you described and it was silent. The problem is that it adds more volume and cables to my desk. – Jader Dias Oct 13 '10 at 11:53

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