It's been pretty widely reported that in Mavericks, external FireWire-connected drives don't sleep, no matter what your Energy Saver settings are.
I had two drives daisy chained with FireWire for Time Machine. (In this configuration, Time Machine alternates between the drives.) The drives were pretty quiet, but they did not spin down when not in use.
I just switched the external to USB, and it spins down properly. Unfortunately, there's no way to daisy chain my drives when connected to USB. I could plug both in, but I only have one USB port unused, and don't want to get a hub.
Discussion of issues related to OSX 10.9 (Mavericks) and all earlier versions of OS X.
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