2012 Mac Mini HDD operation noise annoying

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by dbit, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. macrumors regular

    May 2, 2006
    So I just booted up my new $799 1TB standard 2012 Mac Mini. I'm familiar with hard drive noise, but this sounds especially treble-y/clicky, almost like a fine sand grinding. The drive checks out in smart, etc.

    I know there have been some posts of this noise but many of them feature another deeper noise or clunking. I haven't experienced this, but the normal operational noise of the hard drive is especially annoying, sounding like grains of sand caught in a small grinder. Is there something about this case design that may be amplifying the noise? I know it's sitting right on the removable cover, not having feet or what not and I'm wondering if this is amping the noise.

    Also, should I consider bringing it to apple or thinking about exchanging it, or is audible hard drive noise common in these 5200 drive mac mini's?

    Any help is very much appreciated! I don't want to set up all my data on this machine until I know I'm keeping it!
  2. macrumors 68020

    Jun 15, 2012
    Take it back. You have a warrantee, as well as whatever statutory laws are in place. Do it now, rather than in six months' time.
    My 2012 doesn't make any noise that I can detect (though I do have it sitting on a Vibration Absorption mat).
  3. macrumors regular

    Mar 2, 2010
    I just turned mine on for the very first time last night and had it on for a couple hours.
    It was eerily dead quiet. Didn't even hear any fan. But then again, I just ran some software updates and safari, so no heavy lifting. It has the stock 1tb hdd.

    Another odd thing... I realize its new and not bunged up with a lot of stuff yet but it boots in seconds and apps opened virtually instantaneous even though there's no ssd
  4. macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2011
    the corner of Fire and Brimstone
    Sounds like the HD heads are parking. 2 Options: return it or give this a shot: http://mckinlay.net.nz/hdapm/

    Many have installed with success, several with the Hitachi drives seem to be reporting these issues.
  5. macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    SMART monitoring doesn't catch all potential drive problems so don't rely on it as the final word on your drive's health.


    I have the same Mini. The drive is essentially silent. If I received a Mini that was as noisy as you describe I would return it to Apple and get another one. A healthy drive should not be making those kinds of noises.

    I have had brand new hard-drives die within a couple of hours of use. It happens... they are complex mechanical things. I'm amazed at the engineering and that they are usually reliable for thousands of hours of use.

    If you return the Mini you have an opportunity to consider upgrading to a Fusion or SSD. If I had it to do over again I would lean toward getting an SSD; I just had a difficult time spending another $300 on my Mini.
  6. thread starter macrumors regular

    May 2, 2006
    Just to clarify, I can tell that the noise is just operational noise, it's just that it's audible and a bit in the treble range.
  7. macrumors newbie

    Oct 27, 2012
    I've had mine sitting right next to me, and can't even tell it's on. The only time I've heard it is when the fan cranks up whilst finalizing a video in iMovie. It also got a bit louder during some gaming, but not enough to hear over the sound from the game.

    Edited to add... I get in trouble in my family for having bat ears... I have hearing outside the normal range, and am acutely tuned to every sound... I can pick out car problems long before anyone else. My PC makes a few noises that drive me crazy. Mini... Nothing thus far.
  8. thread starter macrumors regular

    May 2, 2006
    I doubt it's the heads parking, it's just read/write noise. I only hear it when the drive is active.


    Ok, it was 100% the case + my desk. I have a nice wooden desk and it was amplifying the high frequencies from the removal cover. :eek:

    So, one more question... this thing just sits on the removable cover? I'm surprised there were no feet or whatever. What's the air flow design?
  9. macrumors 6502

    Nov 10, 2006
    I added a SSD to my setup, installed the OS and Applications on it, and now I rarely hear the original HD anymore. The Minis much faster now too! Two birds, one stone.
  10. macrumors 6502a


    Nov 6, 2006
    My base model is silent but I've had issues with machines and HD heads parking in the past.

    Can't remember if I sold machines on, endured or fixed.
  11. thread starter macrumors regular

    May 2, 2006
    I would've liked SSD but I use this machine as a communications hub that transfers large audio and video files to and from various locations, so I needed a large drive. I also couldn't really afford an SSD right now, this was a totally unexpected emergency purchase to replacing a failing MBP in the office. It was an older model that had the ATIx1600 logic board problem. Board replaced once, now new board is failing. Gonna try to reflow the chip myself after the transfer is done.

    Still though, whats up with the mini case not having feet and the airflow situation?
  12. philipma1957, Jan 7, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2013

    macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010

    Never rest a mini on a rug!!

    Air is pulled at the edge of the black bottom plate so a rug and the mini sinking into it may block air flow.

    If your mini is in a HT rack let it breath it can get very bleeping hot.

    buy this


    or buy this


    both are low cost

    both help

    you get to mount vertically or horizontally your choice
  13. thread starter macrumors regular

    May 2, 2006
    I may just get a vibration pad or something, since that seems to be my issue. I put it on a mouse pad and that seemed to solve it, but now I can't find my spare mouse pad!

    Still weird though that the machine just sits on its own cover. Seems un-apple like.
  14. macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    here are some good feet

  15. macrumors regular

    Mar 2, 2010
    i just go to the hardware store and get those rubber or silicon type pads with the sticky backing in whatever size i need. any hardware should have a wide variety.

    that mini stand looks like an accident waiting to happen:D
  16. macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    If it is vibrating so much that it makes noise when placed on a desk it is too noisy for me... My Mini is on a table about 2.5 feet from me and it is silent. My 7200rpm external drives make more noise than the Mini and they are barely audible. (They reside in fanless OWC enclosures.)

    I once bought an external LaCie drive. Right out of the box it vibrated a lot with a fair amount of noise. That drive went right back to the Apple Store.

    Placing the Mini on a stand or pad in an attempt to mitigate noise/vibration is a "fix" that shouldn't be necessary in the first place.
  17. thread starter macrumors regular

    May 2, 2006
    When I put it on a mouse pad thought it's silent, which is what's making me think it's just my desk. I dunno, I'm torn about it. Googling for Mac Mini noise pulls up plenty of similar complaints. Some people took there's back 2 times and each made the same amount of noise. Seems to particularly be the hitachi drives.

    It is quieter than my externals, it's just that the noise is more treble so more noticeable to my ears. When I put it on the mouse pad I don't hear it...


    I agree re: that stand.

    So, just to clarify one more time, the removable cover on this thing IS technically what it rests on...

    Sorry to repeat myself, but it just seems crazy! Apple has this thing just sitting on it's plastic bottom...?!
  18. macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    What would you prefer? It seems to be as good a solution as any other...

    I must have lucked-out: I have a Hitachi drive and it is vibration-free. (I'm not a big fan of Hitachi; reports about its so-called customer service are generally negative.) I prefer Samsung drives for my externals and they are very quiet. I hope that Seagate doesn't mess around with Samsung now that they have bought the company...

    I had a Seagate external that sounded like your drive; it drove me crazy listening to it grind away! A brand new drive shouldn't make that much noise and vibration.

    In a few years we won't be having this discussion... Mechanical drives will only be used for high-capacity storage. All Macs will come with SSDs.
  19. macrumors 6502

    Nov 10, 2006
  20. macrumors newbie

    Dec 4, 2012
    I have mini i7 2 feats behind on desk and I hear it whitout problem(fan.HD) but only when I'm home alone or is night
  21. thread starter macrumors regular

    May 2, 2006
    So you do in fact hear the HD? I'm wondering if the people who say 'dead silent' have a decent amount of ambient noise around, or louder computers. I have a quiet home office and am really wondering if I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill or if I should take it in.


    Did you hear the normal HD regularly before you installed the SSD?
  22. macrumors 6502

    Nov 10, 2006
    Yes. Not loud, but noticeable in a quiet environment.
  23. thread starter macrumors regular

    May 2, 2006
    Went to the genius bar, said the noise was in spec but on the loud side, swapped it out. Will report back when I boot up.
  24. macrumors newbie

    Jan 8, 2013
    Registered just to thank you, the clicking has been bothering me for a couple of weeks now and the utility in your link worked wonders.
  25. macrumors newbie

    Dec 4, 2012

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