2010 i5 2.8 iMac - Intrusive Hard Drive Sound

Discussion in 'iMac' started by PeckhamBog, May 9, 2011.

  1. PeckhamBog, May 9, 2011
    Last edited: May 11, 2011

    PeckhamBog macrumors 6502

    PeckhamBog

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Location:
    London
    #1
    I received a 2010 i5 2.8 iMac today but have this evening noticed the intrusive sound of the processor.

    While listening to some gentle background music on iTunes and browsing on Safari, the sound (something like what you might get with a virtual [cyber] aquarium bubbling) spoils the iTunes music.

    I have a Aug 2007 2.4 24" iMac and have not encountered this in its life, nor on the two SR MacBooks in the household.

    Are all quad cores noisy when they are thinking, or is this a rogue machine?

    (I bought it from the UK Refurb store.)
     
  2. John T macrumors 68020

    John T

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  3. SOLLERBOY macrumors 6502a

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    UK
    #3
    Common "thing" with the 27 inchers. Nothing you can do I'm afraid.
     
  4. duky macrumors 6502

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    Jun 25, 2007
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    North Carolina
    #4
    Except open it up, potentially void your warranty, and add a SSD. Totally worth it for the speed and peace/quiet.
     
  5. PeckhamBog thread starter macrumors 6502

    PeckhamBog

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Location:
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    #5
    Are you sure? The pattern of activity sounds much more like the processor.

    Do you concur that it is the Hard Drive or is it the Processor?

    Did you know about it before you purchased yours?

    How did you discover it was a common characteristic of 27"ers? Are there other threads or have you heard other peoples' first hand?

    I'd very much appreciate your help with these further enquiries to establish whether I have to learn to live with it or send the machine back?
     
  6. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    Nov 30, 2008
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    UK
    #6
    A processor is a chip, hence hasn't got any moving parts. It can't possibly emit any sound.
     
  7. tsugaru macrumors 6502

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    Edmonton
    #7
    It can if there is interference.
     
  8. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

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    #8
    Definitely the HDD, especially from the sound you're describing. The CPU will not make any noise.
     
  9. PeckhamBog thread starter macrumors 6502

    PeckhamBog

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Location:
    London
    #9
    So the consensus is that it is the hard drive. But is this intrusive noise wide spread?

    Do you you recognise it as the HDD from my description or because it is characteristic of every 27" as Sollerboy stated above?

    Please help! I need to know whether I need to resign myself to it or send the machine back for a better one.

    [Oddly I did initially go after a 2010 i7 with a 256 SSD (no other HDD) but chose instead the i5 because of the considerably larger storage capacity. Would a SSD option resolve my issue as Duky suggests? Do SSD + HDD models still make as much noise?]
     
  10. peskaa macrumors 68020

    peskaa

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    Location:
    London, UK
    #10
    Hard drives make noises, they're mechanical devices after all. It's simply that some will make more noise than others, and the faster the RPM of the drive the more likely it is that it will be noisy.

    Seagate are renowned for making noisy, clicking drives. Other brands can simply be hit and miss. If the 27"ers all make the noise, it indicates the model of drive Apple are using is simply one prone to being a little loud.

    Adding an SSD, or sending the iMac back and buying an SSD machine, won't remove the noise. You'll simply hear it less, and most data will be accessed off the silent SSD, with the HD acting as mass storage for things like music/videos that aren't being constantly accessed. So an improvement, yes, but not a "fix".
     
  11. dwarnecke11 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2009
    #11
    You're only recourse is exchanging it and hoping for a quieter one. My first 27" iMac had the Seagate drive and it was very loud, as you describe. I returned it in Nov '09 due to some screen issues. My current iMac, which I bought in Aug '10, has the Western Digital drive. While far from silent, it is much quieter than the Seagate.
     
  12. spcdust macrumors 6502a

    spcdust

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    May 6, 2008
    Location:
    London, UK
    #12
    I'm guessing you've got the 1TB HDD - if so check what brand of HDD you have installed (ABOUT THIS MAC->MORE INFO) and I'll bet it's a Seagate Drive? If so it's an issue going back to 2009 iMac's - The 1TB iMacs seemed to mostly have Seagate drives and many reported a strange constant "gurgling" sound. I had it and it drove me mad - so much so I upgraded to the 2TB HDD which was generally a Hitachi manufactured drive and the problem was gone.
     
  13. John T macrumors 68020

    John T

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    Location:
    UK.
    #13
    People who complain about being able to hear their iMac's HDD must remember that it is only a relatively short distance from their ears! HDD's in the "Tower" type of computer were thought to be quieter because, more often than not, they were tucked away under the desk!
     
  14. PeckhamBog thread starter macrumors 6502

    PeckhamBog

    Joined:
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    #14
    Thanks for the 'heads up' spcdust about the offending Seagate hard drives. Yes I am stuck with one.

    John T - I appreciate your observation too about any mechanical noise from the machine being aggravated by its relative proximity to the user's ears.

    I'm very much minded to send the machine back as I don't think it's very clever shelling out £1,198 for a machine that is annoying; then sit back and wait for an alternative 2TB model to come available.

    Alternatively, do the 2011 models feature different drives? Are any 2011 users able to give any feedback on the HDD drive acoustics?
     
  15. rhod macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 10, 2011
    #15
    I have just bought a new 27" 2011 model with 1TB Western Digital drive and the hdd is easily audible, as you describe.

    I noticed it straight away, but it's no big deal for me, as I've come to the iMac from a life with macbooks, which you can obviously also hear all the time, due to proximity.

    I think you should give it a week or so, see if it still bugs you and if it does, talk to Apple.

    I couldn't really be more impressed with the machine in general.
     
  16. stevenlcs macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2010
    #16
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_1_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7D11 Safari/528.16)

    So I guess if you just get the iMac with only 256GB SSD and no HDD,it would mean complete silence? As well as lower temperature too?
     
  17. peskaa macrumors 68020

    peskaa

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    #17
    If you got just the SSD, then yes, silence (apart from fans in the case). Just don't think I could cope with a desktop having no large storage disk...
     
  18. MacHamster68 macrumors 68040

    MacHamster68

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2009
    #18
    that is the downside of apples unibody , and the fact the iMac is a all in one computer and as such the harddrive sits direct in front of your ears , and the big uninibody case acts like a big reflector and throws any internally made sound towards the user
     
  19. SOLLERBOY macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 8, 2008
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    UK
    #19
    I have the first gen late 2009 27" with a 1TB seagate drive, the sound drives me round the bend, constant reading and head parking, it sounds like there is a lion inside the screen. I learnt to live with it.
     
  20. PeckhamBog thread starter macrumors 6502

    PeckhamBog

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Location:
    London
    #20
    If a SSD version comes up I'll try to buy it [and live within its confines].

    If I haven't learnt to live with the current machine by Monday I'm going to arrange for its return before I lose the 14 day period of grace.

    THANK YOU EVERYBODY for your contributions. You've been a great help and I'm very grateful. :)

    I haven't had one reply on the Apple Community site on their support page.
     
  21. lumbkoz macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    #21
    iMac - Intrusive Hard Drive Sound

    I'm very grateful to this forum - I've had so much stress from the fact that, a few months after I'd received my 27" iMac in August 2010, it started making a gurgling noise and I had loads of running back and forth to apple on phone and by email. Each time I received a different appraisal about the noise and NO-ONE said it may be due to the fact that many 27" drives do make that noise. Indeed I had the computer sent off to apple repairers and - in hindsight - the only honest technician I spoke to, told me that certain drives make that noise and that my drive is one of them and he would change the drive for me and give me a brand new drive but could not guarantee that the noise would disappear. Indeed when I got my computer back, the noise was still there and so ensued another back and forth communication with apple customers services manager who suggested to send the machine to another repairer which I did. I took the machine myself to their store and asked the assistants to monitor the machine for me before sending it off to the technicians. They came back to me to say that they definitely heard the sound and that it was not acceptable. The machine was sent off but this time the engineer came back saying that he could not hear the noise and therefore could not anything to the machine. It had had a drive change once, they could not see anything wrong with the machine and so it was being returned to me, end of story. An argument ensued with the manager of customer services who was the least sympathetic customer manager possible - to say the least - and when I asked for a change of machine (by then it was less than a year old) she categorically refused and said I had a perfectly good machine and this did not warrant an exchange. She was particularly rude and condescending but that is by the by. Since then I've had to live with the gurgling noise. It is not that loud but it is present and I just feel that is something that lets Apple down. However since reading your forum I do appreciate that large computers are more complex and hard drives are what they are and do what they can. I tried to find out if my hard drive is a seagate one - which is the most probable - but cannot see any name attached to the hardware definition.
    I hope this helps other people in my situation. Thanks.
     
  22. FrankHahn macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 17, 2011
    #22
    You can find out the make of the HDD from the "About This Mac" item in :apple:.
     
  23. PeckhamBog thread starter macrumors 6502

    PeckhamBog

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Location:
    London
    #23
    An alternative plan is to install a 512GB Crucial m4 2.5" SSD with Data Transfer Kit (there's a cheaper 256GB version as well) for your iMac. The price is significant but it will solve the issue and transform your machine too.
     

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