Anyone with iMac 2011 with both SSD and HDD drives?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by KKramer, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. KKramer macrumors member


    Feb 9, 2010
    I am deciding between ordering just SDD or SDD + HDD.

    1. My concern is- will HDD will introduce noise to otherwise silent SSD-only iMac ?
    2. Since OS is installed on SSD, does second HDD spin down when it's idle?
    3. If HDD spin down does it create that annoying problem when every time you open File Open/Save dialog system hangs/pauses for a few seconds waiting for 2nd drive to wake up?

    Can you tell me about your experience having 2nd HDD in iMac regarding to noise and general usefulness.
    Or I am better off just having external drive.
  2. product26 macrumors 6502a


    May 30, 2005
    1. Yes, depending on the drive as some are noisier than others.

    2. Yes, if you set the preference to spin down.

    3. Yes.
  3. Icaras macrumors 603


    Mar 18, 2008
    California, United States
    1. I have the 2011 iMac 21.5" and the HDD is extremely quiet, and I'm running one of the Seagate models.

    2. Yes, by default.

    3. Yes and no. By default, Mac OS won't point to the HDD when you click File>Open. Only clicking Macintosh HD 2 (the HDD), will the drive spin up, if idle. I haven't tried saving a file on my HDD yet though but I'm assuming there would also be a slight delay in saving to the HDD.

    Let me tell you, I was just as curious to the sound level of having the dual drive just as you were and was also debating back and forth between getting an external drive or not. I came from a 2010 27" iMac with an HDD only configuration and the hard drive noise really drove me nuts. I'm very OCD about noise.

    Now I own a 2011 iMac 21.5", and its worlds better in terms of the HDD noise. Keeping the OS situated on the SSD helps greatly. I use my HDD for iTunes and sample libraries for Logic Pro only. Yes, there is a slight second delay when I try to load up a song or movie as the drive spins up, but it's still much more quieter than my HDD only 27" iMac. When spun down, it's dead quiet. Of course, noise levels are subjective and we're all going to have differing opinions of what is quiet.

    Before getting my iMac, I also shopped for 2.5" external drives. And I also asked in the forums. I ultimately got the dual drive configuration because I also appreciated the minimalism of having less external devices and less cable clutter. However, I'm sure you could find a really quiet 2.5" external drive, though having it out in the open instead of buried in the chassis of your computer might also result in more audible noise, unless of course you can tuck the drive away somewhere farther from the computer. Unfortunately, it would be difficult to compare without actually trying both configurations back to back.

    Which model are you also considering? The innards between 21.5" and 27" models may also differ, which may also affect the sound levels as well. All in all, I am extremely satisfied with the sound levels on my iMac. It's incredibly quiet for me and I'm very happy about it.
  4. KKramer thread starter macrumors member


    Feb 9, 2010
    Thanks for the insight Icaras.
    I am surprised that your drive only spin up when you click on it in File dialog, not when dialog opens.
    I used to have 2009 iMac and with external drive attached and turned on whole system will pause to wait for the drive one File Dialog appears. And same was for many users here in forums.

    I am looking at getting 27" iMac. Figure I can order with second HDD just in case - it's only $150 extra.
    If noise or inconvenience is too much I can just un-format the drive and it will keep it dormant and not affecting the system. like it's not even there.
  5. Noisy macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2011
    iMac 2011 HDD noise Hitachi 2 Tb

    That's not truth that the second drive spins up only when you need it. It spins up on every Mac startup, reboot, and sleep. And also it spins up occasionally when some background software is trying to access it, even when unmounted. My Hitachi 2 Tb secondary HDD is not quiet at all in a silent room and its rotational noise level is higher than my 2007 iMac. But really when it's not working the iMac is dead silent.

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