Can you hear your hard drive...

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by jomama7366, Nov 11, 2009.

  1. jomama7366 macrumors member

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    Nov 1, 2008
    #1
    in a completely quiet room? If so, what's the sound? What's a "normal" sound?

    (I have a 250 GB, 5400, Model ST9250315ASG)

    In a quiet room, I hear it whirring, but I'm not sure I could call it a buzz...more like a light whine?

    Is this normal? Just the heads spinning? I can't image any spinning hard drive can be truly silent in a totally quiet environment... Is this right?
     
  2. uberamd macrumors 68030

    uberamd

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    #2
    Hard drives can be audible, but it depends on the conditions. Some cases insulate from the sound better than others. In my MacBook Pro, I can't hear the drive at all unless it is absolutely 100% quiet in the room (which it rarely ever is) and the laptop is doing disk intensive tasks.
     
  3. Jottle macrumors 6502

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    #3
    In a completely quiet room (even with a little ambient noise), you should be able to hear your hard drive spinning from about 2-3 feet away if you have very sensitive hearing. It should sound like a low, constant whirring sound (think wind blowing or the sound of the ocean). occasionally, you'll also hear random clicks from the heads of the HD as they park. These are all normal sounds. You can tell it's your hard drive that 's making this noise as the whirring sound should begin right after you hit the power button, and it should remain constant. The light whine is the high pitched part of the "whir." Put your ear directly on the aluminum where the hard drive is. You'll be better able to hear the whining and know that it comes from just the hard drive and not the fans etc. Note that these higher frequency sounds are harder to hear as you move farther away from the laptop's hard drive. The lower frequency ones, for some reason, tend to be slightly more audible. I'm not sure if this is the aluminum resonance or what, because usually it should be the higher frequency sounds that are easier to hear at farther distances. Either way, if you can hear you hard drive when it's relatively quiet, this is completely normal. If it makes noise that it clearly audible from across the room, then it would be an issue. If you're extremely sensitive to any ambient noise and demand as much silence as possible, then you can pay the $$$ and buy a solid state drive which has no moving parts. The only thing you'll hear is the macbook's fans (just barely) :)
     
  4. dan5.5 macrumors 6502

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    #4
    at first, mine was dead silent, now its starting to be audible...
     
  5. harperjones99 macrumors 6502

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    #5
    From normal using distance in a normal room (slight sounds from ceiling fan etc) I can only barely hear the armature clicking...no spinning. And it sits on a hard wood table on a hardwood floor mostly. With the TV on I can't hear anything. I have decent ears but nothing superhero. If I put my head down to the palmrest I can hear it spinning. FWIW it is new so who knows it it will get louder.
     
  6. jomama7366 thread starter macrumors member

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    #6
    If I put my ear down to the hard drive, it's almost like a low buzz. This computer is brand new, I've done hardware test (no problems), disc utility (no problems), seems to be running fine. Maybe I just have sensitive ears? It's prob just the heads spinning, and it's normal...

    BTW, if I have a SATA HD, it was my understanding that I couldn't install a SSD drive (because I won't have the right connection?... :confused:
     
  7. harperjones99 macrumors 6502

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    #7
    Sounds exactly like my new one...low buzz with ear close...occasional armature clicking. Perfectly normal. It's pretty obvious when a HD is making "bad" noises. Scratching, loud vibrations, lots of clicking etc.
     
  8. jomama7366 thread starter macrumors member

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    #8
    Cool. Thanks, harper.
     
  9. harperjones99 macrumors 6502

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    #9
    Don't forget the worst sound a non SSD hard drive can make....none ;) Call that low buzz the reassuring sound of functionality.
     
  10. Jottle macrumors 6502

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    #10
    Honestly. You do probably have sensitive hearing. There are TONS of people on the forums who say their computers are "dead" silent. They aren't really hearing them in a silent room, or their hearing has imperceptibly decreased as they've aged. If you're in your early twenties, you are almost guaranteed to have had some hearing loss by then. It just gets worse the older you get unfortunately. None of the mbp's are silent. Even when using an ssd, I can still barely hear my fans at the default idle speed of 2000rpms. A lot of people can't hear this. And honestly, I think they're lucky. Try not to obsess :) I've had trouble avoid it!
     
  11. sn0warmy macrumors 6502a

    sn0warmy

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    #11
    I recently installed a 7200RPM Hitachi drive in mine and I don't hear a thing from about a foot away. And I use it all day long. I have it on a notebook cooler with two fans spinning, they create a little ambient noise. but it's more soothing than anything else.


    Anyone who complains about the standard noise of their hard drive spinning is just insanely to picky in my opinion.:rolleyes:
     
  12. harperjones99 macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Most people who bring it up are not complaining...they are just worried that it is a sign of a problem. We all know how tech fails and since this stuff costs so much it's natural to ask or wonder.
     
  13. jomama7366 thread starter macrumors member

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    #13
    Yes, I do have pretty sensitive ears. Always have. Wasn't "complaining," but asking what's normal. I suspected that this was normal, but it helps to have other people corroborate your experience.

    It's hardly noticeable, in truth. Just wanted to make sure.
     
  14. sn0warmy macrumors 6502a

    sn0warmy

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    #14
    I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make it sound like you were complaining about it. :)

    I have just read plenty of threads of people being truly upset because they can hear their harddrive spinning and they thought it was a "design flaw".

    Those are the people I am referring to. And they drive me NUUUTS.
     
  15. jomama7366 thread starter macrumors member

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    #15
    No worries. I totally understand.
     
  16. m85476585 macrumors 65816

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    #16
    Apple actually does a fairly good job keeping the hard drives quiet. If yours is making a buzzing noise there could be a loose piece of plastic or metal hitting it and vibrating, but if it is quiet it isn't going to be a problem.

    There is inevitably some error and inaccuracy when hard drives are manufactured, which can cause vibration. If you take apart a hard drive you will often see little weights added to the center spindle to correct the balance, but even then it will never be perfect.

    I can't hear my hard drive over the AC, the GPU fan in my desktop, the TV, the dishwasher, the generator they are testing outside, the cooling tower for the building across the street, the garbage trucks in the morning, or the helicopters hovering overhead reporting traffic. When I'm in a quiet place (rarely), I'm surprised to be able to hear the computer at all, and I like hearing the hard drive click because it lets me know when the computer is doing something.

    You should hear the whine from my 1998 era 13GB hard drive bolted directly to a metal case.
     
  17. uberamd macrumors 68030

    uberamd

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    #17
    But I am willing to bet that hard drive still works. I have drives from 1995-1996 that still work perfectly, yet my 500GB-1TB drives I buy today fail at an alarming rate.
     
  18. MacModMachine macrumors 68020

    MacModMachine

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    #18
    there is a huge difference, 13gb on a platter is a joke....packing 1tb on the same platter at a much higher density spells problems, failing read heads arms and data corruption.

    RAID5 on anything above a 1tb is putting your money in 1 basket,

    chances of a drive error is significantly higher, chances are your rebuild and all your data will become corrupt.

    i have had 2 1tb raid arrays fail rebuilds now.....ill never raid 5 those sized drives anymore.
     
  19. airplaneman macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    Same here.
     
  20. dan5.5 macrumors 6502

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    #20
    I am having a problem with my HDD in my new macbook pro. I can feel the vibrations, its a 320gb 5400RPM... What should I do ?
     
  21. DKatri macrumors 6502

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    #21
    I am sitting in front of the TV right now (which is on low) and i can just about hear my hard drive spinning (a comforting whir) but i am downloading some files right now so that probably makes a difference.
     
  22. mrsir2009 macrumors 604

    mrsir2009

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    #22
    When it is 100% quiet I can hear my Intel 2007 iMac's fans very faintly, but when I'm typing it drowns it out lol, pretty much quiet...
     
  23. DKatri macrumors 6502

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    #23
    also like 90% of the time my mac is on itunes is open and playing so i cant really hear anything above the music even when the system volume is low.
     
  24. Mr Dobey macrumors 6502

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    #24
    Too loud for me

    I have two HDD's in my MBP and to me there is too much noise.

    2nd biggest reason why I want an SSD
     
  25. mrsir2009 macrumors 604

    mrsir2009

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    #25
    I'm getting a SSD in my new MBP, and sound a quite a big reason:D
     

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