For anyone who has or is going to upgrade their hard drive

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by happle, Oct 18, 2010.

  1. happle macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    First off i want to say im so happy with my 500gb seagate momentus 7200.4. I have had 2 now, the first one I got and I liked it but someone convinced me to return it and get the Hitachi 7k500. When I got the Hitachi I noticed it used a small but significant more amount of battery, it was louder at idle (wooshing sound 24/7, where the seagate was silent.) And it also ran about 6-10 degrees F hotter than my seagate. So after having both I decided to switch right back to the seagate and I couldn't be happier.

    This seagate has been working excellent, very quite, no noticeable drop in battery, and it's fast as hell. 19-21 sec boot time here, that's in combo with 4GB of RAM. If you produce music or edit pictures/video I seriously recommend getting this 7200RPM HD and 4GB, it helps wonders. It really lets your cpu shine, instead of bottle necking it like 2GB of RAM and 5400RPM HD do

    But anyways, if you get a new hard drive, I recommend you install hdapm to keep your load cycle down and to avoid clicks if you have them. OSX likes to really rack up the load cycle counts, thus diminishing the life of your hard drive. OSX or some hard drives in general constantly spin down and park the heads of your drive, and then spin back up a second later. This causes a beach ball for a second or two and does shorten your hard drives life. They do this to save power, but it only saves power if you are not using your computer. So what hdapm does it makes it so the drive doesn't spin down, but you can set it to spin slowly. If you install smart utility and check your load cycle count, you will probably notice your load cycle count of your hard drive is close to 10k after about a month. That is just too high. Hdapm keeps your load cycle way down. My first seagate was up to 10k after 3-4 weeks, as well as the Hitachi. I've installed hdapm on this hard drive and im at 1200 load cycle count after about 7 months. Which is great considering the drives are supposed to be good until 600k.

    Here is an article that explains further in why you should use hdapm, and it also has some useful information in the comments
    http://dougitdesign.com/blog/2009/12/mac-clicking-hdd-hard-drive-noise-hdapm-html/

    Now I have made a full instruction list on how to install hdapm. I initially had trouble getting it set up as well. But I kept trying different things from different websites and I found a way that works, and also other users reported back to me with positive results.

    1. download hdapm - http://mckinlay.net.nz/hdapm/

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    2. show hidden folders. in terminal enter "defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles -boolean true;killall Finder" (without the quotes)

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    3. make folder. in terminal write "sudo mkdir /usr/local/bin" (without quotes) then hit enter, and enter in your password. this makes the folder hdapm must go in (usr/local/bin)

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    4. double click the hdapm that you downloaded, and copy the actual program not the .plist and paste it in usr/local/bin. you can find the folder in finder just click your hard drive -> usr -> local -> bin. paste hdapm in there.

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    5. find library/launchdaemons. paste the .plist in there.

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    6. in terminal enter "sudo ~/hdapm disk max" (without quotes) - this sets your disk to max settings and keeps the load cycle down. i set mine to 200 instead of max. i forget how i did that but if you want to do that i can find out.

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    7. in terminal type "sudo cp ~/hdapm /usr/local/bin/" (without quotes) enter.
    then type "sudo cp ~/hdapm.plist /Library/LaunchDaemons/" (without quotes) enter.
    - This will run hdapm every time you boot.

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    8. in terminal type "hdapm disk0 max" - it should say success. this means hdapm is now usable.

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    9. restart your mac. when your booted up. open up console. spotlight -> search console. in console search hdapm. hit enter. it should say something like disk success disk set to max 0fxe. if it says success your good.

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    10. if you dont get success in console after the reboot do this...
    In terminal enter "hdapm disk0 max" enter
    in terminal "cd /Library/LaunchDaemons/" (without quotes) press return
    type "sudo chown root:wheel hdapm.plist" (without quotes) press return. type your admin password and press return
    - i recommend doing step 10 anyway because sometimes mine wasn't working when i rebooted, this step made sure hdapm loaded every boot

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    11. reboot, search hdapm in console and see if you get success.

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    12. hide hidden folders. in terminal enter "defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles -boolean false;killall Finder" (without the quotes)

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    Now watch your load cycle and start/stop count slow down dramatically. Also as I said above i like to run my disk at 200 instead of max which is like 288 I think. At 200 it still keeps your drive from aging and acting up but it doesn't run at max power, thus using more juice.

    let me know if you have any problems.
     
  2. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #2
    How long have you been running the 500gb Seagate momentus 7200.4 in your MB, 7 months id that right?

    I just read a couple of reviews on it from Amazon.com and it sounds like drive reliability is in question on that particular model.

    Amazon Review
     
  3. billy3785 macrumors regular

    billy3785

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    #3
    i just ordered one of these over the weekend. cant wait to see the performance. thanks for the tips
     
  4. happle thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    Yeah it's a great drive. BTW if all you do is browse on your computer you wont really notice a difference. But if you edit photos/videos or produce music you will definately notice a speed difference especially when combo'd with 4GB of RAM.

    Also as I stated in my first post, download smart utility and watch your load cycle count sky rocket. See for yourself if you don't want to trust me on the hdapm thing. After installing hdapm my load cycle count is at 1100. When I wasn't using hdapm on my first 2 drives I had over that within a couple days.

    Edit: Sandbox - Many of those reviews could have been about the slightly older version, I know they updated it fairly recently and fixed some problems with it. And also installing and running hdapm solves the problem of reliability for hard drives. And yes I've been using this drive for 7 months, but I know someone else with this drive that has had it for 2 years, and it's still running strong...
     
  5. happle thread starter macrumors 6502a

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  6. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #6
    Yeah the HDD reliability issue is usually a crap shoot sometimes. Every HDD I've ever bought (and I've bought a lot over the years) turned out just fine and took many years of use before they either died or more often than that, I upgraded to a faster one or one with more capacity. So I'm not altogether worried about the reliability of this one. Just wondered if there were many users here on MR that may have had a problem with it. There are always going to be a few users out there with a bad experience based only on the odds.

    I am ordering the drive and 4GB of RAM for my MBP tonight. I do produce a lot of lengthy audio files on it weekly so I do hope to see a nice performance jump with the upgrade. I do my video work on my iMac simply because of the bigger screen and it's a lot more powerful.

    I appreciate the tips and feedback! :)
     
  7. happle thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    oh yea it will. what program do you use? i produce music with reason 5. my 4gb of ram and 7200 rpm hd did wonders for producing. but in all actuality reason is very resource friendly, you can have loads of synths, drum machines, eqs, reverb, affects and still i have plenty enough more cpu power. i honestly wouldnt know how to max out the cpu with reason.

    but yeah np man. this is my second time posting this because i see many users saying "why does my drive spin down, park the heads, and then spin back up so often??? its a preset by some drives and by osx too to save power. but it sets your hard drive up for an early failure. spinning down so often causes stress on the drive. and imo constantly spinning the drive down and up will take just as much power as leaving it spinning at a slow rate. in my case i have it set to 200 out of 288 for the power setting. its spinning slow enough to where i audibly cannot even begin to hear my drive spinning at idle.

    and my load cycle count is at 1100 after 7 months!!! thats insane compared to my 10000 after 2 weeks of my old drive without hdapm
     
  8. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #8
    I use GarageBand '09 (soon to be '11). I know you're probably gonna say it stinks compared to other programs, but it meets my needs just fine.

    My reason for upgrading the HDD is for the faster spindle speed and increased storage capacity.

    BTW, I placed the order with Amazon.com a couple of hours ago. I should have it Monday or Tuesday.
     
  9. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

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    #9
    I've never experienced the clicking you've described with my WD Scorpio Black (320 GB, 7200 rpm). From the description, it's a HDD thing, not an OS thing. In my own personal experience, WD drives are more reliable than Seagate, but that's purely experience. I know plenty of people with horrible experiences with WD (or Seagate, Hitachi, you name it).

    If you think 4 GB RAM makes your computer shine, try 6 GB RAM!

    Also, it seems to me that making your HDD run constantly is just as bad as having it park often and start back up. It's like idling your car all the time instead of turning it off. Sure, if you're going to be away for less than a minute, it's worth it, but otherwise it's a waste of gas.

    If you're having the parking head issue, hdapm surely has a use, just not max.
     
  10. happle thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    no...you cant compare a hard drive to a car like you are. its a fact that its much more stressful on a drive to have to spin down and back up constantly. and the clicking isnt with every drive or as noticeable with certain drives. i could only hear my seagate spin down and park if i was in a silent room and listening for it. but with that being said, spinning down and back up constantly racks up your load cycle count which eventually kills the drive. constantly spinning doesn't at all especially considering its meant to spin at 7200 rpm. spinning at idle will put virtually no wear and certainly no stress on a drive.

    edit: sandbox - yeah garageband is ok, but you probably use mostly loops or simple notes with an instrument right? reason 4 and many programs comparable are more for literally making your own sounds and tweaking them. especially electronic music in which i produce. but hey if it suits your needs then there you go. but it would not suit mine.
     
  11. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #11
  12. happle thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #12
  13. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

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    #13
    Sure I can. It's a fairly accurate comparison for what we're talking about.

    It's also a fact that a car engine experiences the most wear and tear when it's cold (ie, immediately after turning it back on). So far the comparison (between car engine and hard drive) is holding up.

    This I agree with. I'm simply saying setting hdapm to max is overkill.
     
  14. happle thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    Not really. It doesn't set the drive to spin at its max speed. It just gives it the max idle power which is next to nothing. But I don't have mine set to max anyway I have mine set to 200 out of 288. I was told 192+ is needed. And the car analogy is somewhat relevant but not if u want to get technical. But I see what your saying. Overall hdapm is much healthier for your drive and will prevent those random 2-3 second beach balls.
     
  15. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

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    #15
    I understand what hdapm does, and how it sets what is essentially the "idle time". I'm planning to install it to see if it helps (though I haven't run into the beach balls very often).

    Any analogy falls apart when you get technical ;)
     
  16. happle thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    yeah but did you check your load cycle count on your drive? its probably outrageously high. once you install hdapm and run it correctly watch your load cycle count basically stand still. seriously. your drive is like mine, i for the most part couldnt notice it spinning down, but my load cycle count on my old drive certainly proved that it was. give it a try and keep me updated. also i use smart utility to see my load cycle count.
     
  17. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

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  18. happle thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    yeah. how long have you had it? mines not even 1200 yet and its going on 8 months old. i mean the drives are good till 600k load cycle counts. some last longer some last much less. all depends.

    but let me know if you decided to install and run hdapm. keep me updated
     
  19. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

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    #19
    I installed it. Had the drive around 2 weeks now. Doesn't seem to have much of an effect, but I've been using it on my lap which may cause the sensor to park the heads sometimes.

    Also I found that your instructions were a bit overly complicated, as I got hdapm installed much quicker than following the steps in your first post.
     
  20. MacVibe macrumors regular

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    Dec 21, 2009
    #20
    Hi,

    Thanks for the info and maybe you could address a couple of things since your "how to" seems nearly complete.

    1) when you say "cycle" exactly what do you mean? Is it the "Load_Cycle_Count" under ID#12? I have downloaded smartctl, but I don't remember how I did this. So, maybe the first step in your "how to" could be how to download/install the utility, and how to use it. For example the command line is something like "smartctl [device]". It turns out my device, I think, is disk0s2. I found this by right clicking on the drive in drive utilities and selecting information, but is there a simpler way to do this?

    2) have you remembered how to set the 200? is it just replacing "max" with 200? I have no idea how important it is, but if max is safe I don't mind doing that, and I'm not too concerned about battery life.

    Thanks for the thread and the step-by-step. I'll probably try to implement it as I'd like to get a lot of life out of my replacement hard drive.
     
  21. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

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    #21
    Yes, it's the load cycle count. disk0 is the actual drive itself, disk0s2 is referring to a partition.

    Yeah. The place where "max" is on that command can be:

    max - maximum performance (ie: doesn't spin down unless the sensor tells it to)

    min - maximum energy saving (ie: tries to spin down as often as possible)

    1-254 - Inclusive. 1 being the closest to min and 254 being the closest to max
     
  22. happle thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    max is perfectly safe. i used to have mine set to max but then someone told me that they set theres to around 200 just because it made them feel better. i noticed no difference setting it to 200, it just made me feel better like the person who informed me lol. but yes max is 100% A OK. and i cant remember off the top of my head how i set it to 200. it was either what you said, replace the max with 200, or it was something fairly simple. a lot easier to do then installing and running hdapm itself. try a google search and ill let you know if i can figure out how to do it again as well.

    and to check the load cycle count i simply downloaded smart utility, open it up and click "show all" in the attributes section. this pops up a list of information about your drive like power on hours etc, scroll down until you see your load cycle count. it's most likely pretty high without hdapm. Once you successfully install and run hdapm you will notice your load cycle count practically freeze.

    edit: thanks ithinker. yeah i was told around 192+ is most affective. did you install hdapm yet btw?
     
  23. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

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    #23
    I guess you don't read this thread too thoroughly ;) See post #19.
     
  24. happle thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    yeah i missed that one. and idk i tried multiple times to get hdapm installed and it finally worked when i used the method i posted so...

    and like i said if you dont notice your drive spinning down much u wont notice that hdapm is really working. but the numbers will sure tell you it is if you have it setup right.
     
  25. tivoboy macrumors 68030

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    #25
    Man,

    Man, picking a drive for this computer seems to be such a crap shoot. Some people love this drive, but others say it fails miserably. Some say the Scorpio Blue is the best, even the 5400 version, others say IT fails miserably.

    I really wish there was some consensus on these puppies
     

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