hard drives keep dying on me

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by babak, Jan 9, 2010.

  1. babak macrumors member

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    Oct 1, 2009
    #1
    Dear friends, I'm really getting desperate here :( I think I have some misterious deadly effect upon Apple hardware. I think my hard-drives all get some sort of hard-drive cancer or maybe hard-drive flu :confused:
    I got my first Mac, which was a unibody MacBook 2 GHz with a 160 Gb HD last May. The hard drive on that machine died in like 4 months! OK, I thought, things like that happen... good think I had the Time Capsule and had been backing up regularly... Apple replaced the drive @ no charge, of course... OK, things happen I guess.

    Anyway, I bought a MBP 15" with 500 Gb Hitachi in October, and the HD dies WITHIN 2 MONTHS :eek: I mean... what the hell?? Anyways, Apple was kind and replaced it under warranty and all was well until today when... you guessed it! The hard drive died on me again!!! Sudden arrest, the poor thing did not even suffer... (I tried to shock it twice @ 360 Joules but to no avail, it went asystolic :D)

    Now, even if I get it replaced for free, it's simply getting annoying already :mad: Even if I don't have to pay, this is #3 drive that dies on me in 8 months! I'm tired of going to the Genius, waiting for the replacement, then having to restore everything from my Time Capsule all over again......

    Guys, anyone had a similar problem? What am I doing wrong? My computers don't eat McDonald's, they exercise regularly and have their flu-shots, WHY ARE THEY DYING LIKE THAT??

    I've been using computers since early 90's and not once I had an HD mal before starting to use Apple.

    I use my MBP pretty heavily, the 500 Gb drive was perhaps 70% full. Work stuff (tons of TIFFs), movies, making own videos (not professionally), web surfing, sometimes torrents, messaging etc. I'm carrying it in my backpack usually, and it rides on the passenger seat of my car (sporty stiff suspension). I also sometimes read books or surf the web while semi-laying in bed or an arm-chair. I do sometimes hear the heads park when I move it somewhat briskly. But never did I drop it or hit it!

    I suspect it is partly my own fault, but I'm looking for constructive advice. I cannot realistically keep the laptop on my desk all the time or get a Buick with a soft suspension :D
    I was thinking to get an SSD (have one in my old MacBook now) but they are still too small + quite expensive. What if I bought a good 500 Gb drive, like a WD Black whatever, instead of getting another muribund Hitachi for free. Would it be worth the expense??? Or should I just stick to desktops :eek::eek:???
     
  2. iLog.Genius macrumors 601

    iLog.Genius

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    Feb 24, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #2
    Very unlikely that it's the HDD's. Sure you might get one faulty drive and maybe another but getting three is highly unlikely. I would look into how you're treating your computer. How you're carrying it, travelling with it, etc.
     
  3. XP Defector macrumors 6502

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  4. coast1ja macrumors 6502

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    Jul 13, 2009
    #4
    try to avoid shock (both movement and electrical) at all costs! If that's not possible... get a SSD!
     
  5. babak thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 1, 2009
    #5
    I'm gravitating toward the same conclusion. Assuming I won't be able to significantly alter the way I'm treating my computer, I see 3 possible solutions:

    1) a bi-monthly :) replacement from Apple

    2) get a small SSD for system disk, keep data on HDD (Optibay)

    3) try a non-:apple: HDD, I've had good luck with WD before

    What will the collective intelligence suggest?
     
  6. babak thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 1, 2009
    #6
    Electrical?? My MBP does get frequent static shocks from me, didn't know it could cause problems.

    An SSD does not have sufficient space for me, unfortunately :( (An SSD that I can afford that is :D)
     
  7. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    Sep 7, 2008
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    forlod bygningen
    #7
    That's strange, as my iBook's HDD took carrying it around while running quite well.

    Even my MacBook's HDD does not cry when it spins and I carry it around inside the computer like I would if it was a block of paper.

    Maybe I'm lucky though.

    I only once had my HDD fail due to letting it fall down from a 70cm height, but it was an external 3.5" Deathstar drive.

    I just remember, I even had several incidents of loosing control of some external WD drives, which meant they were also falling to the ground, but they still spin their happy platters like on the day we met.


    OP: Maybe your MacBook Pro has some kind of other defect, that gets those HDDs killed. Has Apple checked for that (if such thing can even exist)?
     
  8. babak thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 1, 2009
    #8
    Wow! Thanks for your reply! I was thinking people were going to report me to the computer rights agency for abuse, but now I realize I have a long ways to go :)
     
  9. JacaByte macrumors 6502

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    Dec 26, 2009
    #9
    SSDs are too small and too expensive for you if you were using 70% of a 500 GB hard drive, so we can effectively through that "solution" out the window. (I, for one, barely use 30% of a 250 GB HDD)

    If I were you, I'd grab a torx and philips screwdriver set, open 'er up and replace the hard drive myself, preferably not a crappy Hitachi or Fujitsu HDD like the ones Apple uses. (These hard drive manufacturers are known for refurbishing and/or remarking used hard drive from other manufacturers.) Seagate is my personal favorite, but I can't find any online store with one of their 2.5" 500GB HDDs with SMS. (Sudden Motion Sensor) I suggest this hard drive, but keep in mind it won't have SMS. As long as you're nice to it it ought to work fine for you.
     
  10. babak thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 1, 2009
    #10
    I might actually try that. Either a Seagate or WD. If I find one with SMS (will try the MicroCenter near me) would the MBP know what to do with it. I'm asking because I vaguely recall people reporting they had to do something to their drives (flsh their memory ????) to allow MBP to recognize and use the SMS.

    P.S. And you're right, the 1st drive that died was a Fujitsu, the other two were Hitachi
     
  11. JacaByte macrumors 6502

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    Dec 26, 2009
    #11
    It should work straight up, as the Macbook itself has no integrated SMS sensor; that sensor is embedded in the HDD.

    You may have to reset the PRAM, but that's a relatively painless operation. (cmd+opt+P+R)
     
  12. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #12
    The SMS is not embedded into the HDD, but in the system itself (hardware and software). That's why HDDs with shock protection interfere with the SMS.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sudden_Motion_Sensor

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1935
     
  13. babak thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 1, 2009
    #13
    I see... so I should then get a drive without a built-in SMS, right?
     
  14. babak thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 1, 2009
    #14
    Thanks everyone for your advice. I will just buy a 500 Gb Seagate or a 640 Gb WD, depending on what I can find at MicroCenter or BestBuy and hope it doesn't die until the 500 Gb SSD are available (for < $50 :))
     
  15. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #15
    SMS is the name of Apple's technique of a built in accelerometer and software.
    It is not included in any HDD you buy, as some drives have their own anti-shock systems, Seagate for example calls theirs G-Force.

    So you can buy almost any drive, with or without their own anti-shoch protection, as SMS is not built into the HDD, but into the MacBook itself.

    And again, beware of drives with anti-shock protection, as that might cause trouble unless you disable the anti-shock protection.
     
  16. JacaByte macrumors 6502

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    Dec 26, 2009
    #16
    That's right, buying a hard drive with a SMS is only applicable when replacing the superdrive with an Optibay or an alternative caddy; the on-board SMS only works with the hard disk in the HDD bay. The funny thing is I've never seen the actual sensor in MBP teardowns that can be found on the internet.

    On another note, the Wiki was much more helpful than the Apple knowledge base article; Apple's article did not explain where the actual sensor was embedded, while the Wiki did.
     
  17. babak thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 1, 2009
    #17
    Thank you spinnerlys & JacaByte and everyone else for your help. I got it all figured out it seems:

    - no built-in shock sensor adviced for replacement drive

    - yes sensor if a 2nd drive is being added, as the MBP's own sensor will not work with a drive in OptiBay position

    - Seagate or WD

    Didn't have a chance to go to the store today, will wait till tomorrow. Any opinions re WD 640 Gb vs Seagate 500 Gb (besides the size, of course)?
     
  18. JacaByte macrumors 6502

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    Dec 26, 2009
    #18
    WD's (only selling, I believe) 640 GB drive runs at 5400 RPM and has an 8 MB cache. (At least, this one happens to) The small (relatively speaking) cache is going to be a bottleneck when accessing large numbers of large files.

    Seagate has several 500 GB hdds, and 7200 RPM with 16 MB of cache is easy to obtain for slightly less than what the WD would cost.(I suggest this drive) However, 7200 RPM drives will drain battery power faster, so in the end you may want to settle for a 5400 RPM drive anyway.
     
  19. babak thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 1, 2009
    #19
    An interesting thing about MicroCenter's website. I was searching their site for the WD 640 and it was not found under "Notebook hard drives", so I assumed they didn't have it.
    Then I incidentally found it using the search function under "Private label notebook drives", there was also a drive from Samsung: 500 Gb for 80 something dollars, not bad at all.
     

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