New iMac - Really loud HDD

Discussion in 'iMac' started by brenden, Apr 8, 2011.

  1. brenden macrumors regular

    brenden

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2009
    Location:
    Texas, USA
    #1
    So i just upgraded my 24" iMac to a new 27" i5. Its a really nice machine and i can tell a huge difference in performance. The only thing i don't like is it seems the HDD on this new machine is REALLY loud. I can hear it nonstop.

    Anyone else have this same experience?
     
  2. Detosx macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2010
    #2
    Hi Brenden, the short answer is yes, you are not alone, it's not an infrequent question.

    Could you describe the sound you are hearing, as in liken it to some other every-day sound? Could you go to the Apple symbol and from the drop down menu click on About This Mac and then click on More info... and then where it says 'Hardware' go down the list until you see 'Serial ATA' and click on it. Is your hard drive a ST31000528AS? Back up your data but if you run a hard drive diagnostic the chances are it will pass. If it's a Seagate ST31000528AS I am told there is a version of SeaTools for Mac but I did a scan from Windows 7 in bootcamp using SeaTools; no problems, just really load.
     
  3. brenden thread starter macrumors regular

    brenden

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2009
    Location:
    Texas, USA
    #3
    Yep thats my exact drive! Its just an everyday sound, just A LOT louder than the drive in my 24" imac. Apple's internal HDD test passed. I dont think there's anything faulty with the drive its just loud.
     
  4. rekhyt macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2008
    Location:
    Part of the old MR guard.
    #4
    My guess - 7200 RPM drive? I've recently upgraded to a new drive as well and the sound has drastically increased.
     
  5. Detosx, Apr 10, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2011

    Detosx macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2010
    #5
    Hi Brenden, because this issue is close to my heart I'll prattle off the long winded answer.

    If your Seagate isn't registering as faulty and you are not having any performance issues, it's a hard call. I was always told that when surfing recent iMacs should be all but silent at three feet away. The ones I have tried in store and a friend's iMac have been all but silent when surfing, even when I put my ear close to the case. As any system builder will tell you, and as you probably know yourself, there is variability between batches of hard drives. The ST31000528AS is one of the worse offenders. But if you check Tom's Hardware charts against the competition, it is a cool running and low power-drawing drive with decent performance and, usually, quiet by comparison; a good choice by Apple for iMac. You could have it replaced and find you get another noisy drive. Where I consider it a quality control issue during the production process Apple would appear not to quite see it that way. If stories are to be believed, you could find yourself having a mild but friendly confrontation with the store you bought it form and might go through several iMacs until you get a much quieter one. There is a 24 page thread on Apple's discussion board and many threads on Mac Rumors about the ST31000528AS. Being help/grievance threads most focus on negative outcomes, which isn't giving Apple a fair hearing.

    Without coaching you about the sound I asked you to describe it. You describe it as a regular every day (hard drive) sound but loud. Many users who are stressed by the hard drive noise issue find their iMacs make a weird bassy digestive growl sound, though it has otherwise been described as a popcorn machine. I have described it as being like small rubber balls bumping around in a plastic tub. It's still audible with ear plugs or open backed headphones on (playing quiet music) and is a bit unsettling.

    If the sound you describe bothers you to the point that it gets in the way even when idle or surfing and it is a new machine, I would take it back and politely point out what is a known issue, speaking to the manager if need be. Worst case scenario point them to the thread on the Apple discussion forum or Mac Rumors ST31000528AS poll survey thread. With a new iMac on the horizon you might want to go for a refund, meantime (there's always a small risk being an early adopter, though, right?!). If you are thinking I'll just swap out the hard drive myself at some point, keep in mind that unlike earlier iMac models you will come up against the problem of the iMacs original Seagate drive having being flashed with Apple's AP25 firmware, which in the late 2009/mid 2010 model means fan speed problems with Seagates lacking Apple firmware, even with the correct temperature lead for whatever drive you replace it with; there are some simple but ugly workarounds on OWC's blog, etc, but... if such things are nagging away in your mind with a brand new purchase, take a breath and lug it back.

    If the sound is livable with I would just enjoy your beautiful new computer and be happy you got one with a good screen and no functional issues; not to say Apple have a bad record compared to the competition but some (obsessed forum dwellers, especially) ease their concern with this model by getting Apple Care. But the value of AC is a whole another thread.

    I hope that helped. Enjoy your gorgeous iMac.
     

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