Question about 2,5" 7200 rpm drive on MacBook 13" - Load Cycle Count (aka clicking)

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by silencer51, Jan 24, 2008.

  1. silencer51 macrumors newbie


    Jan 1, 2007
    Athens, Greece
    Hello everyone,

    when I first got my MacBook one year ago, I had the stock Seagate HDD replaced with a Seagate Momentus 7200 rpm drive (model 7200.1).

    That drive died a sudden death a few days ago (turn on the mac, "click-click-click-click-whiiiiiir" as the heads scratched the platters).

    Needless to say I was very frustrated at Seagate, since I have had multiple problems with their drives over the last few years (but at the time the Momentus 7200.1 was the fastest drive out there).

    So, being accustomed to great hdd speeds I went out and bought a 200gb Travelstar 7K200 to replace it.

    The new drive is blazingly fast and much quieter than the Momentus (and more reliable, I hope).

    After my Seagate drive failed, I searched around for a possible cause.

    The one clue I had was that since the day I installed it in my MB, it had been silently clicking every 20-30 seconds.

    I searched around and found out that this is actually a feature, the APM (power management) of the drive loads and unloads the drive's head when its idle to conserve energy.

    However this continuous loading/unloading puts a severe strain on the drive's mechanism.

    APM is now a feature on all 2,5" drives.

    It's been a couple of days since I installed the new Hitachi 2,5" drive.

    Today I fired u S.M.A.R.T. utility and checked the SMART Load_Cycle_Count value - and guess what: it has already reached 950.

    The official Hitachi specs state that the drive is rated for 600,000 load/unload cycles.

    So by doing a little math, based on my current usage, I will reach 600,000 cycles in about 2-2,5 years.

    I even called a friend who bought a brand new MB a month ago, and asked him to run the SMART utility and check his Load Cycle Count value - it was at 22,000!!!!

    I would guess that this is the main cause of 2,5" drive failures in the last few years. A simple google search came up with many forum posts and articles talking about aggressive APM being used by hard drive manufacturers and how it can hurt their lifespan in the long run.

    Thankfully, APM can be disabled.

    Seeing as this is an expensive drive, and I would like it to last as much as possible, I want to disable APM entirely, even at the cost of battery life.

    On linux, one can simply use the hdparm command to set apm to its max value (meaning best performace, no APM)

    I couldn't find such a tool for my Mac.

    So I downloaded Hitachi's Feature Tool Bootable .iso, burned it to a CD, inserted it on my MB and but while it boots ok, when the utility starts loading and displays the EULA the mac just freezes.

    Also on my main PC the 2,5" Travelstar drive isn't detected by Hitachi's utility, even with all other devices disconnected...

    So my question is:

    Is there any way to disable the hard drive's APM completely on my MacBook?

    Thanks in advance and sorry for the long post.
  2. fuerst2 macrumors newbie

    Apr 3, 2008
    I do use the command line tool hdapm. Instructions to start the tool at every system start is included in the package. More information here:

    Question remaining: Who is responsible for dead drives? Do I have to blame Apple or the manufacturer of the dead drive?
  3. dingus macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2008
    I have a Seagate Momentus 7200.3 in my 17" UMBP and after 6 days I'm about to hit 5000 load cycles.


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