Received mini this am - hard drive clicking every 20 seconds

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by balwx, Jun 5, 2010.

  1. balwx macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    #1
    Greetings folks. I received a refurbished mini this morning, 2.26 160gb. After setting it up I am noticing a constant clicking noise. I do understand that hard drives aren't silent, but this is a constant sound approx. every 20 seconds. This happens even when the mini is idle.

    So, I searched around for some information. One suggestion was disk utility, make sure SMART status is verified (it is). It's a fujitsu 160gb.

    Does anyone have a suggestion? Do I need to return the unit?

    Thanks
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #2
    You can either return it for a replacement or take it to the nearest Apple store and they will replace the hard drive
     
  3. balwx thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    #3

    Thanks. If I decide to return the mini, can this be done at my local apple store? Or must I return it through the mail?

    Thanks
     
  4. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #4
    If you bought it from the online store, it has to be sent via carrier (Apple will pay and arrange it) but if you bought it from the Apple store, just go there and take it back
     
  5. balwx thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    #5
    Thanks for the quick reply. I purchased it online. I will take it to an Apple store on Monday. Do you have any experience with the mini's hard drives? Will another hard drive maybe different brand work?
     
  6. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #6
    Mini uses normal 2.5" SATA HDs. Apple uses popular brands so you just had bad luck. Clicking ain't that abnormal but it's not acceptable either ;)
     
  7. balwx thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    #7
    Great thanks for the guidance. :)
     
  8. Max(IT) Suspended

    Max(IT)

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Location:
    Italy
    #8
    You just got a lemon ...
    Mine was absolutely silent (now replaced by a WD scorpio blue 500 Gb)
     
  9. FastEddy macrumors regular

    FastEddy

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    Dec 8, 2007
    Location:
    North Californie
    #9
    " Mine was absolutely silent " ... Ditto that. :apple:
     
  10. balwx thread starter macrumors regular

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    Aug 22, 2007
    #10
    Thanks Max & Eddy
     
  11. balwx thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    #11
    Update:

    I brought the mini to my local apple store. They did some tests on the hd and said it had some 'bad spots'. So they are going to install a new hard drive soon. Since this was a refurbished system, only couple of days old, its very suprising that it was shipped with a bad hard drive. Things happen I guess.
     
  12. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #12
    HDs usually "die" within first days (=manufacturing flaw) or after certain amount of time (usually +3 years). It's not that abnormal to get busted HD out of the box but I'm glad you're getting it fixed, the chance that the next one is bad one is very small
     
  13. balwx thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    #13
    Thanks. This was my first experience at the genius bar. Although I have several apple products, never had the need. The store was so crowded btw, people were asking for the display units of the new iphone. So it was a very positive experience.
     
  14. balwx thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    #14
    Update 6/12

    Apple has replaced the drive in my mini. It is running great, dead silent Hitachi. One thing I also noticed, they completed all of the software updates for me.

    When I received the mini last week, I had many updates to apply. Overall, a great experience. BTW, my local apple store (one of five anyway :p) was very crowded. I also saw a few ipad being sold.
     
  15. maghemi macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2009
    Location:
    Melbourne Australia
    #15
    Looks like you had the same issue that I had with my refurb mac mini.

    However I wasn't too fussed as I was opening it up as soon as I got it to upgrade he ram. So I replaced the Hdd at the same time with something bigger.

    It's just the luck of the draw. I've since used that Hdd in other things for short periods of time. There isn't anything majorly wrong with it, it just ticks every now and then.

    That's why it's only a short term use drive.
     
  16. jamesrob macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2009
    Location:
    California Wine Country
    #16
    "Hard drive clicks" not coming from hard drive at all

    Balwx, I suspect I may have spent about as much time yesterday proving that what could well be the same noise you heard, coming from my computer, didn't come from the hard drive at all!

    I posted this on a Mac email listserv yesterday, chronicling my investigations:

    Only two weeks after having the hard drive replaced in my mid-2009 MacBook
    Pro, I've become aware of a metallic click coming from the computer every 20
    seconds (exactly), but only after the screen times out and blanks.

    My first guess was that it was the actuator for the hard drive's read/write
    positioner. There are many threads on Apple's discussion forums and
    elsewhere discussing this noise, each of the ones I read concluding that the
    clicking noise was conclusive evidence that the hard drive was dying.
    However, none of these assertions seemed to come from disk-drive engineers,
    so I considered the possibility that it was a synthesized sound produced by
    something in software. I set the sound output level to zero, and the noise
    seemed not to return after the screen blanked. To confirm this, I ramped up
    the sound output level to maximum and convinced myself that the sound was
    LOUDER once it appeared. However, this notion seemed less likely after I
    plugged in USB earphones, set sound output to route to them, but found that
    the sound still came from the "precisely milled al-u-MIN-i-um billet" (or
    however it is that Jonathan Ives so seductively describes it) rather than
    from the headphones.

    Paying a bit more attention to the sequence of events, I discovered that the
    noise occurs just once when the screen blanks, then not again for many more
    minutes, but once it starts again, it repeats precisely every 20 seconds. I
    thought perhaps that's why it seemed I'd managed to extinguish it by
    reducing sound output to zero - I might have missed the initial metallic
    "ping," then didn't wait long enough for it to start repeating.

    HOWEVER, I've gone through the steps with the sound ramped up again, and now
    I'm quite certain that it IS coming from the speakers (both speakers,
    equally loudly, confirmed by listening with a stethoscope, AND confirmed by
    routing the sound to one or the other speaker by adjusting the stereo
    balance). Moreover, if I use Apple mini-plug headphones plugged into the
    headphone jack, the sound DOES come out through the headphones. So now an
    additional question is why, if it's a synthesized noise generated by
    software, it doesn't come out through USB headphones when other sounds do.

    I tried one more thing - a safe boot, to eliminate optional login items that
    might generate a noise. I discovered that in Safe Mode the computer doesn't
    MAKE synthesized sounds. I didn't hear anything when the screen blanked, and I waited many minutes thereafter for the sound to repeat rhythmically, so this also favors it being a synthesized noise, but provides no clues as to
    what's causing it.

    Last bit of snooping: I logged in as my guest user, pulled up System Prefs to set screen blanking time to the minimum, which required me to enter my admin credentials because I was in the guest account. Doing this, I discovered that the sound is exactly the same one the computer emits when an admin user clicks the padlock icon in System Prefs to prevent subsequent changes!!!

    So:
    1. It's not mechanical (the drive's OK)
    2. It's somehow associated with my user account.
    3. I might be able to get rid of it by a system software reinstall

    (Oh, and apologies for the weird line wrapping - an unfortunate interaction between Entourage, mail servers, and a listserv that accepts only ASCII).
     

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