Will this drive cause the fans on my MacBook to run?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by OldGuyTom, Apr 21, 2014.

  1. OldGuyTom macrumors regular

    Sep 6, 2013
    Hi guys:

    One of my systems is a 2009 mid year MacBook and the drive that came with it is going. I started getting the spinning beach ball syndrome on it along with messages like "not able to open file" and in some cases, I/O errors. I used Scannerz sometime ago to check an external drive, so I ran it on this one and it's diagnostics mode confirmed that it's the drive, not an internal cable or some other system problem. This came on suddenly. To the best of my knowledge the unit wasn't dropped or anything, but I do have kids, so who knows.

    I use this thing basically to do less critical work, but with drive prices being so cheap I was considering using either 500GB or a 1TB 7200RPM Hitachi drive. I use Scannerz about once a month to check the health of drives on my systems and one thing that I noticed, but didn't really surprise me, was the fact that it scans 7200 RPM drives faster than 5400RPM drives.

    I'd really like, but don't need to get the 7200RPM drive. I can easily get by with another 5400RPM drive, but I'd rather not considering the fact that the 5400RPM models are only tens of dollars cheaper. My question is about heat. One thing I don't like is to have the fans come on and my assumption is that the 7200RPM drive will use more power. However, will it leave my system in a state where the fans are running either all the time or very frequently.

    You can get the tech specs for the drives I'm considering here:


    I'm not interested in SSDs because of their cost and limited storage for the money. The system has 4GB of memory and has been running Mavericks just fine.

    I'd like to add that this has been a remarkably good computer, just because it's the truth. I haven't had any problems at all with it until now, and it's the drive, not anything more complicated. :)
  2. filmbuff macrumors 6502a


    Jan 5, 2011
    The hard drive really has nothing to do with the fans coming on.

    One thing that makes a huge difference is cleaning the fan and heatsink really well with q-tips and water. You might also apply new thermal paste, but a 2009 probably doesn't need it.

    After I cleaned the fan I noticed that it only came on 1/2 the time it did before and the laptop ran much cooler overall.
  3. ZVH macrumors 6502

    Apr 14, 2012
    You probably need to find out what the power consumption of the 7200 RPM drive is vs. that of a 5400 RPM drive. Normally 7200 RPM drives use more power and thus generate more heat, but the way things change technologically these days, who knows?

    Considering it's a MacBook and how easy it is to replace drives on them, maybe you could just get the faster drive, put it in the system, and give it a whirl. If it runs too hot reformat and zero the drive and return it. Just tell them the truth, it was running too hot, if that actually happens.
  4. OldGuyTom thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 6, 2013
    Makes no difference! I bought the drive anyway.:eek:

    The store said I could return it for 30 days, so if the fans come on too much or I don't like it then I'll return it. On the other hand it's so damn cheap even if it causes the thing to run hot I could just get a different drive, put this thing in a USB box and use it as an external.
  5. ZVH macrumors 6502

    Apr 14, 2012
    The peak data rate of the 500G 7200 RPM Hitachi is actually entering the realm of SATA I. If you look at all the listings they have some "enterprise" drives, and one of them is 2.5", that actually are putting out SATA speeds. I'm not talking about buffer to system, I'm talking about media to system data rates.

    Needless to say the enterprise drives cost a weeeeeeeee tiny bit more.;)

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