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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > Buzzing Hard Drive When Idling

Buzzing Hard Drive When Idling
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Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Mar 2002
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Feb 1, 2004, 11:28 AM
 
Has anyone experienced their hard drive making more noise when it is idling?
I recently replaced the hard drive on my iMac DV (400Mhz G3, Panther) with a new Seagate 7200 rpm, 120 GB drive that is very quiet. For the last 4 years Iíve had a 7200rpm 30Gb Maxtor drive that was quite noisy.

The problem is that the new drive will buzz and make a rocking sound if there have been no reads or writes to it for 40 seconds or so. The buzzing goes away as soon as there is any disk activity. This is very repeatable and I can see it in the Activity Monitor. The buzzing would probably not be so annoying accept that the machine is otherwise so quiet.

After consulting Seagate, I replaced the new drive with an 80GB version of the same drive (the store was out of the 120GB model) with the same result. Itís driving me crazy for I have to click on something that causes disk activity that isnít already cached in its 8MB buffer to get it to stop.

Any suggestions?
     
Mac Enthusiast
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Sep 7, 2004, 04:28 AM
 
I did the same upgrade last week, on a 400 MHz iMacDV (slot-loading). I installed a 7200rpm 80 gig, 8meg cache Seagate 7200.7 drive. It works fine, and is about twice as fast as the original drive, and there is no annoying high-pitched whine. But after 45 seconds or so of inactivity, it grinds very loudly for about two minutes before stopping. Then it repeats forever, until the OS puts the iMac to sleep. Causing disk activity (just clicking on stuff) also stops it right away.

There's no OS activity (indexing etc) going on during this, the machine is really idle. The same thing happens sitting at the 'choose a drive to boot' screen via option-boot.

I've read a few things from 3rd parties so far:
* this is normal behavior designed to seek out bad media blocks during the first ### hours of drive usage. It should stop after a while. (I don't know if this is true, or what ### is, though.)
* there is a DOS utility called SMSCAN.EXE to disable this media check. (I don't know if it works, since it requires installing the drive in a PC.)
     
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Sep 7, 2004, 04:44 PM
 
I too have this same prob in an iMac 500. I installed a seagate 80 gig close to a year ago and it still does many times a day.
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15" MacBook Pro 2.0GHz i7 4GB RAM 6490M 120GB OWC 6G SSD 500GB HD
15" MacBook Pro 2.4GHz C2D 2GB RAM 8600M GT 200GB HD
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Sep 18, 2004, 02:06 PM
 
bump
15" MacBook Pro 2.0GHz i7 4GB RAM 6490M 120GB OWC 6G SSD 500GB HD
15" MacBook Pro 2.4GHz C2D 2GB RAM 8600M GT 200GB HD
17" C2D iMac 2.0GHz 2GB RAM x1600 500GB HD
     
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Sep 18, 2004, 11:03 PM
 
Here is a link to a forum that explains the noise in great detail. link

The bottom line seems to be that Seagate has a diagnostic tool, running in the drive, that makes the sound when the disk is idle. The only option would be to write a program that writes or reads from the disk every 30 or 40 seconds so that it never becomes idle. I personally gave up and bought an older Seagate drive that is very quiet all the time.
     
   
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