: Faint clicking from HD when performing any action


Oreamnos
Mar 2nd, 2008, 07:10 PM
Hi

So, today I got my 3rd MacBook Pro (15" 2.4 GHz) in almost as many days. Everything seems to be fine except for 1 thing that I did not notice on the other 2 machines.

Whenever I perform any action on the computer (launch a new web page, open an application, start up, anything that changes what appears on the monitor) I hear a very faint clicking noise. It's so faint that if there is almost any background noise, I can't hear the clicking. Sometimes it clicks just a 1 or 2 times when I scroll using the multi-touch trackpad.

It also clicks periodically when it's just sitting idle, but that happens much less frequently.

It sounds like the sound is coming from the upper left hand side of the keyboard.

Like I said, the clicking is very faint and is somewhere between a click and a grind (grind is a little harsh, maybe "brush up against")... if that makes any sense. It's a very "tinny" sound (as in metalish).

After returning 2 faulty MBP's, I am not feeling very confident with them and maybe I'm just being paranoid but I just want a new computer that I will be confident in and that I can use for a couple of years.

So, should I be worried about this sound? Is this normal? I would think that it was normal if it hadn't been absent on the MBP I just returned (https://www.ehmac.ca/anything-mac/62283-new-mbp-warped-case-lid.html). Also, I can't hear the same sound on my wife's MacBook.

Thanks,
Eric

Adrian.
Mar 2nd, 2008, 07:45 PM
your probably paranoid. there are moving parts in there you know.

kloan
Mar 2nd, 2008, 07:47 PM
most likely the hdd

Oreamnos
Mar 2nd, 2008, 08:25 PM
your probably paranoid. there are moving parts in there you know.yeah, i think i'm being paranoid as well.

i know there are moving parts but i just wanted to see if others have noticed the same thing...

thanks,
eric

Mr. Fartleberry
Mar 2nd, 2008, 08:42 PM
I had (have) a G3 IBook whose tray CD made a 60Hz click. Never did anything bad but would you buy one if it made that noise in the store?

Oreamnos
Mar 2nd, 2008, 08:54 PM
I had (have) a G3 IBook whose tray CD made a 60Hz click. You lost me. What do you mean by, "60Hz click"?

JSvo
Mar 3rd, 2008, 06:32 AM
How do you know it's from the HD?

Your HD resides in the lower left of your machine, "below" the keyboard. The ticking you hear is likely from one or both of the MBP's fans, which reside at the top of your machine, literally under the keyboard.

I had to have my MBP's fans replaced under warranty a year ago. The new fans are now starting to tick like the old ones, so it's likely I'll have to have the fans replaced again.

Just a caution: if both of your fans fail, and you continue to use your MBP without fixing the problem, you'll likely overheat your computer and fry various components on your motherboard, including your processor. I'd get it checked out.

bmovie
Mar 3rd, 2008, 08:26 AM
if the noise is happening when you do something, file search, opening folders ect.....then I would say it is the HD....metalic clicking sounds is not a good thing from a HD...my brother in laws did the same thing and then I just fried.
I would say install smartreporter software and keep an eye on it.
If your HD is failing this software will notify you in time to get your data off.

My gut tells me your HD will die.

Mr. Fartleberry
Mar 3rd, 2008, 10:00 AM
You lost me. What do you mean by, "60Hz click"?

I was afraid the term might confuse. 60 times a minute. One a second. Click - click - click - click - click - click - click - click - click ... Had to mentally tune it out. Steve's water torture. That's why I'm laying off the Mac laptops for a few years now. Apart from the 2 failed logic boards.

Oreamnos
Mar 3rd, 2008, 10:01 AM
How do you know it's from the HD?

Your HD resides in the lower left of your machine, "below" the keyboard. The ticking you hear is likely from one or both of the MBP's fans, which reside at the top of your machine, literally under the keyboard.

I had to have my MBP's fans replaced under warranty a year ago. The new fans are now starting to tick like the old ones, so it's likely I'll have to have the fans replaced again.
Tickling is a good word to describe what I am hearing. I'm not 100% it's from the hard drive but I just assumed that it was because I hear it when I perform actions.

How did you know when your fan went out?

Oreamnos
Mar 3rd, 2008, 10:04 AM
@bmovie - i installed the smartreporter. thanks for the tip

@Mr. Fartleberry - thanks for explaining. now, it's nothing like that. that would drive me insane.

bmovie
Mar 3rd, 2008, 11:42 AM
@bmovie - i installed the smartreporter. thanks for the tip

@Mr. Fartleberry - thanks for explaining. now, it's nothing like that. that would drive me insane.

Good for you, you have no idea how this little program saved my photos...I had gotten a message telling my HD was failing and I promptly backed up all my stuff on the drive.
I had asked my brother in law (tech networking guy) how accurate this program is, he told me if it reports a problem you can bet that the drive will fail. It might fail in a hour or a week. but IT will fail.
This way you will have time to get your valuables off.

Oreamnos
Mar 3rd, 2008, 11:44 AM
i'm going to call tech support tonight and see if they can hear what i hear over the phone and see what they think.

Oreamnos
Mar 3rd, 2008, 03:19 PM
i've recorded the sound it makes when an app is opening:

http://ericbusch.net/mbp.m4a

what do you think?

kloan
Mar 3rd, 2008, 03:59 PM
actually, i think thats a little too loud. might be failing...

JSvo
Mar 3rd, 2008, 04:09 PM
Yeah I must admit, that sounds more like seek noise in a HD than the fan noise I've experienced. There's a potential overlap with the two, because you won't initially hear the fan clicking noise until you're doing something processor intensive, which often coincides with HD activity.

Of course, I'm sure you're aware that if you have, for example, a bare drive without an enclosure connected to your computer, and it's accessing data, you will hear similar noises and they are entirely normal. However, if you can hear this clearly through the casing, then something's not right. It may be the HD itself, or it may be that it has slipped from it's mounting and it's resting directly against a solid part of the case, which would amplify HD noises if in direct contact.

Either way, it sounds like you should have it looked at.

Oreamnos
Mar 3rd, 2008, 07:36 PM
Of course, I'm sure you're aware that if you have, for example, a bare drive without an enclosure connected to your computer, and it's accessing data, you will hear similar noises and they are entirely normal. However, if you can hear this clearly through the casing, then something's not right. It may be the HD itself, or it may be that it has slipped from it's mounting and it's resting directly against a solid part of the case, which would amplify HD noises if in direct contact.
Lost me again, what do you mean by, "a bare drive without an enclosure connected to your computer". The hard drive is in the computer and I haven't opened up anything, if that's what you mean.

I took it back to Apple today. The genius (i feel weird using that word...) said he could hear the clicking, said it sounded normal but asked if I wanted to have them run some HD tests on it. Since he said it sounded normal and still gave me the option to have them run some tests on it, I chose to leave it with them and have them take a deeper look. I'll hear back from them within 48 hours.

JSvo
Mar 3rd, 2008, 10:31 PM
Sorry Oreamnos, I'll elaborate. I'm sure you know that every HD makes noise - it's an electro-mechanical device after all. Whenever it's accessing data (seeking and writing) it's at its noisiest as that's when the platters are spinning and the read/write head is moving across the platters' surface accessing or writing data.

That's the whirring and ticking noise you're hearing (unless it just happens to be your cooling fans as I'd posted earlier). All HDs do this and it's completely normal. Of course, most of the time you shouldn't notice the noise, as the HD is housed inside your laptop and mounted on neoprene "bearings". The bearings reduce vibrational noise and your laptop itself masks airborne noise simply by acting as an enclosure around the drive. Again, most of the time you shouldn't hear your HD operating, although sometimes when it's performing particularly intensive tasks, you may, and again that's normal.

In your case, though, it sounds like you did the right thing by bringing your computer to Apple.

As for my bare drive comment, if you were to remove your HD from your computer, it could be powered externally and connected to your machine by Firewire or USB with special adapters. There would be no enclosure around it (except for its own of course!) so you would be able to hear its every operation clear as day. I only mentioned that as an example (of course you didn't actually do that!) to illustrate how you'd best hear the normal operation of any HD. Which is, of course, that it makes noises as it operates.

In your case, the issue is excessive noise, which is a subjective matter and may or may not indicate pending HD failure. Thus taking it to the Apple Store as you did was your best move.

Oreamnos
Mar 3rd, 2008, 10:39 PM
Thanks for elaborating! That was very helpful for me as it helps me understand just what is going on inside. Up to now, it's been pretty mysterious...

I'm glad I brought it back, too. I just hope I get it back and it's quieter. I was definitely hearing the result of my input but nothing I was doing was intensive... (That comes later when I have about 10 apps open including PhotoShop and iTunes... :) ) That's why I was surprised to be hearing anything simply browsing the web.

I'll keep you posted on what Apple says/does and what the outcome is.

Thanks again,
Eric