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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know the normal read/write noise as a flurry of little rattles. This occurs when I'm installing something.

However, when I'm not actively accessing the hard drive - surfing the web for example - I sometimes here the hard drive working, but maybe twice as loud. Like a clack or cocking of a gun.

Is the OS supposed to periodically access the hard drive like that? Otherwise the disk performs flawlessly and passed the HDD test.
 

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Well, I've had LOTS of experience in dead and dying HDs - ATA, SATA, SCSI - 5.25" - 1.8".

Symptoms of imminent to near-imminent death:

- a new whining drive noise (zzzzzzziiiiinnnnngggg). Drive bearing failure. Will lead to hot drive, and eventual failure.

- 'Clank/Clonk' sound effect, when in use or idling (3.5" drives). Head actuator assembly (electro magnet) is failing.

- Excessive heat on drive (top/bottom), and no fan to cool it (3.5" - ATA, SCSI - 7200-10K rpm). Death within 6 months to a year.

- "An error occured when writing to the drive" or similar message. Sector failures. Toss the drive.

- HD powering up, down, up down. At random. Power connector is loose, or your power-supply is not providing enough start-up voltage/current for 12v provision.

- Drive won't format. Toss it.

Disclaimer:

- Some drives Whirrrrrrrr (spining sound). Like older Fireball Quantums or older Maxtors. They're just loud. Newer drives have fuild-dynamic bearings - both 3.5 and 2.5" drives, so you can't hear them spin even.

- Some 2.5" drives park their heads when a laptop has custom power-saving features enabled. 'Clunk' sound. This is normal.

In my experience, for the last 15 years of pro support and personal use:

- Maxtor dead: 6
- Western Digital dead: 4
- Seagate dead: 1
- Samsung dead: 0
- Toshiba dead: 1
- Fujitsu dead: 2
- IBM dead: 2
- Quantum branded dead: 2
- Connor dead: 3
- Winchester dead: 1
- Micropolis dead: 1

I've bought and used Quantum for most of my life, after having dabbled with Connor and Micropolis (and they both died badly), and then Quantum was folded into Maxtor in a merger, and all my Maxtor's bought after this have failed. 5 drive maxtor failures in less than 2 yrs. Usually bearing failures, the odd sector failure. All had heat issues. I had an 80 GB 5400 rpm 3.5" Maxtor die on me last night; Can't format it. I had a 40GB 7200 drive, in a USB 2.0 case. Death by self-cooking. I've since switched to a combination of Samsung Spinpoint HDs for ATA and Seagate drives for Serial ATA (SATA). I've had no problems since. Quiet, ultra reliable, and Samsung has the longest warranty in the biz now, since WD and Maxtor now no longer do 5 yr warranties.

N.
 

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jonmon- I have a Pismo with OSX on it and I get the same clatter. It's quite regular. You described the sound well- like a cocking of a gun. I also don't get any bad reports when checking the drive.
 

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Is hard drive noise normal? Depends on the individual drive. Some are very quiet - you wouldn't know they were functioning except that your Mac wouldn't start if they weren't. Others make a fearsome racket all the time.

Now the problem comes if the noise changes dramatically - if a previously quiet drive starts getting noisy for no apparent reason. That usually means that failure is imminent - better get a backup done RIGHT NOW!

Cheers :-> Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well I don't have anything important on it now, so I hope it fails (if it does, but would prefer not to at all) before school starts. I bought my comp used, so it's about a month old.

I imagine the hard drive reader-needle-thingie moving from place to place on the platter, or switching platters ?
 
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