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The latest in a string of problems afflicting the new MacBook Pros, users are now reporting poor hard drive performance, random beeping, and clicking noises reportedly coming from the drives. The issue appears to be with the Seagate 500 GB drives shipping with many of the new MacBooks.  (Source: Apple)
More problems plague Apple's latest laptops, but a fix may be in store

Apple's MacBook Pro laptops certainly have their upsides.  Cut out of a block aluminum, they feature the attractive unibody design and industry leading battery life, while keeping to the ultra-portable 4 lb. and under weight range.  And their Core 2 Duo Intel processors and 9000 series NVIDIA graphics would seemingly make for a good experience, whether you were booting Windows Vista (or Windows 7) or OS X.

However, the newly launched luxury notebooks have not been without problems.  Early on their SATA speeds were found to be capped to 1.5 Gbps -- an update removed the cap and allowed transfer speeds of 3 Gbps.  Additionally, some of the new MacBook Pro laptops have experienced display issues, with many users reporting failing graphics.

Now Apple has another quality headache on its hands.  At least a couple hundred users have reported that Seagate 500 GB hard drives on their new 15" and 17" MacBook Pros have been experiencing poor performance, as well as making random beeping and clicking noises 20 or more times a day.  The Apple Support forum has an 82-page, 1000+ comment thread on the issues.

Describes one user who goes by the screenname Wessto:
I recently purchased a new MBP 15, 3 Ghz, 500 GB 7200 rpm hard drive, build-to-order. The hard drive appears to be a seagate ST9500420ASG. I am experiencing a strange hard drive click followed 80% of the time by a beep. It is definitely not a beep from the speaker. Additionally, it happens at any time, even when the computer is sitting on a perfectly still table. It is exactly the same sound as what is documented at

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gOhgaIMpPI" rel="nofollow

and mine too appears randomly approximately 15-20 times per day. It does not appear to matter if the computer is under light or heavy use and it seems truly random when it occurs. Another user on youtube has also experienced this with their new MBP 15 and sent me a wav file with the same sound mine is making. So far, his experience is that it does NOT occur under bootcamp. This leads me to believe that it is something specific to OSX. Turning off the "put hard drive to sleep when possible" does not seem to make any difference. I have not personally tested bootcamp on my machine to confirm that mine is the same, but the original poster of the youtube video linked above also seems to think it is OSX specific.


Some users are reporting that the beeping is becoming less frequent, possibly due to a firmware update.  Other customers, though, are becoming frustrated.  Stated one MacBook owner, speaking to Apple blog site AppleInsider, "The crazy thing is that you can read comments about AppleCare Engineers stance on this issue: 'Its normal behavior,' (and) 'Apple´s Working on a fix.'  Also, some of them are recommending doing a complete reinstall, when this issue is factory related."

Apple reportedly is working on a full fix for the problem.  Representatives from Apple, according to affected customers, reportedly have told their customers that Apple is "highly aware" of the issue and that finding a fix is one of the company's "highest priorities."  However, they ask that for the time being users "live with" the problems plaguing their pricey purchases.


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RE: Seagate 500 GB Hard Drives
By Samus on 8/9/2009 10:35:46 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. I use the WD Scorpio 500GB in my Wii (don't ask) and it produces negligable heat and is VERY quiet. It's been in there at least 6 months now, ever since the Homebrew/HDD loader app launched, and no problems.

7200RPM in a laptop is like asking the drive to commit suicide. Especially when you use the system like a DTR instead of what its thermal design envelope is designed for; occasional use, no more than 10 hours/day. You leave one of these laptops on with non-stop HD crunching I give that 7200RPM hard drive a few months at best.


RE: Seagate 500 GB Hard Drives
By sprockkets on 8/10/2009 8:45:26 AM , Rating: 2
When Hitachi came out with their 7200 rpm drives, they put out the same amount of heat as their 5400rpm drives due to improvements all around. Same power usage too. I've been using 7200rpm drives now in my 5400rpm "only" laptop for years with no issues.

Sometimes things you feel to be true aren't.


RE: Seagate 500 GB Hard Drives
By Samus on 8/10/2009 11:42:41 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, but I've personally replaced at least a dozen of those 7200RPM Hitachi drives in a number of Thinkpad T61 laptops, all failing between 3-24 months. They were under warranty, but that's not the point. The data was lost and the downtime for the companies are at least two days.

I've never seen a 5400RPM drive fail in a T61 (or any modern Thinkpad) because heat aside, the active drive monitoring system usually prevents significant shock damage. Additionally, the drive monitoring system doesn't work as well with higher RPM units because it takes longer to park the heads and spin the platters back up.


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