1 2 Previous Next 23 Replies Latest reply: Sep 19, 2013 9:52 AM by MacVE3GRO
Navarro Parker - Level 2 Level 2 (475 points)
I just bought a new iMac i7 Quad Core with 8GB RAM and 1TB HD.

But I hear my hard drive constantly grinding away when I'm barely doing anything. I notice in Activity Viewer, my hard drive is constantly hundreds of little 100K reads and writes. CPU usage is in the single digits. There's nothing obvious that needs all that disk I/O. I don't think virtual memory is getting hit.

My system just feels sluggish and I can't believe I'm getting rainbow pinwheel of doom with only Safari open.

It feels about as slow as my 2 year old Mac Book Pro. Is the drive in the iMac 7200 RPM? What's going on?

iMac 27" i7 (Mid 2010) / 8GB, Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • 1. Re: Hard drive constantly chattering away on new i7 iMac
    Ralph Landry1 Level 7 Level 7 (32,445 points)
    Have you tried running disk utility to see if it says there is something amiss with the permissions? Hard to imagine on a new machine. Have you run the hardware test to see if it can identify a problem?

    If everything checks ok, have you tried a reboot? Then if that doesn't work, a visit to your friendly Apple Retail store and the Genius Bar folks to have them check it out for you.
  • 2. Re: Hard drive constantly chattering away on new i7 iMac
    Navarro Parker - Level 2 Level 2 (475 points)
    Yeah, I've been using Macs for nearly 15 years. I've done all the usual checks.

    At first I thought it was Spotlight indexing, but the menu icon isn't pulsing.

    Sadly, I don't have an Apple Store in my state
  • 3. Re: Hard drive constantly chattering away on new i7 iMac
    Jeff Donald Level 2 Level 2 (485 points)
    Go to the Utilities Folder and open the Activity Monitor app and see what apps are using the most CPU cycles, memory and causing the most Disk Activity. This should point you in the right direction and if needed post back with what the Activity Monitor shows.
  • 4. Re: Hard drive constantly chattering away on new i7 iMac
    Navarro Parker - Level 2 Level 2 (475 points)
    Well, that's the mystery. There are no suspect apps. CPU usage is low (<20% on a i7 Quad) and so is memory usage.

    The the intense drive activity just makes every apps feel sluggish -- especially when switching between apps. And that right there would make me believe it was virtual memory thrashing. But Activity Monitor says I have 50% of my memory free. I don't have any anti-virus apps scanning in the background. Can't think of anything else besides Spotlight that would need to roam across my drive continually.

    Know if there's any UNIX trick to see what processes are making calls to the HD?
  • 5. Re: Hard drive constantly chattering away on new i7 iMac
    Ralph Landry1 Level 7 Level 7 (32,445 points)
    Hi Navarro,

    +*Know if there's any UNIX trick to see what processes are making calls to the HD?+*

    Open a Terminal (found in utilities) and at the prompt type

    ps -l (that is the letter p letter s space minus letter l)

    That will get a long list of all processes that are running. You will then have to scan down the list and see what looks like it is taking a lot of activity.

    In Bereley Unix (the Darwin kernel is based on FreeBSD) you get a list of attributes that includes the UID (user id) PID (process id) a lot of other info then TTY (the terminal teletype which can then be related to the HD) TIME and COMD (the command)

    See if that helps you find the process.

    Ralph

    Message was edited by: Ralph Landry1
  • 6. I, too am having the same problem --- among a host of others.
    moonbreze02 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    My Mac was purchased in Sept and operated quietly though I did have and still do have a number of unresolved issues that tech support is trying to help me with at this time.

    However, in the past couple of weeks it seems like the computer is perking along all the time .... I hear the chattering you are talking about .... Right now I only have an Internet browser open. This makes me fear for my harddrive, yet all diagnostics show no problem. I have used the activity monitor and nothing seems out of the ordinary.

    I have to say this is my first experience with a Mac and unless things radically change, it will be my last one.

    Terribly frustrating experience,
    Deb
  • 7. Re: Hard drive constantly chattering away on new i7 iMac
    Navarro Parker - Level 2 Level 2 (475 points)
    Probably the best way to explain it is like I'm always running Repair Permissions or ClamX. Disk Utility takes maybe 5% of CPU and maybe 100K/second HD read/writes — but it completely saturates the HD with all the seek activity.

    Does your machine seem really sluggish if you try to do stuff while running Repair Permissions?
  • 8. Re: Hard drive constantly chattering away on new i7 iMac
    roam Level 6 Level 6 (13,545 points)
    Probably the best way to explain it is like I'm always running Repair Permissions or ClamX. Disk


    Maybe it is ClamX that is causing the chatter. Disengage / unistall it and see if that alters things.

    P.S. Repairing permissions is of little benefit and there is no need to run it constantly.
  • 9. Re: Hard drive constantly chattering away on new i7 iMac
    Navarro Parker - Level 2 Level 2 (475 points)
    No, you aren't understanding what I'm saying.

    It sounds +*_as if_*+ Disk Persmissions is always running or ClamX is scanning. I don't even have ClamX installed on this computer. And I'm obviously not running Disk Permissions constantly.
  • 10. Re: Hard drive constantly chattering away on new i7 iMac
    arnie Level 5 Level 5 (4,065 points)
    as a guess, the hard drive is going bad, slow performance
    for no obvious reasons often means failing hard dive.

    rainbow wheel also could mean hard dive issues, often failing drives will pass all the tests
  • 11. Re: Hard drive constantly chattering away on new i7 iMac
    Jofamo Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Try having a look at the solution I posted at the bottom of this topic.

    http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2713301&tstart=135&start=45
  • 12. Re: Hard drive constantly chattering away on new i7 iMac
    Navarro Parker - Level 2 Level 2 (475 points)
    I'm adding my Boot Camp and Time Machine to the Spotlight Privacy group. I'm also deleting the existing Spotlight index so it'll rebuild from scratch.

    I'll run XBench and Blackmagic Disk Speed Test tonight to see if the drive itself is slow or faulty. I've also bought 16GB of RAM that I'll install.

    I'll report back the results.
  • 13. Re: Hard drive constantly chattering away on new i7 iMac
    Edward Boghosian Level 4 Level 4 (1,395 points)
    In my opinion, you have already been given the answer to your problem. I also think the HD may be going. It doesn't matter that you're running other software at the same time, the HD shouldn't make the noise you say but I can see an increase in fan speed. By adding extra ram is not going to alter the noise you say is coming from the HD. Increasing the ram can speed up the computer. I suggest you back up your HD, get in touch with Apple and have them send a technician to your home to check out the problem. Did anyone ask whether you used the disc that came with the computer to see if any error codes come up indicating hardware problem(s)? Have you cleaned up your HD and downloaded the OS from the disc that came with the machine-like new from the store? If the noise has gone away then the problem is software, if not then it is hardware.
  • 14. Re: Hard drive constantly chattering away on new i7 iMac
    jacks2000 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hi

    I have just taken delivery of an iMac i7 2.9ghz Chattering drive noticed straight away when idle.
    I phoned our Apple store and they understood the problem and have offered to exchange on Monday. I have an ST31000528AS (Seagate I think), which is a bit worrying!
    I would go barking mad if I heard this noise all day. I could here it over my soon to be put up for sale G5 mac Pro

    Does anyone know how to identify the DVD/CD drive Pioneer or Hitachi?
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