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27" iMac hard drive noise

273247 Views 591 Replies Latest reply: Mar 22, 2014 8:50 AM by Vali31 RSS
  • Spinnn Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Feb 13, 2012 3:52 PM (in response to DizzyDown)


    I have returned a 27-inch iMac with a 1TB Western Digital WD1001FALS hard drive because of that noise. It is a hum produced by the rotation of the HD: 7200 rpm = 120 Hz and that is the frequency I get. I had a quiet iMac before the HD was replaced and it had a Western Digital (not sure which model)... So I guess this is just a matter of luck......... or you opt for the SSD and resolve the issue. But that costs money.



    I'm also a musician and find these noises unbearable. The noise from my iMac is different from yours (grumbling) though. But if I get that kind of noise you mention, I don't know how I'm going to feel,


    Well... it's really annoying to see all this. I also owned a 24-inch iMac that was very silent. And before that, a 20-inch white one. Why doesn't Apple choose the hard drives carefully? I think to WD Caviar Green is very silent... (no, we can't fit that drive because fans will go crazy).

  • derekfromwishaw Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Feb 14, 2012 8:37 AM (in response to Spinnn)

    You're right about the other i-macs. I still have several old ones at work and none make anywhere near the level of noise that my so called 'up-to-date' machine makes. 


    At the expense of getting a taxi into my local mac store (Glasgow, Scotland) I orignally took my mac to the genius bar and the guy had a listen and agreed it shouldn't make that level of noise.  His EXACT words were 'you shouldn't be able to hear anything'.  I did explain that I had done a lot of research into the seagates.  However, even though I told them of their noisy history the mac store just replaced the hard drive with yet another seagate.  Surprise surprise it made the same noise when I got it home.


    I called apple care and complained vigorously; they arranged for UPS to collect the machine (I had to stay in for a day to wait for the UPS guy) and take it from Scotland to the north of England for someone to have a look at it.  I wrote a long letter to the engineer of the repair place that apple were using explaining that the problem was with seagate hard drives.  They had a listen to it and, again, agreed it needed replaced.  So, the hard drive that was only a matter of a few days old, that apple themselves had replaced only a few days previously, was deemed to be unsatisfactory! 


    They told me they had to use a seagate but this one had a different serial number that my old one.  I told them that I wasn't happy about this but I didn't have any choice - it was either this or nothing. 


    Got my machine back, eventually (there was a delay as they had to wait for a drive to be delivered to them) and STILL the same grumbling noise.  I called apple care again in a complete rage and was put in touch with a senior supervisor and given his direct number and email address.  I told the guy of this known problem and even sent him two mp3 audio recordings that I had made where you can clearly hear the hard drive grumbling away, even when doing the simplest of operational task. He got in touch with apple engineers who basically said that what they heard was an acceptable level of noise. 


    However, as for years I've owned and worked on macs that have been virtually silent - I don't find it acceptable.  I've written back to the senior member of apple care to explain that I'm still not a happy customer (I have bought macs for years for home and work (not to mention a macbook, iphone and ipad) and have given the company a lot of business; for example, I've recently bought 10 new 21.5 inch imacs for my work place even though I could have bought PCs instead.)  He hasn't got back to me.  I now feel that I'm at a dead end.  The only choice I have is to write to consumer based media.  I have already contacted a consumer TV programme hear in the UK to see if they'll take up my story.  Apple have a real problem here and I think they are of the opinion that we'll just accept the noise and go away.  This is not going to happen as far as I'm concerned. I spent a fortune on this machine and I'm not going to let go of this issue.

  • derekfromwishaw Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Feb 14, 2012 12:50 PM (in response to Spinnn)



    How did your situation witht the noisy drive turn out?  You're going through the same problems that I've had (see my long story on page 30) so I'd be really anxious to find out if you got a resolution.





  • Spinnn Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Feb 14, 2012 3:48 PM (in response to derekfromwishaw)



    Well, first I must acknowledge the fact that Apple has been very supportive in dealing with my case. Although I find it absurd for Apple to have these product design flaws, I must admit that this company has tried to solve my problem. Just that it hasn't solved it yet... Anyway, the fact that I was able to get a refund just illustrates the good costumer service that Apple offers. I like that.


    My current situation is that I ordered another iMac 27-inch 1TB. That is the model and configuration I need. If this unit turns out to have the same hard disk issue, I will give it back and ask for an iMac with SSD. I'm almost desperate and I really need to work. Time is running out. But, this option is, by all means, not fair: the costumer has to choose a more expensive model (SSD model is really MUCH more expensive) in order to get over a product design flaw....


    Apple should really enable the user to upgrade or change the hard drive. Not leaving space for that just because of proprietary firmware is hardly understandable. The only thing that explains this is Apple wanting to have full control and responsibility about the functioning of the internal iMac components.

  • DizzyDown Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 14, 2012 9:18 PM (in response to Spinnn)

    What I've heard from several Apple services is that "Apple does not make hard drives"!


    What a rude and weird reply - they sell it for premium price and should be responsible for it!!


    The real noise killer is SSD, I have it in my imac as a primary drive. I also have 2 Tb Hitachi as a secondary drive and that's why the noise produced by rarely-used SECONDARY drive is driving me nuts


    When the other drive is spinning down, the iMac is perfectly quiet, very very queit! But the secondary drive likes to wake up by itself too much often to be ignored, especially in mac os x (Windows has better power management).


    256 Gb of SSD is just not enough to use SSD only model. Also SSD in iMacs are very expensive and are actually slower than MacBook Air Samsung SSDs!! For sure 1-2 years more and 512 or 600 GB SSDs will be cheaper in iMacs, but what to do now?


    Yes Apple does not produce all that stuff (actually all Macs are produced by Foxconn in China), but for sure they make a great profit here! And they promise a great machine!


    But what they really do is they put noisy HDs inside and make it very very hard for end-users to install their own HDs!!!



    That is what makes customers so frustrated and hits Apple reputation!


    P.S. It seems aluminium iMacs have much different acoustics than older plastic iMacs. In a plastic white iMac it's impossible to hear any rotational noise from 7200 RPM HDD. It seems the aluminium case amplifies the HDD vibrations, so the choice of noisy drives made by Apple looks even more strange.


    P.P.S. Sometimes I think they put noisy HDDs intentionally to force people to order SSD models.

  • DizzyDown Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 14, 2012 9:35 PM (in response to Spinnn)

    Spinn, I doubt you'll get any difference. It seems all new 1 Tb iMacs are equipped with that WD FALS HD. I know one guy on this forum replaced that FALS HD with Samsung SpinPoint 2 Tb (eco version) and got rid of that annoying noise. But the downside is you'll have to use a software to fix the fans issue, and also you won't be able to use Windows (there is no fans software for Windows).


    I'd recommend to order 512 GB model and use an external additional storage (connect by Firewire or Thunderbolt for speed). I am sure 512 GB models are perfectly quiet and are the best for money.


    For people who has that grumbling Seagate models (there are LOTS of complaints regarding grumbling Seagate, it drives people crazy), I can recommend my Hitachi 2 TB HDD - its "grumbling" sounds are even more quiet than its rotational noise. That depends on your reaction to noise.



    But I am sure the desktop computer for so good money SHOULD BE SILENT these years! It's located right by your head, and it's extremely important to make it quiet! Otherwise it's not as perfect as Apple advertises it!

  • DizzyDown Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 14, 2012 9:44 PM (in response to DizzyDown)

    derekfromwishaw, after you already spent so much time dealing with this issue, I'd recommend you to purchase WD Green Series HDD (something like this ) and ask Apple service to install it. If you don't use Windows on your mac, you'll be able to reduce the HDD fan speed (your fan will go up after installing non-Apple hdd) with software. Many people did that and they're happy, but that's not a solution for me, as I need Windows too.

    That's weird Apple cannot offer any solution even for money, Apple services cannot order the HDD you want, they get what Apple gives them.

  • DizzyDown Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 14, 2012 10:08 PM (in response to DizzyDown)

    BTW.. what interesting is that it seems Apple did not update their hard drive models since 2009 generation and now sells an outdated components. That WD FALS drive is not even advertised now on WD Website, there is a newer model.

  • DizzyDown Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
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    Feb 14, 2012 10:57 PM (in response to suzkid)

    here is the same discussions



    people have different HDs and the same problems

    seems there is a common design flaw in aluminium iMacs, they just have nothing to prevent this rotational HDD noise amplified by the metal case.

  • Spinnn Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Feb 19, 2012 4:26 PM (in response to DizzyDown)

    Got a new iMac yesterday. My god! So noisy! It is not suitable to work in a quiet environment. So.... my last option is the SSD. It is really expensive and I must strech out my wallet to be able to get it. Anyway, not being able to work all this time is worse...


    I suggest that all people involved write to Apple by post. As costumers, it is all you can do. I'm certainly going to write a letter to Apple (can I write directly to Tim Cook?) to explain my stituation and state my frustrations. I really want to use Apple computers, and I need their functionality. Having to pay more to correct a design flaw is just not the thing Apple would want their costumers to do....

  • jayster1981 Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 19, 2012 5:45 PM (in response to suzkid)

    ANOTHER UPDATE........


    Got my IMac back after a week at a apple certified repair place..... WD drive fitted (no longer seagate) and it is SILENT!! Brilliant!


    However he did put snow leopard back on it instead of Lion..... mmmmmmmmmmmmm


    There MUST be a problem with the seagate drives not maybe not if MUST!

  • Ziatron Level 4 Level 4 (3,255 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 19, 2012 6:20 PM (in response to Spinnn)

    AreHaving to pay more to correct a design flaw.


    Bear in mind that Apple does not manufacture hard drives.


    Your iMac was put together in a noisy factory in China where the noise would be difficult to detect.   I also received a Mac once with a noisy hard drive. This was in a Mac Pro where the hard drive can be replaced in 20 seconds with no tools.


    Hard drives are difficult to replace in the iMac. Take your iMac to any Apple Store and they will replace the drive for you.


    I have four drives in my Mac Pro. I cannot hear anything from them unless I put my ear on the tower.


    can I write directly to Tim Cook?


    Sure you can, but he'll never see it.  ( No criticism of Apple here. It's been well reported that the majority of e-mails sent to companies are never read.)

  • derekfromwishaw Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 20, 2012 11:33 AM (in response to jayster1981)



    Can you give me a bit more info on where you are from and where your mac was sent to.  Did you have a contact name at apple care who arranged this for you?  Or, did you have to purchase the WD yourself and take it to apple certified repair?


    This is what I've been trying to argue for - get rid of the seagate and replace it with a WD drive but apple have twice now refused to do this and simply replaced the thing with the stock seagate drive.  I explained to the guy at the genius bar in the apple store all of this and told him that seagate drives didn't work acoustically in these imacs.  They took no notice of this and when I got my mac back it had another seagate!  I then got on the phone to apple care in a complete rage (there was no change to the level of noise, if anything it was worse!) and apple care picked the machine up (through UPS).  I attached a long letter to the service engineer of the repair place my mac was getting sent to going into great detail how the problem was with seagates.  I even cut and pasted comments from this site.  They ignored me!  Told me it was seagate or nothing.  Got my mac back and no change in the level of growling/grumbling noise.  I'm sooooo angry at apple over all of this.

  • DizzyDown Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 20, 2012 8:41 PM (in response to suzkid)

    Derek, I am not sure whether you shouod fight for WD drive, many people reply they are humming and are not more silent than Seagate. At least the model that has FALS in its name. My Hitachi 2 Tb is not grumblijg but it causes the aliminium case to hum and in a quiet environment it drives ceazy after some time. so your only option is SSD. Actually if I could know the real situation with 2011 iMacs I would be waiting for 2012 release - maybe they will offer 512 Gb SSD option as 256 GB is just not enough to be used without hard drive.

  • DizzyDown Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 20, 2012 8:48 PM (in response to suzkid)

    people, please don't tell "Apple does not manufacture hard drives". that's what I already heard in apple services. Actually they ORDER a custom hard drives , which makes them impossibke to replace without their help, then they provide no help at all. that's just not acceptable for $3000 I paid.

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