14 Replies Latest reply: May 20, 2013 2:30 PM by Kuja1965
isenberg Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

I'm hearing high rates of hdd head movements in my new Mac mini 2012 with 1 TB Fusion Drive. It sounds like the hdd head moving between only a few tracks for each cluster of sound of 10 seconds. During these sounds, no I/O activity is indicated by "iostat 1" for the SSD and HDD (disk0 and disk1) in Terminal.app.

 

Or just a hard disk with some sector defects?


Mac mini (Late 2012), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2)
  • 1. Re: Is Fusion Drive the reason for strange hdd head noise?
    RRFS Level 5 Level 5 (4,430 points)

    I'd take it in for a warranty inspection. Mine is almost dead silent.

  • 2. Re: Is Fusion Drive the reason for strange hdd head noise?
    Halko Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Isenberg,

     

    did you take your Mac for inspection? Any news from Apple? I've got similar problems with my iMac's Fusion drive - the constant HDD noise is extremely annoying.

  • 3. Re: Is Fusion Drive the reason for strange hdd head noise?
    ComputerFixer Level 3 Level 3 (720 points)

    if you are hearing loud IO noise, that is ALWAYS a bad sign...  Especially if no IO activity is actually taking place during these fits.   If you could, post a sample of your System.log during one of these fits  (i am curious to know if IO errors are present, forcing the HDD to react.

  • 4. Re: Is Fusion Drive the reason for strange hdd head noise?
    Halko Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I don't see any IO errors in the logs, nor anything really corresponding to disk errors. Also disk utility reported no issues with the disk.

     

    I did see these in the logs when system activity happens on idle:

     

    --clip--

    Jan  4 20:55:31 home-imac.elisa librariand[324]: unable to get mobile documents URL

    Jan  4 20:55:31 home-imac.elisa librariand[324]: error in _handle_client_request: LibrarianErrorDomain/10/Unable to configure the collection.

    Jan  4 20:55:31 home-imac.elisa librariand[324]: MMe quota status changed: under quota

    Jan  4 20:55:31 home-imac.elisa com.apple.PassXPCService[1285]: PAPassValidator: _signatureIsValid failed to load signature file

    Jan  4 20:56:01 --- last message repeated 6 times ---

    Jan  4 20:56:11 home-imac.elisa CVMServer[102]: Check-in to the service com.apple.cvmsCompAgent_x86_64 failed. This is likely because you have either unloaded the job or the MachService has the ResetAtClose attribute specified in the launchd.plist. If present, this attribute should be removed.

    Jan  4 20:56:11 home-imac.elisa CVMServer[102]: Check-in to the service com.apple.cvmsCompAgent_x86_64 failed. This is likely because you have either unloaded the job or the MachService has the ResetAtClose attribute specified in the launchd.plist. If present, this attribute should be removed.

    --clip--

     

    --clip--

    Jan  4 21:03:08 home-imac.elisa mdworker[1342]: Unable to talk to lsboxd

    Jan  4 21:03:08 home-imac.elisa sandboxd[1343] ([1342]): mdworker(1342) deny mach-lookup com.apple.ls.boxd

    Jan  4 21:03:08 home-imac.elisa mdworker[1344]: Unable to talk to lsboxd

    Jan  4 21:03:08 home-imac.elisa sandboxd[1343] ([1344]): mdworker(1344) deny mach-lookup com.apple.ls.boxd

    --clip--

     

     

    But the really annoying thing is that things like scrolling this discussion page up even a few pixels or moving the cursor while writing to this text box triggers disk writes (page ins). So I'm starting to wonder this is just a combination of an unusually noisy disk & some odd disk paging behaviour.

  • 5. Re: Is Fusion Drive the reason for strange hdd head noise?
    Halko Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    This is definitely not an issue with the Fusion drive - I restarted OS X in safe mode and the system is entirely quiet.

     

    So will need to start looking for another cause to the problems

  • 6. Re: Is Fusion Drive the reason for strange hdd head noise?
    isenberg Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    No, I haven't contacted the technical support yet, as I first needed to make sure to have a 2nd backup in parallel to timemachine, if the hdd needs to be replaced. But will do next week.

     

    I don't see any page swapping activity to disk via vm_stat or iostat during the noise, so that's different here. And the solution with safe mode is not possible as safe comes to a standstill (hangs) at about 25% of the progress bar everytime, there without noise.

  • 7. Re: Is Fusion Drive the reason for strange hdd head noise?
    isenberg Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    If anybody is wondering about the progress here: I restored the complete system via Timemachine by starting in recovery mode. Now it's quiet! Only an occasional low knock noise from head movements maye once a minute, but not in fixed intervals like several hundreds over 10 seconds as before. So it's all fine now.

  • 8. Re: Is Fusion Drive the reason for strange hdd head noise?
    Dave Lokken Level 4 Level 4 (1,085 points)

    Yes, I have this problem as well on my new Mac mini (late 2012 with 1TB fusion) - and I'm really worried about it as this incredible rate of hdd head rattling can only mean a lower mean time between failures.

    I don't have a Timemachine; is there any other way to get this to stop?

  • 9. Re: Is Fusion Drive the reason for strange hdd head noise?
    isenberg Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Maybe my reply was too early as I now hear the sound again after a few days, though not that often as before.

    Will reply next week again...

  • 10. Re: Is Fusion Drive the reason for strange hdd head noise?
    Dave Lokken Level 4 Level 4 (1,085 points)

    I'm taking my new Mini in as soon as possible to a Genious Bar, as I'd rather not entrust my data to a hard drive that beats the daylights out of its read/write head.

     

    As always, I'll reply back with any findings...

  • 11. Re: Is Fusion Drive the reason for strange hdd head noise?
    nigmia Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Not sure the noise prob with my Mini/Fusion is EXACTLY the same as yours - noises are notoriously difficult to describe -  but see also my related thread, here ...

     

    https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4884811

  • 12. Re: Is Fusion Drive the reason for strange hdd head noise?
    isenberg Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    After I reverted a change I made in a file below /System/Library/Sandbox/Profiles, which was a presumed workaround for a different problem, many message in system.log about "cannot talk to lsboxd", the high hdd seek rate, and thereby the sound on some occasions, stopped now. The change in the files most likely reduced the work for spotlight, so it isn't indexing unneeded system files any more which it did because the workaround was wrong.

     

    Though I have still a problem with the new Mac mini, as while booting in safe mode it hangs forever after the file check, at about 30% of the progress bar. But that shouldn't be the topic in this thread.

  • 13. Re: Is Fusion Drive the reason for strange hdd head noise?
    isenberg Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    As the noise is still there, I went to the local Apple authorized reseller and they checked it: No fault was found with their diagnostic tools. So it seems a normal issue with this type of harddisk as I read on another forum about Hitachi harddisks being known for their head moving sound caused by their frequent thermal recalibration: http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=2072955 . As my Mac starts do make that sound after about 4h runtime i.e. after the device heated up, this seems to be a reasonable explanation.

     

    Check via "About this Mac" menu -> more information -> Hardware -> Serial ATA if yours is also an APPLE HDD HTS541010A9E662. HTS = Hitachi


    The issue with stuck in safe mode was something else. A bug in fsck_hfs (Mac OS X), see

    https://discussions.apple.com/message/22036432#22036432

  • 14. Re: Is Fusion Drive the reason for strange hdd head noise?
    Kuja1965 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I had the same problem:

     

    http://joernhees.de/blog/2011/09/16/mac-os-x-harddisk-high-load-cycle-counts/

     

    Mac OS X’s default power management settings might wear your hard drive down unnecessarily. This post provides a lot of background information and how to change these settings.

     

    I have installed HDAPM and it solved the problem:

     

    http://mckinlay.net.nz/hdapm/usage.html