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27" iMac hard drive noise

273595 Views 591 Replies Latest reply: Mar 22, 2014 8:50 AM by Vali31 RSS
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suzkid Calculating status...
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Nov 24, 2009 8:13 PM
I just picked up a 27" iMac with the 1 T HD. I can hear the hard drive any time the computer is "working". Took the first one back to the Apple store and exchanged it, thinking I had a defective machine. The replacement makes the same noise.
Anyone else having this issue? Are these things supposed to be this noisy?
  • imracin68j Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
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    Nov 24, 2009 8:24 PM (in response to suzkid)
    Is it the hard drive or sound like a rattle? Mine sounded like a rattle. I could also hear the hard drive as well. Maybe they are fixing the issue? I sent my comp back over a week ago and my new computer isn't set to ship until Dec 2. I hope so because that sound will drive me nuts.
    imac 27, Mac OS X (10.6.1)
  • Nathan Hill1 Calculating status...
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    Nov 25, 2009 4:55 AM (in response to imracin68j)
    It seems some of the 1TB HDD suffer this issue, MacRumours has a thread discussing this. The best description that many have described is that it sounds like your stomach rumbling - it really is most disconcerting and intrusive. I cannot imagine Apple designed such a wonderful piece of kit with such silent fans only for the HDD to obnoxiously announce it's presence constantly.

    Currently have Applecare looking into it and to be fair they have so far been very responsive to the issue, however I know I cannot live with this awful noise so it looks like I will have to exchange for a new iMac - my only worry is I get another noisy HDD in any exchange.
    iMac 27", Core i7, 1TB, 8GB Mac OS X (10.6.2), Mac OS X (10.6.2)
  • Reuben Feffer Level 2 Level 2 (195 points)
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    Nov 25, 2009 11:20 AM (in response to Nathan Hill1)
    My first 21.5-inch iMac had a 1TB hard drive that made this chu-chug sound. Really quite loud and obtrusive, not at all Apple-like. But it probably wasn't a hardware defect, and simply a characteristic of the model of hard drive used in that particular iMac.

    My second 21.5-inch iMac doesn't make this sound. The model of the hard drive is ST31000528ASQ. Apparently this is a Seagate hard drive.

    The only problem with returning your iMac to get one with a quieter hard drive is that you could get a DIFFERENT problem, such as a whistling screen! In returning an Apple product you're often swapping one problem/annoyance for another.
    iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2009), 3.06GHz, 4GB RAM, 1TB Hard Drive, Mac OS X (10.6.1), iPhone 3GS (16GB), Apple TV (40GB)
  • DrummerGS Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Nov 25, 2009 11:28 AM (in response to suzkid)
    Oh my God, I am freaking out. Should I order my i5 now or wait until Apple says something about these problems and have them fixed? (The screen flickering and DOA machines)

    I live in El Salvador, Central America and I am having the machine sent from the States from a friend and as you may imagine, the returning may be a pain in the butt... Please help
    24" iMac (LATE2008), 15" Macbook Pro (JULY2009), Mac OS X (10.6.1)
  • Alexander Efimenko Level 1 Level 1 (60 points)
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    Nov 25, 2009 12:31 PM (in response to DrummerGS)
    I don't think you need to freak out. I can't tell the percentages of the faulty units, of course, but intuitively it looks like this launch has less issues than some earlier ones.
    Macbook Air, iMac i7, Mac OS X (10.6.2)
  • gr8fl4295 Calculating status...
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    Nov 25, 2009 1:16 PM (in response to suzkid)
    Mine is doing the same. Sounds like a grinding noise. AppleCare asked me to take it to a Genius Bar.
    They couldn't hear it because it was so **** noisy in the Apple Store. So I played the recording of it from my iPhone.
    Anyway, he said it was probably a fan for the hard drive, since that's the only moving part in the machine. Of course, these machines are so new they don't have parts in the repair dept. yet.
    So I wait till they call.
    I hope that will fix it.
    27" Intel iMac i7 - 20" Intel iMac - 15" MBP - Mac Mini, Mac OS X (10.6.2), 80 GB iPod - 16 GB iPhone 3G - Drobo - Canon 1DSMKII - Canon 5DMKII
  • Edward Boghosian Level 4 Level 4 (1,395 points)
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    Nov 25, 2009 3:16 PM (in response to DrummerGS)

    Cancel the order and wait till all of the dust has settled. As you mentioned, sending it back will be a mess. There seems to be a number of problems: cracked glass screen, HD noise, and monitor problems. I was anxious to get one but I'm going to wait even into next year if necessary.
    i-Mac G5, 20, Bl.T., A.E., Both versions A & i-sight(1.5GB of Ram), Mac OS X (10.5.8)
  • SeminolesFan Calculating status...
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    Nov 27, 2009 6:59 AM (in response to suzkid)
    Hi all,

    There are multiple threads on regarding this issue.. Here is what I have been able to piece together based upon all of the feedback:

    1) The noise is indeed like a stomach grumbling, and it is happening often. When surfing the web, scrolling a webpage, typing an email, etc. It is annoying and distracting.

    2) It seems limited to the Seagate 1 tb drive within the iMac, and is happening with both the 21.5 and 27 inch models. There are a few iMacs with a Western Digital drive, and it seems that is not making any noticeable noise, however the Western Digital drive iMacs seem to be few and far between.

    3) It also seems that the 2tb Hitachi drive on the Build To Order iMac is completely silent (again based on feedback from folks)

    Many folks have been returning their machines (including myself) to attempt to get another one with a quieter Seagate drive or the elusive Western Digital drive. A few folks have reported success, but it seems that most of us doing the swap are getting another noisy Seagate drive.

    I took my iMac back to the Apple Store on Wed and had the same experience as someone else on this post. The Genius tried to troubleshoot it at a noisy and crowded Genius bar rather than taking it to a quiet room in the back. He heard the noise but did not understand the true impact of how noisy it is in a quiet environment, but did agree to switch out to a new iMac. My new iMac is even a bit louder however my experience has shown that it is sometimes louder than other times.

    As my new iMac also has a gray shadow like bar at the bottom of the screen and considerable yellow shading on the right side of the screen, this machine is going back tomorrow and I will special order a 2tb drive as I do want a quiet experience when using the iMac (and a clean LCD screen of course). Actually, I will most likely wait until after the holidays once Apple has this stuff sorted out.

    I have confirmed (as of Wednesday) that Apple has not addressed this in a knowledge base bulletin, so my guess is that this sound falls in Apple's normal noise limits. As someone else mentioned here, I find it really, really hard to believe that Apple would go to the trouble of creating this big, beautiful, elegant machine with virtually silent fans only to have a hard drive grumble, grumble, grumble at every visit to a website. I know folks will say, hey, its a hard drive, it makes noise, but this sound is aggravating, and happens a LOT. Also, as the feedback has been that the 2tb drive is virtually silent, it does appear that it is possible.
    27" iMac i5
  • Onio-n Level 1 Level 1 (50 points)
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    Nov 27, 2009 8:16 AM (in response to Nathan Hill1)
    My Mid 09 20" iMac also has the exact same problem but I have been unable to get Apple to look at it due to how far I live from a Apple store. Talking not Apple like my iMac came with a loud HDD, dead pixel and a buzzing fan. Though I have come to ignore them I'm still not happy.
    20" iMac 09 Model, Mac OS X (10.6), and a Dell 5100 PC with XP.
  • sobemen Calculating status...
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    Nov 29, 2009 10:23 PM (in response to SeminolesFan)
    Hi SeminolesFan and everyone on this forum:

    Facing the same ANNOYING issue on my brand new i5. The grumbling is quite disturbing. I am also willing to upgrade my HD to 2TB.
    Since my local store does not carry the 2TB model in stock, what are the steps that you or anyone else in this forum, recommend that I follow to exchange this i5 1TB for a 2TB?

    ALL help is truly appreciated it!
    27 inch i5 IMac, Mac OS X (10.6.2)
  • talmy0 Level 1 Level 1 (75 points)
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    Nov 30, 2009 9:27 AM (in response to Reuben Feffer)
    I also have a silent Seagate 1TB drive, ST31000528ASQ. It would be interesting if those with noisy drives posted the model number.
    iMac 27" i7, Mac OS X (10.6.2)
  • Onio-n Level 1 Level 1 (50 points)
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    Nov 30, 2009 11:14 AM (in response to talmy0)
    Mines a Hitachi HDT721032SLA380 360Gb HDD and its loud, not hugely loud but can still be heard even with music on when using my iMac.
    20" iMac 09 Model, Mac OS X (10.6.2), and a Dell 5100 PC with XP.
  • Patchoulain Calculating status...
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    Nov 30, 2009 11:27 AM (in response to suzkid)
    Mine (WDC WD1001FALS-40U9B0) makes the 'crushed beetles' (sorry vegans!) noise - never noticed it on the three iMacs I've had before, but common enough on a PC.

    Quite annoying after the near silence of my last 24" iMac. Otherwise, stunning.
    Intel iMac i5 27", Mac OS X (10.6.2)
  • ApplePogo Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
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    Nov 30, 2009 12:17 PM (in response to suzkid)
    Hey guys,

    I have a 2tb hitachi drive in my imac 27 inch core I7 it does make a little noise I can hear it work but it's normal. But some hard drives do make more noise than others I've been a apple tech for many years Ive noticed that a lot of hard do have a "break in period" which means that the first 70 to 100 hours of use might be a little bit noisier but that's normal because as the head of the hard drive arm mechanism is brand new so when it get's used up a little bit it won't be as loud as when it's brand new. Also the bearings get used up a bit so it operates more smoothly.

    Imac 27 inch, Mac OS X (10.5.2)
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