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Hard drive constantly chattering away on new i7 iMac

17255 Views 23 Replies Latest reply: Sep 19, 2013 9:52 AM by MacVE3GRO RSS
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Navarro Parker - Level 2 Level 2 (475 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Jan 12, 2011 12:02 PM
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)
  • Ralph Landry1 Level 7 Level 7 (28,815 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.
    iMac G5 17", Mac OS X (10.4.11), iPad (4.2.1); PM 7600/132+G4/450 (Mac OS 9.1)
  • 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.
    iMac 2.93 i7 MacBook Pro 2.4 G4 1.42 FW800 4G iPhone iPad, Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • Ralph Landry1 Level 7 Level 7 (28,815 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.


    Message was edited by: Ralph Landry1
    iMac G5 17", Mac OS X (10.4.11), iPad (4.2.1); PM 7600/132+G4/450 (Mac OS 9.1)
  • 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,
    Imac 27 Intel core i7, Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • 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.
    iMac (Core 2 Duo, 2008) eMac (ATI) iBook (G4) 10.3, Mac OS X (10.5.8)
  • 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
    Windows XP Pro, Dell D620, MBP 15" 2.16GHz, 10.6
  • Jofamo Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Try having a look at the solution I posted at the bottom of this topic.
    iMac 27" i7, Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • 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.
    21.5",3.06GHz,Intel Core 2Duo,4GB Ram, Mac OS X (10.6.5)
  • jacks2000 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    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?
    G5 Power PC Quad, Mac OS X (10.5.8), Also Old G4 Quick Silver, iMac G4 1Ghz. Love em!
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