Thrice in the past 6 months, I've had to wipe the internal drive on my iMac 27" mid-2010 and map out bad blocks. First time a handful of bad blocks were found, the second time, just last week, 2 blocks were found. Today, 10 blocks. Each time I find bad blocks and map them out, I reformat the drive, install a clean system, and use Migration Assistant to copy files from a backup drive. That takes most of a day each time.
But more worrisome is the thought that the internal drive is slowly dying a block at a time and taking data with it. I've got Time Machine and Chronosync running to ensure that I won't lose very much, but I no longer trust this internal drive and fear that it could crash permanently at any time.
I checked the Apple support site to see if AppleCare covers failing or even failed internal drives, but there's no mention of hard drives. If this drive fails and AppleCare doesn't cover it, what options do I have? I'm currently booting from an external drive, but the iMac's USB 2.0 connection makes that a rather slow option. I could buy a Firewire 400 drive, but that still wouldn't be as fast as an internal drive, right? And I'd still have that failed internal hovering in the background. I could also wait for the AppleCare coverage to end next March and then attempt a repair myself. I've looked at the videos and it seems doable, but the process is fraught with the potential for serious, if not fatal, mistakes and I consider this a measure of last resort.
So I'm back to the Apple option.Does AppleCare cover drive replacement? If not, how much does Apple charge to replace the drive? Parts only, with AppleCare covering the labor cost? Or am looking at a large repair bill that would make buying a new iMac a more practical option?