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MacBook Pro owners report problems w/7200RPM drives

updated 12:05 am EDT, Thu July 9, 2009

MacBook Pro defect?

(Updated with OWC commentary) Some owners of Apple's latest MacBook Pros with faster 7200RPM hard drives are reporting strange clicking and beeping noises along with performance issues. Though the cause of the problem is unclear, an Apple Support forum has many users suggesting that it is caused by an incompatibility between the Seagate's G-Force protection system and MacBook hardware. Some users have called Apple Support or taken their computers to an Apple Genius Bar both of which have tried fixing the problem by running a "capture" or resetting the computer's PRAM during start up -- neither of these solutions seem to have resolved the issue fully according to users in Apple's support forum.

This issue could possibly affect users editing video, or those whose computer use requires sequential reading and writing. Users are also disputing where the sound is coming from within the computer with each user suggesting the sound comes from opposite sides of the computer making the rumor all the more uncertain.

The problem seems to only affect users with 7200RPM drives as users with 5400RPM drives are not reporting any similar problems.

Apple has not acknowledged any factory defects and has not made any comment regarding the sound and performance issues.

Update: A member of storage maker Other World Computing observes that the issue may be with Seagate's Momentus 7200.4 G-Force hard drives, which in the case of MacBook Pros may be creating a conflict. Affected units are said to spin up and down frequently, which may be generating the sounds reported by users. Beyond hurting access times, the behavior could pose a risk to the lifespan of a drive by producing unnecessary strain. The G-Force technology is said to be mostly irrelevant on Macs in the first place, as a result of pre-existing anti-shock protection.

by MacNN Staff




  1. MyRightEye

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I put an SSD in mine. Silent, and no vibration.

  1. OWCLarry

    Joined: Dec 1969


    G-Shock conflict

    You'd think that getting the model with the additional 'G-Shock' protection technology would be an upgrade/improvement... It potentially would be if Apple didn't already have anti-shock protection built into their Macbooks. For whatever reason, this issue didn't present with the Momentus 7200.2 models, I don't know on the 7200.3 models, but in testing - definite issues with the 7200.4s that have the optional G-Shock feature.

    The conflict seems to result in the drive spinning down/parking and restarting in a much higher frequency than normal. The spin up can make a kind of low tone squeal that might sound like the beep that's being reported - I am not aware of us noting any actual tonal beep. In any event - in addition to impacting performance while waiting for the drive to complete this unnecessary cycle in the middle of activity, it also inflicts substantial wear and tear on the drive - start/stop cycles are one of the hardest wear and tear actions on a drive and excess start/stop leads to drive failure.

    We had initially listed the ST9500420ASG model with the G-Shock feature in addition to the standard ST9500420AS version, but before any orders shipped testing had concluded and we pulled the product (with respect to our primary customer audience) and notified customers as to why this is not the right drive for a MacBook/MacBook Pro.

    If you have a PC laptop that doesn't have what Apple built in standard for anti-shock, this accomplishes effectively the same thing via the drive.

  1. cvbcvb

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I had a ST9500420ASG put in my MacBook Pro 17” 2.6 GHz over 2 months ago and haven’t noticed any problems...


  1. msuper69

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Captain Obvious

    "This issue could possibly affect users editing video, or those whose computer use requires sequential reading and writing."

    Duh! Which would be everybody.

  1. LEStudios

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Its Obvious Seagate sucks

    I rather spend more money and buy a Solid State Drive then use a Seagate or at least try to use Western Digital!

  1. niji

    Joined: Dec 1969


    no problems here

    no problems on this hitachi.
    have the hitachi 7200 300GB drive. came standard option on a machine bought december '08.
    model number: Hitachi HTS723232L9SA62
    no problems.

  1. LouZer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: capt obvious

    How is that everyone? Most people's work with computers is probably with random reads and writes, not large sequential ones.

  1. Roehlstation

    Joined: Dec 1969


    On another news story

    MacBook Pros report problems with owners.

    From what I see at an AppleStore anymore it has become a giant waiting room for the Genius Bar, not because there are problems with the computer, but because all these people that jumped on the bandwagon have no clue what they are doing.

  1. RH512

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Installed this drive (ST9500420ASG 500GB 7200) in my 2007 2.4GHz 15" MacBook Pro about two months ago. No noises or problems so far...
    Fast and quiet.

  1. tmenguy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I definitively have it...

    I have a MBP 2009, 15'' with the 500G 7200 rpm drive, and I get a lot of those chirp and beeps, and system hiccup.
    Apple is unresponsive to that, to say the meast, very disapointed for a 3000$ laptop (and my first mac)

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