Friday, March 05, 2010

The Mac Mini drive clunk (knock) problem

I'm visiting my mother, so I'm reminded that every few seconds her Mac Mini makes a gentle "clunk" sound. It as though it's knocking for my attention.

Emily wouldn't care or even notice it, and I don't think my mother can hear it, but "people like me" hate noises like that.

When I first noticed a year ago, I figured her drive was failing - though Disk Utility SMART status showed all was well. After a year though, it seems like something else: "hard drive clunk mac mini.

If you turn the volume way up you can hear the sound on YouTube (my mother's mini has the same Futitsu drive). It's not just Fujitsu though, there are utilities to prevent clunking written for Seagate drives. It appears to be an OS/Firmware bug that recurs over the years with different OS drive combinations. I don't recall it in 10.4, so I suspect it was introduced in 10.5 and may be gone in 10.6 (I upgraded my mother to 10.5 about the time I noticed the noise).

Some of the better discussions include ...
There don't appear to be any easy fixes, and since my mother can't hear it I think I'll leave it be. Most of the complaints are a few years old, so I suspect newer drives don't clunk. I also wonder if it's fixed with 10.6, though drive clunking seems to be a cross-platform problem.

I'll update this post if I learn of a better fix.
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1 comment:

João said...

I have a Mac mini 5,1 and my drive is a Hitachi HTS547550A9E384 and it clunks.
My friend has exactly same drive and it doesn't clunk. (Hitachi HTS545050B9A302)
Same OS X, Lion 10.7

I had a previous Mac mini 3,1 which didn't clunk.
I took my Mac to repair shop and they said it was normal hard disk behavior.

Don't know what to do really... gonna check the programs above but I think Apple should fix this it's very disturbing for such a quiet computer do such cluncking noises. :(