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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Mar 23, 2014
    Posts
    1
    Angry iMac hard disk failure after 18 months - not amused
    So, 2 years ago we decided to buy an iMac 27". After years of Windows PC ownership, we thought we'd pay the extra for (what we thought was) a quality machine: one that would give us years of trouble-free use.

    6 months in to ownership it failed to boot. Our nearest Apple store is 80 miles away, and we ended up having to make 2 trips. One to leave the iMac for repair, the second to collect it. And in the end, we ended up with a replacement anyway.

    Now, 18 months later, when attempting to install Maverick, I'm told that the hard disk is faulty and installation can not go ahead. Of course, some Googling then occurred. This led me to run Disk Utility which reports that S.M.A.R.T status is 'Failing'. Further Googling results in numerous posts stating "Your hard disk is about to fail - back up and replace it immediately". And these are people, like myself, who've only had their iMac less than 2 years. "Hard disks fail" someone helpfully proclaimed. Really? After less than 2 years? On a machine that is only used for leisure purposes - mainly mail and web? My old Window's PC hard-disk never failed in its 6 years use.

    What surprises me the most is that none of the people reporting the issue are not absolutey FURIOUS that this has occurred. Is this just something to be expected - from a 1700 machine? Is it unrealistic to expect more than one year's trouble-free computing with an iMac? My previous PC was a self-built Windows machine, and gave us over 6 years, trouble-free use. And it was built at a fraction of the cost of this iMac.

    As a rule I never pay for additional warranty cover for electrical goods. From experience, if these goods are to fail, it normally happens outwith the extended warranty period. But it seems the iMac is an exception to this rule. It seems to me that AppleCare is definitely required when purchasing an iMac (if you don't want expensive repair bills) as it is certainly going to fail within its first 2 years.

    So why is no-one else furious about this? Are iMac owners so well-off that the replacement of a faulty hard-disk in their almost-new iMac is considered to be no more than a minor inconvenience? I doubt it. Or do we just expect to be ripped off by Apple? Is it just part of the deal? Well, after paying a not inconsiderable amount of cash for the 'pleasure' of owning this machine, I do NOT think this is acceptable.

    So now I'm left with a machine that is apparently going to self-destruct some time soon - who knows when? Is it to be another 160 mile round-trip to the Apple store to pay for the pleasure of the hard-disk being replaced? And how long will the replacement last? Another 18 months?

    Am I the only one to experience this? Am I the only one that feels like Apple is taking me for a ride? After these experiences, I'd have to think long and hard before buying another Mac.

  2. #2

    Slydude's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 15, 2009
    Location
    North Louisiana, USA
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    9,596
    Specs:
    2.8 GHz MacBook Pro 10.11, 8 GB mem, iPhone 6+
    I haven't owned an iMac yet but have owned several other models (both notebook and desktop). I've had one stock Apple drive fail under warranty. The other failures (only three that I can think of) have been replacements due to the need for more drive capacity.

    Apple does not make its own hard drives. They are purchased from another manufacturer. At various times most of the major brands of drives have been used in Macs. We have a number of iMac owners who have had their machines troble free for years. Hopefully you can get this resolved without much further headache.

    BTW I feel your pain when it comes to travel to get a Mac fixed. We have a similar round trip should something break that I can't fix.
    Sylvester Roque Former Contributing Editor About This Particular Macintosh

    "Got Time to breathe. You got time for music." Denver Pyle as Briscoe Darling

  3. #3

    osxx's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 19, 2008
    Location
    houston texas
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    4,695
    Specs:
    09 MBP 8GB ram 500GB HD OS 10.9 32B iPad 4 32GB iPhone 5 iOs7 2TB TC Apple TV3
    To add to what Slydude already stated I have had hard drives fail in everything that uses one at some time or another DVR,Sat Receiver,PC,Mac and 3 different brands of external drives all varying from 3 months to 5 years and no computer manufacturer makes their own drives that I am aware of .
    These days Western Digital and Seagate own 90% of the market regardless whose name is on the outside chances are the actual drive is made by one of the two exception being the new solid state drives.
    Also if the problem with iMac HD's were widespread there are enough Apple haters to make sure it would be all over the web.

  4. #4

    Sawday's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 19, 2006
    Location
    York, UK
    Posts
    1,248
    Specs:
    iMac: 24" Aluminium, 2.8 GHz, 4Gb RAM. iPad2, iPad mini2, iPhone5s
    I may be being simplistic here but isn't this what Apple Care is for?
    Experience teaches you to recognise a mistake when you make it again.

  5. #5

    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
    Location
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Posts
    48,030
    Specs:
    Late 2013 27" iMac, iPad 3, iPhone 6s+, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, El Capitan
    It's frustrating to have a hard drive fail especially in a machine that is difficult to work on by one's self. My 21.5" iMac hard drive failed (Seagate 500 GB) after 30 months of use but fortunately I had purchased Apple Care so the drive was replaced for free. Also, I only live 20 minutes from an Apple Store.

    I sympathize with member "PeterMac" and agree that a hard drive should certainly be expected to last longer. But as Slydude stated, Apple uses industry standard hard drives such as Seagate and Western Digital and has no control over their quality.

  6. #6


    Member Since
    Apr 24, 2009
    Location
    UK
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    733
    Specs:
    MacBook Pro 15" 2.8 GHz
    Peter, if all iMac's failed within 2 years nobody would be buying them, and that certainly isn't happening. Hard drives, due to being an electronic and mechanical device, will always fail at some time. Apple use quality hard drives in their build. More reliable drives are available, SSD's, but not everyone want's this option as it costs more. Failing smart status will often give a little early warning. Some will fail early, the majority will last out the iMac's life. Hopefully you will have an up to date backup. Your experience isn't typical. I've used Apple computers since 1987, first at work, then personally, and still choose them over PC's. The iMac's AppleCare option was reasonably priced, and would have given you onsite service (courier collection and delivery, usually to AASP Amsys), saving the long visit to the Apple Store, and would have covered the repair cost. Unfortunately it can only be taken out in the first year of ownership.
    Steve
    UK

  7. #7

    harryb2448's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 28, 2007
    Location
    Nambucca Heads Australia
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    21,720
    Specs:
    Imac 27" Retina 3.3GHz, 512GB Flash, 16GB memory, OS X.11.4.
    Had two brands of SSD's fail. One brand new out of the box and one after three months so all FREDs do fail.
    Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!

  8. #8

    dtravis7's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 04, 2005
    Location
    Modesto, Ca.
    Posts
    28,870
    Specs:
    iMac 2010 27" QuadI7 OSX10.11, iMac 2008 OSX10.11, MBP Late2011OSX10.11 , iPad Air, iPhone 3GS
    Apple does not make the hard drives. Mostly the iMacs use Seagate or Western Digital. Same drives that PCs use. If you check New Egg and read the reviews on the top drives out there, some are bad right out of the shipping box!!!

  9. #9

    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
    Location
    Fort Worth, Texas
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    48,030
    Specs:
    Late 2013 27" iMac, iPad 3, iPhone 6s+, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, El Capitan
    What Steve mentioned above is true. The hard drives used by Apple in their late 2013 iMac 27" machines are Seagate 7200 RPM Barracuda drives, supposedly top of the line. But as Dennis pointed out, a brand new hard drive out of the box can be bad. I've had that happen to me with a brand new WD drive.

  10. #10

    XJ-linux's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 02, 2007
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    Going Galt...
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    MacBookAir5,2:10.9.5-MacMini3,1:10.9.5-iPhone6,1:8.4.1
    When you buy or don't buy a warranty, you are gambling. We all do it, and that's just life. I'd imagine a new drive is cheaper than the extended warranty. Buy a drive, swap it out and get on with life. It happens. You'll still be ahead of the game with what you saved on the warranty. The warranty is paying Apple to take the risk on the drive, and not buying it is you taking the risk after a year. It will be fine, just get some perspective. Good luck.
    Never judge a man, untill you have walked a mile in his shoes...
    That way you'll be a mile away from him, and you'll have his shoes.

  11. #11

    RadDave's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 20, 2012
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    North Carolina
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    3,206
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    MBP 13" (2013); 8 GB RAM; SSD 256 GB; OS 10.11.4
    Quote Originally Posted by harryb2448 View Post
    Had two brands of SSD's fail. One brand new out of the box and one after three months so all FREDs do fail.
    Harry - FREDs? Is this some kind of new health food, like 'Free Range Engineered Dog' or 'Free Range Enhanced Deer'? Please explain - thought that I knew most of the electronic acronyms? BUT, I do love food! Dave

  12. #12

    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
    Location
    Fort Worth, Texas
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    48,030
    Specs:
    Late 2013 27" iMac, iPad 3, iPhone 6s+, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, El Capitan
    Normally good advice about buying the warranty, however, the way the new iMacs are constructed and glued together make doing the repairs yourself pretty much out of the question.

    And... Apple charges close to $300 to replace a hard drive in a 21.5" iMac, even more in the 27" model. That's more than what Apple Care costs for either machine.

  13. #13

    RadDave's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 20, 2012
    Location
    North Carolina
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    3,206
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    MBP 13" (2013); 8 GB RAM; SSD 256 GB; OS 10.11.4
    Hi Peter and welcome to the forum!

    I think that you have been just unlucky - for myself, I've had 3 external HDs fail on me over the years and a HD in an old IBM ThinkPad (although my maids may have knock it off my desk - don't know?).

    Last spring, I switched from PCs to Apple (retirement - just did not want to bother w/ malware worries and love Apple engineering) - bought a MBPro w/ a SSD & an iMac w/ a 1 TB fusion drive - both have been fine so far - also purchased AppleCare - not that expensive and worth the money, IMO.

    Mechanical HDs obviously fail - the attached pic is from a discussion HERE - Western Digital & Seagate are the kingpins in this market, as already discussed in this thread - these are quite reliable w/i the first year or two - you were simply in the small percentage of failures - I really don't think that buying an Apple product or a PC would make a difference since these HDs come from the same sources.

    Also keep in mind that this is not an Apple supported forum, so you can complain as much as you want to here but whether Apple people read these posts? I don't know? Good luck and I hope that you solve your problem - Dave
    .
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by RadDave; 03-23-2014 at 09:15 PM. Reason: added a pic

  14. #14

    harryb2448's Avatar
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    Nov 28, 2007
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    Nambucca Heads Australia
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    Imac 27" Retina 3.3GHz, 512GB Flash, 16GB memory, OS X.11.4.
    FREDs are 'RIDICULOUS ELECTRONICS DEVICE". Your imagination can run riot over the 'F' meaning, Dave!
    Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!

  15. #15

    dtravis7's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 04, 2005
    Location
    Modesto, Ca.
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    28,870
    Specs:
    iMac 2010 27" QuadI7 OSX10.11, iMac 2008 OSX10.11, MBP Late2011OSX10.11 , iPad Air, iPhone 3GS
    The drive that was bad for me out of the box was a 120GB Seagate back in the day. Otherwise I have been quite lucky that way.

    My iMac G5 Isight I bought brand new the month is came out had a WD 250GB. Finally after 9 years and most 24 hours a day usage it went belly up! I really can't complain!


    My Newer late 2007 2.4Ghz iMac though had a WD 320 GB. I bought the system used but I would say 4 years went by since the first owner bought it and I had it for 1 year and the drive started getting errors. Replaced it with a 1TB WD Black and it's been great ever since.

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