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Thread: Hard Disk Failed?

  1. #1

    Member Since
    Feb 01, 2009
    Hard Disk Failed?
    Hi Guys,

    looking for a bit of advice here...
    Last night my macbook wigged out and the display just froze (mouse would move and music was playing... but no display). I waited a while and in the end had to to a hard restart.
    When the machine started up, or rather tried to start up I got the flashing folder icon with a question mark.
    I booted from the system disk and attempted a bit of disk first aid, which failed after about 5 minutes of the machine thinking about it (i can't remember the exact error message as it was quite late). At that point I left it - I was going to see if someone could access the disk by booting it as a firewire drive so I could rescue the data.
    This morning I realized that I didn't have that much data to loose after doing a back up at the end of Feb so |I thought I would try a clean install after a disk format. Only when I booted from the disk this morning the disk utility couldn't find the hard disk at all.
    I'm guessing that this is a hardware failure which requires a replacement disk but before I go out and buy one I wanted to get some advice (i.e. is my prognosis correct?) and recommendations... for example I have heard that Hitachi are pretty unreliable and that Seagate are better value. I'm not really very good with the hardware stuff so any advice would be great... I only really need a max of 160GB (I'm pretty sure my old HD was 80gb and only 1/2 full) and I'm not really willing to blow the bank.


  2. #2

    scathe's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 12, 2009
    Prague, Czech Republic
    I agree that the disk probably fried, too bad you could also try pressing "d" after the boot chime to run a hardware test, it's a little different from the install dvd test

    for me Western Digital have always been the most reliable disks out there, but as you said, Seagate is a very good value for money and compared with WD, the quality should be about the same

    these two would be the candidates for me

    as for Hitachi, I have a Hitachi drive in my old laptop and it's still going after many years of using, but I might just be lucky, I never had a disk quit on me ... I mean from the hardware view, permissions and filesystem aside

  3. #3

    Member Since
    Feb 01, 2009
    Thanks for the advice and response scathe

    what's the difference bewteen a HD with 8MB cache and one without?
    and... will either of the following be compatible? Serial ATA-150 / Serial ATA-300?


  4. #4

    Verted's Avatar
    Member Since
    Aug 18, 2006
    London, England
    I dunno too much about whats happened, but I think i'm also on the brink of hard drive failure as well.
    I upgraded my hard drive about a year ago and is covered by warranty, so I should be able to get it replaced for free. Maybe yours is too?

    I would also recommend Western Digital, as until now I have had no problems with them.
    - Verted

  5. #5

    cwa107's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 20, 2006
    Lake Mary, Florida
    Quote Originally Posted by ffarg View Post
    Thanks for the advice and response scathe

    what's the difference bewteen a HD with 8MB cache and one without?
    Overall performance

    and... will either of the following be compatible? Serial ATA-150 / Serial ATA-300?

    Yes. Since most hard drives can't even come close to saturating the bandwith of SATA 1.5Gb/s, I wouldn't worry about it.

    My recommendation would be one of these: - Western Digital Scorpio Black WD3200BEKT 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Notebook Hard Drive - Laptop Hard Drives - Seagate Momentus 7200.3 ST9320421AS 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Notebook Hard Drive (Bare drive) - Laptop Hard Drives
    Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!

  6. #6

    Member Since
    Dec 29, 2009
    Kinderhook, NY
    I just replaced the HD in my daughter's 2006 MacBook. When I attempted to reinstall Leopard from DVD, the machine did not offer the new HD as an installation target. It was not mounted. Apple's instructions say to run the Disk Utility and rename it Macintosh HD in the Partition option. This did not work. The fix was to use the Disk Utility to erase the new HD filling it with zeros. I hope this helps anyone else having this problem.

  7. #7

    Member Since
    Aug 28, 2009
    The memory on the HD is for caching data before reading or writing to the physical platters. RAM chips are faster than the read/write heads on a HD, so, if the data your system is looking for is in the HD cache, it will respond faster. If it isn't in the cache, it will look for it on the HD.
    HD manufacturers will increase the amount of cache and and slow down the actual drive in a balancing act between cost vs. performance.

    S-ATA150 vs S-ATA300? It doesn't matter. They are compatible. What you will see is it is getting hard and harder to find an S-ATA150 drive - because the HD manufactures changed to the newer standard (S-ATA300). It's like the RAM chips for you main system: They improve the speed, but the new sticks are compatible with the old systems.

    Hitachi vs. Seagate vs. Western Digital vs. IBM - It doesn't matter. They are all as reliable as each other. You might have had a Hitachi drive fail, I might have had an IBM drive fail, someone else had a WD drive fail - Sh*t Happens. I buy whatever is on sale at Fry's Electronics - IBM, WD, Seagate & Hitachi.

    I look for cost per gigabyte, cache size & RPM. If they have a 500GB w/ 16MB of cache & 5400 RPM for $69 and a 500GB w/16MB of cache & 7200RPM for $79 - I buy the $79 (faster RPM = faster performance). Brand isn't a factor.

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