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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

Faulty HDD or more serious?


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Gawain76

 
Member Since: Jan 08, 2010
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Hello, I would appreciate some opinions and advice from you good folk out there. I recently bought a replacement HDD for my Macbook (White) Late 2008, as the original 120GB was getting a bit full. Decided to go for the Western Digital 500GB 5400rpm (WD5000BEVT) as I had read good reviews from Macbook owners. After installing it and with a fresh install of Leopard, however, I immediately noticed hanging and freezing with the simplest of tasks, including scrolling through web pages or documents. Sometimes there is a delay of up to 5 seconds before the Macbook would respond and when playing video or audio files there would be similar pauses or freezes.

Now, I assumed this was just a faulty new HDD so have started the returns procedure...BUT...when I put the original HDD back in, I noticed similar pauses - although nowhere near as bad. So I am wondering; could the new HDD have actually corrupted something in my Macbook and this is why my original HDD is now starting to act up? Is there anything else that might produce these symptoms of freezing and pausing (which do seem like disk access issues, as there are faint clicks which accompany each pause) or have I just been unlucky and had two HDDs fail on me? Many thanks for any help.
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chscag

 
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I don't think two hard drives would be defective - nor would a bad hard drive act the way you describe. According to specs, your machine uses the Intel integrated GPU X3100 which has been a very stable GPU - so I don't think that's the problem.

When you removed the hard drive both times, you had to also remove the metal shield which covers the memory slots. Make sure your modules are seated properly. Might be a good idea to reseat them. Follow Apple's instructions for removing and replacing the modules.

The other suggestion I have is to run the Apple Hardware Test on your machine. That requires booting from your install DVD. See the following Apple KB article: LINK

Let us know.

Regards.
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Gawain76

 
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Hi chscag and thanks for your reply. I am quite reassured by what you say about the GPU on my Mac so I'll try your suggestions.

Incidentally, a cloned installation (same as on my internal disk) runs fine from an external disk via firewire - smooth as anything - but as soon as I reboot from the internal, it's back to pausing and freezing again. I have 4GB of RAM which has been functioning well for about a year so I don't think it's a memory problem but I will certainly extract and reseat the modules - I would be so relieved if that's the answer.

As for the hardware test, I have only done the short test before as the longer one was taking forever but now I really need to know! I'll report back here with the findings. Thanks again for your help.
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Gawain76

 
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Well I did the extended hardware diagnostic tests from the install disk and it reported no problem. I am hoping that this test is a reliable indicator and that therefore my logic board and memory chips, etc. are genuinely ok.

However it still leaves me with the mystery of my clicking, freezing drives. The retailer is being a bit slow with their returns instructions so it looks like I will have to wait a bit before I can install a new replacement HDD and test it. Meanwhile I will keep surfing for people's experiences similar to my own in the hope that my situation is not unique and that a known fix is available.

Thanks for all your help so far.
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Gawain76

 
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Update:

OK, I have now received my replacement HDD; another WD5000BEVT but this one was manufactured in December 2009 in Thailand while my previous faulty one was October 2009 from Malaysia.

Cloned my old HDD to this new one and everything is working well. Fast access, no hangs, no freezes - just as it should be. The only difference is a constant quiet whirring coming from the drive, as though it is working continuously, even when the system is apparently idle. Well I can put up with that (it's not very loud) if it means I have a good HDD at last with bags of extra space. Just hope it lasts!

So I am thinking that this later built HDD has some new firmware that stops it sleeping and pausing all the time. I didn't change anything in my installation so for me, at least, it was the old WD HDD that caused the problems. Thankfully now all gone so, for now, I'm happy.

Thanks chscag for your suggestions. Cheers!
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