Excessive Drive Cycling w/Notebook Drives in OS X?

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OS X Notebook HD Load Cycle Counts (from end users)
(Samples from OS X users of various HD brands)
Posted Feb. 5, 2009
Reports last updated: Feb 6
(Updated Feb. 7th for Volitans' reply to some questions.)



The issue of notebook drive frequent head parking/cycling has come up at times in the past (originally many years ago) and again recently so I wanted to get a larger sample of OS X user feedback (with any brand/model of notebook drive). I decided to post this page after a mail on Feb. 4th (see copy below) from an OS X 10.5.x user with 3 WD 250GB Scorpio drives (1 PATA, 2 SATA) that said his drives had high cycle rates that would exceed the drive mfr's max rating of 600K cycles. (Some drives have over 1M cycles w/o a failure, although others will fail earlier - for various reasons.) He also said the drives in the MB/MBP didn't exhibit any apparent noise (clicking, etc.) that used to be the main complaint/indicator for drives with this behavior. ("S.M.A.R.T." (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) Utilities can check cycles and many other important indicators used to monitor a drive's "Health" - although not all failures are predictable. Components can fail w/o any previous indication of degradation, so always have a current backup of important data. The S.M.A.R.T wiki page has some brand/model specific features and notes, although any wiki may not be 100% accurate.)

Most notebook drive users have not commented/noticed this in the past unless the drive was noisy or cycling had a noticeable impact on performance. After the comment on high cycle rates w/o any noise, I wanted to get more feedback from OS X users of internal notebook (2.5in) drives (PATA or SATA) to see what their cycle rates were. Some drives (and/or firmware) may have more aggressive power saving (unloading the head more frequently after a short idle period regardless of Energy Saver settings). Of course what isn't possible to measure/record here is each owner's specific usage habits/what % of time the drive wasn't being accessed. (BTW: This page is for OS X user feedback, but the subject of high load cycle counts isn't limited to OS X. If you search the web you'll find threads from other OS users also on the subject. I ran a test on a Windows notebook with WD Scorpio drive and it showed 2217 cycles in 80 POH, a little less than one every 2 minutes, but rates vary depending on drive model and activity/usage. Some have reported much higher (and lower) rates.)

If you're running an OS X laptop (or Mac Mini) and want to check this/contribute (and running a SMART status check occasionally is a good idea anyway), you can download Volitans (shareware) Smart Utility for OS X and Let me know (to news at xlr8yourmac.com) the following (use the "Raw" values reported by the SMART Utility):

  • Hard drive Brand/Model:
  • Number of Load Cycles:
  • Power on Hours (for hard drive):
  • Do you typically enable Drive Sleep in Energy Saver?
  • Hard Drive Firmware version (ASP shows as drive 'revision'):
  • Mac Model:
  • OS Version Used:

(Comments from 2009) Typical notebook drives have a spec/rating of 600,000 cycles. (Some list contact start/stop cycles. Some mfrs don't list cycles, just MTBF and/or nonrecoverable read errors.) Some models may have less - someone mentioned 300K spec for some old IBM Travelstar drives for instance. Granted that's just a rating and with anything, YMMV. (And as mentioned, there are other more critical indications/attributes than load cycles - again see the S.M.A.R.T page I linked to above in the intro.) Some drives had over 1M cycles without a failure. Some components fail prematurely/without any previous indications of problems. This page was just posted to see what some current OS X users of various brand/model drives are seeing as far as cycle rates (Cycles/POH).)
Don't forget to also look at general status and other attributes for any "Failing" warnings. (See the S.M.A.R.T wiki page for info on attributes. If someone has a better resource let me know.)
(This exercise has an upside for those that never checked their drive status. I've had several readers mention their drives were flagged as failing. Although it can't warn of every possible failure, it's worthwhile to check your drive's "health" from time to time. One reader questioned some of the OS X Smart utility's tests however - see note and reply from Volitans below. I simply read the current attribute values/status from normal use.)

BTW: Some thought that the Sudden Motion Sensor in later Mac portables may be a factor in increasing load cycles (i.e. if the notebook is bumped/moved too suddenly it would trigger a head park.) My gut says that shouldn't really be a big factor in load cycles (normally) and some Macs (mini, older powerbooks/ibooks, etc.) don't have SMS. But here's Apple's doc on Apple Portables: Advanced tips for Sudden Motion Sensor that has notes on disabling SMS if anyone feels that may help. (That was used as a workaround back in 2006 when some WD scorpio owners reported kernel panics when SMS was triggered. Reportedly fixed in 10.4.9 per previous posts here (and drive db reports/shake tests) although someone brought up that WD drive issue again (VT vs KT suffix IIRC, saying to avoid "V" models with builtin accelerometer if using an SMS mac.)

Reader Reports on Notebook Drive Load Cycles (from OS X users): (from Feb. 2009)

= Reports Grouped by HD Brand =
Fujitsu | Hitachi | Samsung | Seagate | Toshiba | Western Digital

(What isn't shown (impossible for me to determine) is each owner's specific usage habits/% of time the drive was idle. And note a few drives had "failing" warnings from Smart Utility. (One reader that saw a failing warning said Onyx showed status as OK however.) And an Hitachi 7K100 owner w/609K cycles had an error/fail reported after trying to run Smart Utility's tests on the drive. After the test failed, Smart Utility shows status as "failing". I'd just use it to read the current status counts (from normal use) in case this is a bug.)
I wrote the developer of Smart Utility for OS X to ask about extremely high "Power Off Retract count" some have seen and for any known bugs or drive specific issues. And to ask why their utility may flag a drive as failing where others that show SMART status don't:

"That's not a bug for the retract count. Manufacturers can put whatever they want into the RAW number field - most put the actual value, but some have a custom format (like counting down from a number). So if it is exceedingly high, that is the most likely case.
(For drive owners with very large numbers, check again after a few more days of use to see if it's decreasing (i.e. a count down) or increasing.)

SMART Utility also may mark drives as "FAILING" even though SMART itself may mark the drive as "PASSED". SMART Utility looks at a few different attributes and other data in SMART and if it finds marginal attributes, it marks it as "FAILING". It's a pre-fail warning. While the drive may not fail right away, there is a good chance it will based on that data.

I hope that helps answer your questions. If you have any further ones, please let me know.
-Matt
Volitans Software Support"


Fujitsu Reports: (most recent first.)

Hard drive model: MHW2160BHPL (160GB)
Number of Load Cycles: 517,936
Power on Hours: 8,931
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: 0081001C
Mac: MacBook Pro (MacBookPro3,1) 2.4GHZ
OS X Version: 10.5.2
(Gerald M.)


(smart utility flagged as failing)
Hard drive model: MHY2250BH (250GB)
Number of Load Cycles: 148,095
Power on Hours: 2,291
Drive Sleep Enabled?: No
HD Firmware: 0000000B
Mac: MacBook Pro 2.0GHz Core Duo
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Calvin D.)


Hard drive model: MHT2080AH (80GB)
Number of Load Cycles: 342,428
Power on Hours: 7,483
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: 006C
Mac: iBook G4
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Mike C.)


Hard drive model: MHY2200BH (200GB OEM/Apple shipped)
Number of Load Cycles: 10,302
Power on Hours: 238
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: 0081000D
Mac: MacBook Pro (MacBookPro4,1)
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Eric E.)


Hard drive model: MHW2120BH (120GB)
Number of Load Cycles: 509,673
Power on Hours: 112,117
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: 00810013
Mac: MacbookPro3,1 (2.2 Ghz Santa Rosa 15")
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Justin)


Hard drive model: MHW2160BHPL (160GB)
Number of Load Cycles: 102,995
Power on Hours: 5,529
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: 0081001C
Mac: MacBook Pro 3,1 (2.4GHz, late 2007)
OS X Version:
"Smart Utility also reports two bad sectors (and a Failing warning)"
(Chrisso)


Hard drive model: MHW2160BHPL (160GB OEM/Apple shipped)
Number of Load Cycles: 380,271
Power on Hours: 5,841
Drive Sleep Enabled?: No
HD Firmware: 0081001C
Mac: MacBook Pro 2.4Ghz 2007 model
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(David M.)


Hard drive model: MHW2120BH (160GB)
Number of Load Cycles: 167,290
Power on Hours: 3,113
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: 00810013
Mac: MacBook Pro 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Bob N.)


Hard drive model: MHZ2160BH FFS G1 (160GB)
Number of Load Cycles: 50,829
Power on Hours: 1,148
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: 0081008C
Mac: Unibody MacBook (MacBook5,1) 2GHz
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Alexander D.)


Hard drive model: MHY2200BH (200GB)
Number of Load Cycles: 25,170
Power on Hours: 949
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware:
Mac: MacBook Pro (MacBookPro4,1)
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Fred R.)


Hard drive model: MHV2120BHPL (160GB OEM/apple shipped)
Number of Load Cycles: 214,429
Power on Hours: 3,854
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: 0081702E
Mac: MacBook Pro 17in (MacBookPro 1,2) 2.16GHz Core Duo,
OS X Version: 10.4.11


Hard drive model: MHV2080BHPL (80GB)
Number of Load Cycles: 197,121
Power on Hours: 10,168
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: 0081702E
Mac: Mac Mini Core Duo 1.83GHz
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Daniel)


Hard drive model: MHY2250BH (250GB)
Number of Load Cycles: 5,565
Power on Hours: 170
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: 0081000D
Mac: MacBook Pro
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Darryl Y.)


Hard drive model: MHZ2250BH FFS G1 (250GB, OEM/Apple shipped)
Number of Load Cycles: 35,235
Power on Hours: 615
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: 0081008c
Mac: MacBook 2.4GHz
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(CB)


Hard drive model: MHY2160BH (160GB)
Number of Load Cycles: 361,644
Power on Hours: 4,607
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: 0081000D
Mac: MacBook Pro 17" (MacBookPro3,1)
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Mike W.)


Hitachi Reports: (most recent first)

Hard drive model:
Number of Load Cycles: 171,497
Power on Hours: 2718
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: BBFAC3GP
Mac: MacBook Pro 17" 2.5GHz (MacBookPro4,1)
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Joeri O.)


Hard drive model: HTS722020K9SA00 (Travelstar 7K200)
Number of Load Cycles: 271,556
Power on Hours: 2,107
Drive Sleep Enabled?: No
HD Firmware: DC4OC76A
Mac: MacbookPro 17" Core Duo 2.16GHz
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Reinhardt R.)


Hard drive model: HTS723232L9A360 (320GB, 7200 RPM)
Number of Load Cycles: 137,504
Power on Hours: 1,586
Drive Sleep Enabled?: No
HD Firmware: FC4OC30F
Mac: MacBookPro2,2 (15" 2.33GHz)
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Bruce I.)


(FYI - noted SMART status flagged as "Failing")
Hard drive model: Travelstar 7K200
Number of Load Cycles: 1,032,220
Power on Hours: 8,042
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Not usually, but I broke down and enabled it within the last two months
HD Firmware: DC40C54P
Mac: MacBook Pro 17" (Core Duo 2.16Ghz)
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Michael S.)


Hard drive model: HTS721010G9AT00 (Travelstar 7K100 - OEM/Apple shipped)
Number of Load Cycles: 609,040
Power on Hours: 9,770
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: MCZAA52A
Mac: 15in PowerBook G4 1.67GHz
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Tom F.)

FYI - Friday night Tom wrote about some test errors:

" After sending in my report, I ran the tests available in Smart Utility:
1  Type:Short offline  Status: Completed read failure  Remaining: 70%  Time: 9771   LBA first error: 70908
1  Type:Long offline  Status: Completed read failure   Remaining: 90%  Time: 9771   LBA first error: 70908
And again today:
2   Type:Short offline  Status: Completed read failure  Remaining: 70%  Time: 9786  LBA first error: 70908

Which makes the S.M.A.R.T report now show FAILING:
ID: 197   Current Pending Sector: Raw Data 1

Note that this did not appear before running the test.  I'll be keeping an eye on the drive as it is my main drive and over 3 years old.  Although from what I've read it seems hard to definitively correlate S.M.A.R.T status with actual drive failure.

Another interesting attribute is the:
ID:192    Power Off Retract count    Raw Value: 1035146756125
which seems like a really large number.  Maybe it is related to the sleep settings?
(per wiki page - Power off retract count attribute is "Number of times the heads are loaded off the media. Heads can be unloaded without actually powering off". Some other drives here had a very high number listed. The wiki SMART page notes some drive specific attributes and that each mfr defines their set/thresholds. (Another industry 'standard' that varies by mfr...)) At any rate, thanks for the site and enjoy your weekend.
Regards, Tom
"

Update: See above for Volitans reply - the raw number could be a count-down value (or a non-std value/format, another case where attribute/values may vary by mfr.) One way to check if it's a count-down value is to compare the number again in a few days to see if it's decreased instead of increased.
I don't have an OS X notebook on hand to test, but I did run the OS X Smart utility on this AL iMac (3.5in HD) just to see the current readings. (This refub iMac's OEM 320GB HD used for about 15 months (3,210 POH) did show a very high number (42281083) for 'Hardware ECC Recovered' (sources differ on what this means - Time between ECC corrected errors or the number of them. I suspect the former). All other items looked OK (smart status showed OK). Some other notebook owners here noted "Failing" warnings from smart utility also (load cycles attribute isn't the most critical item - it was just the topic of this page after the mail on very high rates in a short period of time). The wiki page on S.M.A.R.T. has notes on attributes and some drive brand specific items. (Including notes on TEC (Threshold Exceeds Condition), speed of attribute change and reference docs.)


Hard drive model: HTS542525K9SA00 (Travelstar 5K250)
Number of Load Cycles: 7,158
Power on Hours: 2,119
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: BBFOC31P
Mac: Macbook Pro Core Duo 1.83GHz
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Brook O.)


Hard drive model: HTS541616J9SA00 (Travelstar 5K160)
Number of Load Cycles: 1,481,951
Power on Hours: 13,441
Drive Sleep Enabled?: No
HD Firmware: SB4AC7CP
Mac: MacBook Pro 2.33Ghz
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Bruce W.)


Hard drive model: HTS723225L9SA62 (250GB/7200rpm Apple shipped)
Number of Load Cycles: 45,965
Power on Hours: 541
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: FCDAC40B
Mac: Unibody 15in MacBook Pro (one of the first to roll off the lines)
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Mike V.)


Hard drive model: 320GB (7200rpm)
Number of Load Cycles: 69,186
(power off retract count 1835013)
Power on Hours: 599 (598 power cycles)
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware:
Mac:
OS X Version:
(Stephen A.)


Hard drive model: HTS723232L9A360 (320GB)
Number of Load Cycles: 23,662
(Power off retract count - 458759)
Power on Hours: 830
Drive Sleep Enabled?: TBA
HD Firmware: FC4OC30F
Mac: TBA
OS X Version: TBA
(Glenn W.)


Samsung Reports: (most recent first)

Hard drive model: HM320JI (320GB)
Number of Load Cycles: 48,865
Power on Hours: 795
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: 25500_01
Mac: MacBookPro1,1 (Core Duo 2.16GHz)
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Jo Ann)


Hard drive model: HM500LI
Number of Load Cycles: 147,747
Power on Hours: 690
Drive Sleep Enabled?: No
HD Firmware: 2TF00_00
Mac: Unibody MacBook Pro 15" 2.8GHz
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Rob M.)


Hard drive model: HM500LI (500GB)
Number of Load Cycles: 752,480
Power on Hours: 4,668
Drive Sleep Enabled?: NEVER
HD Firmware: 2TF00_00
Mac: MacBookPro3,1 (C2D 2.4GHz)
OS X Version:
(Jokton S.)


Seagate Reports: (most recent first)

Hard drive model: ST9500325AS (500GB Momentus 5400.6)
Number of Load Cycles: 25,755
Power on Hours: 173
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: 0001SDM1
Mac: MacBook Pro (early 2008))
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Thomas F.)


Hard drive model: ST9160823AS (160GB Momentus 7200.2)
Number of Load Cycles: 1,111,763
Power on Hours: 7,370
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Drive only sleeps when laptop does (set for 15 minutes of idle)
HD Firmware: 3.AAB
Mac: Mabook Pro 15in (2.33GHz 2nd gen)
OS X Version: 10.5.6
Volitans utility lists the drive as "failing" (summary status) although no other utility (including Onyx) does. So I suspect there may by an issue with how Volitan interprets the results. (Nevertheless, I used it as an excuse to order a new 320GB drive from OWC.)
(Dennis J.)

See Volitans' reply above on why Smart Utility may flag a drive as failing when other utilities don't.


Hard drive model: ST9200420AS (200GB Momentus 7200.2)
Number of Load Cycles: 239,127
Power on Hours: 2,984
Drive Sleep Enabled?: No
HD Firmware: 3.AAA
Mac: MacBook1,1 (2 GHz)
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(David M.)


Hard drive model: ST98823AS (80GB Momentus 5400.2)
Number of Load Cycles: 114,392
Power on Hours: 1,472
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: 7.01
Mac: Mac mini Core2 Duo
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Pedro M.)


Hard drive model: ST9320421AS (320GB Momentus 7200.3)
Number of Load Cycles: 87,971
Power on Hours: 648
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: SD13
Mac: Macbook Pro (original Core Duo, 1.83 GHz)
OS X Version: 10.5.x
(Martin S.)


Hard drive model: ST9160821A (160GB Momentus 5400.3)
Number of Load Cycles: 1,003,357
Power on Hours: 13,531
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: 3.ALA
Mac: PowerBook G4 (FW800) 1.25GHz
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Ben R.)


Hard drive model: ST9320421ASG (Momentus 7200.3 320GB)
Number of Load Cycles: 89,363
Power on Hours: 898
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: SD13
Mac: MacBook Pro 17 Core Duo
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Harry M.)


Hard drive model: ST9100823A (Momentus 5400.2 100GB)
Number of Load Cycles: 1,214,690
Power on Hours: 6,664
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: 3.06
Mac: PowerBook5,7 (PowerBook G4 17")
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Jonathan T.)


Hard drive model: ST9320421AS (320GB Momentus 7200.3)
Number of Load Cycles: 218
Power on Hours: 4
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: SD13
Mac: MacBookPro (Santa Rosa)
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Jean-Claude)


Hard drive model: ST9808211A (Momentus 5400.2 80GB)
Number of Load Cycles: 558,181
Power on Hours: 7,259
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: 3.07
Mac: Mac Mini G4 1.5GHz
OS X Version: 10.4.11
(Bob N.)


Hard drive model: ST9500420ASG
Number of Load Cycles: 90
Power on Hours: 31
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: 0001SDM1
Mac: Unibody MacBook Pro 2.53GHz
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Carol W.)


Hard drive model: ST980825A (80GB 7200.1)
Number of Load Cycles: 1,536,533
Power on Hours: 14,589
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: 3.04
Mac: werBook G4 15"(PowerBook5,4)
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Tomari H.)


Hard drive model: ST98823AS (80GB Momentus 5400.2)
Number of Load Cycles: 629,619
Power on Hours: 4,129
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: 7.01
Mac: Macmini1,1 (1.66GHz Intel Core Duo)
OS X Version: 10.4.11
(Larry F.)


Hard drive model: Momentus 5400.2 (no model# given)
Number of Load Cycles: 635,779
Power on Hours: 4,325 (purchased Mar 2006)
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: 7.01
Mac: Mac mini 1.66GHz Core Duo
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Nicolas M.)


Hard drive model: ST9500325AS (500GB)
Number of Load Cycles: 21,097
Power on Hours: 351
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: 0001SDM1
Mac: Macbook Pro
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Gordon)


Hard drive model: ST9120821AS (120GB Momentus 5400.2, OEM/Apple shipped)
Number of Load Cycles: 530,551
Power on Hours: 4,794
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: 7.01
Mac: 17" MacBook Pro (original model/April 2006)
OS X Version: 10.5.x
(Philip T.)


Toshiba Reports:

(Lowest cycles/POH ratio here)
Hard drive model: MK2546GSX (250GB)
Number of Load Cycles: 2,321
Power on Hours: 5,190
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: LB011A
Mac: MacBook C2D 1.83GHz
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(James B.)


Western Digital Reports: (most recent first)

Hard drive model: WD3200BEKT-22FET (320GB)
Number of Load Cycles: 137,245
Power on Hours: 148
Drive Sleep Enabled?: No
HD Firmware: 11.01A11
Mac: Unibody Macbook 2.4GHz
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Wally G.)


Hard drive model: WD2500BEVE-00WZT0 (250GB)
Number of Load Cycles: 134,256
Power on Hours: 2,114
Drive Sleep Enabled?: No
HD Firmware: 01.01A01
Mac: PowerBook G4 15" 1.33GHz (PowerBook5,4)
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Joachim B.)


Hard drive model: WD2500BEVE-00WZT0 (250GB)
Number of Load Cycles: 24,579
Power on Hours: 345
Drive Sleep Enabled?: No
HD Firmware: 01.01A01
Mac: PowerBook G4 15" (last G4 model, PowerBook5,8)
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Marc S.)


Hard drive model: WD5000BEVT-00ZAT0 (500GB)
Number of Load Cycles: 906
Power on Hours: 730
Drive Sleep Enabled?: No
HD Firmware: 01.01A01
Mac: Macbook Pro 15" Early 2008 2.4GHz
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Eric S.)


Hard drive model: WD5000BEVT (500GB)
Number of Load Cycles: 114,242
Power on Hours: 1,762
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: 01.01A01
Mac: MacBook Pro 15" 2.6GHz Early 2008 (Penryn)
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Ian)


Hard drive model: (320GB) WD3200BEVT-22ZCT0
Number of Load Cycles: 226,227
Power on Hours: 2,860
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: 11.01A11
Mac Model: MacBook Pro 3,1: 2.2GHz
OS Version Used: 10.5.6
(Michael C.)


Hard drive model: (320GB) WD3200BEVT-00ZCT0
Number of Load Cycles: 298,339
Power on Hours: 3,460
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: 11.01A11
Mac: MacBookPro3,1
OS X Version: 10.5.x
(Jason K.)


(FYI from Vista machine)
Hard drive model: WD5000BEVT
Number of Load Cycles: 2,305
Power on Hours: 83
Drive Sleep Enabled?: N/A
HD Firmware: 01.01A01
Mac: N/A (Vaio AW190)
OS X Version: N/A (Vista 64bit Home)
(Mike)


Hard drive model: Scorpio Blue 500GB (WD5000BEVT-22ZAT0)
Number of Load Cycles: 13,794
Power on Hours: 760
Drive Sleep Enabled?:
HD Firmware: 01.01A01
Mac: MacBook 2.1GHz C2D (Macbook4.1)
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Steve M.)


Hard drive model: WD3200BEVT-00ZCT0
Number of Load Cycles: 236,050
Power on Hours: 3,744
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: 11.01A11
Mac: Original Macbook Pro 2.0GHz
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Will G.)


Hard drive model: WD2500BEVE-00WZT0 (250GB PATA)
Number of Load Cycles: 196,017
Power on Hours: 2,568
Drive Sleep Enabled?: No
HD Firmware: 01.01A01
Mac: 14in iBook G4 Dual USB
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Rick H.)


Hard drive model: WD2500BEVS-22UST0 (250GB)
Number of Load Cycles: 12,253
Power on Hours: 210
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: 01.01A01
Mac: MacBook (original Core Duo 1.83GHz)
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Martin S.)


Hard drive model: WD3200BEVT-22ZCT0
Number of Load Cycles: 155,261
Power on Hours: 2,603
Drive Sleep Enabled?: Yes
HD Firmware: 11.01A11
Mac: MacBook 2GHz (MacBook2,1)
OS X Version: 10.5.6
(Sandor F.)


(Earlier mail/comments follow)

(copy of drive database report posted Feb. 4th)
"Western Digital Load Cycle Counts. (Scorpio 250)
Please see my thread "WD2500BEVE in PPC Mini - High Load Cycle Count" (two of my systems are mentioned).
(his original post in that thread (noting 10.5.5 OS at the time) said the MB/MBP's (SATA) drives were not doing it - but his later post said they were. I asked if he noticed that after the 10.5.6 update)
I didn't notice it on the MBP and MBP (at first), because the drives were so quiet. The Mini (the IDE variety of the 250GB) was clicking loudly. Just for kicks and grins I tried Smart Utility on the wife's MB and my MBP, and yep, they were both doing doing the Load_Cycle_Count increments without me knowing. Not sure when they started, but its been going on for a while, having 500K on the MB and 900K on the MBP. I've seen mention of this on your site before. (Some years ago originally, but came up again last fall in the Nov. 14th, 2008 news (and drive db report) - an iBook G4 owner w/WD2500BEVE-00WZT0 firmware 01.01A01, S/N WD-WXC7086244xx - noted appx 150 cycles per hour. That page also includes a reply on pmset commands (didn't solve it), notes on DeClunk util (writes to disk in bkg), link to a previous apple thread titled "Upgraded to WD2500BEVS Hard drive - makes clicking noise", a PB G4 owner's comment from a couple years earlier on the problem and a previous WD FAQ page titled "Why does the WD Scorpio 2.5" hard drive make clicking noises when installed in a laptop computer?" that had a download (updater/patch for PCs) but when I checked that link (Safari) it goes to a page w/user login. But a reply from WD support last year (2009) said that original patch/updater wasn't for later drives anyway.).
This is driving me nuts.
To summarize, I have three systems, all running 10.5.6. One MacBook 2.4ghz, one MacBook Pro 2.16ghz, and a PPC Mac Mini (G4/1.33ghz).
The MB and MBP both use the WD2500BEVS. The MB has 500,000 load cycles. The MBP almost has a million. The Mini has a WD2500BEVE. After RMAing a drive with 1.3 million load cycle count in December for the Mini, the replacement WD2500BEVE drive already has 120,000 cycles on it after a month. (That's appx 4,000 a day!)

I used hdapm (mckinlay.net.nz/hdapm/) on both the MBP and MB - it seems to have stopped the counts from increasing (I used SMART Utility to verify). (Volitan's Smart Utility for OS X shareware at www.volitans-software.com)
However, after using hdapm they now have issues going into sleep mode. The PPC Mini throws an error when running hdapm.

    Mac_Mini:~ Jon$ hdapm disk0 max
    disk0: WDC WD2500BEVE-00WZT0
    Setting APM level to 0xfe: FAILED: APM not supported

(BTW - that comment on not going to sleep reminded me of a earlier reader mail on his MBP not going into sleep mode (despite Energy Saver settings). He later said he had previously used Cocktail utility to set a HD sleep time that was longer than the delay for system sleep set in Energy Saver. (Apple's HD sleep ES option isn't adjustable alone - it's allow or not.) He said using Cocktail again to correct/change that solved the problem. Just a FYI to readers while it was on my mind.)

Sooo... I'm curious to see what your thoughts are on this. I'm going to try purchasing one of those new 500GB 2.5" 7200 RPM Seagate Momentus 7200.4 ST9500420AS (9.5mm high) and put it in the MBP and RMA the WD drive. (Probably going to sell the drive I get as a replacement from WD.) The Macbook I might leave for right now, and the Mini, I'm not even sure what to do about the frequent load/unload cycles.

These drives are spec'd for 600,000 load/unload cycles. I find it strange that its happening on three systems with two different drives. Any ideas are appreciated Thanks.
(Just for the record I asked if these were drives originally in WD USB portable cases, as they have a jumper on those that reduces power draw at spinup. That may not matter for this but just wanted to rule that variable out. I also asked for the record (in case there's a later firmware that helps) if he could send each drive's firmware version (ASP lists it as the drive "revision"))
These drives were OEM drives and do not have a jumper.
(his later reply on firmware versions of his drives)
The Mini's WD2500BEVE-00WZT0 is revision 01.01A01
The Mac Book Pro's WD2500BEVS-60UST0 is revision 01.01A01
The MacBook I'll have to get later on tonight....

(and I asked if using AC power vs Battery, ES allow drive sleep, etc. had any effect on this (frequency of cycling, etc.).)
I keep my MBP locked down (without battery) on AC power all the time. My wife's MB is used on AC and on battery, and the counts increase both on battery and on AC. (it would be a pain/time consuming to check, but I was curious if the load rates (frequency) were affected by AC vs Battery use. Ditto on Enabling drive sleep (although with the tweaks he's done using HDParm would negate that.)

HDParm worked great on the MBP and MB (they're both not increasing now), but at the expense of the hard drive being a little warmer than normal, as well as sometimes having trouble going to sleep. HDParm refuses to work on the Mac Mini.

(in reply to the comment below)
I've flushed the Plists for the energy prefs, reset the PMU, etc. It happens on all accounts (including a guest account), which leads me to believe it's an OS X issue where the OS X isn't properly managing the power on the drive.
-Jon G."

I did some searching and found recent posts (MB/MBP) on the notebookreview forum site about this problem also (not just on Scorpio's, also a Seagate Momentus 5400.3 model) - including some late model MB/MBP owners seeing it. IIRC at least one said OS X was worse for cycling than windows however (via bootcamp on his system). You've already tried all the things that come to mind I suspect (reset nvram, SMC, tweaks, etc) - although as a last ditch I might try deleting the energy saver related prefs. And/or try creating a new user acct and logging in as that user as a test. That uses a fresh set of prefs and doesn't load any of the original acct's files/addons, etc. - unless they were system/globals. (He later replied on that above.)

Over the last 10 years most notebook drives I've bought were Travelstars (Hitachi) or Momentus models (PATA - for Powerbook G3s, G4s, etc. and a few PC laptops).

FYI on (Free) Windows Utility: Daniel sent a note that HDTune for Windows (www.hdtune.com) has SMART info reporting. (I used it many years ago on some PCs but had forgotten about it. And that was so long ago I'm not sure it had the SMART/Health features.) I ran it on a 64-bit Vista Notebook with WD 500GB "Scorpio Blue" boot drive (firmware 01.01A01) and it shows 2217 cycles after 80 Power-on Hours (typically ran on AC power/Max performance settings and used appx 1-2 hours at a time before shutting it down)




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