iMac Intel 27" EMC 2309 (Late 2009, Core 2 Duo 3.06 또는 3.33 GHz) ID iMac10,1, EMC 2374 (Late 2009, Core i5 2.66 GHz 또는 Core i7 2.8 GHz) ID iMac11,1

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iMac eats drives - Causes Hardware ECC errors

Strange issue here.

The client brought this iMac in because it wouldn't boot fully - it freezes about 90% through the progress bar. Passes all ASD tests. Issue was originally resolved a few months ago by rebuilding the drive directory in DiskWarrior. Doing the same causes it to boot again, but obviously there's a deeper issue.

The SMART status shows temperature warnings and Hardware ECC Recovered issues.

I replaced the Seagate Barracuda 7200RPM drive (about 3 years old) with a new version of the same model. Within one day, it's showing Hardware ECC Recovered issues as well!

I'm at a bit of a loss. I don't know what else to replace, but it sure seems like a hardware issue with some other part of the system.

As a side note, Apple had a hard drive warranty extension program on this model. The client's existing drive was put in by Apple under this program 3 years ago, even though he'd had no issues to that point, and until 3 months ago.

Does anyone have insight into this?

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What is the exact model of Seagate Barracuda drive you are using here. Is it the older SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) or the newer SATA III 6.0 Gb/s) drive?

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The original drive was an ST31000528AS. The 1-day old replacement with the same errors (which only showed up after installing an OS and transferring the client's data) is an ST1000DX001-1NS162. The iMac has a SATA II interface but both drives are SATA III.

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Did you address the hard drive temperature sensor issue either with one of the three hard drive brand specific cables or the OWC in-line thermal sensor?

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I think thats your problem here using too fast a drive. I often see this as people get the direction of compatibility crisscrossed. Double check your drives specs. Make sure you have the second version of SSHD I've listed here below.

Using a FIXED speed drive as you have here:

  • A SATA III (6.0 Gb/s) system can support SATA I, II & III drives.
  • A SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) system can support SATA I or II drives (not SATA III)

Using a drive which offers SATA speed sense technology alters this! As it will slow down the drive to match the systems SATA port speed. Some drives will do all three speeds (SATA I, II or III), while many newer drives only interwork in either SATA II & SATA II systems (not SATA I)

One of the issues we are starting to see is the hard drive companies are starting to do away with auto sense drives. Their reasoning is many of the older SATA I & SATA II based systems are now being retired so there is no need for the expense of the auto sense logic. Most drives coming out now are strictly SATA III. So be careful!


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This is pretty shocking. SATA III is supposed to be backward compatible, and I've been replacing drives on these iMacs with SATA III models for years! But it sounds like you're saying it's only become a recent issue, with manufacturers cutting corners and eliminating backwards compatibility. Can you recommend a good SATA II drive for an older iMac?

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To be clear here you could not reliably use a fixed SATA III drive in a SATA II system. It's only the auto sense drives that made it work.

Yes, it often appeared to work but it was not stable. The standards group didn't design compatibility in the way we ended up using it. At the time (way back in the stone age of computers) HD's where thought of as being the resource that was going to be reused so the standard was designed with that in mind as at the time HD's where just very expensive! Who knew the reverse was going to happen! We had a long debate into the early morning of that IEEE session when the standard was agreed to (I guess I'm showing my age here).

As it turns out HD's ended up dropping in price like a stone and systems ended up being held onto much longer. And at the same time better tech was coming out making the interconnection faster from SATA I to SATA II then on with SATA III. Which just made things much more complicated.

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Finding fixed SATA II drives new are getting hard to find. I would focus on locating an Auto Sense drive. The spec sheet of the second SSHD drive is one. The way to tell is what the interface line lists for SATA specs. Ones that only list one speed are fixed, ones that list two or all three are auto sense drives.

Sometime its the generation of drive that is the issue as in the case here as the first generation drive was a fixed SATA III drive, then Seagate offered it as an auto sense drive.

So far the 3.5" drives are still auto sense (6.0/3.0/1.5): 3.5" Barracuda HD's. There newest 2.5" series seen here: 2.5" Barracuda HD's are FIXED SATA III (6.0 Gb/s). So you need to keep your eyes peeled in reading the spec sheets and make sure the drive you got is the same vintage.

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%#*@^@, my bad! I had another Late 2009 iMac 27", and reported the drive model from that!

The actual replacement drive I used is a Barracuda Compute - the same one you linked to as supporting all SATA speeds.

Sorry for the mixup. (Though this helps me understand why the other client may be having drive issues!)

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