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ABSjazz writes, "I ordered a 2.8ghz 15" mid 2009 MacBook Pro online with the 500gb HDD @ 7200rpm. Upon receiving and using it, I noticed the click-beep issue at random times. I wasn't experiencing the hangs or freezes at first, and really thought nothing of it until the system bogged down along with the click-beeps. Then one night, the system click-beeped and completely hung up, forcing me to do a hard shut down. When I tried to boot again, the system stayed on the gray screen, and showed a flashing folder/question mark icon. The hard drive failed completely within 2 weeks of me receiving the machine. (This was the point at which I became aware of this thread and the various other reports of the issue). I called support, and they determined that the drive was probably bad and they told me to take it into an Apple Store to be sure. Needless to say, the genius said my laptop was "essentially dead on arrival."
"Seeing as I ordered online, I had to return the machine via the online store support. They shipped out a new machine with the same configuration upon me sending the dead unit back. I received this new MBP 7200rpm this past Tuesday. Sure enough, click-beep. Not happy at all, I scheduled a genius bar appointment to get some official documentation on the new system for customer service purposes. The genius took down my serial number and took the laptop into the back to see if they could hear the noise. He came back about 5 minutes later and claimed he could only reproduce the click-beep and hang upon shaking the device (normal SMS behavior). He notated my claims of random click-beep hangs, but did not verify them on the notes in the system.
"I talked with another employee (just a sales rep I think) and he went in the back to check some troubleshooting documents. He came back and said that "according to Apple, the click-beep is normal behavior". However, the tone in his voice and expression on his face indicated that he did not believe this himself. Upon asking him if the issue only affects the 7200rpm drives and not the 5400 ones, he kind of looked away, and proceeded to say that there was an internal Apple document that he couldn't exactly discuss with me. To me, this CLEARLY indicates that there is a serious issue with the 7200 drives and Apple is working on something very silently. They don't want to tarnish their "reliable" image by issuing a recall or publicly making a statement. It is absolutely ridiculous that they are aware of the issue, but fail to help their good paying customers. The rep even told me that Apple has posted a sound clip of the click-beep on their internal database.
"Anyway, after spending a good hour and a half on the phone with the online store customer service, I am returning my MBP 7200rpm with no restocking fee and have purchased a "stock" 5400rpm from the Apple store itself. I am going out of town for a few days, so I have not opened the new one yet, but I'm pretty confident that the 5400rpm drive will perform properly.
"Sorry for such a long post, but I figured my story might help you all in determining the extent of the issue, as well as the "secret internal documents" that Apple has in circulation regarding this issue. Best of luck to all, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this 5400 drive works well."
Some owners have reported receiving the same model (ST9500420ASG) replacement hard drive (only with a different version of firmware installed) and have experienced no problems so far. Ironically, it's the same version firmware (0002SDM1) that came with the Seagate 500GB 7200RPM drive (ST9500420AS) I installed on my MacBook Pro (late 2008). I have not experienced any issues, but have surmised all along that there's a firmware issue going on here.