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Thursday, July 09, 2009, 03:15 pm PT (06:15 pm ET)

MacBook Pros suffer 7,200rpm drive issue; Korea iPod nano recall

Owners of new MacBook Pros configured with faster, 7,200rpm hard drives are paradoxically facing slowdowns as the disks occasionally pause — and often make unwanted noise in the process. Simultaneously, Apple is recalling the first-generation iPod nano in South Korea due to battery fires.

MacBook Pro 7,200rpm hard drives suffer freezes, noises

Those who've custom-ordered MacBook Pros with the 500GB, 7,200rpm hard drive option are facing multiple problems that appear related to the drive's behavior.

Participants in Apple's support forums and elsewhere note that the affected hard drives, most of which appear to be Seagate Momentus 7200.4 models, will periodically click and then beep. Most of the time, the drive will also temporarily stop accessing data, stalling out the system until it resumes. At least one owner with a custom-installed Hitachi drive also reports the issue.

Many of the buyers already believe that it's the anti-drop sensor in the drive which is at fault, but the problem occurs even when the system is level and motionless on a desk. Talking to MacNN, Mac upgrade house Other World Computing speculates that the Seagate motion sensors may be conflicting with what Apple itself offers to guard the drive, confusing the disk and forcing it to unnecessarily wind down.

Customers say that Apple support now appears to be aware of the issue but doesn't have a permanent fix in place. Some report that the most recent hard drive replacements under warranty are solving the problem, but this hasn't been broadly confirmed as of this writing.

The issue isn't the first that the new MacBook Pros have encountered; enthusiasts buying third-party solid-state drives found their SATA speeds halved, at least until Apple provided a firmware update.



Apple recalls some iPod nano models in South Korea

Macs aren't the only Apple devices facing a confirmed flaw this week, as the company's South Korean branch is now recalling early iPod nanos.

The move will let owners of original iPod nanos, sold in the country between October 2005 and December 2006, receive a replacement if they believe the battery might overheat and trigger a fire. Four instances of overheating or even exploding batteries have been reported in South Korea since December of this year, drawing media attention and encouraging the company to take action before its image hurt any further.

Korea's recall follows a similar gesture made for Japanese owners after a number of publicized incidents were reported in the neighboring Asian state.

While one of the largest companies pressed to exchange products over battery concerns, it isn't the last. A total of 46 fires and minor explosions have been reported in South Korea over the past five years and prompted a new law taking effect this month that will require all devices with lithium-ion batteries undergo extra testing to minimize the risk of fires from the environment or from shock damage.