A number of Mac mini owners are reporting a distinct, periodic noise emanating from the hard drive that is accompanied by a brief pause in system responsiveness.
One poster to Apple's Discussion boards writes: " I'm getting pretty regular 'clunk' sounds from the hard drive. [...] If iTunes is playing music, the drive clunks alot less often (or I don't notice it) but it does still happen. It also seems not to be directly related to the time between drive accesses, since I've had it clunk within about 10 seconds one to the next. [...] System profiler says the drive is a Seagate ST9808210A.
"To me, it sounds like someone is dropping a marble inside of the mini case. It is not quiet - and it is annoying even if it is a 'normal' behavior for the drive. The drive in operation - reading, writing and even when parking / unparking - is very quiet."
According to some reports, this issue stems from a fault tolerance test being conducted by the drive when it is momentarily idle. Unfortunately, in many cases (as in the one above), the process interrupts normal operation when the user is not idling.
In some cases, the fault tolerance tests will become less frequent after several restarts of the Mac mini, but in at least one user's case, the problem worsened in severity until a replacement hard drive had to be obtained.
If you are experiencing a similar issue, please let us know.Resources