Apple's non-silent solid-state disks (SSDs)

3 February 2016, 06:00

I’ve been having a conversation with a Reddit user and trying to get to the bottom of the cause of his noisy MacBook Pro.

As Apple shifts towards solid-state disks (SSDs) across much of their line, along with LED backlighting for screens, their computers have become much more quiet. The only component theoretically capable of making a noise, aside from the speakers, is the cooling fan(s). Apple’s superb engineering usually ensures this is virtually silent.

… Except that it turns out the SSD in my 15in mid-2015 MacBook Pro makes a very quiet buzzing noise when being written to. I can test this using the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test app. This isn’t a complaint because I can’t actually hear the buzz unless I put my ear right on the keyboard, and I only did this to help the Redditor diagnose his problem.

The noise is very likely to be a surface-mounted capacitor or similar, although it has been known for some chips to make noises.

Let’s collect some data on this. Put your ear to the keyboard, run the disk test, and post your findings below.

I’ll update with the results next week.




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