Troubleshooting a spinning beach ball with replacement hard drive?

Got a used MBP A1150, and the previous owner had upgraded the hard drive, then swapped back in what I'm pretty sure is the original 80 GB drive before selling it (the hard drive sticker has an Apple logo).

I bought a replacement Samsung 320 GB drive, cloned the 80 GB drive, migrated files from an older MacBook, and the MacBook Pro ran fine for a little over a week.

Lately, we've been seeing intermittent spinning beach balls, and the last time, it didn't come back (had to do a hard shutdown). The 320 GB hard drive was ticking about once a second at the time of shutdown.

I put the 320 GB drive in an external USB enclosure connected to a Mini, and ran it through Disk Utility's repair a few times. No problems whatsoever. I'm leaving it powered on to see if it's heat related.

One difference I noticed is that the old drive is rated at 0.60A at 5V. The new one is rated at 0.85A at 5V. Anyone know of a source for information on current/power limits for these machines?

The machine is running 10.6.latest (10.6.8?), FWIW. Optical drive responds electrically, but never recognizes discs, so its orange flex cable has been removed (but this shouldn't affect the hard drive SATA channel).

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The ticking is most likely the scan head going back and forth. If it were mine, I'd back up my data. Reformat the drive using the "write zeros" option to map out any bad blocks. Then reinstall the system and use Migration Assistant to move my data back on. Finally I would use TechTools Pro to optimize the hard drive.

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The 320 GB drive (the one which is ticking) is still within its warranty period, so I'd rather return it if I can prove the issue is with the drive, not with the laptop. I can restore the data onto an identical drive (since the drive works in an external enclosure), but my question about max power still stands - if I use the other 320 GB drive, am I setting myself up for the same issue?

by clepple

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clepple will be eternally grateful.

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