Me PC guy but wondering why...

contoursvt

Registered
Apple has never put a hard disc activity light on the computer or keyboard or somewhere. I think its pretty useful. I know there are disc light programs that flash something on the screen but why no real light?

I find it useful to see if a program has actually stopped responding (if its a program thats supposed to be disc intensive). Useful to see how much an application may stress the drives - for example if I'm playing a game and I see the drive light flicker very frequently then I know that I'm lagging not because of video issues, but because I'm low on RAM and its swapping to disc. Its also nice on a network because you can see if someone is connected to you and copying to and from you. If you're sittng there with all apps closed and drive light is going crazy then you know something is up!

Anyway just curious. I do have a B&W G3 and anytime I've used it, I had wished that it had one. I might figure out a way to install one. Just need to find which IDE lines on the 80pin cable is signal and ground i guess - if its that simple.
 

Ripcord

Senior Lurker
I've wondered the same but as I've used PCs less and less, I usually forget all about it (perhaps it's because apps tend to "stop responding", or because there are better/more reliable ways to tell than on Windows). Good question though. I HAVE wondered if my CD was being accessed sometimes and wanted a light. I've got one on my G4/533, but not on my G4/1.25 or my G5/2.0
 

Arden

Where mah "any" keys at?
I usually just listen for the sound of the hard drive churning, which doesn't occur during idle time.

I think Apple prefers to keep it simple by not including another fancy bell to confuse people, which is why they only have one button as well (instead of Power, Reset, etc.). On the front, at least.
 

Zammy-Sam

Desertchild
Well, I think it's good apple is not going for a light-orchestra on their comps. It seems to be rather confusing for common users to see all those lights. Lot of ppl here have no idea what all those lights mean. So, why not stop confusing them? For those who really want to know about network-activity, disc-access, CD-Rom-activity, pageouts and God knows what else, there are wonderful tools, as contoursvt already mentioned. I am really happy with it eventhough I actually can't hear my harddisc working.. ;)
 

adambyte

Registered
Ugh. I'd hate it if I had blinking crap on the actual hardware of my PowerBook. It's so elegant as it is. Not only are they saving money on little blinking lights and extra wires, but they are keeping the design of their products simple, seamless, and beautiful. Blinking lights would just make it worse.

Ooh, but don't even get me started about how my sleep light pulsates, rather than blinks. I LOVE that. That's the one light that is on my PowerBook, and it is a beautiful thing unto itself.

Oh, and then there's the battery lights on the bottom, but those only light when you want them to, or when you're charging... but they're out of sight anyway, so it's all good.

Anyway, it's a design thing. And I love it.
 

edX

mac shaman
I usually just listen for the sound of the hard drive churning, which doesn't occur during idle time.
and which also doesn't occur if your drive is properly maintained - especially properly defragmented. grinding drives are NOT what you are supposed to hear while your drive is working. when you hear your drive doing anything more than spinning up, it's time to do some maintainence work. if in doubt as to what this means, do a site search for "repair and maintain" - i'm sure i've waxed poetically on this subject at least a dozen times already. :rolleyes:
 

Cat

Registered
IIRC when you run certain versions of Linux on your Mac, the 'sleep' light acts as HD activity light ... so there should be a (soft|firm)ware hack to change its function.
 

Arden

Where mah "any" keys at?
Ed... :rolleyes:... I meant churning as in churning away, working hard, swapping files into RAM, etc., not grinding. Don't make me record the sound of my computer launching Photoshop.

As for the utilities that Countours mentioned and Sam referenced to, I use iPulse in OS X to monitor the levels of activity of RAM, hard disk usage, and network usage (when my iMac's connected to a network, that is).
 

Pengu

Digital Music Pimp
As for cd-access, i don't know about newer machines, but i have a g4 400 (gigabit eth.) and i can see when the dvd is accessing a disc, because the green light glows through the plastic "door"
 

bobw

The Late: SuperMacMod
Norton Utilities used to install DiskLight, on systems prior to OS X;

This icon is displayed by Disklight, a control panel which is part of the Norton Utilities. Disklight provides an indicator to show when your hard drive and other devices are being read or written to. Disklight is not causing the access to your hard drive, but merely indicating when that access is occurring. You can configure the location and behavior of Disklight, or disable it, with the Disklight control panel.

I don't remember what version this stopped with.
 

contoursvt

Registered
Somehow it doesnt seem very wise to steal CPU cycles as small as they may be to show a disk light when one can be had for free through hardware thats already there. Also just because there is a light does not mean that its degrading the appearance of the box. I mean its not flashing for no reason. God forbid one would actually get some kind of useful feedback :)

Heck I'm using my machine now which is a PC I built had the tower case has multiple HD access LEDs which can be connected to individual drives. I'm running all SCSI drives so I have 4 drives in total. Looking at the lights, I can tell that I'm ever so slightly swapping to disk (first LED - startup disk, flickering occasionally). I have two video files, one larger and one smaller encoding at the same time. The larger is being compressed mpeg4 to my 2nd drive and the other is being compressed mpeg4 to my 3rd drive. I can see right off the bat that the large file is much more disc intensive. Light comes on solid about once every second. The smaller video on my 3rd HD only flickers 2-3 times every second but lightly. Not on solid.

May seem trivial but I can have an application maximized to take up the entire screen and I can look and see which job is done just by the HD lights. The shareware app I use does not prompt when its done. Its just a progress bar that gets to the end and thats it.

It think apple should have at least given the option for the power LED to be used as a disc light through a control panel or something. That would have kept it looking 'classy' and serve some purpose too.
 

Sogni

*gone*
Drill a hole in the front of the case, stick an LCD in it, and wire it to the hard drive (double-check your hard drive has LED pins). Problem solved for under a buck*! :D

*Unless you want to get fancy then it could be more. :p
 

Zammy-Sam

Desertchild
Contoursvt, you are what I would call a non_common_user. It is understandable you need your hdd-indicators. But right now you are trying to project your needs on anyone elses. Well, I have just one disc and I am not using any parallel tasks that have heavy disc-access. So, I really don't need any hdd-indicator. And last but not least: I believe I am a common user. And apple is producing their comps for such ppl like me. ;)
The xserve should be a machine fitting much better to your needs. And I am not sure, but I think you will find some more indicators on that one than on any powermac/book or imac/book.
 

contoursvt

Registered
Well that is true, I agree that maybe my uses are a little different. I guess I was making a big deal out of it because I was disappointed because Apple released a powerful new machine with multiple drive bays..etc and again neglected to include something so basic. Not like I actually use the G3 I have :) Anyway topic is over....
 

Arden

Where mah "any" keys at?
I saw a PC at CompUSA today (my, how I keep talking about my trip there! LOL) that actually had a readout, on the case, of the inside temperature of the computer or something (I didn't look at it hard enough to figure it out), and it had dials and stuff to fiddle with. If I were to get a PC, and money were not a big problem, I'd get something like this, called a "Thermaltake," but still, it runs Windows...

This computer also had a 23" Cinema Display hooked up to it. How wrong is that...
 

contoursvt

Registered
Oh ya the Thermaltakes are pretty insane. A little over the top for the way it looks (Red/black or blue/black) with a window..etc. I'm not much of a fan for that but if the display actually does give any usable info, then thats pretty cool.
 

Arden

Where mah "any" keys at?
The little display tells you the internal temperature of the machine, and the warning temperature (I believe), and it has 4 dials to control fan speed. Personally, I would prefer the computer to control its power regulation automatically.
 
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