Since I purchased my Dell M4400 Precision Mobile Workstation around 5 months ago, I have been facing an issue where the included Seagate 500GB hard drive (ST9500420ASG) was clicking regularly which in turn caused the operating system and computer to pause (almost like stalling) for a period between one and one and a half seconds before returning to normal. Apparently this same drive has caused many issues for owners of Apple systems and Dell Systems alike.
After many a phone call to Dell and some extensive testing, Dell finally admitted there was a problem and escalated my call to Level 2 Devs. Needless to say after a long and painful experience Dell owners can now be free of the clicking on their Seagate ST9500420ASG model drives.
Out of curiosity it looks like it was due to something with the g-shock sensor as it was essentially parking the drive heads to protect the drive thinking it was in a free fall even when this was obviously not the case.
You can get the patch which supports the following seagate models from the dell support site: 80G – ST980412ASG 160G – ST9160412ASG 250G – ST9250410ASG 320G – ST9320423ASG 500G – ST9500420ASG (referenced directly from the Dell Website)
As with everything, do a firmware upgrade at your own risk and ensure you have a backup (that you know will restore successfully) in case of failure.
I look forward to hearing if this fixes the issue for you as it has seemed to work perfectly for me.