I have an early 2011 MBP and opened it's back more than once, to replace RAM, HDD and 2 weeks ago I installed an SSD. For some time already I hear a faint ticking noise from the body when the laptop is running, laying on a flat surface. First I thought it's the HDD's head hitting an end position, that was part of the reason I replaced it. Now with the SSD I still hear the noise sometimes.

I could not figure out what it depends on, sometime it comes and I hear 1 tick in irregular intervals form 1 to 5 secs, sometimes I hear a lot short after each other, and some other times the noise is not audible at all for hours.

I have the impression that the noise comes from somewhere below the trackpad, around the place of the HDD, now SSD.

Any idea what that could be?

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It's certainly inside the MacBook Pro. You should check this out : https://discussions.apple.com/thread/2387469?start=15&tstart=0

This should fix it, helped a lot of people. Click Here

So it happens when you have to apply conductive grease. It's certainly a problem with the CPU I think. After following the steps, your machine shouldn't make any sound.

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It would be quite easy to determine exactly from whence the sound emanates by taking a small tube about a foot long and listening to the bottom case (or the keyboard) - slowly moving around to locate the approximate place where the sound is loudest.

It's almost certainly the fan that cools the CPU/GPU and you can examine the internal layout of most any Mac by browsing iFixit.com

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