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View Full Version : Possibility of soundless Mac Mini?




Poff
Nov 29, 2006, 11:44 AM
I've been thinking about this for a long time. I hate my G4 iMac. It looks great and all, but it's in our living room, and the fans make too much noise. A long time I thought about getting a used cube, since it's fanless. But that won't hold up powerwise anymore. So now I'm eyeing the mini.

What I'm thinking is I would exchange its harddrive for a flash-drive. It wouldn't be big... 8 gigs maybe. And then I could have an external hdd I could turn on if I wanted to watch a movie or something. (Alternatively, I could stream the content from my old iMac in another room, using bonjour.)

Then there's still the fan. I know a lot of you will say it doesn't make much noise. At least I know the Macbook makes too much noise. If you can hear difference with it being on or off, it's too much imo. I'm a musician, so my ears are very often processing all the different sounds around me, and the fan noise is often annoying.

One option I've been thinking of, is downclocking the processor so it'll develop less heat. Because the fans are heat-regulated, right? I'm wondering if this is at all possible, and how much I'd have to downclock the Mini. Would putting a core solo in there help? Or should I wait for the next gen portable processor? I don't remember the name now, but seem to remember it develops less heat.

Even if I don't get it totally silent, at least it'll be much better than the noise my current iMac puts out. (fans aren't heat-regulated either - always at full speed.)

Your thoughts on this are warmly welcomed.



combatcolin
Nov 29, 2006, 11:50 AM
Easiest solution?, sell the bugger and buy an Intel iMac with lots of RAM.

Topping out the RAM will at least decrease the VM accesing from the HD.

Or, buy a Mac Mini with a BT KB and Mouse, store the Mini a good few feet a way and just have the KB and mouse in front of you.

Would need a long DVI cable though.

Eidorian
Nov 29, 2006, 11:56 AM
Unless you're going to hit the CPU's at 100%, I've never seen my Mac mini's fan go over 1,500 RPM's. It's silent at that speed. I've never heard hard drive noise either.

I agree with getting more RAM. You'll get less hard drive access for paging.

Poff
Nov 29, 2006, 11:56 AM
:p Putting a flash-drive in it won't be a problem. I'll just have to find a standard 2,5" SATA flash drive, I think I've seen them before. At least IDE ones, so there's got to be some SATA-drives too.

So really, the fans are the main problem. That rules the intel iMac out. I've only heard the G5 iMac, but that made even more noise than my G4 iMac as soon as you did something heavy on it.

The main issue will be somehow getting rid of the fan-noise on the mac-mini.. :)

Poff
Nov 29, 2006, 12:05 PM
Unless you're going to hit the CPU's at 100%, I've never seen my Mac mini's fan go over 1,500 RPM's. It's silent at that speed. I've never heard hard drive noise either.

I agree with getting more RAM. You'll get less hard drive access for paging.

Hmm.. how is it compared to a macbook, if anyone has compared the two.

NoNameBrand
Nov 29, 2006, 12:05 PM
You have very sensitive ears. The lamp and pizza-box iMacs I've used have been damn near silent.

The Mac mini is silent unless you've turned up the fan speed with smcFanControl (which I did, as a cool HD and CPU matter to me more than a little noise).

Eidorian
Nov 29, 2006, 12:07 PM
Hmm.. how is it compared to a macbook, if anyone has compared the two.The MacBook is essentially a laptop version of the Mac mini. You're not going to see much of an improvement in quietness.

You have very sensitive ears. The lamp and pizza-box iMacs I've used have been damn near silent.

The Mac mini is silent unless you've turned up the fan speed with smcFanControl (which I did, as a cool HD and CPU matter to me more than a little noise).The vent in my office is louder then my Mac mini at 3,000 RPM's.

gekko513
Nov 29, 2006, 12:09 PM
My G4 Mac mini is the most silent computer I've witnessed. It's more silent than my MacBook Pro, which is rather quiet by itself although I can clearly hear the whoshing sound when it's on. For the Mac mini I had to put my ear up close to hear that it was on. I've heard someone say the Intel Mac mini makes more noise, but I can't confirm that myself.

Poff
Nov 29, 2006, 12:12 PM
You have very sensitive ears. The lamp and pizza-box iMacs I've used have been damn near silent.

Silent compared to my mums old pentium 200mhz, yes.
Silent compared to a macbook, no.

It's all these sounds around us we normally don't notice, but they still tire us. When you actually start paying attention to them, it gets annoying. The fridge is another example. Our living room and kitchen is combined. Somebody please invent a silent fridge!

I'm not talking about "natural" sounds. Like water, wind and stuff. They have a more calming sound. But fans and stuff sound "unnatural" and tiring. It's a big problem in offices, for example.

aloofman
Nov 29, 2006, 12:16 PM
I have a Mac Mini and can attest to how quiet it is. I can understand wanting it to be even quieter, but replacing the hard drive and underclocking it seem like too much work to me, not to mention the potential for problems.

I recommend finding a creative way to muffle the noise instead. Is it on a desk? Or a shelf? I know someone who put it in his living room and put the mini behind a PS2 and the TV, where the noise is blocked even more. The only inconvenience is when he has to insert/remove a disc, as he has to kind of reach back in there.

tadd
Nov 29, 2006, 12:30 PM
I have both an Intel iMac and a G5 iMac. The fan difference is profound. Don't let the G5 iMac scare you away from the Intel Mac products.

The biggest problem with the Intel MacBooks is that the fan portals can easily be blocked if the MacBook is sitting on anything but a table. We sit our MacBook on blankets, laps, chairs, carpet. Heck, if we had a nice smooth surface to put it on we'd be using the iMac.

Tadd

4JNA
Nov 29, 2006, 03:02 PM
mini core solo, and a big external drive in a silent case. my dimmer switch makes more noise. really.

the flash hd replacement would be a big waste of money in this situation. stick with the slow and quiet 5400 rpm sata drive.

if you are the dremel/mod kinda user, the mini can be moved to a 'cube' case, and a fanless heatsink can be used. big low rpm fan for the case, and all is good!

best of luck.

jimbama
Nov 29, 2006, 03:38 PM
Easiest solution?, sell the bugger and buy an Intel iMac with lots of RAM.


...if you're lucky enough to get a quiet intel imac- mine is brand new and the fans are far, far from quiet....

Eidorian
Nov 29, 2006, 04:35 PM
...if you're lucky enough to get a quiet intel imac- mine is brand new and the fans are far, far from quiet....What's the speed on them? It's usually 1500 RPM's constantly unless you're doing have CPU work.

jimbama
Nov 29, 2006, 09:10 PM
What's the speed on them? It's usually 1500 RPM's constantly unless you're doing have CPU work.

Good question.

Here's a potentially stupid question- how do I check this? istat doesn't list fan speed/CPU temp on intel macs (i'm working on a imac C2D 20")

Eidorian
Nov 29, 2006, 09:12 PM
Good question.

Here's a potentially stupid question- how do I check this? istat doesn't list fan speed/CPU temp on intel macs (i'm working on a imac C2D 20")More then likely 1500-5500 RPM's.

Running Folding@Home I doubt I go over 3000 RPM's.

jimbama
Nov 29, 2006, 09:36 PM
More then likely 1500-5500 RPM's.

Running Folding@Home I doubt I go over 3000 RPM's.

Is there a utility that will tell me exactly what speeed my fans are running at? Can't seem to find anything.

Eidorian
Nov 29, 2006, 09:46 PM
Is there a utility that will tell me exactly what speeed my fans are running at? Can't seem to find anything.smcFanControl only works on laptops and the Mac mini. Hardware Monitor can detect your fan speeds but you have to pay for it.

jimbama
Nov 29, 2006, 09:49 PM
smcFanControl only works on laptops and the Mac mini. Hardware Monitor can detect your fan speeds but you have to pay for it.

Gotcha. Thanks for the info....

VoodooDaddy
Nov 30, 2006, 05:58 AM
The mini is silent, end of story. I've had mine since June and have heard the fan kick in 2 times.And I only have 512 ram and have a lot of things running all the time so the hdd is constantly swapping. The only other sound it makes is when you spin up a cd or dvd.

If you ears are that sensitive either wear earplugs or move the computer to a different room. I can't imagine anyone thinking the sound of a mini is annoying (there is no sound)

From a foot away you would not be able to tell if a mini was on or off if not for the indicator light on the front.

applemacdude
Nov 30, 2006, 08:23 PM
mini is quieter compared to macbook

MacBoySeattle
Dec 2, 2006, 10:54 PM
My god! Man we're descended from primates in Africa that used to live out in NATURE! You know, sounds of birds, and bees, and occasionally the lion which would come eat your noise sensitive butt! What kind of person is so sensitive that they complain about the virtually silent Mac Mini and the noise of new-age refrigerators which are virtually silent? You were NOT genetically designed to live in complete silence or even want that. It's unnatural!!