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Old Jan 27, 2013, 02:42 AM   #1
dp-p
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Mac Mini 2012, 2.3 GHz vs 2.6 GHz noise?

I've read through a lot of the threads here about how at least the quad-core 2012 Mac Minis can get noisy under heavy load (e.g. Handbrake transcoding). As far as I can tell, the consensus seems to be that they should be quiet under normal use (web, email, etc.) Is this right?

Does anyone know whether, when the fans do spin up under heavier use, the 2.3 GHz machine is quieter than the 2.6 GHz one? I wondered, since it's slower, whether it never gets quite as hot, so the fans don't get so loud? If so, I'd pick the 2.3 GHz as it's quieter, even if it's a bit slower.

Alternatively, is it that both models are quiet in normal use, and both are as loud as each other under heavier use, when doing similar tasks? If so, I'd get the 2.6 GHz model, since the 2.3 GHz model would be just as noisy anyway (and I might as well have the extra speed to get the Handbrake transcode or whatever it is done quicker).

Can anyone shed light on this, please?
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 03:05 AM   #2
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I have the i7 2.3. Its very quiet. The only time I have ever heard it make a noise was when I used Mac DVD ripper Pro to rip a DVD for my iPad. This was using an external USB DVD drive that was hub powered, I'm not sure if that make a difference. The noise I could hear was the fan spinning, but it didn't start straight away, it took a few minutes to happen.

It never makes a noise when I export a HD film from IMovie or a slide show from IPhoto.
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 04:36 AM   #3
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I have i7 2.3 and only time the fans ramp up enough to make an noise is when i have my win7 VM running with coreldraw - usually i have iTunes in the go, photoshop and apache etc all running.

Usually its a quiet little machine - the external hard disk is louder than the mini
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 07:36 AM   #4
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Thanks to both of you for the information! That's good to know. I'm hoping someone with a 2.6 GHz machine might be able to confirm whether the same is still true for the faster model (i.e. usually quiet), but otherwise I might go for the 2.3 GHz; it's a bit cheaper, probably fast enough anyway, and at least I know it should be quiet.
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 07:39 AM   #5
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I have found the 2.3 i7 is a beast - handles everything i throw at it and thats quite a lot of apps, servers and stuff all at once inc the windows vm.

The extra for .3ghz in my opinion is only worth it if you are into heavy fps games or rendering.
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 09:09 AM   #6
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My 2.3 i7 is quiet. Don't see why 2.6 would be any different.
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 09:25 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by 53x12 View Post
My 2.3 i7 is quiet. Don't see why 2.6 would be any different.
Well, I was wondering if, since it's a faster-clocked chip (2.6 vs 2.3), it would dissipate more heat, and therefore end up running the fans more often and/or faster?
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 10:15 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by dp-p View Post
Well, I was wondering if, since it's a faster-clocked chip (2.6 vs 2.3), it would dissipate more heat, and therefore end up running the fans more often and/or faster?
You won't notice any difference. The 2.6 is 10% faster which means it will finish jobs slightly faster and then return to normal operating temp quicker.

Until you replace stock hard drive with a SSD, the loudest noise will most likely be the hard drive (unless you are pushing the CPU and the fans start kicking in).
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 10:35 AM   #9
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Also, another part that should be noted;

Even though their "normal" running speeds are at 2.3 and 2.6GHz, there is quite a lot of throttling going on when not having nominal load...

So, unless you're actually running any CPU heavy processes, both the 2.3 and 2.6 ones will kick things down to save energy, and lower heat.

I'm running the 2.6GHz, and I have yet not been able to hear the fans spin up a single time... Instead, I'm getting annoyed by the sound of my NAS that stands 2 meters away from me, with the Mini in between, and that only has a very silent hiss from its fans.

I'll report back if I do come across any use I have for it, but I'm guessing some of the most CPU heavy things you could do would be Handbrake or other media encoding tasks, of which I really don't do much...
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 11:24 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by magebarf View Post
Even though their "normal" running speeds are at 2.3 and 2.6GHz, there is quite a lot of throttling going on when not having nominal load...

So, unless you're actually running any CPU heavy processes, both the 2.3 and 2.6 ones will kick things down to save energy, and lower heat.
This is not correct. The only throttling which may happen is if it reaches the maximum temp. As long as the CPU is well below that, the computer does not throttle.
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 11:48 AM   #11
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As a note, until you upgrade the stock hd to a SSD, the loudest noise will be the fan unless you are pushing the CPU under load.
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 12:07 PM   #12
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This is not correct. The only throttling which may happen is if it reaches the maximum temp. As long as the CPU is well below that, the computer does not throttle.
It does throttle, not because of heat but because of power savings(Speedstep). I think the cpu is clocked at around 1 ghz when idling or light use.

I have a 2,6 i7 mini, can't hear any fan noise except when i'm ripping video or play a game.
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 12:53 PM   #13
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My 2.3 Mini is the least noisy Mac I have owned. It has the stock 1TB mechanical drive and I don't hear it running. The Mini is so quiet I upgraded my external drive enclosures to fanless OWC Mercury Elite Pros; the fan in my MiniStack v3 was simply too noisy for my taste...
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 01:11 PM   #14
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This is not correct. The only throttling which may happen is if it reaches the maximum temp. As long as the CPU is well below that, the computer does not throttle.
Yes, as mentioned already by CatchTheDragon, it sure is throttling the CPU frequency using SpeedStep.

It does not decrease the performance of your CPU, as soon as you're using it to some extent SpeedStep should be kicking it back up to the right frequency.

However, when standing idle or very light CPU usage, it does throttle quite a lot, and the CPU cores might jump between various multipliers of its base frequency a lot.

As CatchTheDragon notes; this is mainly done to save energy, when not being utilized, but a side effect from this is also that the heat generation is kept at a minimum as well when this happens...

To make things even more interesting, at least from Sandy Bridge and onwards (not sure about previous generations) SpeedStep is able to control each CPU core independently, so if you're only having high usage on a single core (running a single threaded application) it can simply have one core at a higher frequency and keep the others at a lower frequency.
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 03:00 PM   #15
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Haha, my eyes saw one thing and my brain interpreted another. Thanks for pointing this out Mage and Catch, very interesting.
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Old Jan 28, 2013, 02:14 PM   #16
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Thanks, magebarf and CatchTheDragon, and Mojo1 for the info about quietness! It does sound as though both the 2.3 GHz and 2.6 GHz models are pretty quiet, at least in normal use...
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 03:55 PM   #17
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2.6 i7 + Handbrake = Fan Noise

I just picked up a 2.6 i7 to sort of replace my 2012 27" iMac 3.4 i7 that has image retention and issues with Target Display Mode (and is being returned). My primary use for my desktops is running Handbrake video encodes. The Mini is pretty loud at max fan speed (5500 rpm's) in my personal opinion, especially compared to the cool running Ivy Bridge iMacs. I also find the ambient temps of the Mac Mini to be quite high when sitting right next to the iMac (Mini is 45c and iMac is 14c with a room temp of around 16c).

Outside of Handbrake the Mini is quiet and cool (even ramped up running Handbrake the Mini is only barely warm to the touch, though CPU temps are steady at 98-101c). I'll have to do more testing over the weekend and see if the fan noise is something I can deal with long term.
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 06:39 PM   #18
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It was my problem, well still it is.
My first mini 2012 i7 2.3 is was very noisy and sometime gets very very hot.
Got replaced with new one. It is not getting hot but noisy though.
No matter I use text editor or Prallels Dektop+ Safari+ email and some small other tasks it is same loud noise. When I use hand break it gets even noisiest.

I think there is something need to be done from Apple side like firmware update with proper temperature control management or whatever. It is very annoying when you writing something on text editor and Mini making Max noise
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Old Feb 16, 2013, 02:13 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by martinm0 View Post
Outside of Handbrake the Mini is quiet and cool (even ramped up running Handbrake the Mini is only barely warm to the touch, though CPU temps are steady at 98-101c). I'll have to do more testing over the weekend and see if the fan noise is something I can deal with long term.
Hi martinm0, thanks for the info! I'd be interested to hear how you are finding the fan noise in general over the weekend, as you mentioned. From what you're saying, it's quiet when not doing things like Handbrake?

----------

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Originally Posted by hamkor04 View Post
It was my problem, well still it is.
My first mini 2012 i7 2.3 is was very noisy and sometime gets very very hot.
Got replaced with new one. It is not getting hot but noisy though.
No matter I use text editor or Prallels Dektop+ Safari+ email and some small other tasks it is same loud noise. When I use hand break it gets even noisiest.

I think there is something need to be done from Apple side like firmware update with proper temperature control management or whatever. It is very annoying when you writing something on text editor and Mini making Max noise
Hmm... that's a bit worrying to hear... although it does seem like most other posters have found the 2.3 (and also the 2.6) to be quiet when only using things like a text editor, Safari, or email. I wonder what's causing the difference in your case?
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Old Feb 16, 2013, 04:34 AM   #20
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My mini is very quiet, it's on 24hrs and has been for the last 60 days. I sleep in the same room and i cant hear it at all.
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Old Feb 17, 2013, 09:14 PM   #21
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You might like to install smcfancontrol to monitor or adjust/ control your fan speed...

Don't mean to hijack your thread, but while we're on the topic, is it worthwhile to upgrade the 2.3 to a 2.6? I'm gonna be using it as a HTPC, probably run a game or 2 on it as well (I know, its not the best idea, but its the nicest-looking one that the womenfolk in my household won't complain is an eyesore). I plan to get the fusion drive & self-upgrade the RAM.

Advice?
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Old Feb 18, 2013, 10:21 AM   #22
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pull the bottom cover off, place in a safe, stable spot on its side with the power supply at top.

handbrake stops making the box sound like a hair dryer, and temps drop too.

the bottom cover is a huge air restriction, some sort of cradle solution with filter should be easy enough to make at home.
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Old Feb 18, 2013, 10:37 AM   #23
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You might like to install smcfancontrol to monitor or adjust/ control your fan speed...

Don't mean to hijack your thread, but while we're on the topic, is it worthwhile to upgrade the 2.3 to a 2.6? I'm gonna be using it as a HTPC, probably run a game or 2 on it as well (I know, its not the best idea, but its the nicest-looking one that the womenfolk in my household won't complain is an eyesore). I plan to get the fusion drive & self-upgrade the RAM.

Advice?

No. The GPU is the same which will be your bottleneck whether you go with the 2.3 or the 2.6. If you just want to spend the money, go ahead, but the fairly minor improvement won't "future proof you" nor will it do anything for you from an HTPC standpoint. If you did a LOT of video encoding or something, then sure but for gaming and/or video playback just go with the 2.3.
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Old Feb 18, 2013, 03:23 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Darby67 View Post
This is not correct.
It is correct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darby67 View Post
The only throttling which may happen is if it reaches the maximum temp. As long as the CPU is well below that, the computer does not throttle.
Wrong.
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Old Feb 18, 2013, 04:34 PM   #25
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It is correct.


Wrong.
And my acquiescence which you conveniently overlooked? Thanks for the noise though!
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