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is your 3870 fan always loud?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by DualShock, Aug 10, 2008.

  1. macrumors 6502


    I recently got a Radeon 3870 direct from ATI for my Mac Pro. The fan is always spinning and is quite loud, even when idle. It is significantly louder than the stock 2600 XT, which was absolutely silent when idling.

    I've read some threads where people say they hear their 3870's fan speeding up and slowing down in OS X, but mine is always audible, and I never hear any speedups or slowdowns.

    In Windows XP (Boot Camp), GPU-Z from techpowerup.com is reporting a fan speed of 43% when idling, with a temp of ~45C. When I play a game (GRiD or DiRT), it reports a fan speed of ~70%, with a temp of ~75C. The fan speed never slows down below 43%.

    Has anyone else noticed this happening? I have installed the Mac ATI drivers that came with the card, and am running Catalyst 8.7 on the Windows side.
  2. macrumors regular

    My bottom ATI 3870 is silent except when playing games , the top one stays spun up some due to heat coming from the bottom one on it , nothing bad though

    But I have seen/heard people with the 2600 say it was quite loud and their 3870 is quieter -

    But we also keep the air going most all the time as I cannot stand to be hot inside so the highest ambient temp it is in is about 73 , so not sure what yours is in
  3. macrumors regular

    i know you might have hinted at it, but just to clear things up, is it a "Mac & PC Edition" ?
  4. macrumors 6502

    Wow you guys reply fast. :D

    Yes, it's a Mac & PC Edition card.

    According to the iStat Nano widget, the ambient temp inside the case is 31C/88F.

    One other thing of note. When I turn on the machine, the graphics card fan spins up pretty loud, then goes silent about a second after the Apple chime. The 2600XT behaved this way too. But with the 3870, after 3 seconds or so it spins up again and stays that way while the machine is on. I tried resetting the PRAM and SMC soon after I installed the card, but neither changed the fan behavior.

    Any chance I have a bad card? Was thinking of making audio recordings of the sound differences between the 2 cards, but it's a bit of a hassle to swap out since the Mac Pro is sitting inside a cubbie hole in my desk (with the door open when running). I don't think it's a heat related issue due to it being inside my desk, because the fan startup behavior happens even from a cold start.
  5. macrumors regular

    Is it only the one card inside your Mac Pro? If it is, then from what I gather of other people have been saying across the board it should be significantly quieter. Just to be sure, why not take your machine outside the cabinet and have it run for a while? It's probably not it but I think it's worth a shot, especially if the card affects you so much that you may try and attempt to return/sell it?
  6. macrumors regular

    Yeah I would say with just one it shouldnt spin right back up after getting quiet unless it's quite warm room temp it's in

    My one was almost silent , its the second top one I can hear
  7. macrumors regular

    i dont own a mac pro yet, but im guessing you can't space them out by placing them in more distant slots?
  8. macrumors regular

    No , the two x16 slots are side by side -
  9. macrumors member

    Mine was the same as yours, it was spinning constantly all the time. So much so I returned it. My 2600 is so much quieter.
  10. macrumors 6502

    That's the only graphics card in my Mac Pro. I'm not sure if taking it out of my desk would make a difference, since the fan spins up almost immediately after turning the machine on from a cold boot.

    True. Though the room the Mac Pro is in isn't currently "hot" by any means, it could be that it's just warm enough to cause the graphics card to heat up right away.

    I wonder if it's possible that the Mac Pro may be supplying too much voltage through the power cable. I have the card plugged into the bottom power connector. Maybe I should try the top one.

    Could you do guys do me a favor post your ROM and EFI revisions from System Profiler? I'm wondering if I have an older or different revision of the card. I've attached a screenshot of my System Profiler info.

    Attached Files:

  11. macrumors 6502

    For me, the noise is definitely noticeable since the 2600 was almost completely silent. But I love the gaming performance of the card in XP, so I suppose I could live with the fan noise.

    Who knows, maybe when winter comes along it might get quiet. :D
  12. macrumors member

    Well if it does slow down keep this thread updated. Before I returned it I did some render tests in Maya and some other Pro Apps that I use and there really wasn't a difference in render times between it and the 2600 to warrant keeping it with the fan noise. I'm not really a big gamer, though i'm quite excited for Spore next month which the 2600 will run fine so I'm not too worried about that.
  13. macrumors member

    I just received my 3870 today and installed it in my previously dead silent Mac Pro (1st gen) which came with a Nvidia 7300 card. Obviously I'd been a little spoiled by the lack of noise of that fanless card, but I have to say I'm very disappointed with the noise level with the 3870 installed. Certainly this is way louder than reviews of this card lead me to believe. If there's no solution I'm afraid this card is going back.
  14. macrumors 6502


    Fan noises with mine too

    I have the PC and Mac Edition 3870 and since day one the fan spins faster during even minimal CPU usage. Even at times when I just move the cursor or open/close/minimize an app. It gets annoying, but it is definitely not constant as some have experienced. How often do you think ATI will release updated drivers for this card? Have there been any updates for it yet?
  15. macrumors 6502

    No updates that I'm aware of.

    Since I'm still within the 30 day return window, I'm RMA'ing the card with ATI. Hopefully the replacement will be quieter.
  16. macrumors member


    I've opened a ticket with AMD/ATI and we're discussing getting a warranty replacement, but I'm not sure if this is likely to change anything. They comment that if the replacement card isn't any different that there are third party fan solutions...
  17. macrumors member

    Well ATI tech support was pretty much useless dealing with this issue. Even their online RMA processing doesn't seem to know of this card so rejects any attempts to submit an RMA request. Basically ATI said I'd be better off getting a replacement from the original store, but this is hardly convenient as they are a mail order retailer on the other side of the country. :rolleyes:

    I've decided to take a different approach, that being a replacement cooler. Since noise level is my primary concern I'm going to give the Arctic Cooler Accelero S1 Rev. 2, which gets great reviews, a shot. *fingers crossed*
  18. macrumors 6502a

    The 3870 is the dumbest possible design for the Mac Pro. The fan sucks in air and vents it out the side, TOWARDS THE INSIDE OF THE CASE. This air then rises, and gets blown by the IO fan towards the 3870's intake fan, which then gets sucked in again. It's like an endless cycle of hot air which causes the 3870 to rev its fans up after a while even if you're not doing anything graphically intensive.

    I also have settled with the Accelero S1 Rev 2 and am waiting for stock locally here. It has a nice simple single slot exhaust vent (unlike the 3870) and takes up only a single extra slot (so Crossfire is still an option). I might have to jack up the IO fan a bit, but it seems like a good solution.
  19. macrumors G4

    I'm interested as well.
    Please keep us posted on the results. :)
  20. macrumors member

    I ordered the aftermarket GPU cooler today as well (Switzerland). My stock HD3870 vent is driving me crazy (full speed all the time). I'll let you know how it works out.
  21. macrumors newbie

    Very interested in aftermarket GPU cooler results as well...
    I'm currently considering iMac vs Mac Pro; one of my main requirements being "silence".

    BTW: SuperGrobi - grüezi and where in Switzerland did you order your kit, and which one?

  22. cxc
    macrumors member

    The Mac Pro is not really silent. It is very silent for a 8core workhorse but if you are coming from the (ultra) silent PC realm you won´t be happy.
    As far as the iMac is concerned, a quad core machine should be around shortly. Maybe Apple will sort the display issues.
  23. macrumors member

    Well, actually my Mac Pro was pretty silent BEFORE I installed the ATI 3870 :(
    ... even with my flashed XFX 8800GT
  24. macrumors member

    ... not swiss though ;)

    I ordered here: http://www.pc-cooling.ch/product_info.php?products_id=6452
  25. macrumors regular

    Those of you with just one 3870 either have warm rooms or a bad card if its loud

    I dropped back to just one 3870 (got an XPS for gaming rig beside it) and with just one it rarely spins up enough to be heard even in gaming on the Mac

    Not in gaming it cannot be heard - zero - as in the harddrive is the loudest thing in the Mac Pro now

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