the dreaded whine: can it be fixed?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by QCassidy352, Jun 21, 2006.

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Will Apple fix the MB and MBP "whine" with a firmware update?

  1. Yes

    13 vote(s)
    38.2%
  2. No; they will never acknowledge the problem

    9 vote(s)
    26.5%
  3. No; it would result in a temp. increase/shorter battery life

    6 vote(s)
    17.6%
  4. No; it is not possible to fix this with firmware changes

    6 vote(s)
    17.6%
  1. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #1
    I know that there are many threads on this issue already, but I can't find a definitive answer to the questions below, so if you're sick of the topic, just move on, thanks.

    My MB both moos and whines. The moo I'm not worried about because I'm sure apple will fix it with firmware like they did for the MBP. Also, it only happens in a certain temperature range that I don't hit all that often.

    The "whine" is my concern here - the high pitched whine/hum that comes when the processors idle. Even using itunes, word, preview, mail, and camino at once doesn't tax the processors enough to stop the whine, and those (word, preview and camino) are what I work with most of the day.

    So I have 2 questions.
    1) Has any MB or MBP owner with the "whine" (not the moo, and not the display buzz caused by the bad inverter) had it fixed under warranty?

    2) Can/will apple fix this with a firmware update? (I know this is a subject of some debate on apple's forums.)
     
  2. emw macrumors G4

    emw

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    #2
    I'm no expert on this - especially since mine doesn't seem to whine too bad, and I work in a reasonably noisy environment, so I can't hear it that much anyway, but here's a thought: how about an AppleScript that can run in the background to "tax" the processor and keep the whine at bay?

    I'm not smart enough to make one that pauses when the system is really taxed, but I've had this one running in the background for awhile.

    Code:
    set counter to 0
    display dialog "This script will help eliminate the MacBook and MacBook Pro whine." & return & return & "Once started, press Command-period to halt." buttons {"Continue", "Quit"} default button 1 with icon 1
    set choice to button returned of result
    if choice = "Quit" then
    	return
    end if
    
    repeat while counter < 100000001
    	counter = counter + 1
    	if counter = 1.0E+9 then
    		set counter to 0
    		set bogus to counter * counter
    	end if
    	
    end repeat
    
    Oddly enough, it seems to work better running through ScriptEditor than as an application :confused:

    Perhaps someone with a little more time/knowledge can do something better. Worth a shot though. To use it, copy and paste the code above into ScriptEditor, compile it, and run it.

    Oh, and I've been watching the temp using CoreDuo Temp and it doesn't seem out of bounds.
     
  3. Coheebuzz macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2005
    Location:
    Nicosia, Cyprus
    #3
    I don't believe Apple can do much about it since they don't make the chips. If we wanna blame someone, that's Intel really. Many G5's have much louder beeping/chirping sounds and Apple has yet to come up with a fix. Don't know if they acknowledged the problem though.

    I think we'll have to live with it. :(
     
  4. wilk0076 macrumors member

    wilk0076

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2006
    #4
    Mine will whine just like that, though it's quiet I don't hear it at work or when I have music playing. However, I noticed that when I have Bluephone Elite running, it stops.

    So, I suppose my fix for it right now is just to run a program that I normally have running most of the time, anyway.
     
  5. QCassidy352 thread starter macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #5
    You're right, it is the chips - the same whine has been reported on some core duo laptops besides apple's. However, the whine used to not occur with macbooks under Windows because Windows had a bug that screwed up the CPU throttling. The result was hotter laptops with worse battery life, but no whine (because the CPU did not throttle down to the point where it started whining). MS has since posted an update correcting this - so now the CPU throttles down, heat and battery life are better, but the macbooks whine when running windows also. (that's why I voted for apple being able to "fix" it, but at the cost of battery life/heat.)

    What I don't get is, why does this only happen on *some* macbooks/pros? If it's a bad chip design, why isn't this a universal problem?

    emw, thanks very much for posting that. I'm going to try it out. Thus far, none of the "workarounds" (photobooth, quiet MBP) have done it for me because although all of them eliminte the whine, they raise the core temp... right to ~67 C - which starts my MB mooing. :( My hope is that even if apple doesn't fix the whine, they will fix the moo, and then I can use these workarounds for total silence.

    edit: and btw, I'd be happy if they just gave us an energy saver option that was:
    hotter/worse battery life but silent OR louder, cooler, longer running
    Reason being that I'm on AC power almost all the time, so more power consumption would be fine. Also, the whine on my MB is much quieter when on battery power, so I'd just live with the *tiny* whine for better battery life when away from my desk.
     
  6. TBi macrumors 68030

    TBi

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2005
    Location:
    Ireland
    #6
    I'd love a link to that update which gives you the whine in windows. I want to check it out.
     
  7. emw macrumors G4

    emw

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    #7
    Let me know what you think. I've tinkered around with it a bit so that now you can choose a "CPU Load Level" (High, Medium, or Low) that corresponds to a delay in the script, reducing CPU loading (as reported by Activity Monitor).

    The "Low" setting gives a CPU usage of about 50%.

    The "Medium" setting goes to about 70%.

    The "High" setting goes to about 90%.

    Again, I'm pretty far from an AppleScript guy, so I'm sure this can be improved by someone who actually knows what they're doing. You can also modify the loading values in the script as you find appropriate.

    Code:
    set counter to 0
    display dialog "This script will help eliminate the MacBook and MacBook Pro whine." & return & return & "Once started, press Command-period to halt." buttons {"Continue", "Quit"} default button 1 with icon 1
    set choice to button returned of result
    if choice = "Quit" then
    	return
    end if
    display dialog "Select CPU loading level." buttons {"Low", "Medium", "High"}
    
    set loading to button returned of result
    
    if loading = "Low" then
    	set delay_time to 5.0E-4
    else if loading = "Medium" then
    	set delay_time to 2.5E-4
    else if loading = "High" then
    	set delay_time to 1.0E-4
    end if
    
    
    repeat while counter < 11
    	counter = counter + 1
    	if counter = 10 then
    		set counter to 0
    	end if
    	delay delay_time
    	
    end repeat
    
    
     
  8. QCassidy352 thread starter macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #8
    wish I had it for you. But check out the last post of this thread.

    While we're at it, this is also an interesting discussion of the whine issue and possible "solutions" and their pitfalls.

    emw do you mean to say that the script keeps the CPU at 50-90% load? That seems like a lot... surely even 20% or so would do it, no?
     
  9. Koodauw macrumors 68040

    Koodauw

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2003
    Location:
    Madison
    #9
    Off Topic

    My MBP makes a noise sometimes, but I am able to get it to go away when I open Comic life, or use use the iSight. Is this considered a "LCD buzz", or would it be the processor "whine?" I'd say its more of a buzz...
     
  10. emw macrumors G4

    emw

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    #10
    I've tried at various levels. 20% doesn't seem to do it for me, from what I can tell, but it may depend on other applications you have running. Let me play with it a bit...

    Try the script above. If the buzzing stops, it's likely the MBP "whine".
     
  11. Egosphere macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2006
    #11
    It is universal. See my post (#44) in this thread.
     
  12. emw macrumors G4

    emw

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    #12
    Alright, I'm spending way too much time on this, but here's another version. I don't know if this is useful to anyone (except me, perhaps), but it has been fun to learn a few things.

    This one allows you to set an arbitrary CPU load from 1-100%. It's reasonably accurate, but your mileage my vary based on what else is running, etc.

    Perhaps someone else can explain why this doesn't work very well (i.e., loading percentages aren't accurate) when saved as an application, even though it works fine running via Script Editor.


    Code:
    set counter to 0
    
    -- Show instructions and get the loading value.
    
    display dialog "This script will help eliminate the MacBook and MacBook Pro whine." & return & return & "Once started, press Command-period to halt." & return & return & "Enter the approximate CPU loading desired, from 1-100 percent:" buttons {"OK", "Cancel"} default button 1 default answer {""}
    
    set loading to text returned of result
    
    -- Make sure a number was entered
    
    try
    	set loading to 1 * loading
    on error
    	display dialog "Value must be a number" buttons {"OK"} default button 1
    	return
    end try
    
    -- Don't allow more than 100% or less than 1% loading (0% loading is unnecessary)
    
    if loading is less than 1 then
    	set loading to 1
    else if loading is greater than 100 then
    	set loading to 100
    end if
    
    -- Delay time is inversely proportional to CPU loading
    
    set delay_time to 1 / (loading ^ 2)
    
    -- Load the CPU
    
    repeat while counter < 1
    	delay delay_time
    end repeat
    
     
  13. QCassidy352 thread starter macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #13
    thanks much again, emw. I'm still at work, but will try it out tonight.

    Koodauw, you are describing the "whine" even if the actual sound is closer to a buzz. The fact that iphoto or comic life makes it go away is the give away.

    Egosphere, that is a fascinating theory, and I think you're probably right. If the whine is in fact in all machines, that gives me more hope that apple will address the issue in some way. Do you think that the volume of the whine is the same in all macbooks/pros? It seems that at least that must vary... Now I'm sorely tempted to go to an apple store and listen to their floor models... :p I guess that means there is no point in trying to get this exchanged or repaired under applecare...
     
  14. emw macrumors G4

    emw

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    #14
    An update:

    Apparently there is some odd thing with Script Editor that makes the "delay" command in my script work in Script Editor but not as an application. Apparently there is CPU overload associated with running the delay command via SE that allows me to "control" the CPU load by varying the delay amount.

    I'm looking at how to control it more effectively as an application.

    Also, the reported %CPU in Activity Monitor is the percentage of used CPU cycles that are attributed to a given process. So when this script shows "Script Editor 55%", most likely the overall in use percentage is not all that much different than if it says "Script Editor 75%".

    As a result, I may just make a script that eats up cycles, but that puts overall usage up to about 50% (depending, of course, on what else your using), which so far seems to be the magic number for shutting off the whine, but that doesn't burn up the chip.
     
  15. Coheebuzz macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2005
    Location:
    Nicosia, Cyprus
    #15
    Well if windows users have the whine too now on their CoreDuos, we have a better chance of finding a solution for it. But although i searched google for complaints i found nothing. Maybe windows users are not that picky.
     
  16. emw macrumors G4

    emw

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    #16
    Well, here's an application to shut off the whine. Sort of. Read the ReadMe for more information.

    Oddly enough, it still works best run straight from ScriptEditor.

    Whine Whine Go Away v0.1
     
  17. airkarol macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2005
    #17

    I'm using that, it's great.
     
  18. QCassidy352 thread starter macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #18
    ugh, a lot of these work for me, but they all have the same drawback - they heat up the computer to the point where the mooing starts. So I'm getting rid of one annoying noise and getting another... :-/
     
  19. emw macrumors G4

    emw

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    #19
    Yeah, that's the downside to all of this, I suppose. I thought the firmware fix on the MBP fixed whatever mooing (I don't have that, even when running this "fix"). Hopefully a similar fix will come out for the MB as well.
     
  20. emw macrumors G4

    emw

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    #20
  21. QCassidy352 thread starter macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #21
    yeah, it's real nice, but like everything else, badly heats up the computer. :(
     
  22. gloss macrumors 601

    gloss

    Joined:
    May 9, 2006
    Location:
    around/about
    #22
    Common side effect of working the processor.
     
  23. steelfist macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2005
    #23
    perhaps in the next update to the macbooks, rev As always have problems.
     
  24. emw macrumors G4

    emw

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    #24
    I'm surprised yours is getting that hot. I ran mine yesterday for some time, and my MBP never got too hot to handle. :confused:
     
  25. QCassidy352 thread starter macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #25
    don't be a smart***. The problem isn't that the computer gets too hot to handle or work with. On the contrary - it's quite comfortable, even sitting on my lap.

    The reason raising the core temp is a problem is that once it hits ~67 degrees, which it does running this application, my macbook starts "mooing." So any app which "fixes" the whine by using the processor starts the moo as a side effect. Not much of a "fix," trading one annoying sound for another.
     

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