The silent factor: which Mac to buy?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by lunker, May 10, 2005.

  1. lunker macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 2, 2005
    Location:
    Jersey
    #1
    I'm poised at the brink, ready to switch from PCs over to Macs, and the more I ogle the systems the more I know I want to shell out the cash and revel in the glories of Tiger. I've already racked my brain with the iBook/Powerbook and 12" / 15" decisions, so I won't be boring you with that minutia, but I just discovered another factor today that I wanted to throw into the mix: noise level.

    Currently I have a PC notebook (an HP) that I used as the hub of a bedroom recording studio -- nothing fancy, just an external card, a few mics and an acoustic guitar. But lately I'm becoming frustrated with how loud my notebook fan is -- don't know if it's loud enough to pick up on recordings, but loud enough that I'm worried about it now.

    I'm 90 percent set on a 15" Powerbook, but I don't know how loud the system is when it runs because the Apple Store near me is always loud and busy. So: what system would you suggest if silence was a factor in buying? I'd prefer to stay portable, but I've heard the Mac mini is crazy quiet. Are the PBs quiet enough that I won't be worried by them? Input requested.
     
  2. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    #2
    the only time the fans really rev up on my powerbook is under a heavy load, lots of ram will help this or when its just plain getting hot after awhile, but that hardley happens and the fans aren't too annoying, at least not in my opinion.

    it all depens on if you want the portable or desktop though, the mini's im sure are quiet too, but if you put anything under a heavy workload the fans are going to kick in
     
  3. 840quadra Moderator

    840quadra

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2005
    Location:
    Twin Cities Minnesota
    #3
    Quick side question

    are powerbook fans veriable speed like the PM's or is it just on or off?

    Thanks for the info!!
     
  4. mcarnes macrumors 68000

    mcarnes

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2004
    Location:
    USA! USA!
    #4
    All the current Apple noteboooks are quiet. Just don't put it on a bed or something where it will heat up. Apple suggests placing them on a hard surface like a table so air can get under the machine and help keep it cool.

    I don't think noise will be an issue for any of the current iBooks or PBs. Good that you considered it in advance though. Wise shopping.
     
  5. Vanilla macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2002
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #5
    I have an old IBM T20, which I never regarded as particularly loud until I received my PowerBook. The PowerBook really is whisper quiet by comparison.

    The only caveat I'd make is that with regards to the 100GB HD, if its the Seagate one (which I have) you may on occasion hear a soft "kerplunk" sound , which is the heads parking apparantly. I downloaded an old piece of freeware called APM Tuner and set it to 194, which resolved the issue perfectly but its useful to know this.

    Overall you will be amazed by how quiet these machines are in comparison to PC laptops.

    Vanilla
     
  6. mfacey macrumors 65816

    mfacey

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2004
    Location:
    Netherlands
    #6
    I've had my new powerbook for a few weeks now and I'm amazed how quiet it is. Even with heavy Adobe illustrator and photoshop work it never goes beyond a very faint blowing noise. Nothing you'll pick up when recording.
    Compared to my old tibook this is extremely silent.
     
  7. mfacey macrumors 65816

    mfacey

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2004
    Location:
    Netherlands
    #7
    I too have noticed the kerplunk noise every now and then, although it doesn't really bother me much. I'm still interested in this piece of software though. What does it do exactly and where can I get it?
     
  8. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    #8
    the fans are variable near as i can tell, someone can correct me if i am wrong though.
     
  9. lunker thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 2, 2005
    Location:
    Jersey
    #9
    Thanks! When I'm in recording mode I keep my notebook on a desk with the rest o' my gear; in fact, I just recently started propping my comp up at a slight angle (nothing nearly as elegant as an iCurve, I just stuff a small box of checks underneath the back end ;)) because I thought it would help circulation and that's when I noticed the louder noise.

    Right now I'm in bed unplugged and I think the fan comes on less, but I think that's because when it's untethered it goes into a lower-power mode.

    But I'm glad to hear most find the PBs quiet. I wouldn't be gunning for the 100GB HD anyway (I barely push 20 GB right now), but good to know.

    Would more RAM prevent the fans from kicking on more? I think it's the fan around the processor, not the hard drive, although I may be mistaken.
     
  10. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2002
    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    #10
    I am on my third powerbook and they are very quiet, even when the fans kick in which is rare - yes more memory would help a little, but I would not worry about the noise in the first place.
     
  11. witness macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Location:
    Austria
    #11
    I've had two PowerBooks in the last week or so and I'm about to exchange it for my third. The one that I have now has quite a noise hard drive and DVD drive. The first one that I had was completely silent, I couldn't even hear the hard drive with my ear right next to it, but this one is completely different.

    It seems to me that there is a lot of variation in quality. My recommendation would be go go into the store and after you've bought it find a quiet corner to try it out before you go home. Make sure that the DVD drive is ok, the keyboard works, etc... If you get a good one you'll probably be very happy.
     
  12. crazydreaming macrumors 6502a

    crazydreaming

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT -Westminster College
    #12
    I can vouch for that. I'm sitting next to my boss's 17" HP notebook. The thing is so loud. That fan never, never turns off. Right now the screen is dim, no one is using it, and the fan is still going crazy! Get's anoying sitting by the thing all day...
     
  13. Vanilla macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2002
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #13
    Hi
    Sorry for not replying sooner, been in an interminable meeting.

    I found this software while browsing the Apple Discussion boards and stumbling across this thread:

    http://discussions.info.apple.com/webx?14@257.EB4taEenTRF.301369@.68ad8043

    The describes what it does and in the first post there is a link to a site where you can download the software. Its difficult to find as I believe the guy that wrote it no longer maintains it.

    Anyway, bottom line is, it works for me...pure silence....and I have NOT noticed any discernible difference in Battery performance either. The only pain is you have to rerun it after a restart. I tried putting the supplied script into the startup area but it failed. As I mainly have my powerbook in sleep mode this is a minor irritation anyway. Hopefully Apple/Seagate will come out with a formal solution in due course but in the meantime this solution works a treat.

    Cheers
    Vanilla
     

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