1200 rpm is too loud.

Discussion in 'iMac' started by WillemSleegers, Apr 3, 2019.

  1. WillemSleegers macrumors member

    May 2, 2016
    I purchased a 2019 iMac (27", i5, Vega) and I'm not sure why, but I expected the iMac to be quiet. However, I can clearly hear the flow of air when the computer is idling.

    While it is a slight improvement over my previous iMac (2011), I find it quite annoying that the iMacs are not 100% silent when idling, like the MacBooks.

    What do you all think of this?
  2. Jimmdean macrumors 6502

    Mar 21, 2007
    By my ears the 2019 model is just a tad louder at idle than the previous model, but has much less of a ramp-up and has a much, much quieter ceiling. Overall much better for me. Even at idle I have to go super-silent and really put my ear up to the front (or over the top) to hear it.

    We haven't seen a teardown yet but I do hear a difference - if it's not a complete redesign of the shroud then it is a slightly bigger fan or at the very least a different supplier.
  3. WillemSleegers thread starter macrumors member

    May 2, 2016
    Hm.. I can just sit in front of it normally and hear the fan spin.

    I'd prefer quieter idling speed compared to a different ramp-up because once it's going I can hear it no matter what. No need for that to be slightly reduced.
  4. hfg macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    If your iMac is positioned backed-up against a smooth wall, you might try finding a sound absorbing non-reflective decorative "wall hanging" to put immediately behind the iMac.
  5. decta macrumors newbie

    Apr 19, 2010
    Same here. i am a little disappointed… my 2012 iMac had the fusion drive as only noise element when it was idle/under low pressure. but i guess its a general thing and not just my purchase…
  6. WillemSleegers thread starter macrumors member

    May 2, 2016
    Yup, I believe so too. The only alternative is the iMac Pro, but I don't think it is worth the extra money.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 3, 2019 ---
    Not sure if that is going to help much. It is, however, possible to reduce the fan speed...
  7. mikeboss macrumors 65816


    Aug 13, 2009
    "previous model" being an iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, 2017)? and the new one's equipped with which CPU model?
  8. antonypg macrumors member

    May 8, 2008
    I have a 2017 iMac i5 3.8GHz with a 3TB Fusion drive, which I love as it is virtually silent at all times. When running Handbrake or a game such as Call of Duty the fans do spin up, but they are still what I would call quiet, no where near annoying. I decided not to get the i7 as I heard this got a lot louder when loaded.
  9. WillemSleegers thread starter macrumors member

    May 2, 2016
    I am not sure what you mean by virtually quiet. Is it as silent as a MacBook Pro when idling, or is the fan just 'quietly' humming?
  10. antonypg macrumors member

    May 8, 2008
    I believe I have good hearing and when sat at the machine I can't hear the fans at all. I checked and my fans are running at 1200 RPM. I put the machine to sleep then woke it back up and I couldn't hear any difference.
  11. WillemSleegers thread starter macrumors member

    May 2, 2016
    Interesting. I can clearly hear a difference with mine.
  12. antonypg macrumors member

    May 8, 2008
    I have a noise meter on my iPhone, Decibel X. It reads about 36 to 40 with the iMac running, and around the same with the iMac asleep. I took my wall clock out of the room as it was causing the readings to go up!

    My iMac is in my upstairs office next to a window, with a little bit of road noise in the distance. In some parts of my house I get a reading of around 34.
  13. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    Well, you could always modify the case to use an aftermarket desktop heatsink. It's hardly noticeable.


    Kidding aside. Even at idle the desktop CPU plus GPU are probably drawing 25W to 30W. That's a fair amount of heat to dissipate. Add to it that Apple uses a blower. It's going to make some noise.
  14. WillemSleegers thread starter macrumors member

    May 2, 2016
    I just did the same thing and I get a reading of 35.9 when the iMac is asleep and 37.8 when it is on. I suppose I can hear that difference. I put the phone on the foot stand of the iMac.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 3, 2019 ---
    Yup, I understand. I find it a bit of a bummer, though. This computer really would be perfect if it was totally quiet!
  15. TheSufle macrumors newbie


    Feb 13, 2019
    I’m sure, and this has already confirmed that inside it has not changed, it also uses one fan, perhaps the radiator with a copper tube has a different design, we are waiting for an autopsy!
  16. antonypg macrumors member

    May 8, 2008
    I just did another quick test out of interest. I ran Handbrake, converting a DVD, and the fans sped up to 2700, with a noise reading of around 50.

    I believe the background reading of 36 to 40 is because the iMac is next to a window and my house is less than one mile away from the M25 motorway, even indoors you can just about hear it. I guess the motorway noise is louder than my idle fan noise!
  17. WillemSleegers thread starter macrumors member

    May 2, 2016
    Maybe I should move closer to a motorway. ;)
  18. ferencav macrumors member

    Mar 31, 2019
    I had the same discovery when I booted my new iMac i9 for the first time. It is a bit of a disappointment because I come from a iMac (late 2012) which is (almost) completely silent. The new iMac 2019 has a bit more fan noise when idling.

    If you put your ear close to the machine it sounds like a normal fan with a HDD spinning very silently in the background. That's not a comforting sound because you get the idea that the computer is busy. I'm curious if other people recognise this sound in the same way.

    When I listen to the 2012 iMac it's a more monotonous lower pitched sound. Sounds more like a well oiled machine. I hadn't thought such a small difference would matter to me. In the past I have worked with Windows machines which were ten times louder.

    I guess I will get used to it very quickly. It's a small downside for a computer which houses so much more power than the 2012. And in a week or so I will read this post and call myself a complete nitpicker.
  19. Rockadile macrumors 6502

    Jun 11, 2012
    If it's the same idle RPM speed as the 2017 but still louder than I can only think it's because of a fan model change. Perhaps a fan with higher airflow rating.
  20. chabig macrumors 603

    Sep 6, 2002
    Or just put on some music, get one of those water fountain devices, run the air conditioner or furnace fan, flush a toilet, run the water, etc.
  21. Bohemien macrumors regular


    Mar 28, 2019
    That would also explain why the fan doesn't have to ramp up quite as high as in the 2017 models under load. I hope that's the case! Maybe an iFixit teardown will shed some light on this, hopefully soon. :)
  22. jeyf macrumors 65816

    Jan 20, 2009
    if your purchase is still dated I would definitely return your unit
    consider the store model and see if its fan compares to the purchased unit
  23. macduke macrumors G4


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    It’s interesting you can hear your i5 idling. I haven’t noticed anything idling with my i9 and I built my studio to be very quiet with insulation even in interior walls and the best acoustic rating I could get on ceiling tiles from my local dealer and it’s underground. I even did sound dampening on the ductwork I put in. I don’t even work with audio much I just wanted it to be quiet, lol. Even when I get it to ramp up I don’t notice it much. Now the 2017 iMac i7-7700K—I had one of those at my last job and if you want to complain I invite you to try out that model, lol.
  24. ferencav macrumors member

    Mar 31, 2019
    To illustrate the difference in fan noise between the iMac late 2012 and the new iMac early 2019 I recorded both machines with a ZOOM in the same room while idling and having the mic at approximately the same distance. I then amplified both sounds with 30dB in Audacity, so the audio is much louder than the real noise.

    iMac 2012:

    iMac 2019:

    I am very curious if other people's iMac 2019 sound the same.
  25. ferencav macrumors member

    Mar 31, 2019
    Hmm.. listening back to these audio samples I can imagine the difference is not very clear if you haven't heard it for real. In real life the 2019 is audible if you work in a quiet room whereas the 2012 is completely silent.

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64 April 3, 2019