2011 iMac Screen Noise

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Shaun.P, May 6, 2011.

  1. Shaun.P macrumors 68000


    Jul 14, 2003
    Omicron Persei 8
    There are many documented cases of a high pitched noise (or whine) when you lower the screen brightness on the last two iMac iterations (2009 and 2010 model).

    It seemed to affect all 2009 - 2010 iMacs. The noise is like a very high pitched dog whistle. I went through 4 iMacs and ended up getting a refund in 2009 - despite loving the iMac very much - I just couldn't stand the noise - which only went away when the iMac was in full brightness. If the noise is away I'd be more than happy to buy one.

    I was wondering if those who noticed the problems with the 2009/2010 iMacs would be willing to post their experiences of the new 2011 model?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Zen0Jin macrumors member

    Feb 1, 2011
    None here. Mine is set on auto brightness so it bounces anywhere from 1/2 bright to full bright depending on time of day and whether my room lights are on.
  3. urartu, Jun 3, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2011

    urartu macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2011
    until now i've gone through seven 27" imacs - all of them immediately sent back to apple after checking them out.

    1st imac: 2009 2.8 i7 refurbished - dog whistle
    2nd imac: 2010 2.93 i7 refurbished - dog whistle
    3rd imac: 2011 3.1 i5 retail - no dog whistle but a stuttering fan
    4th imac: 2011 2.7 i5 - dog whistle, although quieter than in the 2009/2010 models - maybe because it's a new one? however, i still can't stand it (i'm a musician)
    5th imac: 2011 2.7 i5 - same as 4th imac...
    6th imac: 2010 2.93 i7 refurbished - dog whistle PLUS bad fan (fan is whining)... (wow, and this is "apple certified")
    7th imac: 2011 3.1 i5 retail - dog whistle

    wondering how long this send/return-nightmare will last...

    anyhow, it's a fact that most people won't hear it because of untrained ears or bad hearing in general.

    SHAME on apple for not fixing this in more than two years...
  4. boomersooner020 macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2011
    Mine is set to low and I haven't had an issue with a whistle of any kind.
  5. John T macrumors 68020

    John T

    Mar 18, 2006
    The noise of a dog whistle is at a frequency above the highest a human being can hear.

    If you've heard this noise - on three occasions, I suggest it's nothing to do with Apple. More like it's something to do with your hearing - you really ought to seek the advice of a Doctor. ;)
  6. bpeeps macrumors 68030


    May 6, 2011
    Well if he's hearing dog whistles and higher octaves, wouldn't his hearing be better than most humans?
  7. MR.Raul macrumors regular


    Jul 28, 2010
    It's a term.

    And I had it on 3 of the 2010 models, and just noticed now I have it on the 2011 one, and it's ben 3 weeks, so not sure what to do.
    Don't think there's a send it in and fix it solution.
  8. urartu macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2011
    ok, i've should have written "dog whistle" as it is a term for "(very) high pitch noise". it's like a tinnitus (ringing in the ears). of course, i can't hear a dog whistle. my ears are perfectly fine.

    i've had my fifth imac today (another 2011 2.7 i5 27") - it still has this issue.

    i'm trying to upgrade from my 2007 24" 2.4 c2d which doesn't have this annoying high pitched bleeping.

    anyway the problem is described here as well:

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=923532 (with sound example)

    the noise goes away when brightness is set to maximum or minimum.
  9. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    My 2011 27" iMac is perfectly ok. The 2010 iMac I sold few month ago had the PSU buzzing.
  10. ZMacintosh macrumors 65816


    Nov 13, 2008
    It will last until Apple says no more or you stop returning them.
    if it is the LCD/Brightness inverter on the iMac then goto a store and have them swap out a display in the iMac, if its the HDD or a Fan same thing.
  11. urartu macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2011
    problem is, the apple service tech here in town can't hear it, so he won't change it (acuesthesia deteriorates with age, the technician is ~50 yrs.)

    again, this video clearly illustrates the issue:


    i know there are imacs without the dog whistle (e.g. my imac #3 - i should have kept it and get the fan exchanged...)

    i'm a mac user since my first computer and never had quality issues with past machines like this...

    apple really has disappointed me this time...

    here's another thread describing the same issue, frequency seems to be ~16 kHz:

  12. Fuchal macrumors 68020

    Sep 30, 2003
    My 27" Cinema Display at work has the noise. My 2009 27" iMac at home is completely silent.
  13. urartu macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2011
  14. discofuel macrumors 6502

    Feb 21, 2010
  15. bpeeps macrumors 68030


    May 6, 2011
    And I don't think that commenter needed an addendum for his joke to be understood...
  16. urartu macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2011
  17. Icy1007 macrumors 65816


    Feb 26, 2011
    Cleveland, OH
    Wirelessly posted (iPhone 4: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

    You don't seem to understand what the term "hack" means. That is just a app to change brightness.
  18. discofuel macrumors 6502

    Feb 21, 2010
    It's as much of a hack for dimming the screen as Photoshop is a hack for graphic design ;)
  19. urartu macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2011
    max brightness = max power consumption

    where is the "greener apple" then?

    sorry, shades is a hack - period.
  20. Shaun.P thread starter macrumors 68000


    Jul 14, 2003
    Omicron Persei 8
    Does anyone know if the screen noise is evident on today's iMacs?

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